Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekend Wanderings

I spent most of my weekend shopping for a new refrigerator.  It seems I just bought a new one not too long ago for my old house when we remodeled the kitchen.  I hardly got to use it before we moved.  Now the ice crusher broke on the 14 year old Whirlpool fridge in the new house.  There's no point in repairing it when it is that old, so we went to Lowe's to look at refrigerators, and they were having a sale on them.

We went in not having a clue as to what we wanted.  The only problem we were aware of with our old fridge was that there was never enough room in the freezer for our groceries, and it is a side-by-side.  We discovered that the problem was that the ice maker took up a huge chunk of the freezer, but nowadays the ice makers are downsized and either located in the door or in the upper corner of either the fridge or freezer.

We wandered around looking in a variety of models trying to educate ourselves when a customer service lady offered to help.  Unfortunately, it wasn't her department, so she didn't know much, and the person who did know a lot about appliances had disappeared.

When I shop, I prefer not to be helped unless I specifically ask for it, because I need to concentrate and can't do that if someone keeps talking to me.  I'm on the verge of senility, and I can't afford to be interrupted.  My train of thought went off the tracks years ago and now it is traversing the desert.

Anyway, this gal steered us toward a top of the line Whirlpool with French doors, an independent meat drawer, and a freezer drawer on the bottom.  My husband was all set on buying it, but my gut was telling me it wasn't quite right.  Each time I was about to put my finger on the problem, the lady started talking, and I'd forget what I was going to say.  That happened several times, so I just walked away to another location so I could concentrate, and she followed me.  I was hoping she'd stay with my husband.  As soon as I opened another refrigerator, she said something to discourage me from even looking at it.  We decided to go home and double check the dimensions of our cabinet space, because the fridge she was steering us toward seemed awfully big.

Once home, we decided that the new fridge would stick out several inches, but that would be okay.  I did more research online, and everyone seemed happy with that fridge.  I printed out the information on that fridge along with a less expensive model that had an ENERGY STAR rating.  Our electric bill is high enough in the summer time with all the air conditioners running.  I didn't want to blow a fuse with a less efficient refrigerator.

I also compared prices, and Lowe's was the lowest thanks to this sale, so we went back the next day.  Upon looking at the fridge a second time, we realized that the meat drawer was a refrigerated section.  We freeze our meat, so we assumed it was a part of the freezer section.  When we realized just how much less freezer space we would have, the refrigerator lost its appeal.  Also, the ice and water dispenser bugged us.  You had only one pressure plate, and had to toggle a flimsy touchscreen button between water and ice, which meant more fingerprints on the control panel, and the water hose was pointed down in a location that would miss some glasses.  Also, the indentation on the door would only fit certain sized glasses.  You would have to angle a pitcher or tumbler so much that you could never fill it to the brim.

We use our water and ice dispenser dozens of times a day, so that's almost the most important part of the fridge for us.  We started wandering around hoping to find something better.  Then we found some models on the ends of aisles and on display further away from the refrigerator section we hadn't noticed before because we had that lady driving us toward that one fridge.  There was this glorious LG fridge with over 10 cu. ft. of freezer space.  It had separate pressure plates for the ice and water, and they were metal instead of plastic, so they would last longer.  The water dispenser wasn't even in the cubby, so you could hold a keg up to the thing if you wanted to, and you wouldn't be limited by cubby space.  It was designed intelligently.

It also had one of those easy access energy saving outer doors that allows you to just access what it stored inside of the door so that you don't let all the cold air out and hot air in by opening both French doors to dig around.  The door storage was wide and deep enough to hold gallon jugs.  Also, the crisper bins were at eye level, so you can't forget about fruits and vegetables while they rot and mold.  Our crisper drawers are on the bottom of our old fridge, and we've lost a lot of good food by not eating it in time.

I saw one review in which a lady complained about LG dividing the crisper drawers into three sections, which caused a loss of space.  However, I would prefer to have the three drawers to separate out products, so I can avoid cross contamination.  We could sort by age, so if something does start molding before we can get to it, the mold won't destroy everything else in one big drawer.  I've never liked keeping hot dogs and cheeses in with the salad.

The only problem was that it was expensive at nearly $2,600.  However, when we looked at the retail price of nearly $3,800 and discovered that we'd be saving $1,200, we decided it was worth it.  31% off a refrigerator that we could have for 15 to 20 years is nothing to sneeze at.

