Magic Jewball

all signs point to no

 

A fridge too far

Filed under : Life in general
On December 1, 2008
At 12:40 am
Comments : 18

By popular demand of the masses of commenters, my refrigerator story.

Once upon a time, a girl measured her kitchen a hundred times, and even brought Pious B over to measure with her. Then it turned out that her floor wasn’t level and no wall in the entire place was straight. In fact, in one stretch of six feet of wall, one end was 23″ deep and another was 26″ deep, I kid you not. This was not totally apparent before all the cabinets were torn out.

But let’s back up a bit and talk about the Refrigerator Manufacturers of the World. For some reason, no one seems to know why, they have steadily decided to make deeper and deeper refrigerators, never mind that lots of people live in old houses (forget we urban folks and our mini-kitchens) and the space they have for a fridge is static. My theory is that people have a sudden new obsession with sticking gallons of milk in the door of the fridge. Or else, they make giant pans of lasagna, 32″ deep. It’s a toss-up.

So, finding that out, Remodel Gal did lots of research and hopefully ordered a Frigidaire Gallery refrigerator. Her old friend Appliance Dude had convinced her that a mainstream brand like GE or Frigidaire was the path to a worry-free existence (and she’s still not entirely sure that he was wrong). This fridge was the shallowest produced by a mainstream brand at the 30″ width. Plus, it had handles that exactly matched her suite of GE appliances elsewhere in the kitchen, despite being a Frigidaire. Remodel Gal also had fond memories of her Grandma in Brooklyn calling the refrigerator the “frigidaire.” She also called the freezer “the icebox,” but that’s not as relevant.

But alas, upon installation, due to the sloping floor, the fridge leaned away from the wall and this happened. Oops! Appliance Guy tried to help facilitate a return, but there was no hope, it was hers to keep. Remodel Gal frantically researched if there even was a fridge that would work. I mean, hadn’t she been through all this months ago? Ah, but then there were the two kinds she had ruled out at the time: ruinously expensive and off-brand. At first, she aimed for ruinously expensive. After all, appliances were the only aspect of the kitchen that had not gone tragically over-budget. Why not have them join the club?

And now, another interjection about refrigerator size and geo-political demographic trends. I know this will seem like a newsflash to you, but in the US we like things BIG and in Europe, they have smaller, cuter homes, cars, and (gasp!) appliances. On one page Remodel Gal went to, the website of a major British chain (just for fun), the deep fridges were called “American-style.” Rather!

Some of those appliance makers do make a model or two in this sort of small & cute sizing for the American market but they are, as I said, quite crazily-priced. Should you have a small place and a lot of money, by all means, have a look at Liebherr or Blomberg or Northland. Then invite me over; I’ll be happy to ogle your appliances.

And then there is that off-brand. It’s called Summit and the company is right here, if you’d believe it. By right here I mean The Bronx. Really. Where the Yankees play and the IRT subway terminates. I’m not sure they actually make any fridges there. Maybe they do. One thing they seem to do quite well is have other places make refrigerators and then just slap a Summit label on. I think mine may be one of those. It looks almost exactly the same as the superpriced Blomberg (the Euro bar handles, the bottom freezer with the plastic drawers, the instructions inside in German) and it’s made in Turkey! Yes, make your jokes about the Thanksgiving Turkey fridge right here.

Once Remodel Gal resigned herself to the Bronx-Turkish fridge, she still had that other Frigidaire to get rid of. You remember that one, don’t you? So she listed it on Craigslist for the amount she had paid, because it was heavily discounted (thanks, Appliance Dude!), and she knew that people on Craigslist just offer less mechanically. The first offer came an hour after listing and was way too low to be entertained. Until five more days passed and then somehow, it felt more entertaining. Remodel Gal had even begged the new appliance store (Appliance Dude doesn’t sell Summits) to take it as a trade-in. The best they would offer was to take it on consignment. That is, stick it on the floor and if anyone bought it, to give her the money then. That only seemed appealing as a last resort. Did I mention? It was pretty much a last resort kind of situation. I mean, there was only room for one fridge (and maybe not even that) in this kitchen.

Then came Hapless Jim. Hapless Jim offered less than Remodel Gal had paid, but more than the first offer. And it would be in her hand, so as to be immediately turned over for the Summit. Hapless Jim lived in New Jersey and for the price he offered plus how much he was paying his movers, he could easily have bought one from Best Buy with free delivery. Remodel Gal thought it was bad business to share this thought, however. This is why we live in a free country! Hapless Jim phoned from at least three different numbers, all of which he called work, and said he was buying the fridge as an early Christmas present for his Mom. Awwww! Remodel Gal still tried to bargain him up to a higher price but when he wouldn’t budge, she remembered that old adage: a bird in the hand makes blowing your nose very difficult. So it was arranged. Hapless Jim would come up to Remodel Gal’s apartment and the contractor would take the money order and dispense with the fridge.

It sounded good on paper until the contractor called her at work to deliver this cryptic message: Hapless Jim’s movers refused to take the fridge. He left the money order. He said he’ll be back later. She phoned Hapless Jim at all three of his numbers and reached no one. That’s when Remodel Gal blew her stack and had a meltdown, right there at the record company. Then she called North of the City and acted the part of “Insane Lady #1″ in How Many Refrigerators Can a 6×9 Kitchen Contain?. Did I mention? She had already ordered the TurkoSummit for the supposedly empty space.

A few hours later, the contractor called back and said, “don’t worry! The movers are here. They are taking it now.” Remodel Gal felt much better and went home. In the crack between the door to her apartment and the doorframe, there was a business card from Omar & Larry’s Moving Service and on the back it said, “we take yorue refergartir. Call me.” That was weird. But the fridge was gone and the money order was there and it was all good.

