Ice, ice baby

Lest you think I’m a closet Vanilla Ice fan, let me quickly point out that this is the tale of a very bad refrigerator, a Frigidaire that was produced with a defective ice maker and that has been more trouble than you can possibly imagine.

So an annoying song with a catchy, stick-with-you beat is the perfect musical image and title.

We gave Frigidaire ample opportunity to make it right in the early days (they chose not to), and after seven years of fridge hell, I’m ready to vent. But first, let me back up to the beginning.

John and I had just moved from my sweet and tidy little Lilac Circle house to the giant Quapaw restoration project. We left my nice big refrigerator behind as a selling point, though we did swap out his bachelor washer and dryer for my top-of-the-line Whirlpool matching set.

We were using John’s cheap, small, ugly bachelor-white ice-makerless Amana, the one that still works like a champ over in his shop. (Likewise, my first refrigerator as a young adult in 1976 was a tiny hand-me-down from my parents that they’d gotten in the 1950s before I was born. We kept it for years – it was all metal, American-made and still worked just fine when I sold it.)

The ugly Amana has bailed us out many times when the expensive, fancy black Frigidaire has been broken and awaiting repairs.

We bought the hot rod on a day when I was especially sad – appliance therapy suggested by John to cheer me up. I had been told that day at work that my column, “Fit  Happens,” which was a source of great joy in my life, was arbitrarily being canceled – against my wishes and despite high readership. (I’d gotten reader e-mails that very day.) It felt like a death and I felt helpless. All I could do was rage against the management machine – and maybe buy a machine.

We headed to Best Buy.

I should have known better than to impulse-buy – as a writer for HomeStyle, I’d done plenty of appliance reviews, and my attorney husband rarely bought anything without doing extensive and meticulous research via Consumer Reports and the Internet. But he just wanted to see me smile that day.

The retro logo on the Frigidaire  made us both smile. The fridge was big, it was black, it was cool – so we bought it. Getting it through narrow old-home doors was hellish, but after that, we were happy, for a few weeks, at least, until the ice maker broke for the first time. It was under warranty, so the repairs were free. When it broke again, very quickly thereafter, the company acknowledged the ice maker was defective and sent the redesigned, yet equally as defective new version.

One time it went out, the repairman the company sent put in some wrong part that caught on fire and melted some other motory-things, so those repairs were even more extensive.

We got a couple of replacements free after the warranty ran out because the new parts had warranties, but at some point, we started having to pay. If we get it fixed this time, we’ll have paid considerably more in repairs than we paid for the refrigerator. We don’t want to add up the costs.

Frigidaire, if you get wind of this, we’re very, very disappointed in you for never making it right and will never buy another one of your products. This refrigerator is obviously a lemon, because my parents have a similar model, and it’s fine. Breakups are painful, but you never treated us right.

And by the way, repairman after repairman told us that they made more service calls on Frigidaires than any other brand.

Earlier this year, the freezer motor froze up again and the refrigerator side got hot, so we headed to Home Depot to buy an LG that was on sale – and also actually not in existence. They were all gone, everywhere (we’d done our research and were disappointed).  We came home empty-trucked, but my banging and knocking on the old one had worked – while we were gone, it had started running again.


Then last night, after we came home from watching the Hogs stomp some poor team (Missouri State Bears, right?), I got ice from the door, and more ice and more ice – the dispenser was stuck on on. The dogs thought the ice pouring from the door was heaven, but what a mess!

Remnants of the ice maker that wouldn't die

The motor won’t stop turning, even though John dismantled it.  We spent a couple of hours on the monster that wouldn’t die.

The timing couldn’t be worse; we have mass quantities of homework this week, and my mass quantity of tuition put a huge dent in our rainy-day (or in this case, icy-night) fund. But though we definitely have other things to do, we’ll have to resort to refrigerator research and shopping. We’ve known it was coming and we’re pretty sure we want an LG, but for now, John’s going to cut the wires to the icemaker, and if the damn thing still runs at all, it’ll be ice trays, baby, at least for a while.

Word to your mother.

2 thoughts on “Ice, ice baby

  1. You can just call it Frigi-junk. I have bought a lot of their product, and it all breaks or falls apart. Stoves, dishwashers, microhoods, you name it. I’ve gotten to where I just tape a penny to it before trashing it. That way, I can say I threw something away.

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