Throwing Good Money After Bad

by Katy on April 15, 2011 · 20 comments

I drink more tea that I should be admitting to. It’s not unusual for me to down four or five big mugs of tea on a daily basis, and I’m not talking herbal tea here. I’m talking hot sweet milky tea. I’m fully aware that it’s a matter of caffeine dependence, because I get headaches when I go a day without it. (Like on super busy days at work.)

My father bought us a pricey electric tea kettle when the kids were wee, and I grew to love it. The convenience of knowing I could safely walk away from boiling water without worry served as peace of mind in the midst of otherwise hectic days. I loved this tea kettle so much so, that the faint click sound when it turned itself off would give me a palpable sense of relaxation. Ahhh . . .

Like a Pavlovian dog.

I had hoped that my tea kettle would last forever. But it stopped working a few years back, and despite my husband’s best efforts, could not be revived. So I bought a regular sit-on-the-stove tea kettle at Goodwill and got on with my life. But my husband recently located a supplier in England and ordered a new part. I was surprised that he had gone to the effort but didn’t really think much of it. That was, until he mentioned that the part cost $40, plus the exorbitant shipping!

And guess what? The tea kettle works again, but will no longer shut itself off. Which pretty much negates the whole point of a electric vs. stovetop tea kettle!

So yeah, I call that throwing good money after bad.

Stressed out now, need a cup of tea.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl April 15, 2011 at 8:26 am

But maybe now that your kids aren’t so small, you can remember to turn it off? Or is that not how these kinds of things work? I’ve never owned one!


Katy April 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

No. I would rather use a stovetop tea kettle with a whistle than a silent fire hazard.



Kristen@TheFrugalGirl April 15, 2011 at 11:14 am

Oh, oh, oh! Is this the thing that doesn’t sit on the stovetop? I’ve heard about these from my UK friends.

-Kristen, who is a little slow on the uptake


Jessica April 15, 2011 at 9:24 am

That stinks Katy – I loved electric kettles when living in the UK they were awesome!


Raven April 15, 2011 at 9:34 am

I hate to be the bearer of more bad news, but you can get a new one these days from Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc. for less than $30. I know you’re avoiding buying new, but in this case it would have been better.

I LOVE mine. I lived abroad for 5 years, where they are quite common, and got used to it. It is nice to have instant hot water- only 1 minute to boil- and not worry about burning a kettle up (I am forgetful, even without kids).


Jen April 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm

But that was sweet of your husband to try…


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl April 16, 2011 at 2:25 am

I was just thinking that this morning. Bonus points for the effort from Mr. NCA!


Katy April 16, 2011 at 9:18 am

Hey, whose side are you on?!




Kristen@TheFrugalGirl April 16, 2011 at 10:54 am

Well, I do have a weak spot for men who do thoughtful things for their wives. 😉


Indy April 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

It is very thoughtful of him to think of it though the result he had intended might not quite be there.

I spent about 7 months debating getting an electric kettle and shopping around. I drink excessive amounts of black and green tea, and quick boiling water is always useful for everything from cleaning to my morning oatmeal. So I did finally cave in and bought a PerfecTemp on sale since it had multiple settings and no plastic to leech into my water. I can’t believe I ever considered getting such a kettle a frivolous expense. I have hot water quicker and use less power than having a pot on the stove, and to the exact temperature I require. So while some people can’t think of a kitchen without a microwave, I can’t think of going without my electric kettle.


gisele April 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm

When I still lived at home my father “fixed” an electric kettle in the same manner; the automatic shut off no longer worked. A couple of days before my wedding day I put on the kettle, went downstairs and forgot about it. I came up when the smoke detector started beeping – the kettle had melted into the counter and was a molten plastic mess, and the house smelled of toxic burned plastic for weeks. Sometimes it’s not worth it to “fix” things if it’s not done quite right.


E. Murphy April 16, 2011 at 8:26 am

The problem is we THINK we’ve done it right. 🙂


Lynne April 15, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Last fall my husband proudly announced that he’d finally found a replacement handle for our shower door from a fixture supplier on the internet (the handle had been broken for nearly a year). Best of all, it was only $4.95! I was thrilled until it arrived in the mail and I looked at the invoice. He’d paid $19.95 for “express shipping.” Oy! When I asked what he was thinking and didn’t they offer regular shipping, he looked at me like I was nuts and said, “But I thought you’d want it fixed as soon as possible!!” Hello? It had been broken for a freakin year–I could have waited another week! So I know where you’re coming from on this one, oh yes I do.


Kathy April 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm

We go through a lot of tea here, and I love my electric kettles. I usually have to replace them every few years, as they wear out from constant use.
This has been our gift of choice to give the last 7-8 years, since a friend left her kettle on the stove and almost burnt her house completely down when the kettle went dry. Everyone has loved their kettle, and I personally know that they are used daily by all. The number one comment we get back is that every one loves how FAST they are compared to the gas or electric stove top kettles.
We look at the energy not used as a savings. The auto shut off is a bonus.

Target has the stainless steel Aroma pot for about $30.


Holly April 16, 2011 at 3:42 am

We only have ever used a stove top kettle when we are camping with no electricity. Here in Ontario I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t use an electric kettle.


teri April 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

My dad was an electrician, so I probably think differently than others, but I would be so afraid of an electric teapot. He never allowed any electric cooking appliances large or small into our home. Our stove was gas, and we didn’t have electric skillets, hot plates, toaster ovens, not even an electric space heater or electric hot water heater. He was so much more worried about fires from any electric heating device than from a gas one. I guess it was just because of what he saw in his daily job, and the safety hazards he saw.

Just thought I would toss that out there, so you might feel better about using he gas stove. I know, I am a grandma, and I still have a gas stove, and not an electric kettle. It’s just something I learned at my dad’s knee.


Katy April 16, 2011 at 9:19 am


Thanks, I am now sold on the stovetop on, which sits on my GAS stove!



Stephanie April 16, 2011 at 11:36 am

At least he tried! I can understand your frustration, though… I love electric kettles, but haven’t bought one, because my whistling stovetop kettle works so well. I’d NEVER get one that didn’t whistle, though. I’d probably forget and burn the house down.


Stephanie April 17, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Like you, I find comfort in the clicking off sound of the kettle. I hope mine doesn’t go out soon, as I would find it difficult to make do with a stovetop one. I would drink less tea as each cup might seem like “too much work”– (Silly– I know.) I agree with Indy, my kitchen would not be complete with out the electric kettle– and I would trade the micro for one!


Holly April 28, 2011 at 7:46 am

I see a couple of people beat me to it but yes, for less than $40 you could have gotten the Aroma stainless steel kettle from Target. I got mine on sale there for $25. And no shipping charges. I bought it after I nearly started a fire several times from forgetting about my tea kettle on the stove. (I didn’t have a whistling one because that noise drives me crazy.) I love love love it, and can’t imagine going back to a stovetop one.


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