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How clumsiness stimulates the economy

February 24, 2009

I suppose if someone were to ask me, “How does clumsiness stimulate the economy?” I would have to say, “In the usual way.” In the sweet-60s film, “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” this was Catherine Deneuve’s response to her mother when asked how it came about that she was pregnant. In other words, inadvertently.

The simple steps were: Pick up jar of plums. Note, but ignore, fact that jar is wet with condensation. Be very careful. Use two hands. Open refrigerator door. It closes quickly! Hold it open with one hand. Shoot jar of plums from remaining hand. Jar does not break! No mess on the floor! That’s because jar’s fall was deflected. Note chunk of ceramic on refrigerator shelf. Note similar-sized scar on otherwise smooth ceramic crockpot liner on refrigerator shelf. Feel very queasy.

Explain everything to husband, who knows nothing is ever, ever your fault. These things happen. We don’t know how they happen. You are so grateful for this one flaw in his epistemology!

Call 800 number on bottom of crockpot base. Learn replacement liners exist. Learn replacement liners cost half as much as new crockpot. Determine that it would be wasteful to discard innocent crockpot base and lid. Order new crockpot liner.

You still have your pressure cooker with its nice glass lid, and another pot in which you can make soup for the two weeks or so before your new crockpot liner order triggers a warehouse event in Illinois, triggering a shipping event to Washington, barring UPS Exception! weather. Once again, you reflect: “Can anything good come out of Illinois?”

Your pressure cooker and your other pot are very good pots. But they are not ergonomic. They have hand-unfriendly handles. You long for silicone handles. You, a clumsy dropper of jars and wrecker of crockpot liners, discuss new options with husband.

You discover a pot of absolutely world-class aesthetic and ergonomic and utilitarian ascendancy. Its MSRP is $80, but it is $49.99. The dealer is coy about shipping costs. Attempt no landings there!

You go to Amazon and discover that they, too, sell this world-class beautiful, ergonomic, highly functional pot, and it qualifies for free shipping! You discuss all of this with husband. Of course he thinks you should have this pot.

You click. There it is again: your big opportunity to apply for an Amazon credit card and get an instant $30.00 back. This time it suddenly makes sense to get the Amazon card for this purchase, revert to your superior cash-back card on your Amazon account after this purchase, save $30.00, and get the pot of your dreams for $24.39 with tax.

What a morning you’ve had! What a deal! Yes, in all modesty, you have done your part. You have invested judiciously in your economy. You have made people’s days at the crockpot parts center, Amazon, Amazon’s card-issuing bank, and a high-end kitchenware manufacturer. Think of the jobs saved, the money changing hands, the money leaving yours: it’s the flow of the thing, and it culminates in beauty, comfort, and utility.

And so, this morning culminated in better things than we know it could have: a mess of broken glass and plums. You add yet another rule to your life: Always handle jars with a towel wrapped around them, or with the jar lifter you use for canning. Rules like this don’t hinder acquisition of good and necessary things; they simply make such acquisition a bit more deliberate.

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3 Comments
  1. Laura permalink
    February 25, 2009 7:30 pm

    *grin* All on the same day that a certain friend of yours dashes to pieces her third (and final) French press carafe in a year. During the half hour spent picking up shards and tiny little crystals on the counter, she formed quite the grandiose plot to procure a replacement, such that even her relatively indifferent husband was soon lost in the irresistible vision of a superior, sediment-free, and best of all a *secure* brew. Behold the Aeropress. (As we will be ordering from Amazon, I may have to consider that $30 back deal as well. . . )

  2. February 25, 2009 8:05 pm

    Something must be going around. You might have *thought* to check my Amazon review of the stainless steel percolator! My coffee is strong, superior, irresistible, but, alas, not sediment-free. I had no idea it could be found insecure!

  3. March 3, 2009 5:20 am

    You two are charming dropping your carafes and things. Lauren this was a delightful read.

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