Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Carnival Appliances

Remember the appliance rules of the rationing project?

We're still kinda following them.

When we moved in to the new house we needed to purchase a refrigerator and a riding lawn mower. Our budget was tight and we hated the idea of purchasing new items when gently used options were available at a reduced cost.

So we headed to the local used appliance store. Okay, "used appliance store" doesn't do this place justice. Those of you in T-town know what I mean. Back in the olden days (you know, before "T.J. Hooker"), this place used to be a local carnival, with rides and refreshments and toothless barkers offering to guess your weight (why, oh why, so people pay for something like that?). But then times changed and local carnivals went the way of, well, "T.J. Hooker" and the place shut down.

And then it reopened as the most bizarre flea market type store in northeast Kansas. Seriously, the creepy smiling clowns are still on the side of the building and the toothless barkers are now inside, smoking their cigarettes and asking if they can help you find something. Chances are, if you need something you can find a used version here. Ashtray? Yup. Jig-saw? You can chose from 20 on the shelf. Coffee table? Some of them already have coffee stains! Life-sized R2D2 cooler? Got it! (Damn, I need to get back and get that...).

There are some great finds, but there's plenty of...well...junk. Some of the furniture looks like it needs a hefty dose of duct tape and glue and I am still freaked out at the thought of buying a used mattress (damn you, incessant national media stories on bed bugs). But you can't help but look, and look, and look. Oh, and try not to step on one of the cats that roam the store.

Outside, sprawling in front of the store and across a good section of the parking lot, is a six-foot chain-link fence that encloses most of the lawn and garden equipment: weed-eaters, birdbaths, wheelbarrows, lawn mowers, shovels, lawn chairs, window panes, storm doors...you get the idea. There we found a 16.5 horsepower, 42" deck riding lawnmower with low hours for a price less than what was available on Craigslist.

Inside, in the back of the store, there are several rows of appliances. Now, since we moved the oven from the old house, I wanted a white fridge to match. Unfortunately, all of the white refrigerators they had were scary - severely dented doors, peeling paint and inside shadows reminiscent of a Zuul, the Gatekeeper of Gozer possession. So, I went with a cream-colored Kenmore model slightly bigger than our previous fridge. The best part? It was about 1/3 the cost of a new model with similar bells and whistles.

Now, TMOTH and I both agreed that once finances settle down from all the new house purchases we'd like to replace the refrigerator with a newer, white, Energy-Star rated refrigerator. But in the meantime, we'll be all anti-Martha and take pride in our used, totally mismatched appliances.

Coordinated kitchens are soooo overrated...at least, they are for the next year.

--Rational Mama


  1. We have places like that around here...it's quite frightening to go in (I almost feel like I need to take my husband for protection...or at least call him and let him know in case I go missing) but you can get some splendid deals.

  2. I'm so glad that uncoordinated look is in. I've been hip for two years and didn't even know it :-)

  3. Yeah, that place is a bit frightening...I always tell my husband to not look in the freezers, as I'm afraid we'll bind a body... ;)