Conservator or Cheapskate? You Decide.

WBlender Basehen I pressed the Puree button on the blender while making apple butter last week, the blender made an unexpected grinding sound that quickly turned to a whine as the cooked apples in the bowl stopped swirling. I lifted the bowl and saw that it had not been seated firmly on the base, and the teeth were sheared from the rotor that turns the blade. I cursed my carelessness.

One option, of course, was to buy a new blender. We’d been using this one for at least 20 years, and it had given us our money’s worth. Replacing it would cost about $175, not enough to change our lives. But I like this blender, with its sturdy metal base and its thick glass bowl. Besides, I hate throwing away anything that can be fixed. A corner of our cellar is occupied by old floor lamps, most of which I picked up off the street after others discarded them, that I’ll get around to rewiring one day. I keep cars until their wheels fall off. (Come to think of it, the wheels did fall off our 2002 Subaru, and I’m still driving it. They fell off because a mechanic had put on snow tires as carelessly as I had set the blender bowl on its base. But that’s another story.) Some might call me a cheapskate; I prefer the term conservator.

The blender manufacturer’s website doesn’t offer replacement parts for it, nor does it provide an address for a repair center, but a web search on the blender’s model number turned up a list of sites selling parts for it. The first site I went to displayed a diagram showing all of the blender’s parts and how they fit together. I clicked on the part I wanted and I learned that it is called a coupler. It was available for $4.27, so I ordered one and agreed to pay $7.49 for shipping and handling. I figured I could follow the diagram to remove the ruined coupler, which I had not been able to budge from the base.

The new coupler arrived two days later in a padded envelope that also contained a folded sheet of paper. I spread a towel on the counter so I could lay the parts out in order as I dismantled the blender base. I unfolded the paper, hoping that it was the diagram and I would not have to return to the website to print it. Instead of the diagram, though, the paper bore instructions for removing and replacing the ruined coupler. All I had to do was rotate it in quarter-turns, pry it off little by little with a screwdriver, and screw on the new one. There was no need to take the base apart! The replacement took less than five minutes, saved us about $164, and lets me keep using the best blender I’ve ever had. Best of all, instead of flagellating myself for my carelessness in causing the problem, I now get to brag in a blog post about fixing it.

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