A New Microwave In Question: When “The Best” Becomes Inconvenient

In every marriage there is one primary person who keeps track of the finances. It’s almost never one-sided, but someone checks online banking or sets up the auto-payments, looks through the bills to make sure everything is on the up-and-up and budgets for weeks ahead. In my marriage that person is me – it wasn’t something I asked for, it just kind of happened.

I’m a planner, and since I’ve been on my own for more than fifteen years (emancipated when I was fifteen) and have worked since I was ten, I know the importance of money, financial planning and stretching a penny so far*, my husband is often in awe. Recently, after eighteen months of planning, saving, moving money around and looking for the right deal, we bought a new oven. This wasn’t a “we wish we had a new one” kind of thing, our old oven had been on the fritz since November 2013. The control panel was all wonky and it would constantly have a power failure, which while annoying wasn’t the biggest deal. The big deal was what it didn’t do when it didn’t have a power failure, the temperature kept climbing so that whatever was in the oven was charred and smoking in under four minutes. Talk about a fire hazard! Needless to say, whenever I’ve cooked or baked in the twenty months, I have kept guard over the oven to make sure nothing blows up, which makes multitasking kind of difficult.

At first we priced out what it would cost to fix it – $500 to $600. And this is an old oven that we couldn’t even give away for free on Craigslist, so obviously a new oven, while more expensive, was the way to go. We researched ovens tirelessly, and there were two that we went between for about eight weeks. We were both undecided but leaning towards opposite contenders. The oven Roy (my husband) wanted was a good oven. It was a brand that made its name in kitchen appliances (GE) and the model had been around for six years. It was a great oven, end of story.

But my oven was better, and when I say that, I mean everyone said so. Consumer reports, reviews on various websites, and every appliance specialist we talked to at many stores including: Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes, and some factory outlet place. It was better quality, better made, and you’d be shocked to hear a much better price ($500 cheaper). But the technology it used has only been around for about two years, which made Roy nervous. Now we’re talking two years of it being on the market and people saying, “This works great!” but still it’s not like the traditional double ovens, where you know exactly what you’re getting…

At the end of the day, I gave into Roy. Make no mistake, if I had said, “I want this one,” definitively, Roy would have let me have my way. Whether it’s a case of, “If you’re happy, I’m happy,” or the fact that I’m going to be the one using it more (like a lot more) this was always clear. Happy wife, happy life and all that. But after the dealing with our fire-hazard, explosive, power-failing oven for so long, I wanted a sure thing. Roy’s top choice was traditional. There was nothing new or special about it, and it was overpriced just because you were paying for the brand name (and I’ve never been a brand bitch) but at the same time it was a sure thing. There was no new technology or innovative advances, everything was old school. So, okay, we went with that oven. (I will not mention how Roy texted me from Lowes after we bought it with a picture of the oven I wanted saying, “Why didn’t you pick me?” Or how I replied, “Because I married a stupid, stupid man.” But yeah, there has been plenty of teasing and we refer to our new oven as “Roy’s oven.”)


My oven was a true double convection oven, as in both the lower and upper ovens had the convection feature. Roy’s oven only had convection on the lower oven, so he wanted to also get a brand new microwave, which had a convection feature. This was another $500. He wanted to get them both now because if he bought two GE appliances he would get $100 back. That part made sense to me, but we didn’t need a new microwave. Yes, the microwave we had was more than twelve years old – it was the original one that came with the house when it was built. Yes, it could go at anytime… but it showed no signs of going… yet. It wasn’t convection, but it met our needs just fine. Frugal, practical, need-oriented versus want-oriented me was really hesitant about getting it. But because of the rebate and our old microwave’s age, I decided, “What the hell?” We went for it, and post-rebate had now spent about $950 more than we would have if we just got my oven (because since it had two convection ovens in it, the microwave would have been unnecessary).

We’ve had our new appliances for about a week. I like our new oven because it works. I mean that was my only real expectation. I don’t have to worry about burning the house down when I use it – a definite plus. I also like how it preheats and let’s me know the current oven temp at all times. I’m a fan. And since I’ve never owned the oven I wanted, I can’t compare the two from an actual “use” standpoint.

The microwave on the other hand is annoying. I know how to use it, but it’s overcomplicated and fails to do simple things. It reminds me of when websites get a new look that is both stupid and not practical or when Facebook forces you into new formats (remember the whole timeline conversion?) etc. For example, in order to use the microwave I have to hit at least four buttons (not including the buttons to input the actual cook time): Cook + Time + Time Circle + Cook/Start. I’m used to just entering a time and hitting start – boom, done. This isn’t that big of a deal, but I have to mention it because it’s just one more thing on top of the biggest deal…

Every single inputted time, including just using the timer has to be in increments of fifteen seconds. I find this ridiculous. A lot of the things I put in the microwave have times that aren’t in fifteen second increments: fifty seconds, four minutes and twenty-five seconds, seven minutes and twenty seconds, etc. So, I can sit in front of the microwave and wait and open it early, or I can I can set it for less time than it needs, go do something and then set it for fifteen seconds and wait and open it etc. I understand these options, it’s not rocket science, but my issue is why am I spending $500** on something that makes my life/microwaving a little less convenient and a little more complicated. I wouldn’t mind these things if I paid nothing for them, but when you get a new appliance you expect it to be better and more convenient. Or at least I do.

I’m seriously considering taking the microwave back. We have another week to return it for a full refund, no questions asked. I mean, we never “needed” it in the first place and while some of its features are cool, we have yet to use them, so it’s hard to justify the purchase. And when it doesn’t even allow me to cook things for the times that I want because this fancy, smart, wonderful microwave can’t do things outside of fifteen second increments it really makes me wonder what the brand, creators, etc. were thinking. Limiting a person’s cook time is one feature that should never come with a cooking appliance. The end!

*(A constant battle, he’ll sometimes try to throw away a tissue I’ve used that is sitting next to me, but it’s there because I haven’t used the whole thing – you know just used a corner or something. It’s both pro-environment and pro-we’re-not-rich, but he thinks after a single use I should just take another.)

**Roy says we spent $400 on the microwave because he always rounds down. If something is $14 he says it’s $10, and so on. This used to drive me nuts, but is just one more reason I’m in charge of the money, and he has to give me a final price before buying anything unnecessary (groceries are house stuff doesn’t count, it’s just those extras). For the record, we spent $498.37 on the microwave so it really was $500. When I pointed this out, Roy stood by $400. Sigh, at this point we agree to disagree, though I know society as a whole is on my side on this one. 😛

Seriously, should I keep the microwave because we have it, can get a rebate of $100, and the old microwave is – well, old. Or should I take it back because it’s more complicated and inconvenient, and expensive, when our old microwave worked just fine. I’m torn, any thoughts?


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