Thursday, 15 October 2009

Middle of October

October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Zoom! I hope you have a wonderful day, week, year, and the rest of your life!

Yesterday was a jam-packed day ... too full for someone who is getting creaky!

Peter started working on the house, setting up scaffolding and replacing the Typar.

The Sears man arrived, unlocked the washer, and told me that this model is a dud ... needing far too many repairs to the electronic systems. He told me a trick not mentioned in the manual for unlocking it myself.

I went out with Tamarack in the afternoon. We saw John Benn's show at the Snapdragon Gallery in the Glebe ... wonderful ... love what he does with sunshine in the woods.

Then we stopped at The Papery and made some fun purchases.

Afterwards, we were frozen so we went to Felina's for hot spicy black bean soup. The soup was great but even more impressive were the table and chairs in the corner that had just been freshly painted in wonderful jewel colours and decorated with chameleon-like lizards. I took photos and talked to the creators. Mmmmn! A Yummy stop.

The next part is a rant ... I hope you won't stop reading, though!

Sears Canada phoned and we had a circular conversation in which I said that Sears should stand behind the products it sells especially those they sell under the Kenmore brand name, and perhaps they would consider replacing this machine with a a lower cost, simpler top loader; and she said (over and over again) that Sears policy is to repair machines covered by extended warantees; and that the manufacturer had not issued a recall on this machine so Sears policy was that it could not be replaced. Finally I said we were going in circles and getting nowhere. I said that Sears policy was not a good one and that I and my family and friends were all bloggers, and that the electronic word of mouth discussion of everything that had gone wrong with these very expensive machines in such a short time would not be good publicity for either Sears or the Kenmore line.

She said she could offer me an extended warranty ... two years of worry-free service and one inspection each year. I said I would take it ... not because I think it was fair but rather because I think I am dealing with a large corporation which doesn't give a damn about the kind of junk they are selling or about the customers they inconvenience.

We have moved away from an honest market in which the consumer could expect decent quality appliances that would last for many years, one in which the companies that sold those appliances would stand behind their products. The new reality is that appliances are just one more example of shoddy workmanship in a throw- away world. we live in a market in which insurance has to be purchased because the products are junk.

My pocket is feeling the strain of this reality, but so is our environment.

We purchase expensive green machines that conserve energy and water, but they cost the planet huge amounts of both to produce, and then, because the workmanship and materials are so shoddy, they end up in landfill far sooner than the less expensive machines they have replaced.

The Sears repairman advised me not to purchase anything but the simplest non-electronic machines from now on. His own washing machine is the simplest model available ... and it washes clothes faithfully. He likely paid $400 for his washer which is the same age as mine. I paid over $1000 with taxes. He has not had any problems. I have had almost $400 worth of problems with this one machine.

I definitely would not buy a front loading machine with electronic components again.

Would I buy from Sears again? I don't think so. The people who are on the front line ... the sales people ... the delivery personnel ... the technicians who do the repairs ... are all fine people trying to do their jobs as well as they can. I have not had a problem with any of them ... but the faceless corporation that makes the policies and never sees a customer or experiences the frustration ... the people making the really big bucks and the bad decisions ... are impossible to deal with.

The problem is that it is becoming harder and harder to find local retailers selling Canadian made products they can stand behind, but that is what I will be looking for the next time I buy anything as important as a washing machine.

Sorry for the rant ... but I think I finally understand in my deepest self now why it is so important not to buy from the places that don't care a whit about sustainability ... of the planet ... or of local industries. Before Sears bought up Robert Simpson's, we could depend on that retailer. Simpson's hired people ... lots of them ... who tried to give good service. Simpson's sold products that were most often manufactured here in Canada by people who cared about quality. Canadians had jobs and quality products. We need to begin supporting Canadian industry and retailers or we will lose what little we have left.


Tamarak said...

Wonder if you will get another response from Sears? Am interested to see what happens from here...2 years warranty is really quite pathetic when you expect an appliance like that you spent extra on thinking you were getting a superior last more than 3 years...

Will you be able to post the wonderful table and chairs? I told IrishGirl about them...

Pat Aubin said...

I think you should contact the CBC show Marketplace. Does the local CTV station still have a type of "Dale Goldhawk" personality? Someone who takes the little guy's plight to the big bad corporate wolf? Your story - your location - and your frustration, could make for a good segment!

Oma said...

Thanks to both of you for your commiseration and advice.

I think I will email the Sears person who commented on my last post about the delayed service call ... and then I will approach CBC.

Without a television, I am not sure what other broadcasters have available. Can anyone find out for me?

Oma said...

I haven't uploaded my photos yet ... flu bug is downing me ... but I think they were of bits and the colours did not come out the way I saw them.

Barbara Carlson said...

GREAT RANT! Definitely. Take it public.
I will pass on the warnings re Sears & fancy
applicances. Don't give up.

One person with the right STORY & fire in the belly can effect change. I single-handedly made the Ottawa Public Library stop their computers from irritatingly & loudly BEEPing each time a book was processed. A needle-to-the-ear sound that could be heard on every floor, every few seconds.

Our fridge is making ominous sounds, but it was made in 1971.
A Kenmore.
It is avacado green.

IrishGirl said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I remember when Kenmore was a trusted name. My Mum has an old Kenmore washer. I think it is over 30 years old and still going. I certainly won't be buying a Kenmore now. I just wish I knew of a company who gives a darn these days. It's like the appliance repair guy on CBC radio says: they are all made to be thrown away after a few years these days. It's crazy. I think one day he was recommending a model from Europe but I don't remember which one.

IrishGirl said...

Oh! And I'd love to see the photos even if the colours are a tad off.

Tamarak said...

Meile makes a good product...of course they are expensive! My sister has a Meile dishwasher at the island and it is absolutely just scrape the food clumps off and put them in...