I have been known to waste money on kitchen gadgets.
Not all the time, mind you. And many of my gadget purchases have been worthwhile, judging by how often I use them, the fun I have with them, and the food I make using them.
But here’s a purchase that gave me fits yesterday. This post could be subtitled “the anatomy of a bad impulse buy.” The offending gadget is often advertised by its French name, mandoline. The one I got came in a swanky box, but used thankfully didn’t compound the insult with fancy terminology. Instead it was labeled simply “5-in-1 Chopper and Slicer.”
I should have known better, but it was so sleek looking with its white and black handle. And so many attachments! The box pictured vegetables so alluringly sliced and diced – how could I resist? And then there was the price. It was on sale at TJMaxx for $12.99, with the come-on to “compare at $20.00.”
Problem #1 – The color
White plastic for a gadget that is going to grate vegetables that stain, really? As soon as I put a carrot on the grater, the pristine white plastic slider and all the other plastic parts the carrot touched turned bright orange. With scrubbing, I got them back to a sickly looking pale yellow.
Problem #2 – The design
The gripper used to push the vegetable across the grater (so you don’t rip the skin off your hand) was designed to look nice, but not to work well. I ended up with nicely shaved carrots for my cole slaw, but no thanks to the “handy” gadget that I kept having to wrestle with.
Problem #3 – Clean-up
By this point I was frustrated, but shouldn’t a gadget made of plastic, with metal only on the blades, come apart for easy cleaning? It didn’t and it also didn’t fit into the dishwasher.
Are there lessons here – for me, if not for others? I hope so. I should be embarrassed to call these lessons; they are reminders of things I know and chose to ignore as I strolled through the store the day I bought this gadget.
Lesson #1 –You get what you pay for
If it’s cheap, there’s probably a good reason. Enough said.
Lesson #2 – If a gadget is not going to sit on the counter, pretty doesn’t count
Who was going to see the sleek design and the beautiful white and black top?
Lesson #3 – Often simple is best
I have a box grater and a simpler version of this gadget, both of which work just fine. They don’t have the fancy blades, but I can julienne carrots, potatoes, turnips and zucchini perfectly well by hand.
Now that I’ve bared by impulse-buying soul, I’m looking for a 12-step program to reform my bad habits. Anyone have a suggestion? Are you in the confessional mode? If you are, do tell – what’s been your most wasteful kitchen gadget purchase?