Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Are you a normally peace-loving, live-and-let-live kind of person? I am. But this is the real world, and sometimes I've just got to channel my inner Inanna ... and let fly.
Broken kitchen appliances will bring out the worst in anyone.
I've been without my electric range for two weeks. The repairman was scheduled to come between 8:00 and noon today. At 11:49, I left the house to take The Heir to work. I returned at 1:00. Sure enough, somewhere in that blip of time, the repairman called and found me not at home. I now have to wait another 10 days to use my stove.
And then there's the dishwasher. The dishwasher that has never worked right since the day it was installed. The dishwasher that was just repaired a week ago and is now worse than it was before.
I called Sears. I kept asking for someone who would make this right. Finally I got a lady with a Southern accent who told me if I have to call for service on the dishwasher four times in one year, I get a new dishwasher. Today I logged my third service request. Firmly I told the nice lady that if my dishwasher doesn't make my dishes sparkle and shine perfectly (which it never has before), she will be hearing from me and my bored gods again.
It's always nice to remind these people that the world can be cruel to us all. After asking if the call was being recorded, or my observations in some way preserved, I hastened to tell her that my confidence in Sears has eroded to such an extent that, should I not get satisfaction on the shoddy service and dysfunctional dishwasher, I will most certainly take my custom to a competitor.
The whole reason I took my kitchen appliance needs to Sears in the first place was that I have a Kenmore washer and dryer that are older than The Heir. Neither appliance has ever needed so much as a routine maintenance call. And they have purred like kittens through 21 years and two kids.
Somewhere in that 21 years, the philosophy of appliances changed. Now they are made to break down. So fight back! Your dishwasher, programmed to fail? Make the company give you a new one! If they give enough dishwashers away, they will perhaps re-think the idea of planned obsolescence.
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I am finishing up a final batch of manuscript for Contemporary Authors, the reference book series that was my bread and butter for 20 years. Just as with the appliances, the Contemporary Authors of today is not the Contemporary Authors of yesteryear. In one of the e-research files they sent me last week, the research was duplicated, making the page count appear to be twice as large as it really was. A word count was assigned on the basis of that page count.
I contacted the young fellow at CA (fourth different person in a year ... hmmmmm ... do I get a free reference book?). I told him I couldn't possibly write 600 words on an author with one Publishers Weekly review and a 60-word blurb. He told me to go back to the entries I'd already finished and pad 600 words into them somehow. He kindly pointed out that I didn't have to add all 600 words to one entry. I could put 150 words into each of the other four entries.
The poor schlub. He's right out of college (English major), probably scratching his head and marveling at the good fortune of getting a 30-hour-a-week job. Too bad. I sent him a reality check. In a nutshell, I told him that the product being marketed as Contemporary Authors today is a piece of garbage with standards so shoddy that it absolutely must be riding on its ancient reputation ... for now. I ended my kind but firm diatribe with the suggestion that he might want to keep his resume updated and make some contacts in some other line of work. Funeral homes spring to mind.
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Nothing works as well as it used to. Nothing lasts as long as it used to. Nothing has the level of quality that it used to. These eroded standards are filtering into the human race, making us under-employed, fat, stressed, sick, and stupid.
We need some bored gods to shake things up. Any nominations for Bored God/Goddess of Quality Control?