Well, my hair dryer quit on me. I was drying my hair with it and all of a sudden I smelled a burning smell, then saw smoke coming out of it (while I was still holding it), then some blue sparks flew and it officially died. I couldn't believe it. It's not like I've had it for more than four years, either. Is that a good dryer's life span? I don't know. I'd love to say this is the first "appliance" I've had that has done this to me, but it isn't.
A little more than a year ago, I was vacuuming and I smelled a burning smell and saw blue sparks and smoke come briefly out of the electrical outlet it was plugged in to and then my vacuum cleaner died. Granted, my vacuum cleaner was at least eleven years old. I felt a little better about over ten years of service, but still.
And again, while I was still working full-time I used a heat sealer to seal packages closed before shipping. It had been giving me trouble for some time, so my boss came over with his screw driver to open it up to see if he couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. He wanted to poke something inside there and asked me if it was okay (okay because I did have a back up sealer) and I said sure. Well, he poked and orange sparks flew up and we heard a very loud "POP" and there was a lot of smoke coming out of it. All we could do was laugh. It was truly awesome (it wasn't my machine, so therefore didn't cost me anything leaving me to fully enjoy the moment).
My sister and Grandma have these types of challenges with hand held mixers (they've each burned up the motor on at least one). But I don't think anyone else in my family has shorted out any of their machines. Or if they have, they haven't mentioned it. I think sparks and smoke are definitely worth mentioning. I did end up replacing the vacuum (very necessary as both Brownie and I seem to shed a lot of hair), but I haven't replaced the hair dryer. I'm still disgusted about its lack of service and don't know that I want to shell out the money to get another one. Do they make them in pink? Now that would be cool (but I won't pay more than $20 because I don't need one that badly).