Friday, March 30, 2007

The Refrigerator

We bought a refrigerator yesterday. Pretty straightforward, right?

We decided to buy a used fridge, since we only need it to work for two years or so and we didn’t see the point in spending all that money on a new one. (A new fridge runs about 750,000 shillings, or a little over $400.) P. drove us to three places: I believe the first was called Fridge World, but when we walked in there were few fridges about. A woman told us they had gotten rid of most of their stock. Then we went to Fridge City, but we could see from the car that they had little selection (their fridges were lined up along the side of the road). If you’ve been picturing some sort of Wal-Mart type warehouses because of their lofty names, think more shanty on a dirt road with refrigerators spilling out of it.

Then we went to a place by the football stadium that was called something like Nasuaga & Bros. Already you can see the difference, right? P. suggested we stick to the Hotpoint brand since it was a brand he had heard of and knew was reliable. One Hotpoint looked pretty good. The other two were covered in dirt and mold on the inside. The people who worked there (oh, and there were many) assured us they could clean them. But J and I decided (through various secret looks, winks, and nods) that we could never ever put food in there that we planned on eating knowing the fridge had at one point looked like that ever in its life. So N. took the Hotpoint and J and I went against P.’s advice (possibly for the first time ever) and bought the Kelvinator 2, which was on the small side, but both were CLEAN.

Then the negotiations started, done mostly by P. in Lugandan, while N. and J occasionally chimed in. I stayed out of it. In general, there was a lot of standing around. At one point we stepped away from negotiations to get the lowdown from P. The guy in charge wanted 580,000 for both fridges. This was a discount of 40,000 schillings—the Hotpoint cost 620,000 and the Kelvinator 600,000, but we were getting a discount for buying two at once. We wanted to pay 550,000. We sent P. back. “So you will only take them at 550,00?” he asked. “Well, no, we’ll pay 580,000, but see if you can get 550,000,” was our response. Can you see what good negotiators we are?

Guess what we paid.

N. took both fridges home because he had space in his empty living room and our apartment next door will hopefully be ready next week and we didn't want to have to move our fridge across town twice. So N. plugs in the oh-so-reliable Hotpoint, only to discover it doesn't work. (We did plug the fridges in at Nasuaga & Bros and cold air did come out of it, but apparently only out of the freezer, which we didn't notice.) So N. had to send his back and they brought him a different one. Not Hotpoint, but it works, it's clean, and it's bigger.

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