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Refinishing A Vintage KitchenAid Mixer |

Refinishing A Vintage KitchenAid Mixer

Kitchenaid Customer Service is awesome. True story, and they found me a replacement.

I purchased this Accolade 400 as my first stand mixer. With great
expectations, I awaited its arrival, with ingredients freshly bought, just
waiting to be mixed into delicious chocolate chip cookies.


The mixer arrived and was promptly un-boxed, the manual read, the beater
bar and bowl installed. The butter was melting, the white and brown sugar
measured, the flour, baking soda and salt sifted into a bowl. Tasty
chocolate chips waited in a measuring cup all their own. All was ready!

I poured the now-melted butter in the bowl, set the mixer to ‘2’, and
started to add the brown sugar. Suddenly, with a loud *grruunk*, the
mixer stalled! “What’s this?” I asked myself. “Surely liquid butter and
an 1/8 cup of sugar cannot bring 400 watts of mixing goodness to a halt!”

After a few attempts to restart the mixer, I concluded that there must be
a defect in the planetary gear system. With great despair heavy upon my
heart, I called the 800 customer service number. I spoke with a charming
young lady, whom I shall call Marsha (mostly because I forgot to write her
name down, and partly just because I like the name). Marsha listened to
the mixer say “*grruunk*” for her also, and declared it needed to be
replaced. I like to think she had a catch in her voice and a tear in her
eye when she told me this. An early grave for so fine a device is a
travesty, indeed.

Marsha told me of the most excellent warranty exchange, how UPS would
deliver a shiny replacement mixer to me, and I would merely have to put
the mixer that says *grruunk* back into its box, set it on my front
porch, and a few days later, UPS would take it away to be delivered to
Kitchenaid heaven, where it would be put to rest, hopefully after an
autopsy was performed, so the elusive 6-sigma defect rate goal could be
attained for future generations of mixers (that’s 2 defects per billion).
I did not speak to Marsha of my penchant for commas and run-on sentences.
That would have to wait for another day.

Then, in a plot twist reminiscent of a bad romance novel (which I have
never read, but have heard about), she twisted the knife, and told me that
the Accolade 400 (the most powerful Kitchenaid tilt-head mixer ever made)
was discontinued! “Oh no!” I thought. “Oh no!” I said to Marsha. “It’s
true,” she said.

But hope rose it’s head again, as Marsha told me that I had a choice to
make. I could choose to replace the Accolade 400 with a 325 watt Artisan,
and she would include an extra 3 quart bowl, or, I could upgrade to the
Professional 5 Plus Lift-bowl mixer — the second most power mixer in the
Kitchenaid universe! Accepting the Professional 5 Plus, I would not have
nightmares of turning into Tim Taylor, and attempting to bolt a 1970
Chrysler 426 Hemi engine to the side of the Artisan for ultimate mixing
action (although the idea of chrome exhaust and flames painted on the side
did have a certain allure).

I considered which mixer I would prefer, while at the same time
considering asking Marsha to marry me (this idea was later vetoed by my
wife). With a decision firmly in mind, I told Marsha, “I’ll take the
Professional 5 Plus, the second mo…” “Yah, yah,” she said, “I know that
part of that dialog” (I may be remembering small parts of the conversation
incorrectly here, you’ll have to excuse me).

Marsha and I exchanged information, and I promised to write every week
from wherever I was stationed for the duration of the war. Or maybe I
just gave her my shipping address, and we exchanged pleasantries and
disconnected. In any case, a new Professional 5 Plus mixer would soon be
arriving on my front porch, and I could return to my aborted attempt to
make chocolate chips cookies, which I would use to woo Marsha to marry me.
Or perhaps I would just eat them.

A few days later (far fewer than the 7 to 10 Marsha told me I may have to
wait), the mixer arrived. Like it’s predecessor, it was un-boxed, the
manual read, the beater bar and bowl installed. Only this time, there
were no odd noises, and cookies were made, and all was well. Mostly.

“Mostly?” you might say to yourself, much like I would if I had managed to
read this far wondering what this person was rambling about. Well, truth
be told, when Marsha offered me the options for exchange, I thought I
would be happy with a lift-bowl type mixer. The sad, unfortunate reality
is that after making several batches of cookies, I find the lift-bowl very
awkward. In fact, it’s almost created a rift between my mixer and I, and
soon we may have to seek therapy (we talked about making more cookies
together, but decided it would be mutually unsatisfying).

Yes, the awesome power that the Professional 5 Plus displays is truly,
well, awesome. It looks like you could mix concrete with it, toss in a
few bricks, and it would break them up like soggy marshmallows. My
fingers fear contact with the beater bar, as surely it would rip my arm
off (I think I would discard the cookie dough if that happened, however).
But the lift-bowl action just doesn’t make me happy. I find it annoying
to have to remove the beater just to remove the bowl. And because the
power head cannot be tilted back, it’s awkward to scrape the beater when
the butter clumps on it. And, as we all know, perfect baked goods cannot
be achieved unless one is truly happy (I found that in a fortune cookie).

Good people of Kitchenaid, I implore you, please fix the Accolade 400 you
found this rambling literary disaster attached to, and allow me to return
the Professional 5 Plus (“The second most pow… right.”) back to you.
Surely, somewhere in Kitchenaid heaven, there must be an Accolade 400
willing to donate it’s soul (or planetary gear set) to restore the life
force of this poor unit, who never truly had a chance to suffer culinary
distress at my hands (hmm, maybe that was a bad way to phrase it…).
Incidentally, if this actual Accolade 400 were swapped out, and an Onyx
Black were available, I’d be even happier with that.

In all seriousness, if it is possible to get a replacement Accolade 400
and return the Professional 5 Plus, I would be very happy. Marsha (I
really wish I had her correct name) was great to talk to, explained all
the options, was well-spoken, and overall just a pleasant person. Perhaps
you can tell who she was from the ticket number, which is 1234567. It is
truly a shame that more companies don’t have a warranty and customer
service like yours.

Please feel free to contact me. Email is the most reliable method,
followed by the telephone. Both are included at the top.

Sincerely,
–jcw

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