Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Some Days You've Got To Fight

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.

-----begin optional edit------

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.

---end optional edit---

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?


Lori - MN said...

May the Goddess Calgon take you away. May Lady Godiva serve you faithfully and may Lord Dove fill your every desire

Pom said...


THE Michael said...

I second what Lori said.........

We have nothing to be proud of anymore, no standards to uphold, no reputation to defend, no nothing at all anymore.

Might as well write the epilogue and send it to China to be published.


when i got a new tv less than 3 years ago, i made a point to get an rca like the one it was replacing, that had lasted 17 fecking years...this one didn't last 3 years...there is no quality control because there is no quallity.

Erik said...


sott'Eos said...

I nominate Baldur. If Frigg had just done a more thorough job, rather than skipping mistletoe, Baldur would not have been slain. He might be a bit peeved at the the slap-dash, "good enough" work ethic.

Morninglori77 said...

Imagine my surprise to hear that a Sears appliance didn't work and that Sears customer service doesn't help. That was sarcasm. I am presently in the midst of a $50k lawsuit against - you guessed it - Sears, for the shoddy workmanship on $35k worth of siding and the damage they did to my surrounding property. There isn't space to describe the insults to injuries performed by their "friendly and knowledgeable" installers, so I will tell you only about the first day of our install. The crew (of 2) arrived, several hours late, and proceeded to set up their scaffolds which required that they put about 16 nail holes into a brand new $34k metal roof! I stopped them before they moved on to the rest of the roof. Any questions?

My only advice is to be PERSISTENT and hope that you're right about these companies eventually learning a lesson. Meanwhile, our planet's landfills are overflowing with their planned obsolescence.

Kim said...

I'm not happy with Sears either. My hubby bought a riding mower a few years ago. It stopped working a couple weeks ago. He's pretty mechanically inclined, but couldn't find anything wrong. Sears came out and for a mere $117.00 told us that a piston had broke and the broken piece got caught up in the engine. The engine could not be fixed but they could replace the engine. The cost to replace the engine is $200 MORE than a brand new riding mower. Ugh. Hate Sears.


ps....i heart your patrick murphy...a lot..

democommie said...


You are being much less strident than I would be. I have railed against a fair number of people over the years, over everything from poor food and table service to appliances, power tools and clothing. It isn't that mistakes are made; it's that they not only are not corrected, they are often not even acknowledged.

the other kim said...

Have you noticed that far fewer ads even mention quality? they have been working for years to convince the American public that price is all that matters, and they have almost succeeded.
What they teach in business schools is, money is all that matters. It's the most popular religion in America and it's called Consumer Hedonism (google it).
The solution to getting rid of corporate greed and its effects, is to go around the whole system and start a new one: start businesses that are worker-owned cooperatives. All the workers own part of the business, so they share in the profit, but also in the reputation: they take personal responsibility for the business. They don't have to pay out money to big CEOs or useless shareholders, so they can compete in price, but are likely to make much better quality goods. If there are enough of these companies, they will take over and the big corporations will die. After all, if you were offered two different jobs; one with a big greedy corporation where you have no say in what they do and they keep cutting your salary and benefits because they look at you as merely an expense, or the other job where you get to vote on the policies of the company, share in the profit of the company, and can be proud of the products of the company, and they look at you as part-owner -- which would you choose?