I only have two questions: “How much?” and “Give it to me!”
– Homer Simpson
I have a complicated relationship with consumerism. I don’t like parting with money at the best of times (my heritage is half Scots, if you want to stereotype). I’m good at arguing myself out of even modest purchases–the Kev is similar (albeit not Scots), so we have some wild times at the mall!
When we do make a big purchase, it generally involves a fair bit of research and thought. Afterwards, I feel self-congratulatory. “Yes, that was a wise acquisition. This item will perform as intended for some time. My careful consideration has served us well.” But in the meantime, I drive myself completely crazy with the process!
Our current dishwasher (a Maytag) has been a champ. At 12, it was still getting the job done, but the racks had lost many of their spokes, making it harder to fill. And it took a heavier cycle to get the same result. I looked into buying new racks, and it was a comparatively large amount of money — might as well replace the whole unit! Which seems a shame, since I have a little crush on the new Maytag Man.
But my interest in hot, semi-uniformed Canadians wasn’t enough to make the decision (especially since he doesn’t come to the house personally; also I’m married).
After (way too much) research, I focused on the quietest, efficient models in what I considered a reasonable price range: 50 dB or so under $499.
We also wanted a white washer with hidden controls. (I like white appliances — reminds me of vintage units, plus I’m unlikely to wipe down fingerprints on stainless.) Once we had our criteria in place, I started stalking sales and outlets, looking for the criteria and strong reviews rather than for a specific brand or model.
Since the Maytag was hanging in there, I had the luxury (duty??) of lying in wait until one of these places put the right machine on clearance. In addition to the big box DIY warehouses, three places seemed to have consistently good deals:
- Sears Outlet–floor models, close-outs, sales, and scratch/dent appliances from Sears stores (searchable nationwide, with pictures of the actual items provided).
- Local appliance centers–surprisingly affordable, particularly Warners’ Stellian (worth checking in the Minneapolis/St Paul area).
- Appliance Smart–an appliance outlet located in a few US markets (Minnesota, Georgia, Ohio, and Texas); elsewhere, search for “appliance outlet” for similar options.
In the meantime, though, we experienced criteria creep — if you see enough dishwashers, you start to covet features you had not considered. A third rack at the top for utensils? That would be pretty sweet. Quieter than 50dB? Is that even possible?!
We almost pulled the trigger on a GE washer, but decided to wait a little longer. Warners’ Stellian had a clearance import, but I didn’t want to buy the required dishwasher salt. Then we took a break while we were travelling, but when I looked again…
Appliance Smart had close-out KitchenAids for almost 70% off. “KitchenAid!!” I said to the Kev. “Huh?” he responded. I guess KitchenAid hasn’t made it to the UK, but it’s a really good appliance make, probably best known for those status-symbol stand mixers.
All that research and stalking (about six months’ worth) really paid off. This model is white with a hidden console. It claims to run at 40 dB, which could usher in a new era of washing dishes while we are at home — our basic Maytag model is pretty loud. And it has that very special third rack. It turns out to be a bit more expensive than our original target, but for the features and durability, adding less than 20% to the price level was ok, especially with free delivery/haul-away and (of course) DIY installation.
I always wonder if I’ve fully amortized house stuff that we are replacing, but the Maytag (bless it) obligingly stopped working last night, meaning we have PERFECT AMORTIZATION, probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Ahhhh!
What, that’s not on your bucket list?