Cold Comfort

Jim Wasserman, 1:29 pm ET

IT HAD BEEN A WHILE since we’d last shopped for a refrigerator. There was a time when such an appliance merely kept things cold and, for me, fancy meant the fridge could deliver crushed ice for my iced tea.

But today, there are all kinds of features. French-door style. Sub-area climate controls. The big new thing: see-through doors so you can choose without staring into an open fridge—a favorite pastime of my youth on hot Texas days.

You can easily pay thousands. We hunted for deals. We looked at seconds and at closeout stores. There wasn’t much, thanks to worldwide supply chain disruptions.

We ended up at Home Depot and Lowe’s, plaintively asking, “What have you got?” Many of the online deals are on backorder, with delivery times measured in months. We were moving in a week and needed a fridge sooner. Even the ones they had in a regional warehouse would take weeks to deliver.

We discovered the key was asking what they had at individual stores. Neither Home Depot nor Lowe’s would sell floor models. But every store has some appliances that either had been returned by customers or had arrived from the warehouse dented or scratched.

We weren’t concerned about the aesthetics of our cold storage. The offending mark might be on the side facing the counter and, even if it wasn’t, we figured we could cover it with refrigerator art (though we’re at that awkward parenting stage where our sons are too old to do art and we don’t yet have grandchildren). One drawback: Home Depot didn’t offer free delivery for damaged fridges, but Lowe’s did at some stores.

We ended up getting a nice Frigidaire 26-cubic-foot side-by-side refrigerator with a small dent at the front bottom. The normal price is $1,300. But we got it for $650, including free delivery, and I got my crushed ice.

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Paula Karabelias
Paula Karabelias
11 months ago

I bought an appliance at Lowe’s about 10 -15 years ago ,but getting repair service was nearly impossible . I went back to shopping at local family owned businesses. The prices are competitive and they employ their own full time repair staff. They are currently selling floor models if you can’t wait for a special order due to supply line disruptions .

Bob Wilmes
Bob Wilmes
11 months ago

If you are a veteran, you can also get a 10 per cent discount from Lowe’s and Home Depot. I sent my discharge documents to both the Lowe’s and Home Depot veterans verification companies and got approved. I even get the discount when I order on the Lowe’s web site. My state also has a “Veteran” tag on our drivers licenses for honorably discharged veterans.

11 months ago
Reply to  Bob Wilmes

I love learning about these types of discounts. My husband is a veteran and I’m always thankful for retailers who offer veteran discounts.

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