Thrifty Thursday: The Case of the Broken Coffeemaker

This has been a hectic week, y’all. I started the last quarter of my paralegal studies this past Monday, and the schedule change has been brutal. But you know what made it OK? Even though I was exhausted and running on adrenaline, everything was OK as soon as my coffee-maker switched on in the morning. Just that familiar smell of coffee brewing wakes me up and helps me to face down the day.

As Peggy Hill would say, “Nothing wakes me up in the morning like a cup of coffee.”

I agree, Captain Obvious.

Except…on Tuesday morning, the coffee maker broke.

Noooooooooo!!!!

Now, there is never a good time for a coffee maker to break. And usually, you don’t know it’s broken until you try to use it…which is first thing in the morning…which is when you need coffee most.

My husband ran hot water through our coffee grounds. It turned out about as well as you think it might. Zach had class that night and I had a ton of homework, so neither of us thought to buy another coffee maker until…the next morning, when we needed coffee AGAIN.

Trying to avoid Starbucks, which is a particular vice of mine (and which Dave Ramsey refers to as “FiveBucks”), we tried instant coffee, which we happened to have in the house. It was worse than the previous day’s attempt.

No es bueno.

The major problem was that I didn’t want a new coffee maker. I wanted my old one, only fixed. You see, I bought this Cuisinart coffee maker three years ago at a Salvation Army thrift store in New Bern, NC, for $3. It was the perfect coffee maker–sturdy and reliable, easy to program. It had just enough bells and whistles to keep us happy, but not enough to break down often.

So I realized, as each day passed and I stubbornly resisted coffee-maker shopping, that there are no longer any small appliance fix-it shops. When I was a kid, there was a fix-it shop in my hometown. It was a tangle of wires and switches, and almost impossible to turn around in, but you could take a toaster or a blender or a coffee maker in there, and they would repair it.

Does anyone else remember this?

Nowadays, we’re supposed to throw it away and buy new. I don’t like that way of thinking. There’s nothing wrong with my old machine that can’t be fixed. So why not fix it, instead of buying new?

I found a tutorial for fixing coffee makers at howstuffworks.com. My husband, who is an engineer, has promised to take a look at it this weekend and will try to fix the machine himself. In the meantime, we went to Thrift Town and got a Sunbeam model for $6. We had to. Until Zach has time to fix it, we had to have real coffee. We were like zombies around here.

So–for less than the price of two lattes at Starbucks, we were able to buy a new (to us) coffee maker. Not bad, huh? The Sunbeam is in good shape, too. Looks almost new. Maybe someone donated it after getting one of those schmancy new coffee pod things.

When we fix the old machine, we’ll keep the newer one as backup. The hope is that we will never have another morning without coffee. And I will keep you posted on how the repair goes. It just seems so weird that, in thirty years, we’ve really moved from a fix-it society to a throwaway society.

I love you, coffee. Let’s never fight again.

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