How hard is it to buy a simple coffee maker? It's not exactly a rare, or exotic appliance, like say, a triple filter Earth Friendly organic sub atomic energy saving Amazonian herb juice extractor with extra freebase module to isolate the proper entheogenic compounds needed for a quasi legal recreational buzz. All I wanted was a goddamn coffee maker. Without built in grinder. Without special .001 micron toxic waste extracting chemical filter. Without an infinitely adjustable brew-strength dial, and built in caffeine meter. I didn't even want an automatic timer that turns itself on for you, beeps when ready, and turns itself off after two hours. My one and only stipulation was that it come with the cone shaped filter, and not the flat bottom basket.
I had such a machine, a Krups that I bought last summer. But it had a funny kind of mildewy smell. I figured that the smell would go away after running some water through it. No. So I removed the filter with the special tool included for removing the filter. Still smelled. So I tried vinegar. Still smelled. So I chose to ignore it. But the smell became a taste, and this morning's coffee tasted like it had been brewed with flood water drained from a post Katrina New Orleans mausoleum. Even my voracious caffeine monkey howled in protest. So I went out to buy a new coffee maker.
Tuesday Morning, a kind of eclectic odds and ends store, had nothing. Besides, the last one I got there was a Frankenstein monster that was half coffee pot, half hot water tank. The basket stayed in place until you turned it on, and left the room. It then popped open and poured hot water and coffee grounds all over the counter, and onto the kitchen floor.
So I dumped it and bought the smelly Krups that I was now on a mission to replace.
Next stop, Wal Mart. You could get a cone filter coffee maker only if you wanted to spend a hundred plus dollars and get one which grinds the beans, starts on its own, and tells you with a computerized voice that the coffee is ready, but reminds you that too much caffeine can lead to irritability, and has been linked to violent behavior in laboratory rats, and farm animals. This is Southern California. The water here is so hard that you can brush your teeth with it sans toothpaste. A hundred dollar coffee maker is useless in six months, just like a twenty dollar coffee maker. Plenty of cheap flat basket ones though. But, I wanted- scratch that- needed the cone.
Bed Bath and Beyond. Same story. Target. Same story. I might as well have been looking for a hood ornament for a fifty two Packard. So I gave up, and settled for a flat basket machine from Hamilton Beach. Besides, it was on sale.
By this time the needle on my frustration tolerance was at "E", and the red light was beginning to flash. So I got in line behind a woman who wanted to pay for her groceries with a check from the bank of Mozambique, and a hand written note from her daughter's second grade teacher for identification. But I got out of there, got home, and set the coffee maker on the counter.
You had to lift a big lid to pour water into a thimble sized opening at the back to fill the tank. This might not have been a problem if the machine sat somewhere with six to eight feet of vertical clearance above the counter, or was placed conveniently in the middle of the floor. I have a weird kitchen with cupboards above the counter. If I positioned the machine so that four or five inches of it extended over the counter's edge I could flip the lid most all the way open.
I'm a competent guy. I can work most household appliances without even reading the instructions. But when I went to fill the tank I ended up with seven of the twelve cups of water in the coffee maker, and the rest of the water on the hot plate, on the kitchen counter, and on the floor.
I rest the blame for this solely- solely on the engineer who designed the piece of shit thing. So I took it back to Target. The gal at the exchange desk finished her telephone conversation well within the thirty minutes that good customer service usually requires, adjusted her lip ring, and asked if she could helf. No questions asked. I got my money back and bought a twenty dollar Mr. Coffee. I got it home, and my wife reminded me that the Mr. Coffee machines never seem to make very good coffee.
I'm going over to Starbucks.