I’m not a happy camper this morning. I’ve had a frustrating day and it’s only 1030.
The day started out with great promise. My husband brought me home my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. It was yummy. I don’t know if it was $6 yummy, but it was yummy.
Today was the day my refrigerator was supposed to get repaired. For those who don’t know, on July 15th we came downstairs in the morning to discover our refrigerator spewing water out the dispenser, and our kitchen, laundry room, part of our dining room and family room under 2 inches of standing water. (see previous posts for the saga of the flood http://kbjackson.com/ten-reasons-why-a-kitchen-flood-aint-so-bad/ and http://kbjackson.com/dear-diary/)
At the time of the flood, a repairman came out from the company where we acquired the fridge. Let’s call this company, oh, I don’t know… “Sneers.”
So the repairman comes out, tells me he’s been doing the job since the 1968, back when the colors du jour were “harvest gold” and “avocado.” He says he’s never had so many issues with a fridge brand as he’s having with these “newfangled computerized Japanese-manufactured refrigerators.” Swell.
I should back up a bit.
We bought this fridge brand new 2 years ago following another fridge debacle. When we moved into our house 4 years ago, we had to buy a new fridge since our old one was thrown in as part of the sale of our old house. (I’m not a great negotiator- I threw in our patio set also.)
So 4 years ago I went to Sneers and bought a Kenmore refrigerator, exactly like the one I had left behind in Huntington Beach. The salesman talked me into an extended 3 year warranty even though I knew my husband would kill me if he found out. I personally like warranties. He thinks they are a scam, and you never get your money’s worth. (He may be singing a different tune now.)
For the first year and a half of owning the Kenmore, I noticed that the ice maker had a tendency to jam up. Sometimes it was fine, sometimes it churned and churned, with nothing coming out. That is, of course, until I lifted up the flap of the door dispenser, jabbed the frozen chunk with a knife to break it up, and then suddenly it was like an avalanche. Sometimes that wouldn’t work either, so I would try to pry the ice maker out of the inside of the door, but many times it was so adhered it took herculean strength to get it out.
On the evening of my husband’s 20th high school reunion alumni night, I found myself engaged in a battle with the icemaker again. He and his friend who had flown into town for the reunion were about 20 minutes from leaving when I went all “Incredible Hulk” on the icemaker and used my brute strength to yank it off. ( I have a broad back. It comes in handy sometimes.) The momentum of the release caused the icemaker to fly up into my face, hitting me square in the mouth. @#$%$@&!!!
I went into the bathroom and realized I had put my lower teeth completely through the area between my bottom lip and my chin.
I came back out and my husband stared at me with wide eyes.
“Nope. I have a hole in my face.”
“Oh. What are you going to do?”
“I am going to drive myself to the walk-in clinic.”
“Oh. Ok. We’re gonna go now, then.”
(In his defense, I once made him drive himself home from a dinner party with the stomach flu so I could eat the filet mignon I had just ordered before he started puking. I think we’re even.)
I drove myself to the walk-in and got 5 stitches.
When Jeff got home that night he looked at me and said, “You got a soul patch.”
The next evening I got to meet all of his high school friends and his ex-girlfriend for the first time with stitches in my face. I debated on which was a better look- the band aid across the chin, or just the stitches by themselves. I decided to skip the Band-Aid.
We were mingling at the reunion and my husband leans over to me and says quietly in my ear, “You look pretty tonight. And a little like Johnny Depp.”
As you might imagine, the teeth through the chin was the final straw with me and the ice maker. I scheduled the Sneers repairman to come out.
He took one look at the fridge and said, “Yeah, that’s what I thought. A lot of the doors on this model came from the factory warped. It allows enough air to get into the ice to melt it a little, then refreeze it. We have to replace the whole door.”
Thank goodness for extended warranties, right?
He ordered the door and said he’d be back in a few weeks.
A giant door arrived at my house just before my appointment. When he showed up, he opened the box and said, “Did you look at the door?”
“Well, it’s the wrong door. For a different fridge.”
He sighed, either at my incompetence for not checking, or at his own people for sending the wrong door. Probably both. He hauled that door out and rescheduled me. He made me promise I would check and see if the door was correct before he came back out.
A few weeks later, a new door arrived, I opened the box enough to see that it was the right door. He called me the morning of my appointment to make sure I had gotten the door and it was correct. The repairman arrived, opened the box and then looked at me.
“This door is dented. ”
“You didn’t tell me to look for dents. You told me to make sure it’s the right door.”
He went out to his truck with the dented door and didn’t come back for a while. I thought maybe he was trying to decide how he was going to kill me.
When he came back in he said, “I don’t want to come back here. I got my supervisor to issue you a credit. Go buy yourself a new fridge.” And left.
So I did. Two years ago, I bought a brand new fridge. State of the art, the salesman said. Highest rated, the salesman said. Know what he didn’t say? Likely to go haywire and flood your house. He didn’t say that.
