Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Grill Purchases

Unlike my usual PF talk, I do not have any specialized knowledge of grills, so forgive me if I forget some features.

This year, I really needed to upgrade my old gas grill. It has been a trusty old friend for the last 6 years, but its become dilapidated. The grill is rusting in places, the two original wheels are long gone, and only one spare wheel has been found to replace both.

So I began my search, and quickly found myself with the usual purchasing quandary: form or function?

The grill that immediately got my attention was this beauty: The ultimate grill, 60,000 BTUs, 3 burners, a side burner, a refrigerator, and a small island with umbrella. List price? $4,999.00.

While certainly BTUs, the amount of heat generated, counts when you're BBQing, 60,000 is overkill. And what am I going to do with an on-board refrigerator?

I reluctantly moved on to the smaller, more affordable, and more importantly, closer to what I need, rather than what I want.

I settled upon a more reasonable CharBroil 40,000 BTU 4-burner grill, costing around $149.00.

It also comes with a side burner, but lacks the refrigerator and umbrella. Not real losses, but certainly decreases the cool factor.

While this was not the cheapest grill (see lower picture), I chose this one because it provided the functionality I needed, but still looked nice enough to be presentable at BBQs.

But I think this purchase helped me draft a more principled theory for purchases. There are always going to be multiple variations on a product we are looking to purchase. On one end, is the $49 stand-alone charcoal grill, which has all function and very little form. On the other end, is the $4,999 60K BTU BBQing monstrosity, which has a lot of form, and probably some function.

It's finding the middle that balances your budget and your desire to have both form and function that really suggests the perfect (or right) purchase you should make. In this case, the CharBroil 4-burner that for 3 times the cost of the cheapest product provided better form than the $49 grill while for 33 times less, provides all the functionality I need, with nothing I don't.

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