Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My regrettable chest freezer purchase

Recently, I purchased a chest freezer. I was motivated to buy a freezer as I was hitting the capacity limits of the freezer in my refrigerator and then I go on a "make-freezer-jam" spree. I had wanted to purchase a used chest freezer for a while, but was running into two major obstacles:
  1. Finding one of the appropriate size

  2. Getting the freezer to my house

My first preparation step was to measure the width of the doorway to my basement. If it did not fit, I could not purchase it. Then I did research on three retailers that delivered: Best Buy, Sears and Home Depot. After figuring the maximum freezer width I could have was 34 inches, I settled on a 5 cubic foot freezer.

To address the electrical issues, I had an electrician come in and wire a new outlet on a separate circuit for the freezer. He reassured me that my initial concerns were correct: putting a dehumidifier and a freezer on the same outlet was asking for trouble. Total cost of three new outlets, bringing the basement wiring up to code and installing two lights: $230. This is a good price and one less thing an inspector will note on his report as "bad" when I sell the house.

Reassured the electrical supply was adequate for my new house guest, I went back to the web sites, and did a survey of prices. Since I had only seriously looked once before the electrical work was done, I only had one price for comparison. I was thrilled because the freezer I was interested in was reduced in price by $20. Hurrah for me--I get to save money. While Home Depot had a similar price for a 5.5 cubic foot model, their delivery was only to my threshold. I needed delivery to the final location of my chest freezer-my basement. Sears was my second choice (and had the $20 savings). I choked on the delivery charge ($65), but wanted the freezer so I accepted the price. With purchase price, delivery and tax, it came to just over $237. This was more than I wanted to pay, but I had no idea what the delivery charge would be before I decided to buy the item.

So I have the freezer delivered, life was good and then I realize my first error: the width listed on the freezer was for the long side, not the short one. Depth was the measurement I needed to account for when fitting through my door way, and would have allowed me to get an 8-10 cubic foot freezer, a capacity range I wanted. The one I purchased is adequate, but for maximum use, I would have needed at least 7.2 cubic feet for all the items and garden produce I want to store in the chest freezer.

The second error: I should have taken more time to shop. I went to Sears.com three days after my freezer was delivered, and found my same freezer back at retail price ($40 more than I paid). However, they were offering a rebate for free shipping up to $75--starting one day after I had mine delivered. Since I decided I wanted a freezer and purchased it in a week, I had not systematically tracked the sales and rebates involved with them for any appreciable period of time.

So, what was the end result? I have a chest freezer, but smaller than I wanted. Because I did not read and understand the measurements correctly, I short changed myself for the long term. Since my window between deciding to purchase and actually purchasing was small, I sacrificed $25 for immediate gratification. Research and patience would have gone a long way to saving money and purchasing the right chest freezer for long-term satisfaction.

Lesson to be learned: take more time to research a purchase and ensure I understand the dimensions and my real limitations.

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