Friday, May 22, 2009
When I was 18, newly appointed in my first apartment, I took myself to Honest Ed's and bought a big-ass white, plastic electric kettle for $8.95. Back then, Honest Ed's was the only big box discount store around (this was so pre-Wal-Mart) and, besides, I happened to live down the block.
I was rather pleased - my first appliance! And to get such a deal for something with a cord seemed shrewd...
Cut to 20 years later, the counter top of my (admittedly unrenovated) kitchen, where said eyesore still sat blinking it's beady red light at me till, oh, last week sometime. Damn piece of shit still worked till about a month ago. (Are you all familiar with my eco-nut husband's manifesto to save the world by obliterating waste?)
If you can believe it, I continued to use it daily, though the shut-off stopped working and glittery sparks flashed out of the socked whenever I unplugged it - which was, of course, everytime the water boiled, because the fucking switch was broken. (Never mind the hazy wine afternoon during which I almost forgot the boiling kettle altogether.)
That cinched it. Burning down your house isn't exactly eco-friendly.
So I took myself to the little appliance shop across the street from Honest Ed's. It's been there for 20 years, so I figure it's reputable. I very definitely believe in shopping locally, whenever possible. And dare I say, to save the economy, you should too.
I found the very kettle I was seeking (see photo above), a riff on the Cuisinart "ye olde style" cordless model that my friend Hilly has. I'm a bit more stark modernist than she. I turned over the box to locate the price. It was $89.95. With tax (in this country you get good at calculating), that comes to about $102.00. Let's not split hairs. The kettle was a hundred bucks.
Now don't get me wrong. It's burnished steel, it's lovely, you can cart it (cool-bottom) from room to room, it has fun features, it's big but doesn't have a large footprint. What's not to love? Indeed, says the idiot woman who recently paid $250.00 for a pair of jeans full price - the cost differential between this one and my last is rather steep. But given that Hil (an elegant woman of champagne tastes) owns one, I guess should be grateful that the thing doesn't sell for much more!
I brought it home and my husband grudgingly set it up. He opened the box, saw the price, balked at the price: You paid a hundred bucks for a kettle (said he). It was then that it hit me, just in time for the good come-back, like it's any of his business if I spend crazily on cordless appliances, that if I end up looking at this one for the next 20 years it had better be worthy of my gaze. I was reminded of one of his omnipresent, new digital music computer thingies - which he seems always to be setting up. It was a delightful, kismet, pot calling the kettle moment. I savored it with some fresh Earl Grey tea - and a croissant.