Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Out of Steam

Can you imagine paying $400 for a steam iron? When I called my neighborhood appliance store, they quoted me a price range of $34 to $400.

My iron of over 35 years gave up the ghost this week. I thought perhaps I could just make do with a cheap Best Buy iron I had bought for my sewing room. When it nearly ruined my favorite white blouse with black sticky stuff, I realized it was time to go iron shopping.

I called Appliance Fix-It, a small family-run neighborhood store, at 8:00 this morning because I remembered seeing irons amidst every other appliance imaginable when I was in there recently to have keys made. A description of the $34 iron made it seem quite adequate for my needs.

I did, however, get to see and hold the $400 model, and let me tell you it weighed a ton! The owner said they sell them to people who wear hand-made suits and are really particular about their clothes. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why such people wouldn’t just send their suits to the dry cleaners. I would actually have a sore shoulder after ironing too many suits with that iron.

The new iron is really quite nice. It’s a Panasonic with a retractable cord. I could have paid $24 more for automatic shut-off, but decided I didn’t need or even want it. I really like the fact that it has a very sturdy base which means it won’t topple over easily.

I’ll bet I paid close to $34 all those years ago for the one that broke. It’s a good thing inflation has been kinder to that industry than it has to the price of gas. I think gas sold for under $1 a gallon in 1972.


Blogger Kristin said...

I think I once went for three years without an iron at all. Is that terrible?

6:22 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I still use the iron I got as an engagement present 43 years ago!

6:33 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- Yikes! Three years without an iron sounds like a long time. I don't have many clothes that need ironing, but I still have a few!

Pauline -- Now that is a good iron! In truth, the technology hasn't changed much over the years. The new irons just look more space-age!

9:20 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

I wonder where the new iron was made, and where the old one was made. That may have something to do with the price staying the same after all these years.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MC -- Of course it does. I just checked the box and it was MADE IN CHINA, as are so many things we use and wear. I'm sure my old iron was made here in the USA. The source of oil hasn't changed much in the past 35 years.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

If you find the time and the inclination, I tagged you today.

1:22 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Hey, where'd my comment go...
I have an iron, but it takes e like 25 minutes to iron one shirt and then it looks like hell, even if I haven't burned a hole clean through it.
I need one of those Industrail presses where you justset it on there and PRESTO its done.
Wouldn't that be great?

Thats when I figured out how to use my george forman grill for that.

5:43 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

if you ever really get bit by the quilting bug you will realize that an iron is a very essential tool! I would never pay 400 bucks for an iron, but after my last iron literally blew up (it was a black and decker- was a bit scary, but no harm occurred - but not to dis it it served me very well - I used for over ten years and some days it was used, on and off, for 12 hours straight!) I dropped a few dimes on well regarded and highly rated (among quilters) rowenta - got it on sale (only way to go when the list price was something like 125) for under 100.... seems like a lot, but it's a tool of the trade and it's a good one! during the piecing of a quilt my iron is my best friend!

6:15 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

I am in the market for a new iron, and I've seen those pricey models. I was "thinking" about a cordless iron, but I need to do some consumer research to see if they are really worth it. I did see one that I thought was very attractive in a Martha Stewart magazine a few months ago (when they showed her laundry room.) I checked the back of the sold for over $1,000. Given it's Martha Stewart...hardly surprising, is it?

5:28 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Mouse, Cube -- I need to understand what added value you get for those kinds of prices that justifies the expense. Do these irons really do something special that a traditional iron doesn't do? I'm wondering if this is a case where people just think the iron is better because the price is high? :)

5:42 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

I'll wax on about the glories of a 'good iron' with you tomorrow! can't wait!!

10:42 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Mouse -- I can't wait to hear about a "good iron". I rather like my $34 iron!

11:03 PM  

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