Clarification of Commenting Guidelines

by Katy on January 11, 2012 · 96 comments

You may have noticed that I closed comments on yesterday’s blog piece. It was not an easy decision, and it was only after being called a “bitch” by a reader (as well as other unsavory terms from other readers) that the decision was made.

The Non-Consumer Advocate is a place for respectful discussion, but yesterday’s comments crossed a line and were wholeheartedly inappropriate. I do not sit at the computer all day, so I felt it was better to have no comments rather than let mean spirited readers take over the blog.

This blog is about non-consumerism. So yes, I will be writing about how not buying brand new expensive items is preferable both from an environmental and a financial standpoint.

So here’s the official Non-Consumer Advocate commenting guideline:

It’s okay to disagree, it is not okay to swear at or call names to me or any other community member. 

Can we get back to business now? I’ve got laundry to fold and soup to prepare.

Frugally yours,

Katy Wolk-Stanley


{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer January 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Katy – so sorry to hear that such a simple, straightforward and well-meaning post brought out the dark specter of incivility. Take comfort in knowing that there ARE people here who enjoy this blog and are learning from it. Sounds like the people who made the inappropriate comments have larger, more complex mental problems than can be addressed in this blog. Be assured that their problems were pre-existing; really nothing to do with the blog. Keep up the good work.


Renee January 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Katy – I saw the post before you deleted it and immediately thought “Whoa…..that needs to be deleted” which it was a few minutes later. I think you acted appropriately. I’m still not sure why people read blogs they don’t enjoy, there are so many to choose from. Whether we agree with your post or not is irrelevant.


Rubymay1029 January 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I am a daily reader, sometime commenter, and overall fan of your blog and the non-consumer lifestyle. I always try to be respectful of others and their feelings. You seem to do the same, but the post upon which you had to close comments wasn’t your finest moment. I don’t condone getting nasty in the comments, but your comment about sexy stainless steel ball and chain appliances was a little on the snarky side. I only noticed it because it is such a rare occurrence for you.
Anyway, keep up your good work with the blog and non-consumerism. You are a daily inspiration to a simpler way of life.


Renee January 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Well said. I think when you are familiar with someone, either through their writing or even best friends, you know their hearts, and comments made that are a little inconsistent are quickly overlooked, or when appropriate, discussed with love and caring. Whose perfect all the time? I am certainly thankful for those that have overlooked a few of my “finest moments”.


Reese January 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Well said. I agree and felt similarly regarding that line. But I chose to ignore it and instead gleaned the importance from the overall message. It’s never good to comment on a post in any form of mean-spirited angst when you don’t have the complete story.


Jennifer January 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Quite right, Reese. And isn’t that the thing – the overall issue? I’m just so sick of this hyper sensitive, overly combative posturing on which some people seem to thrive. If you spend all your time thinking and acting nebulous, subjective and speculative issues of ‘tone’…. aren’t you deaf to the actual point of the matter?


Trish January 11, 2012 at 4:44 pm

yay Jennifer, well said. Is it okay if Katy stands for something, even if you don’t agree? It is, after all , her blog. And if she sounded snarky to you, that is your interpretation. I have had people interpret the spirit of my written word in a completely wrong way. And if you feel offended, that is also your issue

My mother always said, own your own feelings. no one can make you feel a certain way. You allow yourself to be offended. Life is much easier for ALL if you make the choice to not be offended.

That being said, I cannot identify with someone who finds stainless steel appliances thrilling. Those aren’t my values.


Connie January 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I similarly noticed the comment about the ball and chain. In the past I might have said something, but I’ve learned.

I love your blog and will continue to love it even though I don’t always agree. Swearing is indeed unacceptable.


Lily January 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm

“So yes, I will be writing about how not buying brand new expensive items is preferable both from an environmental and a financial standpoint.”

The point was the tone of the post, NOT the content. At least I think it’s the case with other as well as me. You could try and understand the reason for some people’s reactions.

Btw, I didn’t call names or trolled or whatever in the comment you deleted.

That’s all for me.


Jinger January 11, 2012 at 1:44 pm



Kate January 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I agree with Lily, Ruby, and Renee (above). I definitely thought it was an out of tone post for you and wasn’t too surprised to see some of the more reactive comments (though I got there after the name-calling, when the comments were closed). I really like your blog, though have to say, if you are trying to open people up to a more frugal lifestyle, insulting them is not the way.


TJ in MD January 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Where is the benefit of the doubt ? As so many have commented, it is way to easy to apply alternative intent and meaning to the written word, in spite of the use of emoticons. I would think we are probably all guilty of reading more into a comment than was intended. If the dishwasher post seemed out of character to you and you felt personally attacked, then I would challenge you to give Katy the benefit of the doubt. There are hundreds of ho-hum blogs out there on living the frugal lifestyle. IMHO it is the rare blogger that stands out as an original thinker and I personally put Katy in that original thinking category. Thanks for taking a stand…any stand…and being passionate. Its what makes your blog such a compelling read for me.


