Thursday, October 23, 2008

What did I ever do to Sears? And then I got transferred...

This post is simply for me to get this all off of my chest. I have no expectation of being entertaining or funny, I simply want to share my little adventure with Sears and why I will never spend another penny on appliances from them, even if I have to fix it myself or become a back woods mountain man who doesn't believe in appliances. And by the way, please be singing the Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song in your head...and you know you know it.

Lately, we have been in somewhat of a destruction spiral. Everything has broken. And I mean everything. It started with the car battery (that was defective when I had it replaced in August), then the washing machine, the DVD player, the cooktop, a crystal mug and a few other things that I have already blocked out (my therapist thinks blocking is healthy in my case).

So let's start with the washing machine, shall we? We have made all major appliance purchases through Sears. They are typically averaged price, but they have a really good Master Protection Agreement that covers darn near everything that you can renew for like ever. So here goes the saga.

The washing machine dies on Sunday night. Ordinarily this wouldn't be to big of a deal, but I was going out of town in a week and a half, and seriously needed to do laundry (with a household of 7, it tends to pile up). So I call Sears first thing Monday morning and schedule service for Saturday. Since it is Saturday, the time they give you is from 8 am to 5 pm. So I cancel everything we have going on for Saturday and deal with it.

The week more or less rolls around with only a few smaller things breaking, like the DVD player. And on Friday, at about 4:30, I get a phone call from the Sears technician telling me that they don't have enough techs and they are cancelling my appointment the next day. I told him that I was going out of town and was desperate, and needed my washer fixed ASAP. He said that he could get me in on the 21st. I was like, ummmmmmmmmmm, no. I told him he needed to get me in sooner. So he agreed to fit me in on Tuesday. I asked him how they determine who gets bumped when they are understaffed, and it apparently made him angry. He told me that it just depends, they have to pick someone and it was just me. Okay, whatever. I told him at that point that I would need to have service Tuesday morning then because of my schedule, and he agreed.

So the Saturday that I cancelled everything on happens, and so does a jar of pickles. After a trip to the grocery store, a jar of pickles met my cooktop with an unfortunate amount of force and the entire corner of my year old cooktop is shattered. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH. So I call Sears again. I explain the entire situation with the pickles, tell them I can't find my paperwork, but want to know whether or not this type of thing is covered or if I need to buy a new cooktop. I am put on hold and after a few minutes the representative comes back to tell me that my Service Agreement is 'All Inclusive' and it is for sure covered. I ask if the entire unit is going to be replaced or if they will just swap out the top. She says they will swap out the top and we made an appointment for a week and a half later. And then I head to the laudromat.

And Monday rolls around and I get my confirmation phone call from Sears for between 1 and 5 on Tuesday for my washing machine. I explained that I was promised the morning and the Customer Service Reps response was, and I quote, "Well, that's just not going to happen now, is it?". I said it was what I was promised, and she told me that was too bad and the only way my washer was going to be fixed was if the repairman came in the afternoon. Are you kidding me? Really? Fine. So I cancel all of my afternoon plans, except for the dentist. And my grandma had to cancel her plans so she could be here just in case.

One through five comes and goes...not a phone call, not a technician. We call at about 5:15 ish to find out what is going on. We are told that the tech is about 3 stops behind and he will be at our house shortly. My question was, if I was stop number 3, how did he get 3 stops behind...had he just not started yet? The rep on the phone said that we would receive a phone call within 30 minutes. Now, mind you, it was my wasn't looking so hot at that point. After 45 minutes, we called Sears back and they said he was coming and he would call. I explained how many things I had cancelled and that I needed to know whether or not anybody was going to show up...I didn't have confidence at that point. She said we would get a call...hmmm....I think I heard that before. After about 45 minutes, we got a call from the tech letting us know that he would be at our house soon. So I cancel my anniversary dinner...groovy.

The technician show up at 7:30. Are you kidding me? He comes, he's crabby. And I let him go to work. After 30 minutes he is done. My husband said was it easy to fix or are you just that good? He said he fixed it the easy way so he could get out of here. Yes, that is really what he said. But hey, for our trouble we got a 15 percent off coupon that was only valid FOR THAT DAY. Thhhhaaaaaannnnnkkkkkks.

We are able to make it through the next little bit with little trouble (probably because we were on vacation). But we made it back and got ready to have the cooktop replaced.

The day before I never received a confirmation call for my appointment, so I call Sears...I'm a little wary because of the washing machine. He tells me I am still on for between one and five. Okay, fine.

The next day, one and five rolls around and then leaves. As usual, no phone call, no tech. but before I can call and be huffy, the tech shows up at 5:15. He comes in and asks what happens. I explain the whole pickle scenario, and he makes a phone call. He finishes on the phone, and tells me that it is not covered. I explained no, your CSR told me it was covered. He said no it wasn't. He gave me an 800 number, tells me that it will be $1300 and leaves. So I call, I explain the situation, and tell them that I felt like I was being punished for exercising due diligence. They said, well, you broke it. So I told Sears that I wanted to cancel my service agreements. And I got transferred.

And I explained everything AGAIN and told them that I would like to cancel. And I got transferred.

