Yesterday, I bought a new coffeemaker. The old one had taken to stopping in the middle of the brewing cycle and throwing up mysterious error codes on its tiny LCD display… inexplicably, the owner’s manual doesn’t have a section explaining what the error codes mean, and I was left with nothing but puzzlement and nervous speculation. I’d started unplugging the thing before I left the house, for fear it would start a fire; a friend has recently gone through that ghastly nightmare, and I’ve been obsessed with fire safety ever since. (Even more obsessed, I should say – I was a volunteer firefighter back in my military days, and there’s nothing like dragging a hose into someone else’s burning house to make you really, really careful in your own home. By the way, have you checked your smoke detectors lately? Go do it right now. I’ll wait here… All good? Excellent. Not that smoke detectors will be any help if you’re not home, but if you are – they just might save your arse. Things can be replaced, but you can’t be. But I digress.)
So, like shoppers will do, I went online and tried to search for information on coffeemakers. It’s out there all right – a veritable deluge of information and reviews and opinions… after a couple hours of research, I felt like I was drowning in coffeepot data. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted anymore – I’d started looking for an inexpensive drip coffeemaker with a timer on it, but by the time I came up for air I’d almost convinced myself that I couldn’t live without a $300 stainless steel scientific brewing system from the Netherlands, complete with space-age carafe and an 80-page technical manual. This wasn’t getting me anywhere, and I knew why:
It’s called analysis paralysis, and it’s what happens when you’re faced with too many choices. There’s no real way to filter the flood of information and make an obvious and simple decision, so you get stuck. And worse, when you finally do make a choice, you’re left to wonder if the one you picked was the right one – could you have gotten something better for the same money? Did you spend your dollars responsibly?
I think as women we feel this most keenly – we’re supposed to be canny shoppers, and advertisers are quite aware that we control almost every household purchase, so they make us feel that it’s our job to buy the best we can at the cheapest prices, and if we don’t exercise the utmost caution and care, we are failures as consumers. Failures. So we agonize, and prioritize, and research, and worry, and feel empty and dissatisfied because we’re never sure we’ve done it right, and there’s always somebody out there that got a better deal.
I see this very often with new spinners buying their first wheel – there’s a very real anxiety and confusion there, compounded by the sheer amount of money they’re laying out for something that’s a hobby purchase… a luxury, a toy. I try to reassure them, to tell them that basically every modern middle-of-the-road wheel is a pretty good wheel for whatever kind of yarn you want to spin, and that the choice they make now should really be influenced most by what they can afford, rather than what they think they’re going to use the wheel for… because as you grow and change as a spinner, your needs will change, and by then you’ll know more about what kind of wheel you really want. A good tool will always hold its value, and a good spinning wheel can always be sold later for a hefty portion of what you paid for it – so it pays to buy the best you can easily budget for… but other than that, the brand or style doesn’t matter all that much. Just pick one, and go for it.
And that’s how I finally cut through my coffeemaker conundrum – I realized that all of the middle-of-the-road brands were going to make a decent cup o’ joe, which is really the only thing I’m looking for first thing in the morning. I went to Canadian Tire and bought the one that was on sale this week.
It makes a damn good pot of coffee.