Christine January 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Even though I am not personally living a non-consumer lifestyle (I am usually guilty of quite the opposite :/) I absolutely love reading your blog! Your complete dedication to non-consumerism is inspiring. Keep it up! (or should I say Use it up? 😉 )


Reese January 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I love this comment. 😉 While I don’t always lead the non-consumer lifestyle (gosh I wish I’d stop buying appliances that come in SUCH RIDICULOUS PACKAGING…. argh), I can still get inspiration from here and know that I can do more to better my lifestyle choices!

Here’s to using it up 😉


Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life January 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I tend to agree with Ramit Sethi’s view on frugality, which is that it is about values; you cut costs on the things that are not important to you so that you can spend more money on the things that are important to you. Traveling to Japan and working part-time are important to you, so you save money on appliances, whereas another person might willingly cut their travel because they want new appliances (for any number of reasons–attractiveness, energy-efficiency, whatever). Naturally, as the non-consumer advocate we don’t expect you to advocate buying new, but I am used to seeing you talk about how your decisions are congruent with your values, not implying that your values are better than others’ values. I definitely don’t condone name-calling, but I do hope you understand how the tone of your post had an air of judgment and superiority that seemed out of character and unnecessary.


Ann January 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Dear Katy,
I am in total agreement with you, there are too many persons in this world who believe that they have the right to do anything they want without consequences. They are misinformed! You did the right thing, in my humble opinion. I am not a blogger, I just love to read new ideas and try. Not to get too off the subject, but I wanted to share that we moved into a smaller place this past year, and before we donated to the Humane Society, we shopped our house for Christmas presents for the family, and everyone was so happy to get “new” recycled gifts, and we were happy because since I was laid off in June, we could not have purchased anything! Recycling at it’s best. Thank you so much for writing, we need your inspirations.


SKM January 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I am a huge fan of this blog. However, the thing that bothered me regarding yesterday’s post (and I wouldn’t even say it *bothered* me – I’m equal parts dismayed and amused that a post would prompt someone to spout profanity at the author …) is this: Why do you even need a dishwasher? What’s wrong with washing dishes by hand? So that was the thought that popped into my head … it doesn’t matter if you’re spending $50 or $500 …

And the second part of my thought process from yesterday – as someone who has bought new appliances (with cash) to replace older appliances, I’m looking with an eye of energy efficiency. Part of the reason I’m embracing frugality and minimalism is a desire to leave less of a carbon footprint on this environment. Dishwashers don’t fit into that equation at this point in my life.

However – Katy, you constantly inspire me. I’m sorry that things got ugly yesterday. There is something icky about the Internet that gives people the idea that they can hide anonymously behind their computer screens and keyboards while spouting out crappy sentiments. Sure – they can. But people shouldn’t.


Cate January 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Honestly, I use my dishwasher as a storage place for dirty dishes. 🙂 I mean, I do RUN the dishwasher, since the dishes are in there anyway, but I end up washing lots of stuff by hand too that won’t fit or is too fragile or whatever. My husband and I went without a dishwasher for several years, and I actually didn’t mind washing the dishes…but I really disliked having dishes, whether dirty or clean, on my counter all the time. There wasn’t enough room to cook! The cost of a dishwasher is totally worth it to me. (Though ours came with our house, so we haven’t had to actually buy one ourselves yet).

Oops, what was I doing having a calm discussion?? I should be cursing at you since you like to wash dishes primarily by hand and I like having a dishwasher! 😉


SKM January 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Curses Cate! We are being too friendly to one another. 🙂 And yes – that’s EXACTLY what my mom does with her dishwasher! Storage!


Rebecca B. A. R. January 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Most dishwashers actually use less water than handwashing dishes does, especially if you have a lot of dishes to wash (which I expect with Katie’s two boys (also probably known of–as other boys are–as bottomless pits!)–she does! I’m sure that if we had a dishwasher we wouldn’t use as much water as when my husband does the dishes. If there are only a couple people in the house and you don’t cook from scratch or eat at home a lot, handwashing probably is cheaper. I would love to have a dishwasher again, b/c handwashing dishes is the one chore that I absolutely hate to do!


Kathleen January 11, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I finally replaced my dishwasher after not having one for 12+ years. We have multiple family members and guests who must eat 6+ small meals and snacks per day in order to keep healthy and stay off additional medicines. I was struggling every day to keep up with the dishes as I have a small kitchen. My hands were constantly red, because I would sometimes forget gloves. We found out that I was spending 6-8 hours per day just on food prep and clean up. I purchased a sleek stainless steel model and it is ran 2-3 times a day. It is easy for family and guests to clean up after themselves. I really would have preferred that dishwasher space for storage (I have very little storage and counter space), but this was a necessary purchase. As a bonus of getting the new stainless steel refers, dishwasher, commercial range, new water heater and HE washer/dryer (all on sale, with rebates, tax incentives, and cash) we save almost 200.00 per month on the gas, water and electric bill.