And I explained everything AGAIN and was told that she could cancel everything but that I should probably talk to the National Center before I made up my mind. I told that rep that I was looking for a reason to stay. And she said well, our Service Agreements cover everything. And I said Nuh-uh. And she said, except for that. I told her that I had a problem with giving them money to treat me badly. And then I got transferred.

The next person that I talked so said they could definitely do something for me. That I shouldn't have to bear the burden of the cost by myself since I was misinformed. She put me on hold for a few minutes, and then I got transferred.

I finally end up talked to some high up on the chain dude who is in charge of something. I tell him the entire story...again. He says, that sounds to high, I will check on it and then we can figure out how to break this all up. I am on hold. He comes back and says he needs to make another call and I am on hold again. He comes back and tells me that it will be about 975 plus labor, and since it was my fault that it got broken, they couldn't do anything to help me. But to take the sting out of the cost, they would give me a 100 dollar gift card.

So basically what it all boils down to, is that 3 weeks of my life is worth 100 dollars to Sears. I politely told him I would consider his offer and get back to him. And then I hang up and let the Turrets Syndrome in my head take over. It wasn't pretty. to get a brand new unit it was any where from 1100 to 1500. Felix and I found the part for 580 and we are going to do it ourselves.

Oh yeah, when I get my 100 gift card, I am cancelling my Service Agreements and never setting foot in their store again (except to redeem my 100 gift card). Because if I have my way about it, I will do everything in my power to make Sears feel the economic crunch.

Lessons Learned
1. Sears DOES know how to take your money.
2. Sears DOES know how to keep you money.
3. Sears DOES know how to tell you what you want to hear.
4. Sears DOES NOT care what you think.
5. Sears DOES NOT value you as a customer and thinks that you and your time are completely worthless.

I think I feel better, thanks.

Smashing Pumpkins with the Children of the Corn

I hate to travel. For reference, please see previous blogs that mention how anti-social I am. However, we just took a long, long, long overdue family vacation. We packed up the kids, the grandma and ourselves, and headed out to wonderful Ft. Collins, Colorado. My uncle, aunt, cousins and their myriad of wonderful children were our hosts for one of the best vacations ever.
After our record 7 hour, 20 minute drive we were greeted by my aunt and uncle and our two new best buddies, Evie and Alex. Evie is the adorable Doberman, with the sweetest nature you have ever seen. Alex (a girl) is the alpha male...and we love her dearly.

That night we were treated to a giant spaghetti dinner with the fam. It was so much fun to have all of the munchkins running around us, and me catching up with a few of my cousins that I hadn't seen in forever and ever.

On Friday we took a trip to Old Town, which we thoroughly enjoyed. They even had a store that sold cookie dough. They had cookies that were cooked too, but they sold cookie dough, in cups, with spoons as a snack food....that is my kind of place. then we kind of kicked it for the afternoon and got ready for the (imagine a musical crescendo) for the corn maze.
Okay, this was the coolest thing ever. The place we went to is run by individuals who have had past issues with drugs and alchohol and are trying to get their lives back together. It is a real working farm, and a fabulously inspiring place.

We started our evening at the pumpkin cannon. Yes, you are correct, I said cannon. And who was the first to try it...the three year old. And let me tell you, from my own experience with the canon. THAT WAS SO COOL.

Once we all had an opportunity to blow stuff up (nothing brings a family together like a pumpkin cannon and corn cob guns), we headed over to the pumpking smash. The kids are all natural athletes. And I am not so bad myself.

And after watching our group of 18 thoroughly enjoy hitting pumpkins to smithereens with a baseball bat, we headed off for the traditional hay ride. We went around learned about how the farm operated and how the individuals that lived/worked their managed it all.

After the hay ride, we sent the munchkins off for a barrel ride. A barrel ride is a unique invention, I don't know if it is indiginous to Colorado, or if the phenomenon has eeked it's way through the nation. Just remember, I am anti-social and hate to travel, I have a very limited amount of life experience to refer to.

A barrel ride is about 10 of the giant water barrels, with holes cut cut for you to climb in, and the entire lot is hooked up to an ATV and off you go for the four wheeling ride of your life. I didn't go, but I was waiting for someone to get thrown out and run over. But it didn't happen and they all survived, even though they are a little wind blown.

Here is the whole crew, right before the all important...PIG RACES.
In my oh so humble opinion, life is not complete until you have had a chance to observe pig racing. And with top notch contenders like Kevin Bacon, Hamgelina Jolie and Big Red who could resist?

Once we watched the champion edition of the pig races, it was time to head off to the corn maze. And you have never experienced a corn maze until you have done it with 10 kids, 6 adults (a few of which were directionally challenged), a stroller and more flashlights than we could count.

We started very enthusiastically until we realized that we were going to have to do a kid check every turn or so. But the kids were great at following directions, like the one they heard the most, "Wait here while I figure out where we are." Thank goodness for the maps that were placed every so often to tell you where you were in the giant maze.

Now, to be fair, Joe did a fabulous job leading us. Chris did an amazing job hauling all of the kids on his back when they got tired, and I did a great job hiding my claustrophobia while I was hyperventilating.

