Last week featured a slew of first world problems at my house. Chief among them, we bought a brand new washer and dryer and the washer broke down on the very first day.
Just a bit of background: my husband Ben is very handy, but has recently decided he is sick to death of fixing shit all the time. So, when the spin cycle in our old washer went out for the second time in as many months, he made it clear he was ready for some grown-up appliances complete with warranty, delivery and hook-up.
You know, to make life easier.
He didn’t even want to come in the store and look over the choices, because, stick a fork in him, he is DONE.
And so it was up to me to save our family from the travails of unreliable appliances. Which I was happy to do, since Ben is always saving me from travails of one sort or another.
But alas, here’s how something that should have been so easy went so wrong and the lessons I want to impart to you, dear readers, lest you suffer the same fate.
On Saturday, I picked out a brand new washer and dryer from the “liquidation center” of a local major appliance store. The dryer had a dent in it, but the sales guy assured me he would get me the same model new in a box for the same price. I plunked down $1100 for the washer/dryer combo and got delivery scheduled for Tuesday.
Lesson 1: “Liquidation centers” are bullshit. I later discovered virtually the exact same set of merchandise at the same prices in the main showroom. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re getting a good deal just by virtue of walking into the “liquidation center.”
On Tuesday morning I get a phone call that the delivery truck has been vandalized and delivery must be postponed until Wednesday.
Lesson 2: Scheduling deliveries is ALWAYS a pain in the ass and will never work out how you want it to. Probably not a way around it unless you get lucky. Or perhaps you do not agree to purchase anything until they agree to your delivery schedule. Oh, I like that.
On Wednesday morning, I greet a very nice delivery dude and try to keep the dog from barking himself to death while the new units are being hooked up.
After he leaves, I do a few loads of laundry and start to enjoy it for perhaps the first time EVER. On load number 5, things go terribly wrong. Where previously, the spin cycle was so ferocious that garments were nearly dry at the end of the cycle, now everything is sopping wet.
Late Wednesday afternoon, I pour over the owner’s manual, experimenting with different cycles to see if ANY of them are working. I am in denial that a piece of modern machinery could konk out on day one.
Lesson 3: Read the owner’s manual. It’s possible you’re an uninformed consumer and you’ve made a simple mistake. Plus, if you end up having to call the appliance store, the first thing they’re going to ask you is if you read the owner’s manual. You want to be able to say, “Bitch, please. Of course I did.”
When Ben comes home on Wednesday evening I reassure him that everything is fine, just fine. When asked, “Why are the clothes still wet? Why is it not spinning?” I simply shrug and tell him to read the owner’s manual. Perhaps he’s using the wrong cycle for his load.
All day Thursday I stew in my own juices and have pretend conversations with the appliance guy so I can sort out exactly the right way to bitch him out.
Friday morning I call the minute the store opens and tell the guy who answers the phone my situation. I am placed on hold and then told that he will send the technician out to see me.
By 1:oopm I haven’t heard boo from the technician, so I call again. I am placed on hold again and then told that the technician has gone home for the day. Very slowly, to keep myself from yelling, I tell him in my grown up voice that he needs to send someone out to haul this chunk of shit away and bring me something that works. He says he will ask the owner for approval and call me back.
By 3:00pm I still haven’t received a call. I call again and ask for a status update. He says the owner has approved my request but the delivery schedule is full for tomorrow. I tell him this is unacceptable and I have already missed two days of work over this and will not be missing another. If he can’t deliver tomorrow he can come and pick it up another day and give me a refund.
We hang up and I am pissed. Shallow breathing, hot face, the whole bit. I call back immediately and demand that they bring me a different model. I do not wish to go through this again. He invites me to come down and make another selection.
Lesson 4: Call early and call often. If there’s any hope of getting something resolved the same day, you need to call the minute they open and keep calling every few hours. You are not their priority, you are a hot potato they want to get off the phone with as soon as possible. They already have your money, they’re going to focus on the people in the store who haven’t given them money yet. Notice how I didn’t get ONE call back? I had to do ALL the calling.
Before leaving for the store, I get online and do some research.
Lesson 5: Spring for a subscription to Consumer Reports. Needless to say, I should have done this in the first place. You can get a monthly subscription for less than seven dollars. This would have saved me a ton of time and heartache if I’d done it up front. Silly me for thinking anything I paid over a thousand dollars for would be worth more than the metal it’s made of.
I head to the appliance store in Friday afternoon traffic. This time, I head to the main showroom. I take a deep breath and head in. The first person I meet is not the guy I’ve been talking to all day. I tell him I’d rather work with him, since the guy I have been talking to hasn’t even apologized for the inconvenience or told me he’ll make it right. He says the guy I’ve been talking to is the manager and will have to be the one to help me, as he knows the background of the situation.
I meet the manager and tell him to leave me alone while I look over my options. Smart phone in hand, I begin matching models to my list. Finally, I call him over and we discuss other options. He seems a decent fellow, I hate to kill him. But this no apology shit is still bothering me. I finally make my selection and plunk out some more money to get a better model.
Lesson 6: Don’t be a cheapskate. Spending a couple hundred bucks more could prevent a big pain in the ass. You’re worth it.
As I check out, he tells me that they have a one time exchange policy. They will take something back once, but that’s the limit, since they don’t want people to simply sample every unit in the place. I assure him that’s not what I’m doing and that for me, appliance shopping is right up there with getting a colonoscopy.
Lesson 7: Most appliance stores will let you exchange once — even if there’s not a problem. File that in your memory banks, kids.
As I am walking away, he says he’s sorry. To my back. I turn around and say “That’s the first time you’ve said that, you know.” He looks stricken and says sorry again.
Saturday morning I get a call around 8:00 saying my new washer and dryer will be delivered between 9:00 and 11:00. I head out for a three mile run to burn off some aggression. At 9:30 sharp my favorite delivery guy is back and he’s apologetic and cool. He gets me hooked up and says this is a much better model. I tell him he’s been great and I hope I never see him again. And he totally gets it.
Lesson 8: Always be kind to the delivery guy. It’s so not his fault.
All is well now. The new set is more feature rich and obviously better quality. Ben says they look like what a washer and dryer would look like in a Stanley Kubrick film, circa 1979.
And the spin cycle works. So that’s a plus.