DUBUQUE, IA—Lorna Macklin, an elementary-school teacher, has a problem. It started last Friday. “After school I went food shopping, like any other Friday. I got home and put food away in the fridge. When I opened it up about ten minutes later it was all gone.”

She searched the house for her husband or kids, sure that someone was playing a prank. No one was. Her refrigerator had eaten all the food. “I rushed right back out to the supermarket and bought a few of the same things again. I put those away in the refrigerator, and I got the same result.”


Multiple visits from repairmen couldn’t solve the problem. “They wouldn’t honor the warranty, for starters,” she said. “It covers a busted belt or a faulty thermostat, but I guess not this.”

She even called the company’s headquarters. “I had a talk with a woman for a while who was in charge of the product safety division,” she said. “She was nice but after a while it was obvious that she just didn’t believe me.”

“I didn’t at first either,” said Macklin’s husband Larry. “But I bought a six-pack, waited a little while, and opened the door. Gone!”


The Devourer, as Macklin’s husband calls it, has been a source of frustration and even shame for the family—at least the adults in the family. “The kids love it,” she said. “To them, it’s like a party trick. They put in a bottle of salad dressing or mustard, close the door, and voila! But to me and Larry there’s no voila.”

The refrigerator eats everything rarely even leaving behind containers or packages. “Though there are a few things it doesn’t like,” Macklin said. “I made the kids some macaroni and cheese pieces. They loved it. It was in a bowl with cling-wrap over the top. The refrigerator left that alone, completely. I have to say I felt a little hurt. I even added in bacon pieces. Still nothing. I guess I’ll serve it to the kids again.”

She’s now stuck.

“I don’t have the money for a new refrigerator, frankly,” she said. “Our front stoop needs repairing, and the kids have ballet lessons and R/C club. I thought about starting a Go Fund Me or one of those, but I wouldn’t know how.”


The road ahead looks rough.

“We’ve had to go to non-refrigerated.” Macklin said “My kids like milk, but that’s out, unless I buy tiny cartons and they drink them immediately. But we can say goodbye to eggs, tuna salad, cottage cheese, sliced tomatoes, and lots of other things we used to count on. The only silver lining is that the freezer seems okay, so they can still have their ice cream and frozen waffles. It’s not much, but it’s something.”

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