Kathleen January 11, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Forgot to mention that the dishwasher was over 30 years old when it finally bit the dust 12 years ago. I was its third owner in this house, and each of us had it repaired once. I was told by the repairman when I had it repaired, that it most likely would not be cost effective to repair it again. It was coming to the end of its useful life. So, when it finally died, I decided to do without.


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land January 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I think perhaps people missed the point that it was an example. People ball and chain themselves with all kinds of different things. I don’t think it should be necessary to put a disclaimer on everything, that it’s just an example. Obviously, new appliances aren’t a ball and chain for everyone. For some people, it might be a new car, or travel, a house that’s too big, or even overbuying from thrift stores and garage sales.

In my Tightwad Gazette Fan Club page, I’ve had some people make nasty comments on occasion because I was supposedly judgmental, or snarky, or whatever. I think, when something touches a nerve (like stainless appliances did for some people), it’s easy to get defensive instead of seeing the broader picture. Not every reader needs to like every idea, but if we pussy-foot around because some people won’t like it, no one is challenged.

A few days ago I posted something on TGFC about a reader who wore long johns inside so she could turn the heat way down, and a woman got defensive because she has a medical condition and can’t do so. Does that mean I shouldn’t have posted the idea? Why can’t people just move on, without poo-pooing an idea? If you can’t/don’t want to do it, just don’t do it.


Cate January 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I agree, Laura. I thought Katy was saying that stainless steel appliances would be a ball and chain for HER, not making blanket statements about everybody in the world with a stainless steel appliance, you know?


Trish January 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm

say, where is this tightwad gazette fan page? I love the tightwad gazette. I have a fantasy that Amy will write a book about the adult lives of children who were raised in a tightwad environment. Remember how condemning people were at times of Amy? Spend more money on your kids! They completely missed the point that Amy was spending TIME with her kids, and teaching them valuable life skills. That is so much more important than Mcdonalds hamburgers.


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land January 11, 2012 at 5:38 pm
Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life January 12, 2012 at 7:34 am

What she specifically said was “enjoy your sexy high end stainless steel appliances, as they are now your ball and chain.” I thought that was pretty clearly referring to what she thought of other people’s decisions. Perhaps she meant what you said here, but that could have been a lot clearer.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi January 12, 2012 at 10:02 am

Agree exactly. I was just a little surprised she never fessed up and said, “Ok, I should’ve chosen my words a little better. I can see where some of the backlash is coming from BUT X,Y,Z are still inappropriate.” Instead she went on the defense (understandably after being attacked). Just wish BOTH sides could see their wrongdoings in this issue. Bad word choices on both ends…


Rebecca B. A. R. January 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I find that there are a lot of people who choose stainless steel do so just for the looks. It costs more than other appliances just b/c of the stainless steel, not b/c of the washing abilities. I get tired of people who have white appliances, who believe they have to “up-grade” to stainless steel, even though their appliances work just fine. It is like people “having” to buy brand-name items, instead of generic, b/c somehow they feel brand-name items are better. It just ends up creating more waste in our world and less gratitude for the things that we have and are blessed with already. It also gets a lot of people into debt, b/c they are trying to “keep up” with the Jones.


Ellie January 12, 2012 at 7:37 am

Alas, I missed the original comments, but have sort-of gleaned what went on from these comments.

Regardless, I think your post sort of hits on something that I keep coming back to, and which somebody lashed out at me about on another post a while back – namely, a point about how I think it’s one thing to spend $ on something expensive that’s really important to you beause it’s a special hobby or interest or you really love it, but different (and, IMO, foolish) to spend money on expensive things just to “keep up with the Joneses”. [One of the several examples I had used were an ex-boyfriend who loved-loved-loved all things automotive and owned an expensive sports car, and how I thought that actually made sense for him, vs. all of the people I’ve seen who know nothing about cars but buy expesnive “brand” cars just because they’re expensive and fashonable and the “best” thing to own, according to all of the people they’re trying to “keep up with” – and, frankly, show off for. Somebody then lashed out at me for “judging” her mother for her luxury car.]

Anyway, my point is – yes, I DO have a negative opinion of people who buy things for reasons I consider stupid – namely, to keep up with the Joneses. Spending money – even a lot of money – on something that you really know and care about is one thing, but in my experience, that sort of informed buying is NOT usually the reason why so many people are in debt and wasting resoures. I feel I – and anyone who shares it – has a right to this opinion.


Sunny January 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm

How horrible that you had to experience that. People are “special”, that what I always say. They never fail to disappoint. 🙁 Hopefully it did not taint your day too much.


helen January 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I love your non-consumer lifestyle and generous sharing of your life. Please don’t let some rude people get you down. I didn’t think your comment was out of line at all. I think people got all hung up on “sexy.” If you had written shiny or sparkly, it would still be the same fundamental message of the expensive purchase being a ball and chain. I think you really hit a nerve with some people who desire to be like you but can’t stand up to society’s pressure and the keeping up with the Joneses mad consumerist race. You are fantastic. Keep it up!! Smartass comments and all. We want you all close up and personal–real– and not a cleaned up version for the prickly people.
Hugs through the interwebs,


Annie January 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I recently stumbled upon the I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog and two of the things the blogger said stood out to me:

“I found advice written by people who haven’t looked for a job in 30 years. (In fact, most career experts have never found a top-tier job.) If they haven’t interviewed with the world’s top companies, how do they know how the game is really played?”