And major kudos to Savannah and her incredible sense of direction that managed to get us through the maze in a whopping 30 minutes. :D

So to try and shorten this already incredibly long blog, on Saturday we went up to Estes Park and visited the fabulous Stanley Hotel (where they filmed the Shining). However, I still think they had to have filmed the Pirate Movie there as well (you know, the one with Kristy McNichol and the dude from the Blue Lagoon).

But it was a gorgeous day and we had the most fabulous barbeque at a restaurant called Smokin' Daves. I highly recommend it if you are ever in the neighborhood.
We had another wonderful family dinner on Saturday night, brunch on Sunday morning, and a barbeque Sunday night. And for good measure, we sang Happy Birthday to Felix (a couple of days early) and had a thoroughly enjoyable time.
Thanks to all who made our trip wonderful. I can't wait to see you all again.
Lessons Learned
1. Even if you hate to travel, every mile is worth it to spend time with your family.
2. Corn mazes in the dark totally freak me out...and I loved it.
3. My kids are better behaved when they travel...still not perfect, but definitely closer.
4. I can no longer drive long distances without my eyes crossing...don't's a long story.
5. I need to check out Corn Belly's for a little bit of closer to home fun.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Let Your Southern Shine - Take 2

Alas, this too shall be a pictureless blog. Not that it wouldn't have been enjoyable, but he who caused the offending toilet clog, refuses to be pictured....

As we noted in the first edition of Let Your Southern Shine, little boys, with little toy balls can cause irreparable damage. In this second and less humorous edition, let's just say that grown men, with toilet scrubbers, can be just as damaging.

As this is my fourteenth anniversary, I'll go light on the guy. Because let's face it, I am a lucky girl. However, it was never as clear as it was last night, who does the bulk of the household chores. (And yes, I'm a kept woman.)

My dear, sweet, kind husband, a true gem in a world of coal was cleaning the toilets, just to help me out. Unfortunately for him, sometime in the past year, I switched from flushable toilet scrubby things to the much more macho Clorox brillo pad scrubby dee-li-bobs. The Clorox dee-li-bobs are NOT flushable. I repeat, they are NOT flushable.

In all of his vast knowledge and wisdom, he waited about an hour before 'fessin up. The toilet would flush, and thankfully not overflow (as per past blogs, I have just about enough of water woes), but would drain excrutiatingly slow (there was no mo poopin' in that toilet). As it was ten o'clock in the evening, you couldn't pry me out of the house to go find a pipe snake. So it waited until morning.

Just a little side note: In a house with 6 bathrooms, why does it matter when one toilet is down for the count. Well, in my infinite wisdom, let me share. It is 25 more steps to the next nearest bathroom when you have to get up at 3:13 am and you are tripping all over the crud that was left out from the night before. Okay, I feel better, I just had to get that out.

Once the little monkeys were taken to school, I went and got my very own pipe snake. NO MORE BORROWING. In fact, I may etch my name on that sucker for a badge of honor (and maybe put a toilet sticker for each porceline menace I conquer). I was worried that it would be a harrowing, frightening experience (just like the first one).

And gratefully, it was one shove with the pipe snake and that sucker was clear. I was so proud of myself that I flushed the toilet 10 times just to admire my handiwork.

Lessons Learned:

1. If your spouse is not completely familiar with the cleaning supplies....supervise the introduction between the two.
2. I'm grateful that my husband works to hard to make sure I have things to do during the day.
3. I'm starting to think I could have a real future as a plumbing apprentice.
4. I couldn't blame Caleb for the toilet disaster this time, however, I'm sure he did something last night that he got into trouble for.
5. Life goes on....even on your anniversary.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Spacebook?

Okay, I was invited by a wonderful and very dear friend to join Facebook so I could read her profile. By the time I was done, I had my own account and found all sorts of wonderful people who touched my life in so many ways. However, through this experience, I discovered how very anti-social I had become.

Just to be perfectly clear, I am anti-social, and proud of it...(insert expletive here) straight. If you are still wondering how I could be anti-social...just this morning I had to wait for the mailman to leave so I could go to my car. I wasn't in the mood to say hi.

Okay, back on subject. I was so excited to see so many old friends, and see their beautiful families. It was truly a blast from the past. And then I came down from the high and felt incredibly old. I think it really hit when I gave an old chum a brief 20 year history of my life. And eventually I may even let people see my phone number and address...I'm working on...this is like a 12 step program...I have to take baby steps to socialization.

I am really not very good a keeping in touch, and Christmas Cards are strictly taboo. I have come to the conclusion that Facebook was made for people like me, who prefer to email and tell stories electronically, instead of calling or even worse seeing each other face to face. Which made think of how ironic it was the website was called Facebook...hmmmm.

Lessons Learned:
1. I am apparently in a very brazen mood to be sharing my anti-social behaviors on a blog.
2. Facebook is a fascinating web site.
3. I only want people to know I am alive, NOT where I am (that is why there isn't any info showing on Facebook).
4. It makes me happy to see people I care about happy.
5. This was a really lame post (but I was desperate, give me a break)