The instant pot of spite

Wednesday 11th January, 2023

There are two kinds of people: those who preach the gospel of the Instant Pot and those that don't get the hype. I consider myself one of the latter.

People always tell me, "You can cook anything in it! It's so easy! Just put it in the pot and push the button!"

Stoves have been doing that for millennia and pressure cookers have existed for a long time, but I'm not looking to crush dreams, so I keep my thoughts to myself.

The same has been happening with air fryers⏤ convection ovens have always been a thing. Maybe it's the compact package that makes it appealing? I don't know, but maybe my opinion doesn't carry much weight given I've regifted my only crockpot to a worthy home that would actually use it. My stove and cast iron are my workhorses. If you include my two spatulas from the seventies that you can pry from my cold, dead hands, that's everything I need.

This is my long-winded way of saying I'm against fancy kitchen gadgets.

So you can imagine that when I looked at my giant pile of past gifts tethered with strings of guilt, the Instant Pot didn't make the cut.

As if my feelings about kitchen gadgets weren't enough of a reason, there's also the closet dilemma. My husband and I are moving, and there's a severe lack of storage space in our new place. Someone had the great idea of splitting a house into two and making a duplex (probably to double the payday) and it shows. The two doors my husband and I remembered as closets are, in fact, not closets (they house the furnace and hot water heater), leaving a singular, smaller-than-average closet to carry the majority of the household's storage.

I like to say we were closet bamboozled. If I didn't watch TikToks of people in New York sharing a single toilet with 3 other units, I would be losing my mind.

Before pricing the Instant Pot, I checked how much my model was new (I didn't realize there were multiple models until sizing up my competition). Apparently, I was gifted one of the snazzier models that cost $100 new.

The guilt thickened.

I reminded myself of my one good closet and persevered through the guilt. I posted it on the Facebook marketplace for $50, because that's what people do - endure the marketplace.

For a couple of days, there were no takers, so I lowered the price to $30 . A steal. A get-this-out- of-my-house-yesterday price.

This summoned a parade of people asking, "Is this available?"

To which I responded, "Yes it is."

And they replied with nothing. Absolutely nothing. They ghosted me. Every one of them.

Does anyone know why this happens? Do people take comfort in knowing an object is still in someone's house? As if they're just popping in to say, "Hey, still got that thing? Good. Hope it stays that way. Bye."

After a day or so, I received my first serious message.

"I am interested. Will you take $25 for it?"

Ugh. Five dollars less? I'm already robbing myself, why do you have to make it sting?

I do only have one closet though…

"Sure. $25 is fine."

She asked when she could pick it up the following day. I explained that I was moving and between two places, but she could pick it up "anytime after noon."

"Ok. I will let you know in the morning what time."

I know this sounds like the standard, boring, back and forth, but bear with me. You need the details to understand the shenanigans.

It was 10 am the next day. I was looking over my long list of moving to-dos and figuring out how I would make it to the old place by noon to be ready for people picking up items. I hadn't told them "after noon" for fun. I had reasons like all people do when they make plans. Schedules aren't arbitrary, contrary to what the Instant Pot lady believed, because at 10 am she messaged me.

"I can be there in 20 mins. Is that ok?"

Does "noon" mean different things to different people? No, it does not. I researched this to avoid looking like a fool. It means 12 pm, lunchtime, so what planet was this lady living on?

I chose to repeat myself, hoping she would make the connection herself.

"I won't be there until noon. Any time after that."

"… Do you mean 12pm?"

"Yes." What else would I mean? Thankfully messages don't convey tone , though I had hoped the period made some kind of a point.

"Ok. I can be there at 12 pm."

'At 12 pm?' Lady, you're killing me. Do you need the definition of 'after' now? Was there a change in language and I didn't get the memo?

I remembered the single closet and convinced myself I was making a big deal out of something small. Technically 12:01 is after noon, right? Fine.

"Ok. That works," I sent.

My husband and I rushed to complete our to-do list, then departed north to the mostly-empty, yet closet-plentiful apartment. It wasn't long before we were slowed down.

In Austin, we have a lot of traffic, and at random times, so it's common to be put 10 - 15 mins behind unexpectedly. That's not to say that Austin is a traffic hellscape like a lot of news stations make it out to be, but it is inconvenient sometimes and results in most Austinites not being perfectly punctual. There's typically an unspoken understanding of this.