“Overall, it’s an incredible feeling to listen and learn about what we’re ACTUALLY going through — unlike some 68-year-old geezer lecturing us to stop spending money on lattes. Instead, it’s someone who understands we WANT to live a rich life. We WANT to go out and buy a round of drinks for our friends. We EXPECT to be able to travel abroad, or go to Vegas for the weekend, or grab dinner without worrying if we can afford an appetizer.”

I know you’re not a “68-year-old geezer”, but his comments made me realize that even though I admire you for not being wasteful, you do not really live the kind of life I want for myself. I continued to follow blog anyway but after your last entry, I feel like its time for me to move on to bloggers who can afford “$500 stainless steel appliances” and still have plenty of money left for retirement, savings, travel, lattes, etc.


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land January 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Confusing consumer goods with a rich life is, I think, a mistake.


Jen January 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Laura — LOVE THIS!!!


Jen January 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm

I don’t think we realize how much we are trained by advertisers to like what we like, we only think we are deciding for ourselves sometimes but we are controlled in ways we don’t even understand.


Ellie January 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Jen – yes, my thought exactly.

I posted above (and have posted before) that I actually think it can make perfect sense to spend money on things that really matter to you – we all make consumer choices. Some people want to go to Japan – others passionately want to own a horse, or buy original art, or redesign their kitchen, or whatever.

The thing is, I think stainless steel appliances (and their friends the granite counter tops) are a prime example of something people seem to want because other people have them, and because the home-makeover shows and appliance salespeople have taught them to “like” them. Who wanted stainless and granite before the advertisers told us they were the “best” and all the rich people had them? All of a sudden everyone just “liked” the same thing, for no reason? I know people will probably get offended and say “I have them because I like them!”…but I wonder how many people would “like” them if they hadn’t been taught to?

If you want stainless and you can afford it, it’s your right to have it – nobody is saying you can’t choose to spend money on it. But it’s still seems a little coincidental to me how all of a sudden everyone “likes” the exact same thing.

Teresa January 12, 2012 at 10:44 am

Oh, Ramit Sethi. *sigh* I guess if one wants to spend money to learn how to be rich that is a perfect website!

Otherwise, you could check out the following,

Or my favorite –

All the information is free on either of those websites, but time is valued instead of objects. May not be some people’s cups of tea.


cj January 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Please remember for that every rude comment you get, you have way more readers like me who like what you do and the way you do it.

Keep up the good work!


Marianne January 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm

As my local online paper states “if you wouldnt say it in front of your mother at the dinner table, dont put it in your ‘comment’.”. I <3 my stainless steel appliances whether katy or anyone else does or not. They make me look forward to cooking. Just like i look forward to reading your blog everyday Katy. Keep it up and block the haters. 😛


Robin January 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I really enjoy your blog and read it every day. I don’t aspire to live such a non-consumerist lifestyle but you do inspire me in many ways.
I also like my sexy (rowr!) stainless steel dishwasher, stove and fridge as well as my kitchen remodel. It’s all about the choices that make us truly happy.
I’m sorry you got flamed yesterday – I found the tone of your message not up to your usual standards but that’s no excuse for rudeness!


Jenni January 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I’m totally blown away by the discussions that have occurred during this and the last post. Bravo Katy for making a strong statement against consumerism. Being a non-consumer is not just about ‘not’ spending a lot of money, it’s about having an awareness of the impact your purchasing decisions make on the environment. When we *all* require new appliances, cars, furniture to fill our homes and driveways..we continue to contribute to the depletion of the earth’s resources. Great if you have money to spend on those things, but it doesn’t mean you need to. Katy’s blog is place to come to and be reminded about the full impact of the purchasing choices you make and a place of encouragement to stop the needless spending on new items and a realistic example of how to do it.
Keep up the great blogging Katy, clearly there are a lot more lessons to be learned.


Kariann January 11, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Hi Katy!

Your post yesterday was timely as my refridge gave up the ghost the same day. I did peruse CL but knew we would buy new as we were burned on a used washing machine. I buy everything else used. I was not offended by your post at all. Keep up the good work!



Margaret January 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Katy – I love your blog, and I especially loved yesterday’s post. Please don’t let trolls censor you. I say, “bring it on!” Posts like yesterday are what keep me reading every single day and inspire me on my own journey.

You mentioned a while back something your father said about your writing, and compared you to Wendell Berry. I was so touched by that compliment. I think being a little controversial is what makes you good at blogging. This non-consumerism stuff makes people uncomfortable, and I think that is a very positive thing.

And yes, stainless steel appliances are probably unnecessary. Frugality aside… please people… consider the Story of Stuff! If you need stainless steel to inspire you to cook, I think that is pretty darn sad.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi January 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm

SS appliances are as unnecessary as any other color. I say choose what YOU like. If you like white, great! If you like red, great! If you like stainless steel, great! I think there is a misnomer that people buy SS just to fit in. I bought SS (used nonetheless) because *I* like it, not because of some cultural pressure.


