It was a piece of crap hot plate. It was the one model they carried at the tiny hardware store in Stephenson, Michigan. When you want to cook with it, it keeps turning itself off and the only way to keep it cooking is to set it at a higher cooking temperature.
I only had the hot plate because the stove stopped working— not that the STOVE was broken, it was that some mice damaged the electrical outlet the stove was plugged in to and an electrician was needed.
Normal, middle-class people handle situations like that by calling the electrician. Or by saving, bit by bit, each month until they have the money for the electrician.
But when you have fallen out of the middle class and onto a certain government disability program, you are not allowed to save your money. There is a low threshold of the money you are allowed in your bank account. When you have just a little saved toward your emergency, on the day your disability money arrives, you go over the threshold, at least until you pay your electric, home heating and other essential bills. And when you are over the threshold you are kicked off of all of your benefit programs, even Medicaid, and you have to reapply, and for the days until you are re-accepted you have zero income, and since the maximum benefits don’t cover a fraction of essential living expenses (nothing for transportation, for example, even if you don’t live within walking distance of anything), you get into a deep hole and can’t get out.
So the answer to a big appliance failure is the purchase of a substitute small appliance. Well, two. I have a ‘convection oven’ I use for ovenly purposes, and it’s still working well after all these years. But my hot plate needs replacing.
I didn’t want to get a new piece of crap one from the hardware store. I looked at a few places in Menominee, Michigan when I went there for a medical appointment, but didn’t get to the one good place, Walmart. And so I ended up shopping on Amazon.com. It’s nice because you can check out the negative and positive reviews to get an idea of how well the appliance works.
I ordered one, and it should come eventually. The bad thing is that I have Important Medical Tests coming up, I’ve gone off my good diet for a bit, and now I have to be totally perfect on the diet until Test day. And all that without one of my usual cooking tools (and without a dishwasher, or running water in the kitchen, either.)