So when the repairman came out following the flood, and handed me a $750 repair estimate and a strong suggestion to buy a new fridge, I panicked. I couldn’t make that decision at that moment. State Farm wants the parts. They want to go after the manufacturer and get all of our (and their) money back for the $10,000 worth of repairs the flood has necessitated.
The repairman told me that he strongly advised declining the repair and paying the $130 for his visit. He told me that they would apply the 130 to the repairs if we chose to make them. He also said that if I repair the fridge, I should consider buying another warranty. The new fridge, because it was a replacement, was under the original fridge’s warranty. So it expired one year ago. He said that if we repaired the fridge, we would likely see him again. This was not encouraging.
With those dire warnings in my head, I went refrigerator shopping.
Have you looked at the prices of appliances lately? I didn’t see a single fridge under 2 grand. The fridge I bought 2 years ago is 700 dollars more now.
I decided we would take our chances. We would get the repairs done and buy a new warranty and cross our fingers.
Last week I called Sneers. The woman I spoke with barely spoke English. She said her named was Judith, but I’m pretty sure she’s lying.
I explained the situation to Judith, and she offered me an appointment for today, 8 am to noon. I didn’t have a choice, I needed to take it, otherwise it would be during the first week of school.
I said, offhandedly, “Make sure he brings the parts.” Ha ha.
She said, “I will make a note that you’d like him to bring the parts, if possible.”
“Um, no. Not ‘if possible.’ He needs to bring the parts. There’s no other reason for him to come out here. You already have in your system the problem and the parts needed. ”
“I will do my best.”
“I don’t think you understand. I don’t want him coming here without the parts. Someone already came out. Now I need them to come back and make the repairs.”
“Ok, ma’am. If you choose to refuse repairs again, you will be charged $130.”
“No. I already paid $130. That needs to be attributed to the costs. That’s what the repairman said. You apply the 130 to the repairs.”
“You won’t decline the repairs. It won’t be an issue. You will get your $60 credit.”
“No. Not $60 credit. $130.”
“You get $60 credit. I put that on your account.”
“Never mind. I will talk to the guy when he gets here. With the parts.”
So you’ll forgive me if this morning, when the repairman came out and told me 1) he doesn’t have the parts he has to order them, 2) He wants me to pay $500 up front 3) their policy has changed and I now only get $60 of my initial service call credited to my repair bill and 4) he can’t schedule me for another 2 weeks, I got a little peeved.
First of all, when he got here, he had no idea why he was here. There were no notes in the system at all. I said, “But you have the parts, right?”
He looked at me, surprised and said, “I don’t know.”
He went out to the truck- no parts.
I went on to explain my conversation with “Judith” and also my conversation with the previous repairman. He told me that I had to pay up front for the parts before he would order them, and that he wouldn’t leave with out it, or I’d have to decline the repairs and pay another $130.
I started to feel my heart rate pick up and my breathing grow shallow. I was trying to be nice, but I was having more and more of a difficult time doing so. My pumpkin spice latté was starting to churn in my stomach.
I said, as calmly as I could, “That’s not going to happen.”
He started to look a little scared. He could see I was beginning to get a crazed look in my eyes.
“I can’t leave without payment.”
“You haven’t done anything. Why did they even send you here? Why are you here?”
The look of alarm on his face made me feel a bit of compassion for him. He said quietly, “I don’t know.”
After all, this wasn’t his fault.
I said, “This may be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Can you get me the number of someone that I can talk to about this? I’m gonna pay for the parts so you can get on with your day, but I want you to know, I am NOT ok with this and they WILL hear from me.”
As soon as he left, I was on the phone with Sneers.
The woman I spoke with was not budging. I felt myself getting more and more worked up as I talked with her. I kept saying, “Why did you send him here?” I never got a convincing answer.
She said, “You declined the repair. We had to send him out to diagnose the problem. It was a month ago.”
I responded, “That’s just not true. He didn’t diagnose anything. He had no idea why he was there, he couldn’t find any info on the original visit in your system, he looked at my original estimate form, and then went to his truck to see if he had the parts that I had explicitly told “Judith” he NOT come without. He did not have the parts. He didn’t DO anything! Why would you have me sit here all morning waiting for some guy to show up and say ‘Yup, the other guy was right. That’ll be another $130 please.'”
But she wasn’t budging. I could feel myself crossing the threshold of rationality.
I finally got her to agree to have the tech manager call me back.
Sydney came down later and said, “You really let whoever that was have it.”
I said, “Yeah, I’m getting ready to write a blog post about how mad I am.”
She said, “What happened to the post you were going to write about random acts of kindness?”
“That’s going to have to be another day. When I’m not so pissed.”
I think I’m gonna sic Jeff on them. The most I’ve ever gotten out of a customer complaint is a box of cookies from Time Warner after their supervisor called me a bitch and made me cry. Remember, I’m not a great negotiator.
Last year, Jeff called DirecTV and complained because we weren’t getting channels he thought we were supposed to. I think he negotiated free TV for life and the customer service rep’s firstborn. If I have him take on Sears, he’ll probably end up with a new fridge, a riding lawnmower and a whole Kmart.