Robin January 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I did not need stainless steel appliances to inspire me to cook – I can cook on any color (and cook very well). I chose them because my hudband and I like them. Plus while stainless seems to be getting an awful rap, it was actually the SAME price as other finishes.


Teresa January 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Wow! I can’t believe the response to the last post. Yeah, I totally dig spending $50 on a dishwasher rather than $600. Not to point out the obvious here, but that means I have $550 still in my pocket and a machine that will do presumably the same thing as the more expensive, new version – clean my dishes. I see people unloading the fancy stainless steel dishwashers for a fraction of the original cost too if that is one’s particular flavor. Plus the dishwasher Katy purchased used has less of an environmental impact since she did not buy it brand new (no ridiculous packaging, production of the unit, etc). So yeah, if I could get a machine for $50 that will produce exactly the same outcome as the $600 machine – I would call the $600 machine a ball and chain. My time is more valuable than paying more for a tool then necessary and since unfortunately I have to trade my time for money on a daily basis I have very little interest in spending more money on something than I have to.


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land January 11, 2012 at 5:45 pm

And, if it dies a premature death, you can buy 11 more of them! If your $600 machine dies a premature death, well, up a creek!


Robin January 11, 2012 at 8:13 pm

With either one if it breaks and leaks all over your hard wood floors requiring replacing and repairing you’re without a paddle. Sigh.


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land January 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm

So there’s one more check mark in the column of reasons not to have one at all? For a small family, I don’t think it’s worth it.


Elaine in Ark January 13, 2012 at 10:50 am

I live alone and I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE having a dishwasher. Washing dishes by hand is about as much fun as a root canal.

It’s totally worth it to me!

Jessica January 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I love your blog and I have a stainless steel dishwasher and refrigerator. It didn’t bother me at all. Each of us has a different reason for reading your blog. Despite my dishwasher, I also relate to you on a lot of levels and it is one of my favorite blogs. I know if you get one or two negative comments it is hard to see the good in the others. But, I do hope the good ones can weigh more than the thoughtless ones. Your blog gives me a breath of fresh air and I’m sorry that people don’t know how to control themselves online.


Jen January 11, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I find it weird that your comment even bothered anyone. I could never ever write a blog, people would be OUTRAGED by my strong opinions! I think people must not have enough to really worry about if your blog is really ruining their day.


Jo January 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Thank you, Katy, for snarkiness. I worry about living in an irony-free zone. Thank you for speaking to this great wide world of different folks about your way of living and beliefs. Those of us steeped in snarkiness salute you from behind the racks of our favorite thift stores.


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land January 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm

I like a little snarkiness, too. I wrote a paper in college, and the TA made me remove the very best line in it, because she thought it was snarky. Yes, it was snarky, but it was good!


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi January 11, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Thought you might enjoy this quote from a song I adore…seems fitting:
“Just for the record, the weather today
is slightly sarcastic with
A. Indifference or
B. Disinterest in what the critics say”

-“London Beckoned Songs About Money Written By Machines” Panic! at the Disco


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi January 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm

“is slightly sarcastic with a good chance” *

Friends should not let friends comment while under the influence of toddlers.


jen January 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Usually when a blogger I follow responds to some bad press it makes the shameless rubbernecker in me want to go back and read the nasty comments aimed at them. Your response in this case is so level-headed, logical and clever that I’m not even going to go there.

You. rock.


Alison January 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I feel the same way about granite countertops that Katy feels about stainless steel appliances. Granite is “the thing” in kitchens but I have to say, I like my Corian countertops very much and do not feel the need to change. It’s all just a style phase anyway. In 10 years, stainless steel and granite will be out, and everyone will be wanting something else. I think Katy made a relevant point that she does not have to follow style trends to feel secure in our very materialistic world. I applaud her for it. (Besides, my stainless steel appliances get water marks and fingerprints and have to be cleaned with a special spray cleanser. It can be a pain.)


Melissa January 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I was going to say the same thing. A ball and chain with water marks and fingerprints!


jude January 11, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Someone called you a “bitch” because you prefer to buy used appliances? Jeez! Maybe a non-consumer blog isn’t really his/her thing! Certainly if it’s going to incite that kind of rage, he/she should really just go to the mall. All I can say is I’m totally in awe of your ability to find used appliances at great prices. And that whole thrift store thing you’ve got going–knowing what’s worth reselling on Craig’s List. It’s a gift, girl. Keep it up.


Denise January 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I often find that people react strongly to those things that make them feel guilty. And if they felt you were judging their lifestyle, well then, maybe you were. So be it. It’s YOUR blog.
I actually laughed aloud at your post yesterday because one of the things we DIDN’T do during our recent and (desperately) needed home remodel was touch our kitchen. No granite, stainless steel or other silly things. I preferred to be rid of the mold, leaking windows and to replace a 40-year-old furnance AND keep on budget.
Yep, the formica stayed. So did the white dishwasher. Go get ’em, Katy.