The customer service lady who helped us the day before found us, and didn't seem happy to find out that we still had not settled on getting the Whirlpool she recommended to us.  She said she was going to hunt down the appliance guy.  She finally found him and told him in front of us that we were in the day before and spent a lot of time going round and round about what we wanted.  She said she couldn't help us anymore, so she needed him to intervene.  It's not like we were buying duct tape.  This was a big purchase, and we wanted to make the right decision for us.  The man answered our questions knowledgeably and realistically, and then went in the back to see if they had one of those LG models in stock.  Then it hit us that we didn't know if it had a water filtration system.

One of the pluses I liked about modern day fridges was that the water filter could be changed at arm's height.  With our old fridge, we had to get down on the floor and change the filter underneath the fridge.  That's no longer an option for us at our age with our arthritis.  I really loved the Samsung water filter location, because it was at belly button height, however we could not find the water filter pocket on the LG fridge.  When the salesman came back, he showed us that it was in the back ceiling of the fridge.  It was reachable, but changing it might be hard on the shoulders.  We can always use a step stool.  It's better than lying down on a tile floor.

It turned out that the one fridge they had in stock was smashed up during shipping, so they had to order one for us, and it will arrive in a couple of weeks.  We got a five-year warranty with it, because it appeared by the reviews that every once in a while someone would get a flat-out lemon that broke down immediately, and they struggled to get help if they didn't have a warranty.

I printed out the specs for the LG fridge we did buy once we got home, and I was elated to find out that it did achieve an ENERGY STAR rating.  Bonus!

The one thing we could not test out that I hope is better is that the fridge will be quieter than our old one.  Not just the motor, but the ice crusher.  I can't hear the TV at all if someone is dispensing crushed ice in the kitchen.  I have to assume it's better, because manufacturers can improve on appliances a lot over 14 years.

Now that I did a lot of walking while shopping two weekends in a row, my leg is shot.  It was so hard limping around the barn and arena picking up manure.  I decided that as soon as I got in the house, I would lie down with cold packs on my hip and thigh.  But then I looked up and saw a nasty smoke plume in the sky.  It looked like it could be out in the desert on the bridle trails and I hadn't heard any fire truck sirens.  It was going to get dark soon, so I had to jump in the car to go investigate to make sure it wasn't a wildfire that could spread to our house and barn.  It hurt so bad just to lift my leg into the car.  There was no way I could get into the truck.

Upon driving a few blocks, I discovered that the fire was much bigger and much further away than I originally thought, so we turned on the news and found out that it was a new apartment complex under construction in another city.  It made national headlines along with the Walmart shooting nearby.  I did get my hip and thigh iced and am in less pain this morning, but I have to go do the marketing, so that will put me back on the couch by the end of the day.  So, as usual, life and old age have gotten in the way of my horse time.  Ride when you can, folks.  Nothing is guaranteed.


Linda said...

You're a smart shopper, and I'm surprised anyone would complain about that. A fridge is one of the biggest and most important purchases you can make!! It sounds like you did your homework and will be happy.

ellie k said...

I have been shopping for a new frig, mine is 20 years old and has been moved with us about four times. It is a Kitchen Aid and has been a good one. The ice maker stopped working so I just make ice with trays and dump them in the bin. I will be getting one soon. This week I have had to have the plumber twice for four different things, then someone knocked my mail box down and totaled it. You know the saying when it rains it pours, well it is pouring on me. I know my husband would have taken care of all these things, now it is write a check and wait for the next thing to break. At least both my kids always asks if I need them to send a check.

Crystal said...

Ugh what a hassle just to get a fridge. A new one came with our house its a GE and so far its great, kinda annoyed with no icemaker cause the lady thought we were on well water but I guess we will survive

Cheryl Ann said...

It seems to be pouring over here, as well. First, there is a leak in the bathroom under the sink. I wondered why hubby put a towel on the first, which was wet, and found out when he got home. Then, our fence between us and the not-too-friendly neighbors on our east side fell over. So, now we'll have to pay someone to haul off the old wood. All of our appliances are 17 years old and we need a new air conditioner/furnance unit. OYE!

Mrs Shoes said...

You wrote:"I'm on the verge of senility, and I can't afford to be interrupted."

I nearly spit out my tea laughing!