Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tragedy Has Struck

I've had my Vitamix for about 20 years. It was used when I got it. I was a struggling college student, but somehow I managed to scrape together $150 to buy one used from the Recycler.

At the time, I was vegetarian, but not raw. I'd make fruit smoothies in the Vitamix, pouring them into thick, recycled glass tumblers we got on a trip to Mexico, and drink them while I stood on the second floor balcony of our apartment in Long Beach, looking out at the palm trees that dotted the cold, morning skyline.

I have fond memories of grinding wheat berries into flour using the Vitamix, kneading it right in the canister, then baking a thick, brown bread that I spread with real butter.

I thought that Vitamix, with its gorgeous stainless steel construction, would live forever.

Two days ago, the agitator assembly broke in two. My husband took a photo of the part and sent it to his machinist brother in Alabama. This was his response:

Hey y'all,
I could make a new shaft but the internal splines require a special cutter that would cost thousands. No joke. You make the investment to make 10,000 parts for the production line. I would be glad to try and weld back together and rebalance it. Nothing to lose, all that will happen is it will vibrate too much to use if I don't get it just right. The vibration could be useful at other times away from food prep.

I doubt my Vitamix could take more vibration than it already has. We could buy a replacement part from the manufacturer, but with tax and shipping it would come to $101.55. We've haunted ebay but used replacement parts are going for at least $50 with shipping -- if you're lucky.

So I've been left with the painful decision: do I pay $50-$100 to fix it and stay with my first love? Or do I sell my first love for parts and fork out $449 for a more powerful but not as pretty Vitamix 5200?

Beauty or Brains? Age or Youthful Spunk? (Until the cost of replacing or fixing my Vitamix entered my financial horizon, the Spirooli was next on my list of raw accessories to acquire. Now that's been pushed down the list -- unless I'm lucky enough to win Gena's contest at

Part of me wonders if I didn't break the 3600's heart. A few months ago, despite her faithful service for 20 years, when Yardsnacker and Hihorosie had a contest for a new 5200, I entered this video:

So wooed was I by the promise of the 5200's reputed 2hp motor, I found myself disparaging the 3600's ability to make nut milk on camera. Maybe that agitator assembly coming apart was really just the Vitamix's heart breaking in two.

Like any break-up, there are two sides to the story and maybe no one is completely blameless. Maybe we will work it out or maybe it is just time for us to go our separate ways. Either way, you will always be my first appliance love.

No comments:

Post a Comment