Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Maytag Saga (so far)

About a month ago, I read in the newspaper that Maytag had just recalled thousands of its dishwashers because of a little problem they had.....occasionally bursting into flames. That got my attention, because I have a Maytag dishwasher.

So I visited the Maytag recall Web site, where I learned that mine was indeed one of the spontaneously combustible models. The site instructed me to do two things: 1) disconnect the potential bonfire, and 2) call a certain toll-free number to arrange for someone to come and fix the thing.

DH did not want to disconnect the d/w because it's a pain to do so; he decided instead that we would use it only during the day, when we're awake and home, rather than at night when we're asleep, as we usually do. So we didn't disconnect it, but I did call the number given. I waited twenty minutes on hold (with the usual horrible music playing in the background on a five-minute loop), and finally got a message that said....."Sorry, but we cannot take your call right now. Please visit our Web site for further instructions." Click.

Grrrr. So I went back to the site, which instructed me to call that same darn number. Instead I wrote a rather sarcastic email to Maytag, and was rewarded a day or two later with an appointment with a repairman on Feb. 19th between 1 and 5 pm.

Fair enough. The night before the appointment, I got a call reminding me of the appointment. An hour before the appointment, I got a call from someone asking me if the repair kit had arrived yet. What repair kit? I asked. The woman said the repairman could not repair the d/w without the repair kit, and rescheduled the repair appointment for March 1 between 1 and 5 pm. Sigh.

Two days ago, shortly before noon on March 1, I got a call from someone asking me if the repair kit had arrived yet. I told her no, and she cancelled that day's appointment and scheduled a new one for March 9. I expressed my displeasure, and she informed me that my repair kit was due to arrive March 7, so things should work out this time. Right.

This has me thinking of the inconvenience my fellow combustible dishwasher owners must also be facing, but their situation is worse. We are fortunate that we both work at home. Many of them would have taken the afternoon off work twice for nothing. Then there's the safety issue. So far the d/w hasn't self-immolated, but we'd prefer not to wait until it does; we wish it had been fixed back on Feb. 19th.

I share this long and somewhat repetitive story to illustrate that the age of technology and this global economy we now live in are not all they're cracked up to be. I can't figure out how this company (which I believe is actually Whirlpool now) can survive when it is run so inefficiently. Some of the calls I got from them may have been from offshore call centers. Why have calls coming from all over, appointments scheduled and rescheduled, repairmen sent in one direction and then another, for weeks on end? How do they afford it?

I guess I'm getting old, because I'm thinking of the good old days, when I would have called Maytag directly, and a real-live receptionist would have taken my call and transferred me to the repairs department, where someone would have said, "We're sending out a repairman with a repair kit tomorrow." Life really was simpler before, wasn't it?

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