Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Complete Breakdown

My dryer broke recently. this forced me to call Some Extremely Annoying Repair Service. I don’t like to bad mouth anybody, so for the purposes of this post I will call them SEARS for short. The day the dryer died, I went into the SEARS store where I purchased the dryer, and asked to set up a service appointment. Some college kid stopped playing solitaire on the computer long enough to hand me a business card with a phone number on it.

He said, “We don’t do that here.”
“You don’t do service?”
He rolled his eyes at me. “You have to call the number on the card.”
“Then one of you will come and fix it?”
The teenager sighed and shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know who fixes it. You have to call the number.”

So I went home and called the SEARS number on the card but their offices were closed. I was just at the store two minutes before I called, but in the time it took me to walk out to my car and drive the ten blocks home, SEARS had had time to kick out all remaining customers, turn off the lights, lock the doors and turn on the answering machine. This amazed me, because the person I spoke to didn’t seem capable of moving that fast.

Anyway, I called early the next morning. After ten blissful minutes navigating the electronic phone tree, I was finally allowed to speak with an actual person. I do not know her name, all I know is she was a Crazy Lady On Phone, or CLOP for short. The CLOP had to ask me a few questions before she would let me make an appointment with SEARS.

CLOP: I have to ask you a few questions to ensure you have not violated the terms of your warranty agreement. Has your dryer been used for commercial purposes?
Me: No.
CLOP: Has your dryer been used for residential purposes only?
Me: Yes.
CLOP: Did you, or have you ever, used your dryer to wash hazardous materials and/or flammable materials such as gasoline, kerosene or oil?
Me: You can’t wash in a dryer, you can only dry . . .
CLOP: Ma’am do you need me to repeat the question?
Me: No.


Me: No. I have not put any flammable materials in my dryer.
CLOP: Has your dryer been damaged by lightening, hurricane, flood, mudslide, tornado, or any other weather-related incidents that could be classified as ‘an act of God’?
Me: . . . um, no . . . I think the heating element is bad.
CLOP: Has your dryer been moved aggressively, bumped violently and or dropped from a height?
Me: Nooooo.
CLOP: Now you are free to make an appointment. What would be a good time for you?
Me: How about today?
CLOP: We have nothing available today.
Me: Tomorrow?
Me: When is the next available appointment?
CLOP: Friday at 10 a.m.
Me: I’ll take it.
CLOP: While we are there servicing your dryer would you like an estimate for new doors?
Me: No.
CLOP: New windows?
Me: No.
CLOP: Would you be interested in an estimate for new countertops, new appliances, cabinet refacing, water softeners, vinyl siding, light fixtures or a deck made completely from engineered lumber?
Me: No.
CLOP: Ok, how about we do a preventative maintenance on your washer at the time of your dryer repair?
Me: How much?
CLOP: $39.95
Me: . . . Ok . . . but that is all . . . I mean it.
CLOP: Thank you again for choosing SEARS, we will see you between 10 and 2 on Friday.

The last thing CLOP said before she hung up . . . between 10 and 2 . . . was I hearing things? I thought my appointment was at 10 a.m. so I called back. Twenty minutes later I get Another Crazy Lady On Phone (ACLOP).

Me: I scheduled an appointment for 10 a.m.
ACLOP: Yes, between 10 and 2.
Me: But my appointment was for 10 a.m.
ACLOP: Yes, the technician will be there between 10 and 2.
Me: But I have things to do that afternoon, he will need to be done by 2:45.
ACLOP: I will notify your technician.

The day of my service appointment, 10 a.m. came and 10 a.m. went. By 11 a.m. I called, ACLOP told me not to worry, the technician would be arriving soon, he would be done on time, my dryer would be fixed and life would be rosy.

By 12 p.m., I was looking out the window every 5 minutes. By 1 p.m., I was pacing. By 2 p.m., I had a stop-watch and was counting the seconds. By 2:15 p.m., I called SEARS again.

CLOP: Your technician didn’t come?
Me: No.
CLOP: He didn’t call?
Me: No.
CLOP: He will be there.
Me: When?
CLOP: Soon.
Me: When?
CLOP: In a half hour or so.
Me: Well, I won’t be here. As I told you before, I have other things to do.
CLOP: Would you like to cancel your appointment?
Me: No.
CLOP: Did you want to reschedule your appointment for another day?
Me: No.
CLOP: He is on his way . . .
Me: I want to talk to your supervisor.

So CLOP goes and gets the Supervisor In Charge Of CLOP or SICO-CLOP.

SICO-CLOP: He will be there.
Me: I have to leave soon.
SICO-CLOP: We will let him know.
Me: Can I just talk to him directly?
SICO-CLOP: We will have him call you.
Me: When?

Thirty minutes of hair-pulling and binge-eating later, my service-man from SEARS finally calls as I am heading out the door.

“Sorry I couldn’t call sooner. Our jobs are put in a queue, we don’t even know where we are going next until we complete a job, and the next one pops up in our assignment list. I didn’t get the message to call you until 20 minutes after your job was assigned to me, at 2:15 p.m.”

I gritted my teeth and told him to be at my house at 3:15 p.m. or I was pushing my dryer out the second story window and buying a new one from his competitor. He told me I was the 4th person this week to say that, isn’t that a strange coincidence?

Him: You know your warranty agreement does not cover a dryer dropped from a height?
Me: So I hear.


  1. Sonia, how are you SO funny! You are the most funny writer I read, including numerous professionals. Please tell me you are working on some way to get published.

  2. Sonia, that was so funny I almost choked. Having had considerable negative experience with said SEARS ourselves, you have my every sympathy. The retail arm of that repair service once sold us a big heat-pump/AC that wouldn't work right and turned out (after having them out twice to tell us we needed hundreds of dollars of new ductwork to make it work when the old one worked just find with existing ductwork until it wore out) turned out to be FOUR POUNDS low on coolant! We had to hire another local repair service to come out and determine what the problem was. We paid a fortune in power bills for a whole year because the SEARS installers skipped the procedural step of checking the coolant level in the new machine!!! We are now under a vow to never buy another large appliance from the retail arm of this business. NEVER AGAIN, NEVER AGAIN, NEVER AGAIN....!;)

  3. Thank you for saving me from buying anything from SEARS!