I messaged the Instant Pot lady, "We're going to be 15 mins late. We're stuck in traffic. I hope that's ok."

"No. sorry."

Wait… What? Did you have a five-minute window to pick this thing up?

Trapped in traffic, I had to take a breath and choose my words carefully. I didn't want to fight, but I absolutely wanted to be done with this whole situation. I tried my best to politely convey closure, hoping she'd take the hint. I should have known she wouldn't be the hint-taking type.

"I'm sorry we couldn't work something out. Have a good day."

"Can I pick it up tomorrow?"

I should have left her on read, but instead, I had the genius idea of leaving the Instant Pot on the porch for her to pick up whenever she pleased. It seemed like the perfect solution. I was trapped in a sunk cost fallacy. I wanted it gone, most marketplace interactions were terrible, and didn't want my multi-day plight with this lady to be in vain.

Once at the old place, I placed the Instant Pot on the porch in a moving box, labeled with her name in giant sharpie letters.

I thought for sure I was done. She had my address, unit number, gate code, and payment info. What could go wrong? Maybe she steals it? At this point, that was a risk I was willing to take.

That's not how it went. The play-by-play began.

"I'm leaving now."

"Ok. Great. It's on the porch with your name on it."

"What building is it again?"


I guess she can't scroll up.

"Ok. I'm going up the stairs."

Oh my God… (This thought was particular to the tone of Bob from the show Bob's Burgers - pure exasperation.)

I received a picture of the box, her name still plastered on it.

"That's it," I messaged back, "You can open the box and take a look first if you like."

The quick play-by-play ended. The long pause had me convinced she stole it - a bold move given our neighbor has a camera aimed directly at our door for some reason.

Finally, I get something. It's another picture.

I see her finger pointing at the tiniest scuff on the side of the Instant Pot. A scuff that was visible in the ad, but not notable in the slightest⏤ something that likely happened during the rounds of friends borrowing it to discover their level of Instant-Potness before making an investment.

A message appears under the photo.

"Ma'am is this rust?!"

I stared at the message. My eyebrows must have merged because my husband asked me what was wrong. I showed him the message.

He couldn't stop laughing. "Send her a picture of rust," He suggested.

I would describe my emotions as a 60/40 blend of anger and curiosity. I was angry for obvious reasons, but also curious as to how a person like this could navigate life. What did she do for a living? Did she have kids? How did she acquire food? Has she not seen rust on an object?

Maybe she's doing this to get a lower price, I thought. The scales of my emotions were tipping.

My lone closet was no longer in my mind. This was between me and this very strange lady who I was beginning to think was from a distant galaxy trying to navigate human interactions.

Do I explain what rust is? No… That's ridiculous.

I messaged, "It's not rust. It's just a scuff."

"There's rust. but it's ok."

Why are you doing this? Fine… Here we go…

"It's not rust, there's no orange or exposed metal, it's a small scuff. These are $100 new. Most are $50 used."

I typed at warped speed then frantically scoured Google for images of rust.

She sends more photos. Now the same finger is pointing at lesser scuffs, barely perceivable to the naked eye.

I was hot. I thought about arguing more but made an ultimate decision to channel my inner retail worker - the stone-faced skill that lies dormant. Once you have been yelled at for being sold out of butter pecan ice cream in a tone more appropriate for child kidnapping, you're permanently prepared for the dumbest of conflicts.

"If it's not what you had in mind, you can leave it there. I have other people interested."

Surely we're done here.

"I will take for 20."

Is this lady for real? Is she messing with me? The audacity.

Not much makes me seethe with anger anymore, but that did it.

"Leave it there." I hoped she could hear the snarl in my message.

I stared. Waiting. Daring for a response. I was ready for it. I couldn't wait to say, "I would rather donate it."

But there was nothing.

It was finally over.

Surprisingly the Instant Pot was still there, rust-free, and in the box with her big stupid name on it. I took the ad down, took it home, and cooked a pot of beans with it. I just put them in, pushed a button, and voila! I won't say I'll be preaching its gospel, but I kind of get the appeal. I guess now I have to make room in the only closet for the Instant Pot of spite.

It's free
always has been, always will be

Similar Articles

It's free
always has been, always will be