Sunday, September 20, 2009

Big Empty Box

There is a huge new refrigerator in our kitchen.  The Mega Behemoth came to live with us on the morning of Rosh Hashanah.  At a time when we should have been at shul singing Avinu Malkeinu, I was desperately doing the very un-Rosh Hashanah-like task of removing what was safe to keep (mustard, pickles, carrots, cheese, cans of soda and iced tea, jam and jelly), dumping the perishables (sour cream, eggs, mayo, jalapeno relish, strawberries, milk) from the inside, and removing all the magnets, clips, grandchild art, prayers and scrawled recipes from the outside of the dead Black Behemoth. 

The Behemoth had a heart attack on Friday morning.  It had a blockage in its arteries, its coils, which would have taken too long and cost too much to fix.  The refrigerator doctors worked on it for two hours before pronouncing it.  They tried everything, but alas, it was gone.  When the cost of the repair equals the cost of a replacement, that's all.  I thought it was young, but it turns out I just lost track. The refrigerator doctor said this particular brand is prone to refrigerator heart disease far more than its cousins.  So sad. Its brand name actually became synynomous with the word refrigerator at one time, like Kleenex and tissue or Xerox and copier.  Writers had to be warned not to used the brand name instead of the generic.  They just don't make them like they used to. 

Laura was sick as a dog and running a fever, so off I went solo to the home improvement store -- see how careful I am to use the generic? -- the big one that sounds like the company that owns the luxury hotel chain (where our friend from shul is Executive Chef) as well, incongruously, as a number of offshore drilling and natural gas pipeline venues.  A helpful man in the paint department directed me to the desk at the center of the home appliances department where a young man was just finishing a sale.  I waited.  He talked.  I wandered off and looked at the merchandise for a while.  He talked.  I had checked out prices online and was happy see these seemed lower than the ones on the website.  They were really the same, but they seemed lower when connected to an actual appliance than to a picture.

When I came back, the sales guy was still talking, but now on the phone.  There were two men lounging at a desk nearby, not another customer in sight.  Nobody looked up as I opened doors of fridges and peered inside. There was one huge box, very nice inside and out and priced about $1000 lower than others similar to it.  I wondered aloud why it was so (relatively) cheap.  I was apparently completely invisible to the salespeople.  Finally, summoning up my best Strong Jewish Woman persona, I asked in a loud voice, "Is there anyone here who wants to sell a refrigerator?"   One of the loungers got up  and came over to help.  His explanation of the pricing made perfect sense -- it was just a basic box -- no bells and whistles -- and it worked well.  He had one -- with the bells and whistles -- at home.  I was looking for a basic box.  It did have sliding glass shelves and all the features I was looking for, just no ice-maker or water in the door.  The sides were black, matching the stove, but the front was stainless.  It was the same brand as the stove Laura gave me for my birthday last year, which I love.  That guy never made an easier sale.

The Mega Behemoth was delivered and operating in less than 24 hours, no charge.  They also gently and discreetly hauled away the empty remains of the dead Behemoth.

The young salesman on the phone had been trying to help a woman whose three-week-old washing machine had gone out on strike.  He ignored me because he was doing his job, helping a customer in distress, just as I hope he will if I ever need help in the future with the Mega Behemoth. 

So the new year begins in an unexpected way, with a sweet bargain and a deep sense of Shalom bayit in the household.  Laura is feeling better and has gone out to buy food to stock the Mega Behemoth.  L'shana tovah to all.  May you have a sweet and healthy new year, and may your fridge always be well-stocked.

1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful and not a bit exaggerated. But Wondercrone was very charitable to me, because she could have described the hypothetical situation of MY accompanying her to the generic big box store. ~~ Laura