It's a new month and that means it's time to take a look back at…
Sit back, kids, because I’ve got a story that’s over a year in the making. I’ve contemplated telling you this one before but I never felt inspired. Plus, it’s a really really long story. I’ve highlighted the important points for you skimmers out there.
In January of 2006 Dale and I went shopping for a new refrigerator. We went to Sears (cue scary music) because I read up on fridges in Consumer Reports and they liked a particular Kenmore model. It had an ice maker, which was about the only fancy thing I cared about, and it had some nice features like a digital read out of the temperature of the fridge and freezer. Most importantly, though, Consumer Reports recommended it. So, we go to Sears, purchase the fridge and schedule a delivery. Bad thing the first: Sears delivery isn’t free and it will be 4 weeks before they can bring it to us. I get a look from Dale, who wanted to go to a local appliance store for this purchase, but this is the fridge I want so he goes along with it.
The day of the delivery comes. It’s a Friday and I take it off from work. And I wait. And wait. And wait some more. Finally, I call Sears and ask them where the fridge is. After much time on hold I am told that the refrigerator they had to deliver to me was damaged so badly that it never made it on to the truck and my delivery was canceled. No one thought to call me and tell me this and I wasted a day off from work and still have no fridge. Bad thing the second: Sears delivery is unrealiable. After much yelling on my end, they miraculously locate another fridge and reschedule my delivery for the following Monday.
So, I take Monday off and wait for the fridge. It comes, it looks good and then the idiot delivery guy breaks the switch that turns the freezer light on and off. You know the one that automatically turns on when you open the door? Yeah, that one. But he tells me it’s okay because it’s under warranty and repairs are free. I’m furious. I don’t want a brand new, $1000 repaired fridge. I get back on the phone with Sears and yell some more. They can’t find another model like this one and it’s going to be a month before they do. In the meantime, they want to order the part and schedule the repair and then I can decide. So, I schedule the repair for the following week.
The day of the repair comes but the part hasn’t arrived. Neither has my new fridge. I wait. At this point my memory of this whole disaster gets a little fuzzy. There were at least two more fridge deliveries that were denied by me for various reasons. One had a big dent in the side. Another one arrived fine but they hadn’t switched the handles on the doors to open from the right instead of the left and the delivery guys didn’t know how to do it so the fridge had to be denied. I was supposed to receive a $50 gift card for Sears for my pain and suffering but it never came. Then they were supposed to credit my account $100 for my pain and suffering but that never happened either. Bad thing the third: Sears customer service lies.
In the meantime, the part for the light switch arrived and I figured fixing the fridge already in my kitchen was a better plan than relying on a successful delivery from these fools. So, the light was fixed and all was right with the world.
Except for one tiny problem. The ice in the ice bucket was melting and freezing into a solid mass. And the food in my freezer all had freezer burn and ice crystals. The freezer wasn’t working properly. Grrr.
At this point, it was about May or June. I couldn’t deal with Sears any more and I turned the problem over to Dale. I figured he had the summer off from work and he could be around for repair people and at least I wouldn’t have to take any more time off to deal with fridge issues. So, Dale calls and explains about the freezer problems and he gets an appointment for some time in August. The guy that comes takes one look at the fridge, tells Dale there’s nothing wrong with it at all, it’s just not level. He levels it, tells Dale to defrost it, clean it out and it will be fine. He also suggests we buy a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the freezer. Yeah, buddy, okay. Let’s got buy a thermometer so that we can monitor the temperature of our brand new $1000 refrigerator. What an ass. Bad thing the fourth: Sears repairmen don’t actually know how to repair.
But we do what he suggests – except for the thermometer – and we clean it out and wipe up all the frost and empty out the ice block that is supposed to be ice cubes and we wait. One day later and we’ve got frost build up and a block of ice again. Grrr. We get back on the phone to yell at Sears some more and tell them to get a repair man out here who knows what he’s doing.
