Home > Hesitating > One Year Warranty

One Year Warranty

A bit of sadness– my old coffee grinder broke one morning just as I was readying my morning pot… Something of a family heirloom, the grinder had come from my aunt and uncle and was probably as old as I am… Looking at the snapped cord, severed right at the base of the machine, was frustrating to say the least… Here is a mechanical problem possibly easy to fix… I’ve made electrical cords before (and only set fire to a kitchen once) and the engine had been working just fine prior to the accident… But if the mechanical problem is not fixed immediately I will have some severe social problems in twenty-four hours time beginning with the first person who talks to me and ending with me in jail…

Luckily I had enough sense to judge immediately that while I could eventually repair the damage but not soon enough to have coffee the next morning thus saving me a lot of yelling obscenities at the coffee grinder while trying to solder the bits back together late that evening… I would have to, sadly, buy a replacement but nothing more than a bridge between today and the eventuality of the repair…

Having entertained some rather suspicious ideas in my past I was aware that there are manual coffee mills in existence just like many other modern conveniences coopted by mass production and consummerism… Unfortuantely I don’t have the catalogue which sells these, water cisterns for collecting rain, camping showers and solar panels anymore– maybe I do, actually… Anyways, my impusle here was that, in order to justify the purchasing of a new piece of machinery to act as a temporary replacement I would purchase one which required no electricity but didn’t have much in the way of clues for finding one… Sadly I don’t even know where to buy an electric coffee grinder except Bed Bath and Beyond…

I did have a faint memory from years past, tho, and walked down to the Castro where I found a small variety store stocking everything from hardware to small kitchen appliances… There was a scandalously beautiful girl on a ladder who helped me find the coffee grinders available for sale– one model in two colors and the closest the store had to a manual appliance were spice mills… Not quite the same thing, we agreed…

So I bought the black one and brought it home where I left it boxed up in my backpack until the next morning… It feels light and cheaply made and the lid is shaped exactly like the opening of my coffee pot which means the first thing I did with my new coffee grinder was drop the grounds and the lid into the pot… I checked the warranty– one year deal… Of course it’s a on year deal– it’s not made to last forever…

Things are made to last forever anymore be it a coffee grinder or a job or a relationship… Facts of life, adapt and move on kids… Everything and everyone lands in the landfill sooner or later and we’ll just build another Walmart on top when the bulldozers have buried a generation’s worth of garbage… My only hope to alleviating my personal responsibility in regards to my most recent purchase is that I’ll have taken the initiative to repair my broken heirloom before this piece of garbage breaks down…

Probably due to the advent of the holiday shopping season there was a news story on a group of middle class whites in Bernal Heights who formed a club to not buy any new products for a year… Garage sales, craigslist trades– these weren’t dumpstering types but they went that extra mile and circumvented the traditional shopping experience and acquired, well, a bunch of kitchy junk no one needs… There may or may not have been political or environmental idealogies expressed during said news story but nothing you can’t hear from the middle class white in the sweater next to you… The reporter asked if there was anything that had provided a real challange to these brave new consumer pioneers… Yes, said a middle class white in a sweater, there were these stemless wine glasses I really wanted…

Last year I gave the family books for the holiday season which requires a little more creativity then I generally employ in showing my love for them but, luckily, is cheaper… My sister and father got used books I could easily explain and my mother, difficult woman that she is, got a new book with a receipt for returning although I’m not certain if she every returned it, read it or remembers it exists…  It’s not really a strecth for me to be buying used shit– it’s a stretch for me to buy shit and it’s a further one for me to buy anything new… But what strikes me is how crummy I felt giving people used books for Jesus day, like I was handing poorly wrapped evidence of my lack of caring, seasonal involvement, and personal problems I’ve yet to climb over on my way to a salaried job with a wife (even mailordered) and offspring… I’m sure the family doesn’t give a shit I gave them used books– they certainly didn’t say anything about it nor were there any recognizable inferences to my being cheap… Still, all the same, there’s a certain conditioning that’s occured where it makes me feel bad… Me, who can stand in a dumpster for half an hour kicking through shit and have a grand time…

And as much agonizing as I’d like to pretend it causes me I bet I’d feel a cleaner break with the holidays if I just dumped my pennies at the Macy’s counter and bought some shrink-wrapped gadgetry and knickknacks to pass round… Something I don’t care about, something the receipiant doesn’t care about, something with a year long lease and a short trip to the city dump on the horizon…

Oh, and more evidence that God’s been laughing at me all these years after I got home from being creepy to the girl at the variety store I received a postcard– an artcard, really– from my friend Nancy… On the back was a catalogue image offering an old styled hand cranked laundry washer requiring no electricity and only the amount of water to use to wash what you’re washing… Ah, but I wouldn’t know where to keep that– my bedrooms’s still a coffin…

Categories: Hesitating
  1. Fro
    November 30, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    My mom has one of those grinders, I’m sure she would have been happy to lend it to you, along with a DSL modem

  2. November 30, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    Seriously, the answer to consumerism isn’t consumerism masked as anti-consumerism, it’s borrowing shit from your friends who are quite comfortable having what you consider luxurious items and who are all the more happy to see their extravagances being enjoyed by the skittish, huddled mass that appears at their doorstep ever so infrequently.

  3. Brendan
    December 1, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    You’re all very sweet, tis true, and lifelong subscribers to the Brendan Appreciation Society are hardly strangers to fulfilling the strange needs of the kid who can’t seem to get his act together enough to have anything including a driver’s license… However my friend Nancy (perpetrator of art cards and the seemingly controversial “Midwestern Guilt” theory) has also introduced the 2-borrow rule: anything you need to borrow twice needs to be bought… Everything comes with a cost, even when it’s simple annoyance at constant pestering– you should ask my roommates if you can borrow their computer sometime and gauge the reactions… There’s a resulting inner conflict between my “being a pathetic and needy bastard is frowned upon” brain and my “I cannot contribute to the mechanized plundering and belching of toxic and non-toxic wastes into the earth-mother” brain… Meanwhile my dominating lizard brain thinks of snacks and naps…

  4. pete
    December 6, 2006 at 11:45 am

    some things to note.

    when you get married you just end up buying flimsy plastic tat for your spouse instead of your parents and siblings. the shit present quotient doesn’t decrease – rather it magnifies itself upon one person. perhaps i just discovered the central cause of marital disaffection?

    i need to borrow someones tools again. that’s twice.

    i thought i had found part of the solution this week when i found out about a place called “scrap” that recycles old (mainly commercial) detritus for schools and kids with hampered limbs to make art from. i presume the place must have same smug satisfaction joe public does when he whips out his linen “bag for life” at tesco or trader bobs supermarket.

    however, that is to presume that reusing something actually has an effect on its production. i can’t imagine there is a guy at the plastic bag manufacturing plant who notes everytime a mousy, amnesty international wannabee re-uses the bargain bank placky bag she found under her car seat.

    i wish their was a man at the plastic bag manufacturing plant to tell that mousy, ngo idealist that if she really wanted to save the world from swallowing its own distended-trash-swollen-arsehole, she should dump her car and get on a bike….

    meanwhile the pretty, if not purposeful, art constructions made by the socially ill kids only delay the inevitable journey of television tubes and disney effigies to the landfill.

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