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In The Dishwasher Dumps – Part 5

February 15, 2011

I tried to hold back a little, I really did.

As I explained that we had purchased the dishwasher from his store, that it was just a smidge over two years old, that it was not functional, that my children and I were handwashing dishes (not ideal), that we had been doing so for several days now, that the part was supposed to have arrived that very day and had not, that the folks in customer service were ultimately uninterested in serving me (the customer), that my frustration was mounting and as I wondered aloud why I had paid for an Extended Product Protection Plan anyway, I was hoping against hope that he would have some compassion.

He seemed to. He responded with “mmm hmmm” in all the right places, clucking with sympathy when I got to the part about the Queen of Boredom in Customer Service Land. When I finished my long and tragic story, he said, “Let me start by saying I’m so sorry. This is not how we want any of our customers to experience our company. I apologize for our service desk. It has also been my experience that service is not up to par. In fact, I can probably order a part off of the internet and get it here more quickly than I can get a part shipped.”

That was interesting. I interjected some thoughts about how shipping works, trying to keep the sarcasm to a minimum. I actually work for a global company, in IT. So I’m sort of familiar with the fixing of things electronic. When we call for service, generally someone arrives onsite with parts in hand. If they don’t have the right part, they have parts houses situated strategically around the state and can often get a part to our site within an hour or two. Days and days? Never.

And? We also ship things with great regularity. We ship things overnight at least once a week. Also? We have another little box we can check that says “Next Day Early AM” in case we need it to be there by 9 the following morning. If we have such capabilities, it seems that his company would have the same. In fact, I was pretty sure UPS serviced just about everywhere. And weren’t they always asking, “What can brown do for you?” Perhaps the service desk could just do something crazy and out of the box, like, I don’t know, give them a call. And get me a part.

He chuckled a little at that, but didn’t get on the bandwagon. There were more apologies, and then a promise to take a deeper dive. I love that phrase, by the way. It’s one of my favorite Corporate Lingo Bingo phrases. He took down my number, and my husband’s number, said he would get to the bottom of things first thing the following morning and get back to me.

For the first time since the stinking dishwasher went on the fritz, I had hope. A live person, in a local store, a person who knew we shopped there, who might have a vested interest in our business, was working on my issue.

Wednesday morning came.

Wednesday afternoon came.

I called and left a message for Mark. Perhaps he had gotten tied up with other business, but if he could just call me back, that would be great.

Wednesday evening came.

Despite the ridiculous frequency with which I checked my phone, I had nothing. Not one call.

After dinner, My Hubby placed a call and asked to speak to Julie Smith. When he found that Julie Smith was not in the store (was she EVER?), he asked for Mark. Mark, it seemed, was out getting a bite to eat. My Hubby encouraged the person on the other end of the line to take a note and leave it for Mark. “Please let him know,” he said pleasantly, “that my wife has left several messages and needs a return phone call tonight. Tonight! She will not wait until tomorrow. And? If she has to come down there, it will not be pretty.”

We stayed up to watch the news, just in case Mark got an attack of conscience after his burger and fries, or buffalo wings, or barbeque, or whatever.

No such luck.

None on Thursday either, though a part did arrive on my doorstep… prior to 6pm. I called service to schedule a repairman to come on Friday and I scheduled with work to take another 4-hour hiatus so I could be home for 3 hours and 45 minutes twiddling my thumbs before he arrived.

On Friday, I twiddled my thumbs, as expected, for 3 hours and 45 minutes and then a nice young man rang the doorbell.

When he came in, he wondered aloud why there was only one part box, as two parts were to have been shipped. Perhaps he saw something snap inside of me at that exact moment, because he hastily assured me that he could install that part, in just a few minutes, and not to worry, it would likely fix the problem. He set his toolbox down in the kitchen and got to work. After about five minutes–possibly six–he stood and took a deep breath.

“Ma’am?” he inquired tentatively.

“Yes?” I replied.

“I have some bad news.”

Of course he did. Of COURSE he did. I closed my eyes for a moment, collected my thoughts and waited to hear what he had to say.

“First of all,” he said, “That wasn’t the right part. It wasn’t actually the controller that was the problem, it was the motor. I’m not sure why the repairman that was here last week wouldn’t have seen that. I’ll have to order…”

I cut him off before he even got the rest out of his mouth.

“That does NOT work for me,” I snapped. “It does NOT work for me for you to order yet another part. I have now taken 8 hours off of work to be here so someone could fix this dishwasher, for which we paid a hefty sum. And we paid for an Extended Product Protection Plan. It has now been non-functional for over a week, it is just a tad over 2 years old. Service has been abominable, and you’re telling me that the part that was ordered a full week ago is the wrong part? I will NOT wait another week. I suggest you find someone who can replace this for me today.”

He looked like he wanted to run screaming out the front door. Instead he said, “I can get the part here by Monday morning, will that work? I can be here at 7:45am. I am certain it will fix your problem.”

I wanted to delve into why he was able to get a part so quickly when the controller–the wrong dang part–took a week, but I sensed that he genuinely wanted to help me out here. If for no other reason than the fact that he did not want me to continue on with the litany of complaints. I let it go and agreed to have him come out on Monday morning.

I gritted my teeth as he packed his tools back into his bag. I had no idea he wasn’t actually finished talking.

“Oh,” he almost whispered. “Let me tell you what’s going on. As I said, the problem is actually the motor. Somehow it has come loose from the assembly and it has caused the unit to leak. So we’ll replace the motor, but your hardwood floor is all buckled under here. See?”

I stepped over to where he was kneeling, knelt beside him and felt the buckled wood under my fingers.

“You’ll have to file a claim,” he went on. “But I think they’ll fix it for you.”

Trying my best not to shoot the messenger, I responded evenly, “Yes, they absolutely will fix it for me. Of that, I am certain.”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2011 12:17 pm

    I think that by the time I was done, they’d be offering to come wash my dishes for me between then and Monday too

  2. February 15, 2011 4:06 pm

    I am speechless….and that doesn’t typically happen, just ask my husband. LOL
    I hope that company does right by you.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    February 27, 2011 10:04 am

    This article in today’s NYT Magazine made me think of you immediately!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/magazine/27armstrong-t.html?_r=1

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