Broken Fridge Blues AKA Getting Things Off My Chest

fridge
The Hunk Of Crap In Question.

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen me bitching and complaining about my Samsung built and Lowes distributed refrigerator. The refrigerator in question is only 10 months old, still under manufacture warranty, and has not worked since April 30th. In the last 30 days, I have spent around 8 hours on the phone arranging repairs with Lowes and their service provider A&E Factory Services and another 20 waiting on service people to come and “fix” the refrigerator.

In the mean time, my family has been living out of camping coolers and have spent hundred of dollars on eating out; we’ve also lost around $400 in food because of the broken fridge. I won’t exactly call the whole experience a ‘nightmare’ (because, hey, it wasn’t like we were being tormented by masked killers or monsters or anything like that.), but it has easily one of the most inconvenient and annoying things I’ve ever gone through.

The fridge broke down on the evening of April 30th. I noticed the breakdown because the ice cream had turned to sludge and the meats in the freezer had completely defrosted. I was obviously pissed because the fridge was only 10 months old (By the way, this fridge was a replacement for another lemon of a refrigerator we purchased when we first moved into our new house. That particular appliance only lasted three years.), but my overall attitude was screw it, it was still under warranty and I felt fairly confident Lowes would act quickly and have it fixed ASAP. I called Lowes on Friday May 1st at 8:00 am and made an appointment to have someone come out and take a look at the fridge. Because it was a Friday, I wasn’t able to get an appointment until the following Monday, which was fine. Inconvenient, but fine.

Monday rolled around, the service person showed at exactly 12 pm (our appointment was between 8-to-12) and the service person spent five minutes looking at the fridge and then determined the fridge’s system board had shit the bed. Both my wife and I were present when he made this diagnoses and agreed that he was probably right. He ordered the part right then and there, and would arrive at our house on Friday. Another four days without a fridge. Yeah, it sucked because we were living out of coolers, but what could you do?

The part showed up at our place on Thursday, and the service guy showed up extremely late for our scheduled appointment (Our appointment was between 8-to-12 and the service person finally showed at 2 pm). When the service person installed the new system board, guess what? It didn’t fix the fridge. So it was now determined that it was the compressor, so the part was ordered,  another appointment was made for the following Friday. Great, another week living out of coolers. I was livid and called both Lowes and A&E to demand that they expedite the part and service, which they both promised they would. (They both, of course, lied, and were just trying to nullify pissy old me.)

Fast forward to the next Friday, service guy shows up late again (only by an hour this time) spends 2 hours installing the part and TA-DA! Fridge is fixed! Hooray! No more eating out, no more having to go to the store every day to buy ingredients for our meals! I could now go to the market and buy groceries.

Wrong!

Fast forward five days later, the fridge breaks down again.

More food loss, more angry phone calls. Another service person is sent out, but this guy spends 3 hours tearing apart the fridge and finding the real problem. He reports that the fridge is unfixable and requests that the unit be replaced. (By the way, this was the first person in this whole thing to show any kind of concern or caring. Everyone else involved was more or less just playing the nullify the enraged customer game.) We’re relieved because now we feel that finally something is going to happen, that we’ll be able to store food again within a week.

Wrong again!

I call Lowes on the following Tuesday (It was Memorial Day weekend on Monday) and ask where they we were on replacing the fridge? The customer service person tells me they haven’t received anything from A&E Factory Services and they suggest that I call them to see what the issue is. I do and A&E tells me they turned in the documentation on the 24th. I call back Lowes and they tell me they’ll keep an eye out for it and to call back Thursday.

I do so and Lowes tells me they still do not have the documentation and ask me to yet again call A&E. I try to explain myself about how I’ve already called, blah, blah, blah, but they insist it’s the only way to get the ball rolling. So I call A&E, they tell me what they told me on Tuesday, but then suggest I actually call Samsung directly. (In hindsight, I should’ve done thins to start with. But for some reason or other, I thought Lowes would actually handle the problem. Obviously I’m a fucking idiot for thinking this.) I do so and now Samsung will be sending out another service person on Monday June 1st to make sure the fridge is actually for real irreparably broken, and then after that, who knows what will happen.

Yeah, I give up … I am now fully prepared to live out of coolers for the rest of my life.

But just before I decided to live without refrigeration, I realized something: Lowes, A&E, Samsung, all of them want me to give up. All of them want me to just forget about the $2000 hunk of Chinese manufactured, supposedly warrantied piece of shit sitting in the corner of my kitchen. They want me to just shrug my shoulders and say, ‘I guess we’ll just go and buy a new one.’ They don’t want to replace the fridge because it cuts into their bottom line. They just want me to be a good consumer, not complain, and get back to work so I can buy a new fridge every year and a new television and a new phone and a new toilet and a new car and a new computer.

But, whatever…

My two takeaways from this whole experience:

A) Customer Service is not about serving the customer, it’s about profit retention. It’s about having a greater sense of determination than the customer and hoping that constant platitudes will wear the customer down.

B) Consumerism sucks. The reason why our things breakdown so often is because they’re made to breakdown. Our companies want us making making major purchases year-in-and-year-out because it keeps their stock holders happier than pigs in shit. But you know this already. We ALL know this.

Anyway, I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not looking for any poor Keith comments and I’m not trying to relate anything deep and meaningful. I just needed to get the experience off my chest.

Anyway, I have a couple new pieces up at LitReactor and I hope you check them out if you haven’t already:

10 Questions With Richard Thomas

5 Crime Short Story Writers You Should Be Reading Right Now