Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wash day blues

A wise man once said “Every waking day, you can be assured of one thing – You will pay school fees”

Three months ago I had a problem with my washing machine, I found a name of a repair person in a daily newspaper and he assured me he had the necessary qualifications to do the job. He took the first washing machine which had been in storage for some time and I told him which part needed replacement. The part and labour came to R 800.00 I was lucky, because he handed me a flyer which entitled me to a 10% discount on all parts and labour. Yippee. I had just saved close to eighty bucks. Or had I?

He then dropped machine “A” off and fetched the good machine with the small problem. He then took machine “B” to replace the troublesome rubber seal. As the seal had to be ordered, I was to use the recently refurbished and good as new machine in the meantime. Well, washday arrived and when we switched the machine on, the street lights grew dim and a blue jet like flame shot across the laundry room and the neighborhood fell dark and silent. After checking that everybody was alright I bumped through the darkness, found the distribution board and then reset all the necessary switches. I then had to pry the door of the washing machine open and it was off to the Laundromat the following day and R75.00 later.

I then called the technician and he explained that although he replaced the timer mechanism, he had not tested the machine. Something about Eskom and whatever. Mmmmm…But as his work is guaranteed, he would repair it at no extra cost. This of course never materialized. R 800.00 down the drain with fabric softener.

Alas, he was happy to report had repaired machine “B” so there was no urgency. He then, with a great smile and service, delivered the now repaired machine and took the other machine back to his scrap yard/ workshop/corporate head office. I handed over R300.00 for the seal replacement and once again qualified for the discount as I had become a valued customer, which included a special rate on all future jobs. I had just saved a whacking R27.00

That evening, we dutifully loaded the repaired machine with the daily laundry and viola! On switch on, a blue flame shot across the laundry room (which doubles as a kitchen during the day) and the neighborhood once again fell dark and silent. I had become a one man load shedding machine. Who needs Eskom to screw things up.

The following morning the hammer mechanic informed me that this was impossible because as he only a replaced a seal, in his unprofessional opinion, this could not cause this wash day disaster while his mumbling one eyed ex-con cousin nodded in agreement while giving me the evil eye.

As he had been paid for his washing machine massacre, he instituted a weaning process that ended with me being blacklisted from doing business with his company and my status changed from VIP customer to not so VIP customer. The subsequent punishment for my offence, included barring my cell number and any other numbers I tried in vain to call him from. I for one did not realize that the mobile network coverage automatically becomes worse when you are trying to contact a fly-by-night company. After a long and arduous battle, he accused me of stressing him out and harassing him, I have since given up on waiting for the machine he still holds hostage and have accepted its fate.

There is a baby and a teen in da house we have at least four loads of washing to do a week at the average cost of R 75.00 per (family) load at the Laundromat which only uses cold water so our colours weren’t as bright as we would have preferred them to be. Omo’s marketing strategy is to be applauded.

After months of Laundromat visits at a rate of four times a week, I decided to buy a new washing machine and break the emotional attachment I had with the machines “A” and “B” I shopped around and between two stores in the same mall and I managed to get a great deal on a front loader and saved R 200.00. The machine cost me R2500.00 on that day. But wait.

If I work it out, the new washing machine cost me a lot more than had I purchased it when the Taurus excreta hit the rotary oscillator. I have no claim for being stupid, but I fell it is my duty to warn my fellow man, so heed this warning, IF IT BREAKS BUY A NEW ONE, whatever it is. It always works out cheaper in the long run. Do not trust those little flyers that offer you 10% discount on domestic appliance, motor vehicle or general handy man repairs. Especially if the poor man trying to make a living insists on collecting the item, works out the backseat of his multi colored car, if the cell number is on pay as you go, and if he employs his creepy one eyed cousin with the cold stare. In other words do not try and be Mother Theresa and forget about helping those that appear to require help. Each man for himself, the service industry is dead. RIP.

1 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with a dishwasher that packed in after two and a half years. It had an "extended warranty" from the appliance shop where I had bought it. Please folks, all that that means is that you got fleeced for a couple of hundred bucks for some fly-by-night service company to come over, collect the machine and stuff it up even more than it was before, with a couple of dents thrown in.

If you want a guarantee on any appliance that means anything at all, buy directly from the manufacturer, not from a retailer. This is a long bucks story however, because now we are talking about manufacturers like Miele. If you value your sanity and have some consideration for your neighbourhood, it might be cheap at the price though.