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land January 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Let them laugh. I can put a hot pan on my 1949 Formica, original to our house. I can rub the pan back and forth and not worry if it gets scratched. I can cut a loaf of bread on it if I want. It has some serious wabi-sabi going on, but I’m happy with it that way. It drives me nuts when I go to my sister’s house and she’s concerned about the countertop melting or getting scratched. Ugh.


Lily January 12, 2012 at 12:17 am

Uh, she sure wasn’t judging my lifestyle.
What a convenient excuse.


Lily January 12, 2012 at 1:09 am

Just to clarify and then I’m done: what irked me is sure NOT the content of the post – if you find a used appliance that is cheap and works for you, I sure applaud you, you’re smart and coherent to the values you blog about! Hell, I only wish I had Good Will in my country 🙂 – but the way it was said, like from a pedestal.


Rachel January 11, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Katy – your blog is an inspiration to me on both my blogging and lifestyle journeys. Please don’t let yesterday’s incident change anything.


mama minou January 11, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Are authors not permitted to have a range of styles of self-expression?
I didn’t read the comments from a few days ago, but my goodness, the basic message Katy highlighted in today’s post about acceptable commenting behavior sounds like a mainstay of all the parenting books I’ve been reading lately. Respectful, articulate disagreement=good. Swearing/name calling=shuts down communication. Bad.


Lily January 12, 2012 at 12:13 am

I find it a bit ridiculous that now Katy seems to be the victim, who’s been denied the right to express herself freely and called names. I don’t know how many rude comments she deleted, can be dozens, but I only see civil ones right now.
Of course she can write what she wants in the way she wants, and readers have the right to their own reaction. What for many is frankness, for me it’s too much frankness, which borders on self-rightenousness – something I noticed on many “frugal” blogs and forums.


Lily January 12, 2012 at 12:15 am

PS If the author thinks she has the right to be touchy, the readers must have the same right.


Diane C January 12, 2012 at 10:30 am

In the early days of blogs, a lot of comments positioned the author’s name at the bottom. Now most blogs are formatted to put the author’s name first. On a couple of blogs I read regularly, there are a few people who tend to express their opinions in a way that is not appealing to me. Makes it oh, so easy to skip their comments. Just exercising my rights…


Erin January 12, 2012 at 5:32 am

Having worked for a state Legislature for 10 years, I can appreciate the ease with which people feel welcome to send all sorts of vindictive, mean-spirited comments for which they will never be held accountable. If people don’t like your advice or your tone Katy, all they have to do is hit delete, or stop reading the blog. There is no reason for personal attacks, and I hope you know that those comments in no way represent the majority of your readers. In fact, your post actually inspired my sister to find a used appliance at the very moment she needed to replace a broken one. If this continues to be a problem, you might consider having readers sign in via facebook or another method before they can post so there is an actual identity attached to comments. This has been helpful for some newspapers as it makes it slightly more difficult for someone to anonymously post hate speech.

Happy Thursday to you Katy!


Jen January 12, 2012 at 5:50 am

I agree with most of the other comments. I have been following this blog for several months and it has inspired me to try to decrease my consumerism. However, if no one ever upgraded or purchased anything new there would not be these great bargains to be had. I would have expected you to be grateful that someone donated the used items vs putting them in a landfill. The tone was off putting whether it was intentional or not.


monique damus January 12, 2012 at 6:22 am

I rarely, if ever comment on anything I read on anyone’s blog (and I rarely read the comments), but I just wanted to thank you for your continuing hard work. I know what it is like to be a busy Mom and am awed by some of you who find time to blog…I’m happy if I get to check my email once a day!!
Also, as an enlightened reader :), I understand that your opinion is just that, your opinion…. and that I can take or leave anything you say. I really appreciate reading your entries, you make me smile!!


Shannon January 12, 2012 at 6:25 am

Have you ever seen the last episode of “Cheers?” You know how there was the guy who was in the bathroom every time something big happened? Yeah, that’s me. Completely missed all the fun. Stumbling in on this late I just have to say I had no idea how passionate people were about their appliances! 😉 Katy, I do see that you struck a nerve. I, for one, need my nerves struck from time to time. Helps me keep perspective.


Margaret January 12, 2012 at 7:32 am


I don’t usually comment. I just want to say you are my favorite blog and your really help me stay on track with my non-comsumerism. Keep up the good work and ignore the not so nice people.


Kelli January 12, 2012 at 8:37 am

So sorry about what spiraled out of that post–I enjoy your blog and look forward to what you write each day. You have given me a new way of looking my consumerism and I thank you for it—I probably wouldn’t be shopping at thrift stores and living more frugally if it weren’t for you!!! Sooo–chin up, I for one love your blog.


TraciFree January 12, 2012 at 8:54 am

Shame on them! Shame on them for using such strong, hurtful language in so cowardly a fashion. If you can’t say it to my face, keep it off the internet. Thank you Katy for having a thicker skin than most and not letting it get you down. Those of us who were taught manners appreciate it.


