There’s really no reason to get rid of my Sears Kenmore CounterCraft Food Processor if it’s still working, right? All it needs is a replacement part. It gets taken out of its box a few times a year for some major processing and that’s it, which is perhaps why it’s lasted as long as it has. The annual pesto making. A number of batches per year of natural cosmetic creams. And most recently, to grate a few pounds of cheese for some marathon quiche making. The once ivory colored plastic on the machine has yellowed over the years, just from age. And the mixing “work bowl” has a crack in it, which is now leaking when I use it. That is the only thing wrong with it. So I went in search of a replacement bowl.
OK, the thing is Rather Old, I will admit that. It was a gift in the 1980′s, and indeed, the still intact instruction/recipe booklet at the bottom of the box was printed in 1977. But it works! The motor is fine. The blades are fine and all there. I have a problem with throwing away something that works if it still functions and can be fixed. It is such a disposable world now. I love new stuff as much as anybody, but there is something so wasteful about junking something that works.
So why shouldn’t I be able to get a part for it? What did they do with all the spare Sears Kenmore CounterCraft Food Processor mixing bowls that were manufactured back then? They must have made hundreds! Thousands! Surely there must be one bowl sitting on a shelf in some warehouse somewhere, right? And so the adventure begins.
First I went to the Sears site and looked up “Parts”, filled in my model and serial numbers and came up with zip. Next I engaged in the Live Chat, where a very polite guy using very polite and formal English tried looking it up for me; after a lengthy wait he regretted to inform me that they are so sorry my part is not available at this time. When I asked at what time it would become available again, I think he got a bit flustered. He then let me know that Sears does not have that part and that I would have to contact the manufacturer directly for it. But isn’t Sears the manufacturer of the Sears Kenmore CounterCraft Food Processor? Apparently not.
So who is? After more waiting, he tells me that Hamilton-Beach is actually the manufacturer of the Sears processor, and then suggests I “Google it!” to find out who to contact. I told him I thought it would be terribly wasteful to have to throw out a perfectly good food processor just because the plastic bowl had a crack in it. He did not respond to my comment, but invited me to contact Sears again if I ever needed anything.
By the way, maybe Hamilton-Beach made the Sears Kenmore CounterCraft, but the plastic work bowl was actually a product of General Electric and was made from something called “Lexan”. Out of curiosity, I looked up Lexan to see what it actually was, and discovered that Lexan is no longer made by GE but is now a product of SABIC Innovative Plastics. Lexan is a polycarbonate resin thermoplastic. It’s the same stuff that they made the helmets out of that the Apollo moon astronauts used. They use it to make bullet-proof windows and the headlight housings on cars. They make signs out of it. Given all that tough stuff, I find it amazing that the Lexan bowl on my food processor could not withstand the rigors of a few rounds of pesto, some beauty creams and a few blocks of cheese. I think someone should let NASA know.
Back to the task at hand, I dutifully googled the Hamilton-Beach site and filled out the “Parts” section with my model and serial numbers. And came up with zip yet again. There was no Live Chat with a friendly out-sourced customer service person to engage with this time, so I then went to Contact Us and explained my problem in an email. I even let them know that the bowl was made of Lexan, formerly by GE, just in case that would help them in some way. It’s been two days now and I haven’t gotten a response. Even if I do get a response eventually, something tells me they are going to be about as helpful as Sears was.
So I turned to Ebay. And guess what? There was my part! It was the only one, right there, with my very same serial number, as if it was waiting just for me! But here’s the thing about it. The shipping costs more than the actual part. Given that, I figured maybe I should just get a whole new food processor and give up this fruitless pursuit. So I did an internet search to see what a comparable machine is selling for new…..and discovered it is ridiculously too much, given the limited amount of use it gets around here…..and the fact that my reality is entrenched in the 1980′s regarding kitchen counter appliances.
And so, in between writing the paragraphs of this very post, right now in real-time, I have just contacted the seller of the used Sears Kenmore Food Processor workbowl, just to make sure it is intact and without any cracks. The seller, Rick, immediately responded and assured me that it is in good shape. Hopefully it will be. Here it is. Recycle, reuse, renew!