I have spent the last few days befuddled, bewildered and basically overwhelmed while shopping for a refrigerator to replace the one in my garage that whimpered its way to warming last week.
I have many reasons to be grateful. While deciding whether to call a repairman or not, an online search revealed that my old fridge had been a good and faithful servant for about twenty years. Even in its demise, it chose a relatively good time to die, when it wasn’t packed to the gills in pre-holiday mode.
Once replacement rather than repair seemed to be the issue, the search began. In the olden days, say ten or fifteen years ago, I would have gone to one or two local appliance stores and compared features and prices on what was in stock. In today’s time of Internet largesse, I instead researched brands and models on-line, which I quickly discovered could be a full time job. I remember hearing how immigrants from the old Soviet Union would sometimes become depressed by American supermarkets. Used to a system where you stood on line for hours and bought whatever was available, the dazzling array of thirty types of breakfast cereals and twelve varieties of apples paralyzed them.
I could empathize. Not only did I need to choose between top freezer, bottom freezer, side by side and French door as well as between stainless steel, black or white, I needed to make a guesstimate as to which brand was most likely to be reliable along with a slew of other issues.
The option that isn’t available to me is the “build your own.” I can’t take brand A with two features from brand B and the size and design from model number C. And the one feature that I crave, a built in odometer that will tell me when it’s about to break down isn’t an option I could find anywhere. All in all, refrigerator shopping is strikingly similar to the dilemma my daughter and her friends face as they navigate the dating world.
If they could only build their own future spouse they would be able to take the character of boy A and pair it with the hard working persona of boy B and top it all off with boy C’s height and boy D’s sense of humor. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t work that way. As they meet young men they are faced with a package deal. And while I might if I’m lucky spend the next twenty years with my fridge, they not only yearn for more than that with their spouse but the entire world of their future will be affected by their choice. Getting a lemon of a fridge is expensive and annoying; getting a lemon of a husband is devastating.
I made my refrigerator choice with the guidance and support of one of our four outstanding sons-in-law who happens to be in the building industry and who guided me. My single daughter and her friends are finding that their decisions might best be made in a similar fashion. After doing initial research on their own, they turn to people who love them, and whose input they respect, who have way more experience in the field than they do. There is a Jewish saying that if all your friends call you a duck, you should start quacking. In other words, listen to your parents, your (especially married) siblings, and trusted and tried friends. You don’t really want to invest in an expensive appliance, let alone a man, relying only on your own, limited vision.