By now Dale is back to school and he schedules the appointment for a morning when he doesn’t have to drive the bus. And he waits. And waits. And waits some more. He finally calls Sears to ask where the repairman is and they give him the guy’s cell phone number. Dale reaches him and the guy says he won’t be over until 4:00 and what’s wrong with the dryer anyway? Dale says, it’s not the dryer, it’s the fridge and the repairman says, I don’t do fridges. Bad thing the fifth: Sears repair is unreliable.
Many of you have met Dale. You know him as an even-tempered sunny-disposition kind of guy. I have never seen him as furious as he was that day. He was so angry he was shaking. I think he even raised his voice. So he got back on the phone with Sears and he laid into them like nobody’s business. He reiterated our problems going back to freakin’ January and he told them that I would be home from work at 4:30 and a repairman who worked on refrigerators had better be in the driveway waiting for me.
Lo and behold, I get home and there’s the repair truck waiting patiently. And this repairman actually knows what he’s doing. He shakes his head in disgust at the story I tell him and orders 2 parts. A main control something or other, and something else. We schedule an appointment for 2 weeks later and I sit back and wait for the parts. And wait and wait and wait.
November rolls around and the parts finally arrive the week before Thanksgiving. So we call and schedule an appointment again and I ask specifically for the repairman-who-knows-what-he-is-doing but they tell me they can’t guarantee who I will get and I’ll just have to take my chances. The guy who comes isn’t the one I wanted but he’s okay. He installs the something else and then hits a snag. The main control something or other part, the part that we waited 6 weeks for, is damaged and can’t be installed. But, he tells me, it’s okay, because the other part is really the one we needed and the repairman-who-knows-what-he-is-doing was just being overly-cautious by ordering this extra part. I’m dubious but figure I’ve got no choice so I sign his slip and off he goes. Bad thing the sixth: Sears repairmen lie.
Things in the freezer look good. The ice isn’t melting into a solid block and the food doesn’t have freezer burn. For about a week. Yes, my friends, one week and it’s all back to frozen blocks and ice crystals.
I get back on the phone and start yelling some more. I tell them to just reorder the part that wasn’t installed but they tell me we have to have a service call first to determine what’s wrong with the freezer. So, once again, I schedule a repairman to come out. And guess who it is? It’s the repairman-who-knows-what-he-is-doing and he once again orders the main something or other and something else which is a different something else than the something else he already installed. And we wait for parts.
Four weeks later the parts arrive. It’s now February 2007, in case you weren’t keeping up with the time line. The repairman comes, it’s not repairman-who-knows-what-he-is-doing, but this guy is okay. He installs the main something or other but says that the something else isn’t the right something else for this model fridge. But he tells me it’s okay because the other part is really the one we needed and the repairman-who-knows-what-he-is-doing was just being overly-cautious by ordering this extra part. I’m dubious (again) but sort of believe him this time because I’m pretty sure this is the part we needed, too.
That was one month ago and (knock wood) so far, so good. I still go into the freezer every day and shove my hand all the way to the bottom of the ice bucket just to make sure they aren’t frozen together. And I’m actually stocking the freezer with things like frozen pizza and ice cream now and it’s not melting/freezing/crystallizing.
That’s the tale of one appliance. It’s a long and sad tale, isn’t it? The tale of appliance two is much much shorter.
Monday, our dishwasher died. It’s been on it’s last legs for a while so this was no surprise. Tuesday afternoon at 12:30 I went to Meserve Appliance, the place Dale wanted to go when we needed a fridge. I walked in and about 5 minutes later I had purchased a very nice Whirlpool dishwasher from the very nice lady at the store. She asked when I would like it delivered and I said as soon as possible and she said they can come this afternoon. By 2:45 pm I had a new dishwasher installed.
I told you it was a shorter tale. You know, I always say “trade local” and for some reason I didn’t when it came time to buy a refrigerator. I learned my lesson the hard way but you can bet that I will never ever ever buy another appliance from Sears. I’ll be trading local from now on. I suggest you do the same.