Diane C January 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

I was sorry the comments were closed yesterday for an entirely different reason! I wanted to share a frugal tip with you, so thanks for giving me another chance. I recently cleaned out a rental property where the tenant had passed away (peacefully, in his sleep, at a ripe old age, just as he wished). I discovered that his caregiver wore red nail polish. I found red scuffs everywhere, even inside the freezer!
There’s an inexpensive product called Magic Eraser and it worked wonders. Made everything look brand new! They’re sponges made of superfine cleanser, much finer than my old standby, Bon Ami. My only quibble is that they don’t last long. I went through four of the heavy-duty type, but they worked hard before crumbling into bits. Scuffs on the walls, (non-SS) appliances, countertops, etc. disappeared, just as the name implies. If you want your $50 dishwasher to feel like an even bigger bargain, try one of those babies on it. I found them at the hardware store, but I’m sure all the big boxes and groceries carry them in the sponge section. Probably difficult to find them used, except maybe at an estate sale, because they dissolve with use.
P.S. I think it’s your sense of humor and crack writing skills that sets your blog apart. Don’t let the cranky folks get you down.


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary January 13, 2012 at 5:00 am

I am a huge fan of the “magic eraser” as well. My husband has started teasing me whenever I use one, saying, “it’s amazing…like magic! they should use that word ‘magic’ in the name!” Well, ha ha ha, I can laugh at it, but it’s true. Scuff marks on the stairs, odd marks on the walls, all kinds of things I didn’t know how to get rid of before — they just disappear (like magic 🙂 ).


Madeline January 12, 2012 at 10:54 am

Sounds like this is just not a blog for Lily!

Yes, Katy IS a victim of someone’s RUDE BEHAVIOR and VULGARITY. Katy’s readers are NOT victims, ever.They read freely — or not! If a reader feels she is being “subjected” to snark.. hey,use your mouse and move along…

Katy, you’re awesome! I love that you HAVE a personality , lots of experience.. and an OPINION. I don’t always agree with you.WOW! I don’t always agree with any of my friends or aquaintances! Or church members or co workers or family even!!!

I WAS raised to be respectful however! And have raised my family the same way. SHAME ON the vulgar blog responders!!!!

Readers have opinions too of course but that does NOT, in my world, give ANYONE the right to be rude to ANYONE ELSE.. anywhere.. in person OR on that author’s blog.

If a bloggers “tone” or opinion or world view irks me, I simply stop reading it! Geez..simple, huh!

Thanks for continuing to blog even when anonymous wierdos you havae never met out here send nasty comments and swear at you!!

You’re an inspiration!


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi January 12, 2012 at 11:03 am

Not to start anything, but I have to politely disagree on one thing: I do believe she should at least ADMIT that the way she worded the ball & chain sentence could come off as offensive to some. When you use second person (as in “you” and “your”), generally the writer is referring to her reader. In that sense, yes, it is easy to see how some were offended. I feel the kind thing to do is apologize for poor word choice and explain that was not her intention to offend others. However, that still doesn’t condone derogatory words from the commenters.


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land January 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I loved the wording, personally. I don’t think the goal should be never to offend anyone. There are times people said things to me that I found offensive, just to realize they were right, and it ended up being a good wake-up call.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi January 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm

So, by your logic, the offensive comments should be a good wake up call to Katy and should not have been ignored/deleted. It could have been a wake up call to her that maybe some of her wording can convey the same message without the judgmental tone.


Margaret January 13, 2012 at 4:50 am

I don’t think Katy should censor herself or apologize. Would you ask a newspaper op-ed writer to do this? The only correction she should make is if she reported a fact incorrectly.

Madeline January 12, 2012 at 10:55 am

Woops–i always forget that online people feel that capital letters mean someone is yelling– i put them in for emphasis.. not yelling.. i am not a screamer..sorry!


Elaine in Ark January 13, 2012 at 11:03 am

Hey, that’s OK, Madeline.

I was yelling right along with you (in my head)!

hee hee.


psmflowerlady/Tammy January 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

First Katy, I’m sorry you were flamed. As a routinely snarky person myself, I’m not so sure that people aren’t using “snarky” as if it’s a bad thing? I consider it a communication style, but that could just be me. Anway, I missed the hoopla cause I read the post and was in no way offended – go figure. What did strike me though is by following the link to the >$1000 dishwasher – OMG – am I incredibly cheap or does that strike anyone else as outrageously expensive? Maybe that’s why I didn’t take offense. I cannot imagine ANY dishwasher being worth that amount of $, so I guess I have to agree that more than clean dishes were included in that price – like this is a VERY TRENDY dishwasher. And I guess that led me to think about the concept of luxury items vs appliances. I’m not rich so I would never consider justifying expensive jewelry – that is a luxury category. When did dishwashers move from appliances into luxury categories? I thought Katy’s post was about the loss of differentiation between wants and needs. 50 years ago, a dishwasher of any kind was a luxury. Now, we have moved dishwashers into “needs” and can as a society justify $1000+. To me, Katy points out this shifting societal view on many topics in many ways and that to me is especially attractive in her posts. I come here to have the consumer paradigm challenged – a fresh perspective is good and IMHO so is snarky communication. If you can’t stand the heated dry cycle, stay outta the kitchen.


