Sunday, October 15, 2006

A well-stalked fridge?

I consider myself to be a pretty average gal, with a pretty average life. A good, blessed, average life.

When I look at my daily grind, I consider it to be within +/- 2.2 % similar to other Canadian middle-class lives, 9 times out of 10.
  • I regularly shit, shower and shave, like the majority of other Canadians.
  • I live within a 500km of the US border, like the majority of other Canadians.
  • I live in a home that is equipped with a stove and a refrigerator, like the majority of other Canadians.
There are a couple of things that I know set me apart from the majority.
  • I don’t own a microwave oven (which causes no end of grief to my son who needs a microwave to cure his fake barf and keep it from moulding).
  • When I make dinner, it’s never one meal that I cook since my son is a committed carnivore and I am a bleeding-heart, don’t-hurt-the-animals vegetarian.
Pretty normal overall, though.

So why do I feel like I’ve just become one-in-a-million… the woman with an experience that is so unique it is incomprehensible to the average, large appliance salesman?

It started last Sunday. I was on my way to bed, wrangling the bad cats inside from out, turning off lights and the thermostat down… It’s true that that particular night I looked in all the closets before setting the house alarm, to be sure I wasn’t locking my phone stalker into the house with me (thank you VERY much, G, for that image… you bugger)… But all-in-all, a normal night for a normal gal living a normal life.

As I walked past my fridge it started to growl. A deep, rumbling, angry growl. I jumped back with a small shriek. “Shit! I didn’t check the fridge for my stalker and the alarm is on… what now??!!”

Only a second of insanity, really. Fear quickly turned to confusion. What the hell is that sound? A mouse in the motor?

My roommate out of town, I couldn’t pull the fridge from the wall to check this assumption, so I turned the cooling dial down in an effort to shut off the motor/fan. It worked. Noise gone. Me to bed. Not too worried about the mouse: either it will escape the fate of the fan to be eaten by one of the three bad cats, or it will die at the back of the fridge and Jon will be home to help me retreive it before the rotting rascal starts to smell.

Monday morning, up for tea. Open the fridge door and have my feet soaked by water that appears to have appeared from nowhere. Open the freezer door… worse than finding a horse’s head, I find that all of my organic gourmet pizzas, my flat of spanakopita, a variety of mushroom/tofu/lentil/dirt and bark veggie burgers and one grain-fed, free-range chicken (ugh!) have all thawed.

The fridge awakens and starts to growl at me again. I slam the freezer door closed and pretend not to have seen what I have just seen. I need tea before I can consider the implications of this new condition.

My cuppa in hand, I sit down and ponder my situation. The fridge is as old as my house: 15 years. I know that appliances are not built to last, like they used to be. (When I rented an apartment in Montreal, in the mid- and late 80s, I had the most amazing fridge… it was turquoise, with the freezer just a plastic icebox inside the main fridge door. It was from the 50s. I loved that fridge.)

I look at the stack of newspaper flyers scattered around my feet. I pick up the one from Sears. All my friends who buy appliances (large and small) buy them from Sears. I figure that I can trust their research. I already know that I’m going to buy an Energy Star model since I don’t want to be any more responsible for Canada missing our Kyoto targets than I need to be. I find some models that look interesting. Of course, they’re all over $1200… so I put the flyers down and forget about my fridge.

Wednesday rolls around. Paper towels are sort-of protecting my now warping hard wood floor from the non-stop dripping from the ever-thawing freezer and warming fridge. Jon returns from his travels. We stand together, looking at the fridge and decide that yes, indeed, I need to buy a new one. We agree that it would be silly to call in a repair man to even look at this one since it will cost $80 for him to walk through the door and likely several hundred to replace what we decide is a dying compressor.

Days pass… we adopt a meal-time philosophy of eat-it-quick-before-it-rots, starting with the food most likely to make us sick if we wait too long to ingest it.

Saturday now (that would be yesterday, and one week since my stalker/the mouse broke in to break my fridge). My friend/colleague/gym partner Catherine comes over to work on writing an RFP with me. I tell her my tale of woe about my thawing food-stuffs. She looks at me like I’m insane to not have taken a more proactive approach to fixing the fridge problem. At her insistence, Jon and I hope into her car and we head to Sears. (A girl can never have too many advisors).

And this is where I wonder if my life is not as common as the majority of other Canadians’ lives. Seems to me that the purchase of a refrigerator is not something one does in the same way one decides to purchase, say, a new car, for instance. I can’t imagine that most people wake up one day and think, “you know, I’m growing tired of this old fridge. I know it still keeps my Strongbow cold and my gelato frozen, but I think I’d like to get a new one.”

No, I assume that most people who are in the market for a fridge have been pushed into the large appliance department by need. An urgent, or imminently urgent, need to buy a fridge and buy it fast.

After an hour of opening and closing doors and drawers, hearing from the salesman about the difference between US-made and Mexican-made models (racism is alive and well in Burnaby, folks), comparing energy ratings, and imagining how my own selection of salad dressings and soy milk will fit the new configurations of each model’s door shelves, I decide on the fridge I want. I tell the salesman. He wanders off to start the paper-work.

He returns, “We can have that model to you on November 17!”

“Pardon? You’re joking, right? It’s Saturday today. I was hoping you could have it delivered on Monday... (I pause and look him directly in the eye)... I’ll be home... all day…”

“Ma’am, all of our stock is kept in Calgary… if it’s in stock it takes a week to get here. The model you want is not in stock currently. You’ll have to wait three weeks.”

“Sell me the floor model?”



“Management doesn’t like to have holes in the floor display.”

“Oh, for god’s sake… you don’t even have this fridge in stock to sell… look over there… a mess of fridges all higgledy-piggledy… can’t you move one of those over here?”, is what I think. I ask,

“Well, what do you propose I do, sir? I need a fridge ASAP.”

“Go to Home Depot. Good luck.” (and “good riddance” I could hear him say as he turned to find a real customer… he thought he was using his inner voice but it snuck out as his outer voice. Happens to me all the time…)

We boot over to Home Depot. Find the same fridge. I pony up my $1500 (plus GST). Delivery is promised on Wednesday… until then, I’ve got a bottle of Pepto Bismal at the ready.

And a new insecurity about what I'm doing to create situations that are apparently beyond the scope of your average, run-of-the-mill, nothing-out-of-the-ordinary life experiences. This has the potential to cause me some serious existential angst... over-analysing again? Crap! And none of my regular comfort food in the fridge to help me calm down.


Blogger G. said...

Sorry to hear about the fridge, though it made for a great entry.

My fridge would be the lifetime work of someone at the CDC. I've already said too much.


October 15, 2006  
Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

You should have a happy day on Wednesday. As the song says, "There's Nothing Like A New Fridge". I myself recently purchased a new freezer, and it is a joy to behold. White, shiny...just like Bush. It has a little amber light down in the corner to tell me if it's still on. I wish Bush had a little amber light down in the corner to tell if HE's still on. I'm afraid he's not still on...not that he ever was. I think his innards are turning into rotten mush.

October 16, 2006  
Blogger Donna said...

g.: would you be developing materials for vaccine production in that fridge of yours?! Huge market for new vaccines... smart, funny, nice and soon-to-be rich?! My knees are weak...

neil: you, sir, appear to be a MASTER of the non-sequitor! Pure brilliance!

October 16, 2006  
Blogger G. said...

Less of a vaccine, and more of a biological weapon.

October 17, 2006  
Blogger Donna said...

That's really all most vaccines are... a government-funded, socially-acceptable, and highly profitable form of biological weapon...

October 17, 2006  
Anonymous SMM said...

We recently go a new fridge and freezer. We too bought at Home Depot. We had to wait several weeks for delivery...but they took away old fridge (and two freezer mugs I forget to get out of the postage size freezer compartment, all the packaging from the new applicances (which is critical on the Island where garbage is one bag a week).

I can't believe the way they toss aside customers at Sears.

October 17, 2006  
Blogger MVL said...

While fridges are not a sexy purchase, they are an intimate, important one and your decision to purchase one wrought with daily consequences. My new fridge is smaller than average but I figured that the main advanage of a larger fridge, as a single person with cats, would be to allow more food to rot rather than anything practical.

What I didn't anticipate was the major drop in electrical use a smaller, energy efficient fridge would mean. I had read, but not really understood, that a fridge was the main electrical unit in a person's life until I saw the difference in the electrical bill.

I already have an apartment of low energy bulbs, power bars that I click off to eliminate 'phantom loads' and my energy consumption has gone down regularly in the last 5 years. My monthly bill was in the range of 18 dollars.

After I bought the fridge it went down another 4 dollars a month. That 4 dollars was the amount of energy I was consumming needlessly since I have noticed any loss in the quality of my life post larger fridge.

October 19, 2006  
Anonymous russell said...

I can't believe all you people have to wait so long for such a simple purchase! Is it like this all over the lower mainlad area?

When we bought a new fridge or a freezer, we just paid for it, finished shopping and then had to drive like the dickens to get home before the delivery men arrived with our new machine.

One of them - the freezer - didn't work when we plugged it in, and it was late on a Friday afternoon, and all our freezer stuff was beginning to soften, so what happened?

We called the store with our tale of woe. You know what they did?

They brought us another one right away.

I kid you not.

October 26, 2006  
Anonymous Truongduchuu said...

If you want to save your money and want to buy a good portable refrigerator for your use then you can take a simple portable refrigerator for your use and save your money.

April 20, 2015  

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