The Wisdom to Deal with Little Everyday Problems

The Wisdom to Deal with Little Everyday Problems

My washing machine quit–in November.  It’s now late January.  This has been going on a while.   My washing machine quit in August, too.   I bought a new one.  It’s the new one that isn’t working.   It’s still under warranty.  That’s a good thing, right?


This much hassle on a small problem seems grossly unfair.  On big problems, I know I have to be diplomatic to get things done.  On big problems I’m ready to accept that the outcome might not be exactly what I’d envisioned. With this? I just wanted it fixed. That didn’t seem all that outrageous.

I e-mailed the manufacturer.  E-mail is the great anonymizer. You send a note to a nameless, faceless person who’s supposed to care–because they get paid to.  It’s a nice thought.  And it’s a good first step because “e-mail never closes.” You feel like you’ve made immediate contact when you hit “send”–even if no one gets back to you–which was what happened on this.

So I called.  And left a message. Someone did call me back and gave me the number of a local authorized repair shop. I was to call them directly to set up the warranty work.  So I called. And they said it would be three days before they could get someone out. An interesting–and toxic–side effect was developing by that point. I started to tell myself, “This should not be this difficult.”

It’s 7 weeks later, and my washer still doesn’t work.  I might have been right on the assessment, but that doesn’t change reality. A lot of my frustration could have been avoided if I’d dealt with the reality instead of passing judgment.  But back to the story….

When the repairman arrived, he fiddled with the controls and told me the problem was that I needed to use less soap.   I doubted that since I’ve owned this kind of equipment before and never had trouble.  But I accepted his operator error theory.

A week later, as I was preparing to leave on a two-week trip, it quit again.  With the door locked.  And wet laundry inside. I called the repair place. They insisted the guy who did the first repair had to be the one to come back. And he was already out on a job. So sorry.  (Yeah, right.)

I should have asked the manufacturer for a new repair option. Instead, I was stubbornly thinking they should get this right.

They finally talked with him while he was on the other job. But no, he wouldn’t be out that day. He had to order parts.  Somehow, I got it to unlock myself.  Got the wet laundry dried and took off on my trip.  I expected the parts would be waiting when I got back from the trip.

When I got home two weeks later, the parts weren’t in. She didn’t seem too worried about that. The weather had been affecting travel, and it was still holiday rush.  I asked if she’d checked on the order.  No.

My optimistic expectation that they actually wanted to fix my washer evaporated.  I asked  the manufacturer to ship the parts directly to me. At least then I’d know they were in. I was supposed to have them by the end of the week. But it flooded, and they closed the interstate.

This was nobody’s fault. So I waited–almost  like a kid for Christmas. The parts arrived the following Tuesday. I scheduled an installation appointment.

The same guy came back–but with a worse attitude. This time, I made him demonstrate that it worked.   It didn’t. He said it was just “taking time to think.” I got out a timer. He gave up on that excuse.  He said he had to order another part.

My tolerance was gone. I’d been doing  my laundry at other people’s houses for over a month. I called the shop while he was still at my house and asked to talk to “the boss.” I got the customer service manager. I talked to her, she talked to him, she talked to me again.  They would order the new part and he would get it in ASAP.

I called her back after he left and told her if they weren’t willing to send someone else, I was going to have to go back to the manufacturer.  She relented and said she’d send a different tech.  We agreed he’d talk to the first guy in the morning to decide if he had to do more diagnostics before he ordered more parts.

The new tech was  sick the next day. Then came the weekend and they don’t work.  So my washer is still not fixed.

But instead of more fuming I’ve finally found a way to inner peace with this.  The laundromat.  I’ll keep the pressure on to get my own equipment working the way it should. But for now, I have clean clothes without bothering my friends.

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