But it got weirder. Hapless Jim phoned and said, “I’m so sorry! I’ll pick up the fridge this weekend. Is that OK?”

If you are expecting that I will tell you that Remodel Gal had an apoplectic fit or nervous breakdown, you are wrong! She was way too stunned. She answered, “Uh… it’s gone.”

“It’s gone?”

“It’s gone.”

“Who took it?”

“Your movers, Omar & Larry.”

Hapless Jim had Remodel Gal read the names and note and number several times and she acquiesced. He admitted that they were one of several movers he had called but that they had said they would not be able to do it. She said she was off to Sabbath dinner now (actually, he didn’t seem to be the type that understood Sabbath dinner, so she simply said she would not have her phone) and that if there was any further issue, he should leave a message. She never heard from him again but still wonders to this day what her legal responsibility would have been had Omar & Larry not been his movers. That’s quite a conundrum.

In the meantime, the TurkoSummit is sleek and quiet and makes the Remodel Gal kitchen look bigger than it really is (it could hardly look smaller). It is nicely laid out (it even has a wine rack) and works perfectly. If it weren’t covered in blue plastic to protect itself from smudgy worker fingerprints, I’d even show it to you. That will be a post for another day.

Luckily, I’ll have a klav khalash and a cold beverage to keep me going.



Title comes from King-Size Homer episode of The Simpsons.

Foreigner – Cold As Ice

 

18 Comments for this post

 
sarpon says

Oh, but really, what are the chances that a roving band of appliance thieves cruise the UWS seizing upon any opportunity to con unsuspecting workers into allowing them to remove oversized refrigerators which they can then ship to third world countries (thus completing the white goods circle of life)?

Has to be at least 1,620,867 to one, right?

 
North of the City says

Give the new fridge a big hug for me!

 
Becca says

No, no, Sarp, listen. You put up an ad or a flyer advertising yourself as a mover. You tell the prospective client that you can’t do the job, then, you show up and run away with the goods.

This is not a suggestion, by the way.

But seriously, counselor, what’s my legal liability?

North, thanks! And it’ll have to be big. This thing is taller than I am.

 
kb says

I was thinking of you yesterday when I was at Best Buy roaming the appliance section (I bought a vacuum cleaner) … I thought maybe a fridge with french doors might solve your problem, and I actually looked at the depth of the smallest one and wondered whether it might fit. But then I remembered that I’m not involved in your remodeling project.

 
Lisa aka Nutz says

I so feel your pain. But, I’m happy that the new Turkish Fridge is installed. I can’t wait to see how snuggly/cozy it is in your kitchen.

 
Girlnextdoortn says

Just tell me- have you cashed the money order yet?

 
Becca says

kb, there is exactly one FD fridge that is 30″ wide. It’s made by LG and I did consider it. But it also stuck way out and when you see this one, the same depth as the cabinets, you realize it was the only logical choice. But please. Everyone’s involved in my remodeling project.

Nutz, I rearranged the shelves today! I may need to buy some wine so the wine rack doesn’t look so forlorn.

TN, I did! The very next day. Phew.

 
Lisa Tagio says

I so totally love that entire story. I just wish I had known of the reject fridge thing because I am in the market for one, and yours looked really nice, from what I could see.

I tend to buy my used appliances from Connecticut and not Manhattan because I’m afraid of six-legged stowaways.

My grandma called them frigidaire and icebox, too!

 
KP says

That was beautiful. Totally worth the wait.
You’re going to let me blog about my kitchen here too right?

 
KP says

P.S. And where is the iPod song of the week? In the fridge?

 
Irishcardinal says

That story had me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see how it ended!!
Why is it we need giant new houses with 4 1/2 baths and giant fridges, now that people have only 1.7 kids and eat out 18 meals a week? We coulda used one of those extra baths and half and a bigger fridge with our family of 7 kids.

 
Irishcardinal says

And I love your title of this episode of “How the Kitchen Turns”.

 
Becca says

Tag, it was noisy! I forgot to say that. And a fingerprint magnet. I had to shine the whole thing just to sell it.

And my apartment is bug-free, I tell you!

Thank you, KP. The answers are:

1. No
2. Yes

Irish, I have noticed the same thing. On an unnamed kitchen forum I frequent, I followed the posts of a woman who agonized over how her faucet was built, her fancy oven, the thickness of the plywood in the cabinets, etc. Later, she casually mentioned that she doesn’t cook.

Doesn’t cook!

For an inspiring story of the reverse, see here:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/mark-bittmans-bad-kitchen/

 
KP says

Hey, I sat with two women at Mr. KP’s Christmas party last year who bragged about the “deal” they got on their $1600 kitchen faucets. Yes, I typed $1600.

I believe both spent roughly the same on their kitchens that I have spent on my entire house in 18 years.

Oh, and neither one cooks.

 
Girlnextdoortn says

Man, I was awfully excited to see a blue fridge. Until I realize that’s just the moving stickers. Boo.

But it’s looking great- what’s that wire thing at the bottom of your sink?

 
Becca says

KP, they’d better have been made of gold for that. Unless that would make the water taste funny.

TN, it’s called a sink grid. Your dishes sit atop it till they are ready to be washed and don’t pool in dirty water.

 
Girlnextdoortn says

ooOOOoo! Newfangled contraptions!

 
Becca says

I don’t think it is, though! Maybe in this fancee version. But I’ve been using the $5 plastic one from Rubbermaid all my life.

This one does look a lot better, I must say. Now I just have to find a good looking drying-rack.