Monday, May 5, 2008

To Buy or Not to Buy?

I have a stove that is 14 years old. Byron and I got it when our house was completed a year after we were married. Byron's Mom gave us $1,000 as a wedding gift to buy our appliances. With that thousand dollars, I picked out and purchased a washing machine and dryer, a microwave, a dish washer, and a stove. The cheapest and the best quality I could afford. I think the Maytag stove cost around $250.00 at the time.

The washing machine, dryer, microwave and dish washer all died and had to be replaced. The fridge still worked but smelled like a dead dog after Katrina. It was given to the church camp to use until people moved into their homes. Now I believe someone is using it in their home. Maybe the smell doesn't offend them, or maybe they know how to clean a fridge better than me. The stove on the other hand is battered yet still chugging along.

Pride sometimes gets in the way and I get an urge to replace it. The porcelain is scratched, the logos are wearing off, and the clock still works but is lying on its back due to the mounting bracket breaking from constant fingers pushing at the timer. It doesn't have any of the fancy simmering burners or the booster burners for heating things quickly. When I hosted the monthly meeting for our garden club, the lady who brought the large pot of gumbo was fretting due to the long time it took for her gumbo to reheat.

It certainly isn't trendy looking or even nostalgically cute. While helping my mom and the church pick out appliances to replace their flooded ones, I couldn't help but notice all the cool large knobbed and heavy grated stoves out there. They look like they could hold up a cast iron number three tub. I ran my hands across the smooth unscratched undinged surfaces. When I asked the salesman, "How long does a gas stove last? I'm going to buy a new one when mine dies." The salesman replied, "Would you like me to tell you how to kill it?" He explained to me that simple stoves like mine would last well, "practically forever!"

Part of living a sustainable life is not being a slave to pride and fashion. Replacing a working item wouldn't adhere to this principle. There were times when Byron and I couldn't afford to fix our stove, much less buy another. Now we can purchase pretty much any stove I might want. The current dilemma is: Do I really want to buy a new stove when the one I have works perfectly well and provides all my needs? I'm going to keep it. Especially when I remember all the wonderful meals Byron and I have prepared on it, the jars of berries, pears and figs canned on it, and the soy candles made on it. It's sorta like part of the family now.


Tiffany said...

I think your neighbor should buy you a new stove as an "I'm sorry I'm such a pain to live with and that my doofiness has made you have to buy 90 million hedges" gift. :D That being said I think your stove is kinda cute and certainly has earned its little spot in the kitchen. ;)

Terri said...

Go buy a new stove! already!
I'm just not buying all that sentimental drivel!

Just kidding! You should see my old computer. (I've seen your fancy one!) But, sniff, sniff, when I think of all the nasty comments I've wrote using it, sniff, sniff. All the sweet E-mails people have sent me. How many times I used it to contact my loved ones during Katrina!
I just can't part with it! Oh, never mind I'll just trade with you! But you might not treasure it like I do. I'll just sell all the tomatoes I'm growing and then I can buy a new computer and I'll just frame this one.

Kristi said...

Look Terri! I'm trying to live a sustainable life here. It just wouldn't be proper to replace a working appliance. And for your info. My old computer is still being used for business. My quickbooks won't work on my new one sniff sniff. :) As for your computer. Jacob probably put it together using spare parts. If that can't warm a mother's heart to keep something nothing will!

And I AM Sentimental!!! sometimes

sugarcreekfarm said...

Our stove's just about the same age, and I've been wanting a new one, too. Not really a need though, since the old one works just fine. bonus to buying a new one is that the old one could go in the basement and I could do my canning down there in the summer, saving on air conditioning because I wouldn't be heating up the upstairs. So really I'd be saving energy by buying a new stove.

Yeah, I haven't sold myself on that justification quite yet, either ;)

Betsy said...

ohh, This will be fun to see how this ends....will sustainable life go out the window? I am not a betting woman, but if I money is on the new stove.....(hehe) And remember "wwdrs"?

Kristi said...

Sugar Creek Farm, that's another good point for the justification column. I couuu-ld put it in the barn studio when we build it.hmmm

Betsy, wwdrs? If you made rubber bracelets out of that you might be able to retire.

Melba said...

I have to say, old stuff is fun because you don't have to worry about it as much. When it's new, sometimes it's a pain. For example when you get a new car - no one can eat in. When it's old - who really cares!

Love ya,

Pony and Petey said...

I've got a fridge like your stove. We've decided to keep it until it dies.

But unlike your stove, all the reports I read say that we're wasting energy by continuing to use a fridge that's older than 15 years old.

Supposedly, the newer ones are THAT much more energy-efficient that it PAYS you to buy a new one!

hmmmm...$2000 worth of electricity is quite a bit...guess we'll keep the old one!

I didn't post before but thanks for the book review awhile ago. You inspired me to order some sustainable living and gardening books...thanks!

JeanSkirtGirl said...

Good it's about time u got a new one!!! just kidding i love it!

RawBin said...

RawTN sent me over to check out your site.
I vote to keep the old one. Maybe you'll go raw like your sister and you'll have saved yourself the trouble of buying a new stove you'll never use!! LOL.
Personally, the older gas stoves are more appealing to me. They work when the power is out, they use less energy, and like the man said, they'll last forever.
You can buy special porcelain paints and decorate it with paintings of your favorite fruits and veggies using colors to match your kitchen?

Kristi said...

Hi Pony, It's nice to hear from you again. Sometimes I wonder who actually sponsors those reports :) How many years would I have to use the appliance before the savings would actually begin, then would it be time to replace it again?

Hello Rawbin, Thanks for visiting my blog. The paint decorations sound like a nice idea. As you can see from my cabinets, I like to paint on things. :)