Home Improvement Products with Innovation Left Short

Home Improvement Products with Innovation Left Short
January 7, 2012 SNH Editorial Team

Do you see what’s NOT working in this refrigerator? 

Refrigerators are among the most used appliances in a kitchen. Some kitchen designers start their kitchen design by locating the fridge first.  Because of the heavy use of refrigerators, you really want refrigerators to work properly in every way. A binding/ blocked drawer in this so-called French-door style refrigerator is simply inexcusable. French door refrigerators are much touted recent innovations in refrigerator design.  There are some clear benefits:  Two smaller doors can be opened and closed independently due to a clever design of the middle, overlapping stile. Open one door and less cold air escapes creating energy efficiencies.  Doors are lighter and door swings are cut in half.  So far – so good… in fact great… however and especially given such innovative thinking…why design a slider drawer that does not clear the center stile?

At first contemplation this might seem like a small matter.  But living with this JennAir model JFC208HES says otherwise.  One simply does not always open both doors.  Right-handed people tend to open the right door predominantly to reach for items stored on the shelves as well as in the crisper. That is when you come upon the fact that the drawer binds against the center stile.  It is simply annoying to be unable to fully open the drawer and reach in.  You wind up squeezing your hand in hoping to “fish” out something in the front of the drawer.

I cannot believe the smart designers/engineers who figured out the clever center stile solution failed to notice this drawer binding issue.  In other words, it looks to be a case of a manufacturer, JennAir wanting to standardize drawer sizes to shave down production cost.

How short sighted: JennAir simply will not get any positive word-of-mouth press from this owner. Ask any fellow French door refrigerator owners and you hear the same complaint.  Why come up with a great design solution and miss the basics. This would be like apple creating an iphone camera where the shudder only opens half-way.

Is this type of cost cutting worth it?  How about the old-fashion concept of designing great products – products that build long-term customer loyalty and brand value? Ask any apple owner about their apple products and you’ll find them raving about them.  It’s apple owners who convert others to be apple owners – what a concept!

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