Sunday, April 7, 2013

Past Deadline: Modern-Day Problems

Here’s Past Deadline, published in The Perth Courier on April 4/13.
Modern-day problems
Recently, I told the tale about how Ye Olde Clothes Washing Machine had reached its life end, necessitating its replacement.
It was a 20-year-old faithful machine, but the part that died is not made anymore, and it was a valve that threatened to, at any moment, let go and flood the kitchen.
We limped along and manually controlled the taps and didn’t leave it unsupervised, but the drippiness continued.
This was an older-model stackable unit that shared one set of controls between the washer and dryer. The brains of the entire contraption, however, were located in the washing machine part, which meant that when the washer left, the dryer had to go, too, unfortunately.
The shiny new front-loading washer and its dryer partner are two separate, stacked units that don’t share a brain.
I have to tell you, I entered this whole exercise with great trepidation. The thought of our family not having a washing machine at the beginning of mud season was daunting. I needed this operation to be completed quickly.
In fact, part of me was content to limp along with the old machine because I have pretty much zero faith in things going smoothly when one makes a major new purchase. I try to be optimistic, but….
So the appointed day arrived and the delivery fellows took away Old Faithful and deposited the new pair in our living room. Delivery people do not do install.
Groom-boy and his dad tinkered with taps and dryer vents. We lugged the washer into place and voila! It worked! Hurray!
The dryer required some fiddling to get the stacking kit set up, and then Groom-boy and I hoisted it on top of the washer. More tinkering and …voila! It was ready to go!
No, really!
The dryer lights up and shows off its cycles and counts down…but the drum won’t turn and there is no heat.
It is, however, doing a bang-up job of holding down the washer.
After a flurry of phone calls (involving some runaround, of course), we were connected with the authorized warranty repair people.
Within a couple of days someone arrived. She did exploratory surgery – taking the whole thing apart – before finding a tiny broken switch. Everything else looks good, though!
Naturally the part needed to be ordered – so we were looking at another week. Or so.
The debate at our house ensued – do we go back to the company and demand a new unit or wait for the part and have the repair?
I argued for the repair. After all, the repairperson examined all the innards of the dryer and she won’t leave (in theory) until the new part is installed and the dryer is fixed. If we exchange it, the delivery guys will dump off the new one and we won’t know until after we install it (again!) whether it works or not, which could bring us back to square one.
Isn’t it lovely to have such trust and faith in customer service in 2013?
The silver lining is I have a new washer that’s working and I would much rather be without a dryer than a washer.
The irony is we had a dryer that worked.
The alarming thing is the weather has been iffy so I have been relying on indoor drying racks, which means my tiny house looks, more than ever, like an episode of Hoarders.
By the time you read this, I am hopeful the repairperson has come and gone and I have a functioning dryer and a lot less laundry hanging around my house.
Or, maybe there will be yet another column on this topic.
Footnote: The repair lady came, replaced the part and…it still didn’t work. She phoned the company and an electrical problem was diagnosed. We said thanks anyway, but enough’s enough and complained to the retailer. The dryer was exchanged a few days later and I am pleased to report several successfully dried loads.

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