My washing machine broke down about seven years ago. It was, then, itself about fifteen years old. I wanted one exactly the same: after all, despite the twelve different options on the rotary programme selector and the five mysterious pressable buttons, I'd only ever used it for three purposes: whites, coloureds and occasionally delicates (when I couldn't be bothered to handwash a pullover).
So when the old one broke, it was dead easy. I went to John Lewis and said: "Can I have a new Bosch Lavamat 3100 please?"* The salesman didn't bat an eyelid. "I'm sorry sir, that's a very old model. Obsolete, in fact." He frowned. "What you need is the Bosch Lavamat 6100." My heart sank.
He showed me one. "Hang on," I said. "That's pretty much identical to the 3100, isn't it?" He smiled. "Outwardly, yes. Of course, the internal technology has been radically -"
I cut him off. "I'll take one."
He smiled again. "Very sensible, those Germans."
Thanks to Z for opening up this rich vein of potential bloggery.
* I may have made up these model numbers.