I made a stupid and painful mistake this week. It could have been very expensive too. I tried to nudge a bit of buoyant kale down into a running blender using the spatula in my hand. The Vitamix sucked it in, blew off the lid, and broke the container. The spatula bashed my hand several times before I could snatch it away.
It took me a shocked few seconds to turn off the motor, during which time blueberry smoothie spewed over the counter, cupboard, and my fleece. It took me a few minutes to unclench my hand to look at the damage. Amazingly, my fingers still worked. I didn’t even break a nail.
My dear Taster dashed down to the kitchen to help me. He hauled the oozing blender over to the sink and swabbed up the worst of the mess while I clutched a chill pack.
Good thing I had done most of the prep for the Pachamama Alliance Drawdown Conveners meeting I was hosting that afternoon. My guests got bagged pretzels instead of homemade crackers, but the gathering went well. Thanks to my friend Camille for bringing homemade cookies … and for leaving a big plateful with me!
After everyone left, I noticed purple splashes on the drawers across the room from the eruption. I cleaned those off, then spotted some on the otherwise-shiny floor. I finished cleaning that up just as my Taster came into the room.
As I started to tell him about the extra mess I’d found, my eyes wandered to our freshly painted ceiling.
Friends, I’m afraid I shrieked.
Dozens of purple splashes marked the ceiling, like glow-in-the-dark constellation decals favored by young astronomers.
I stood on the counter, and he climbed a ladder. We scrubbed and scrubbed. Soon, only shadows of the biggest blueberry supernova remained on the ceiling. We thought we were done, but for several days I cleaned pioneering blobs of blue from cupboards and appliances, walls and floor.
Vitamix to the Rescue
Looking for a silver lining, I tweeted a public-service announcement about my foolishness. Maybe I could save someone else from this situation. Amazingly, @Vitamix spotted it and responded within minutes.
I went for a walk to catch the last of the December light instead of calling right away. When I called on Monday, the cheerful customer-service rep thanked me for telling the truth and walked me through checking the base for damage. The base was fine. She offered to send me a new container at no charge, even though this wasn’t covered by my warranty. It would be a one-time only, courtesy replacement. I vowed to never put anything besides food and the official tamper into my Vitamix ever again. My Taster told me that, furthermore, I should turn off the blender while inserting the tamper. The tamper is designed to fit through the opening in the lid without danger of reaching the blades.
How Can My Story Help You Save Money?
In just a moment of careless cooking, I broke an expensive tool, damaged my kitchen, and nearly needed expensive medical treatment. As it is, I only lost one smoothie and the spatula that got bent into a plastic pretzel. But it could have been much worse.
Read and follow the warnings on your kitchen equipment.
Realize that blenders, mixers, food processors, pressure cookers, and yes chainsaws exert forces that can do serious harm.
Take care of your equipment and it can last a lifetime or more. I’m thinking about a metal baking pan that my beloved mother-in-law used for decades and I used for another ten or fifteen years. Finally, between us, we wore a tiny hole in one corner. I’m still using Pyrex casseroles that I inherited from my grandfather. They must be close to eighty years old now and still in great shape.
Buy quality tools if you can, new or used, and use them wisely.
Buy from quality companies with a reputation for good customer service. (Note: I’m writing an honest blog post from the heart. Vitamix sent me a replacement container but did not ask for publicity about it. This blog is supported by its readers, not advertisers.)
Hurrying can slow you down. Take a deep breath and cook mindfully.