M January 12, 2012 at 11:32 am

Wait, someone came on a blog called The Nonconsumer Advocate and called you a b**** for… advocating against consumerism?

Also well done, commenter from yesterday, for using b**** against a woman that dared to state an opinion (about a dishwasher!) without smiling and simpering and minimizing so your feelings aren’t hurt. That’s so original!


Deb January 13, 2012 at 6:13 am

I am really glad I missed all of the hoopla! Sometimes these self inflicted computer breaks are a really good thing.

How unfortunate that someone resorted to name calling. I didn’t see the tit for tat back and forth that went on, and glad I didn’t have to witness it. My advice is that when you get so heated you want to call someone a name, you need to walk away!

That said, I do think, dear Katy, that on rare occasion – yes, you have been a bit snarky or smug. The other event that comes to my mind was the infamous `beautiful people at New Seasons’ post that many people found insulting. I recall several people told you so, and your response was to jettison. Initially you threatened to quit blogging altogether, and I was *so* glad you didn’t run away forever! That would have sucked!

I saved up and paid cash for a very nice stainless steel, brand new dishwasher because for once in my friggin’ life that’s what I want to have! It’s not a ball in chain, doesn’t keep me prisoner in my house, hasn’t prevented me from achieving other goals or participating in other activities. Every now and then I set foot in a Market of Choice or a New Seasons, but it never makes me feel beautiful. It’s a rare indulgence at a fancy schmancy deli or wine section. So what!? I work hard for my money, I make no apology to anyone.

Fine lines, my friend, fine lines! What works for you may not work for another, and vice versa. Doesn’t mean either one of you is inferior or superior to the other.


Valerie Heck January 13, 2012 at 6:35 am

I love your blog and wanted to send you a hug! People get weird when they can comment on something without repercussions. When faced with things like this I try to take a deep breath and let it go, don’t want to carry it with me. Keep on blogging! : )


Maryanne January 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Haha! I read the original post aloud to my hubs and we laughed and laughed at the “ball and chain” line. I’m not surprised that people were offended- the funniest part was the thought that if you had been talking about new cars (with their payments), name-brand groceries, or designer clothing, a different group of people would have been ticked off each time. You can’t please everyone all the time. Keep up the good work, Katy!


Madeline January 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Just FYI: We bought a NOT so high priced dishwasher 4 years ago and IT has been a BALL AND CHAIN also! Paid extra for “quiet”– it is not.It has broken 3 different times, some part/washer or something in the water line keeps wearing out, so me and the appliance repair guy are like best buddies now.Yes, every THING I own is a ball and chain. Higher price=more of a ball and chain if you ask me.

As I am getting older and considering retirement I am re evaluating just WHAT STUFF is worth it and which is NOT!

My house also “came with” a high end refrigerator which has shelves and doors that do not work for me! But it is “too high end” to get rid of, I am told! A ball and chain for sure.When we downsize,I want AVERAGE appliances, and maybe just a dish strainer from now on.

Have also not used my drier in a long long time– only occasionally for towels..maybe will dump that too.. think how many pairs of nice HIKING BOOTS I could buy instead of a dryer!?????

Katy is right: STUFF=ball and chain. Only you can decide which ones are worth your life energy– you work to buy them pay for them and maintain them.

Thanks Katy. PS: If you had to “APOLOGIZE” for each word or paragraph that” might” be taken the wrong way,well, you wouldn’t have time for much else now would you!?


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl January 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I still maintain that whether or not “stuff” is a ball and chain all depends upon the financial situation and the priorities of the person in question. It’s not so cut and dry as, “Stuff=ball and chain”.


Jinger January 14, 2012 at 4:57 am



Evelyn January 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I felt the snark in the post, and was a bit surprised since it was not your usual tone, but it really resonated with me. Sometimes people who don’t understand my lifestyle boggle that I must really be suffering to live without, and only do it because I have no other (better?) choice. I see the ball and chain, and prefer to go without *that*, but can’t always articulate it nearly as clearly as you did.


Sass January 16, 2012 at 4:22 am

I missed a few days of blog reading, but I really don’t think the dishwasher comment was all that snarky or out of line. I think most of us could substitue the “stainless steel dishwasher” with at least one other item we have in our homes and there we would have our own “ball and chain”.

I actually have stainless steel appliances in my kitchen because the previous owners had put them in there and quite honestly I must say I really don’t like them. They are much harder to keep clean and the term “stainless steel” is apparently a misnomer as I’m constantly battling rust spots on the dishwasher. I miss the white appliances I had in my condo as they were MUCH easier to keep clean and with the inevitable dings that come with having kids in and out of the kitchen, well, it was very easy to find that little vial of white appliance touch up paint to make those dings much easier to cover.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: