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To Buy Or Not To Buy

By Anessa V. Cohen

At this time of year, a person could easily spend several hours just going through all the flyers, ads, and catalogues coming in. I guess what the powers that be are all trying to tell us, one way or another, is that practically everything that exists on the market is now on sale at unbelievable prices! Well, this sounds inviting, but New Yorkers are far from gullible, so comparing those ads until we can determine the cheapest price offered on whatever it is we are looking for is time-consuming.

Sometimes I have to laugh at these ads offering up to 70% off. I look at the sale prices being offered after the discount, only to see no difference between the before and after pricing, or I go to the store only to be told they are “sold out” of the 70%-off sale stuff. Do they really believe we buy that kind of story? Amazing!

The irony for me is that the items I really want to buy do not even have to be on sale, if I could only find them! I’m looking for a new refrigerator and freezer that were manufactured before it was decided that the Freon used for so many years to keep these appliances going is not energy-efficient.

Pre-Sandy, I had a big stand-up freezer, a hand-me down from my mother. I now realize that I never appreciated that old freezer as much as I should have. When it floated away in Sandy, I promptly went out and bought a newer, more energy-efficient model. While I was at the store, I also bought a new energy-efficient refrigerator to match, planning to put them side by side in my garage to be used for yom tov preparations or for any entertaining that required the extra refrigerator and freezer space.

Since I had purchased them a couple of months before Pesach, I figured I could now load up on Pesach food in order to be completely ready in the frozen-food department and not have to crowd all my preparations into the last week. Well, March leading up to Pesach was very cold that year, and although it was not the weather I preferred, I kept loading up that freezer.

The first day already, I started to notice that the food was not freezing properly. Ready to go crazy, I called the manufacturer and asked them to send me a repairman. The customer-service representative said she would like to ask me a few questions. I said sure, but the answer to all of them is “the freezer does not work.” Her first question was “Where are you keeping your freezer?” (I thought this question extremely bizarre at the time, but now realize that there is a method to their madness!) When I told her the garage, her next question was “What state do you live in?”

“New York,” I answered. (By the way, the third question was “Are you sure the unit is plugged in and the electricity working?” I will skip my answer for obvious reasons!)

The customer-service rep was now able to tell me that the freezer was not freezing properly because I have the unit in an environment where the room temperature is below 60°. A new freezer and new refrigerator cannot work in temperatures below 60° because of the technology that is now used to make those units energy-efficient.

To say I was upset is to present the issue mildly. I now began yelling at the customer-service lady and accusing her company—the manufacturer of my new freezer and refrigerator that will not work in my garage in the winter—of deceptive advertising. I asked her why they do not advise people of this issue before they buy units that they may be putting in cold areas. She suggested I remove them from the garage. She did not offer any suggestions as to where to put them. She also said she gets these calls all the time. What does this say about the refrigerator-and-freezer manufacturing business?

Now I have three imperfect choices. One, use these appliances only during spring, summer, or fall and keep them off during the winter months. Two, install heating in my garage to keep the temperature over 60° during the winter months (definitely not going to happen!). Or three, find a new refrigerator and freezer that were manufactured before these energy-efficiency changes were instituted by the manufacturers.

I also begin to wonder whether the new energy-efficiency changes are really energy savers or, because they cease to work below 60°, they automatically save energy by shutting down!

Anyway, I will be going from store to store to see if any still carry new refrigerators and freezers that were manufactured prior to those new guidelines—units that will still work in the winter. You never know; they may very well be on sale!

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


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Posted by on December 31, 2014. Filed under In This Week's Edition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.