Thursday, October 21, 2021

Why does your refrigerator have a light, but not your freezer?


If you are trying to satisfy your craving in the kitchen during the wee hours of the night from the refrigerator—the built-in light makes it easy to see what you’re doing, but you have to switch on the flash of your mobile phone if you’re going for a frozen food because most of the freezers lack their own light. 

Why is there a light in our refrigerators but not in our freezers? We finally have various answers/theories.

As economist Robert Frank has explained in a blog post for PBS NewsHour, this is a pretty classic example of the cost-benefit principle, which basically means that the cost of something shouldn’t be more than its benefit to consumers.

As for why consumers don’t value freezer lights very highly, the most popular explanation is that we simply don’t open our freezers as often as we do our fridges. And when you do open your freezer, you may be less likely to stand there for a few minutes surveying the options.

According to Today I Found Out, another theory is that it wasn’t worth installing a freezer light back when it would’ve likely ended up concealed by ice accumulation. And by the time self-defrosting freezers hit the market, consumers had already gotten used to not having freezer lights.

Since that’s now the norm, saying “And it has a freezer light!” is an easy way for salespeople to try to sell you on a higher-priced unit. (Though in the age of smart refrigerators, that might not impress you much.)

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