The refrigerator was leaking something awful. Water would drip from its freezer and down the inside back wall of the fridge. It would puddle on the shelves, with the overflow coming to its final resting place under the produce bins. Any item left exposed at the rear of a refrigerator shelf was bound to be waterlogged within a couple of hours. Several times a day I’d have to rearrange items, covering some and uncovering others, in a bizarre version of the shell game. My husband stopped saying, “Enjoy your bath!” when he saw me carrying a couple of bath towels. Chances were that I was on my way to mop up the refrigerator, and that the only thing enjoying a relaxing soak was the cabbage.
It was time to make a trip to the appliance store, and some of the kids were coming along. After all, this was one purchase that Mom wouldn’t be making at the thrift shop, and the kids wanted to be there to see it happen. (Actually, I think they were motivated by the fear that, if they weren’t there to steer me in the right direction, I might forgo the refrigerator and instead pick up an icebox at Clete’s Hole-in-the Wall Mart.)
When we entered the appliance store the kids immediately dispersed, each looking for the awesome refrigerator that he/she deserved. Vincent sought out the fridge with the neatest features. Helen and Gerard hunted down the model with a built-in ice cube dispenser that would conveniently supply cold stuff for slipping down the backs of siblings. Dominic simply honed in on the biggest price tag.
While the kids were off fantasizing, I quickly narrowed my choices to two models: the cheap one with the dent, and the cheap one with the scratch. If I hadn’t been wavering between the two, I might’ve had a fridge bought and paid for before I was found out. No such luck.
“You’re not thinking about buying one of those, are you?” Vincent asked. He had returned from his jaunt among the pricey appliances to let me know that he’d found the refrigerator.
“Why, what’s the matter with them?”
“Exactly. That’s why they’re discounted.”
“But you don’t want a defective refrigerator,” Vincent said in his best sales voice. “You want this refrigerator.”
He led me out of the bumps-and-dings department and right up to a huge side-by-side refrigerator. It had, Vincent explained, all of the features we needed: an ice maker, a water dispenser, and an in-the-door can rack. The color LCD controls were a bonus.
Vincent made a good pitch, but in the end, I settled on the cheap refrigerator with the dent. A sharp-looking number with a black textured finish that helped conceal the dent, it was delivered to our house this morning. The kids have been sizing up the fridge for the past hour, and I daresay that they’re beginning to like it. Of course, Dominic would have preferred the fully loaded monster fridge, but he is placated by the fact that this refrigerator’s pre-dent price was a respectable four figures. Dominic also likes the appliance’s roomy inside which, he noted to my dismay, could easily accommodate a body. Helen and Gerard have made the thoughtful observation that the refrigerator’s black finish will help hide their smeary fingerprints. And Vincent is thrilled that the fridge door opens in such a way that it will be easier for him to stay hidden when taking swigs from the gallon milk jug.
Maybe I should have bought that icebox after all.
Copyright 2011 Celeste Behe