**This entry has been submitted to The Culinary Chronicles as our First Guest Blogger.
Submitted by: Anonymous Blogger
At what point do you give in to the pressure that “BIGGER, newer, more expensive” is better? I have been able to resist the temptation to cave in especially for items that I already have and work just fine. Now, this is a completely different question if you were to ask me what would I purchase if I didn’t already have it? Of course, I have my own version of Cook’s Illustrated Equipment Review and know exactly what I would buy if I could. I’m the lone browser roaming around cooking stores coveting their merchandise and continually keeping an eye out for sales.
There are several items in my kitchen that I have received as gifts and have served me for many years. At the top of this list is my Classic Series KitchenAid Stand Mixer which is probably 10 years old but works fine and still shines like new. The only time that it has caused me any problem is when I am making large batches of a recipe, mixing sturdy dough (like gingerbread), or kneading dough. Unfortunately, this model only has a 250-watt motor and a small 4-1/2 quart stainless steel bowl. When subjected to those conditions, my stand mixer will rock all over my counter in distress. I usually have to anchor it down with my hands, than it’s no problem at all! Well, that is if you don’t mind flour flying all over the place because of the smaller bowl. So for years I convinced myself that it was just too indulgent to upgrade and that I should be saving my money to buy a place one day.
Well, that was until several weeks ago when I was roaming through Williams-Sonoma hoping that they will have their rare Friends and Family 20% off discount that happened last year just before Christmas. I think I must have checked online and at the store everyday for a month before the holidays, but sadly no discount. Then one day just the week before Christmas, I received an email about a special 3 day in-store only promotion: for every $50 that you spend, they would give you a $10 credit voucher to be used in their store during the next month. For the price of an upgrade to their Professional 6 quart Series, this would give me a voucher worth $80 in addition to the $50 rebate from the manufacture!
Needless to say, I went straight to their store the very next day feeling excited about my potential new purchase. However once I got there, my conservative “self” resurfaced a long with all of my doubts. For the next hour, I paced the store then left the store in order to “think” without the added pressure of having to see the coveted mixer with its big yellow bow ready to go. After much anxiety, I finally went back to purchase it but decided to ask them to hold it for me in the store until the following weekend when I would return from my brief holiday trip. My reasoning was to take advantage of the promotion before it expired, but with the condition that I could always change my mind and return it. I thought this strategy brilliant since it would also save me from having to carry it back and forth in case I did change my mind. I walked away feeling triumphant after overcoming an additional small hurdle. The mixer was $399.99. Technically, this would only give me a $70 voucher. So I had to go and search for something small that I would need anyway to bump me over $400 to be eligible for the $80 voucher– like a tube of black icing for 2.99.
During my trip that week, I attempted to find holes in my argument by soliciting advice from other members of my family. Unfortunately, they are too supportive of me in general and I was not able to find too many objections. When the time came for me to pick up my pre-paid merchandise, I was no where closer to making a decision. I stood staring at my current stand mixer which would have probably lasted me for another 10+ years; then went online to reconcile my credit card charges to see how much damage I already had done that month for Christmas. By the time that I got to the store, I was in even more distress as I passed the many homeless individuals on my journey. I had resigned then to the belief that bigger, newer, more expensive was possibly better. But do I always need BETTER? The answer is NO.
There are many things in my apartment that are hodge-podge that I have picked up from someone else’s discard on the sidewalk, or that have been handed down to me that I sentimentally cannot give away. I am fine living like this. That is, unless the stars are aligned just so, and the forces so magnetic that it would be way too difficult to ignore. Okay, okay, where am I going with this? Well, sometimes you have to play Zeus and recreate the constellation to get what you want. I ended up selling my old mixer on Craigslist. The money that I made, added to the value of my voucher and rebate was used to whittle away from the original price of the machine. When this was done and with my new mixer on my countertop, a thought came to me “Geez, the extent you would go to get what you really want”. Now, if only I can be as successful in other aspects of my life.
*Reminder: You, too, can be a Guest Blogger of The Culinary Chronicles! Submit all entries to email@example.com and be eligible to win an AWESOME Foodie Prize!