Right Enough

What day was it that we lost the ability to cook at home? It was probably at least a month. Easily a month, probably six or eight weeks. The process of getting the stove replaced and delivered and installed was a pain but such is life. Here is how the story ended.

On Friday Sears called to say the installation would happen on Saturday. Wendy and I were (and are) dealing with much bigger issues than the stove, so while happy I was disappointed not to be able to join her for something else. During the agreed upon window a white van arrived bearing two installers. They went to work and soon discovered a problem.

Somehow, this new stove was a fraction of an inch wider than the original one. They identified the problem as being our granite counter. They explained I’d need to cut the counter if I wanted to get the stove in and did I know anyone who could cut granite. As it happens I do so I called my friend Marcos. He agree to come over but in the meantime I told the installers to get it all set up and I’d take care of sliding it in later.

They did as much as they could do and went on their way. Soon Marcos arrived and we looked at the stove and looked at the space it was meant to fill. We looked at it this way and that. Soon I saw (or thought I saw) that by raising it a bit more and pushing it to one side we’d be able to get it in the gap. We went over to Home Depot to get some items to help with the task.

Together we raised the stove and started to slide it in. It still wouldn’t fit. I saw the problem. Our cabinets were slightly off – closer together at the bottom than the top. This was a relic of yet another frustration (I shake my fist at Almir!). Marcos is very clever. He looked at the stove and looked at the space it was meant to fill. He looked at it this way and that. Soon he saw a solution.

We’d need, he explained, to detach the countertop from one of the cabinets, move the cabinet ever so slightly, push the stove into place, push the cabinet back into place and finally reattach the countertop. Wendy and I had an engagement that night so we agreed we’d take care of this the next day.

The next day got busy. We didn’t return home until later in the afternoon. We couldn’t reach Marcos so Wendy and I set to work. It was a pain in the butt but we managed to detach the countertop, move the cabinet, level the stove, push the stove into place and put things more or less as they were.

There’s still work to be done, but at least we have a working stove. It was way more trouble than it should have been but what can you do? Sears was less helpful than I wanted them to be but in the end they did as much as they probably could – particularly Carlos, our case manager. I think this weekend, circumstances permitting, we will revisit the meal we had planned all those weeks ago. Wish me luck.

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Sears Fail: Day Two

To call today day two is a little unfair. The fact is this has been a slow-moving fail, the full extent of which was only discovered yesterday.

Let us travel back to explore a few of the telltale signs . . .

The early stages of this particular fail weren’t wholly Sears’ fault. Purchasing what was at the time a fairly new technology (the induction stove) was a risk. The stove had trouble from the beginning and every time it did Sears would come out, investigate, order a part and replace it. This went on for almost three years. The part in question, a board of some sort, was replaced again and again. You would think at some point a pattern would be recognized and someone would consider the cause of the problem rather than the symptom. Eventually, when the symptoms became so frequent the patient was declared dead.

So, with authorization from Sears to replace the stove (which included delivery, installation and haul away), Wendy and I went shopping.

I’m not going to go into the back-and-forth between the sales associates but rather will fast forward to the week of April 19th. Our new stove was to have been delivered on the 25th and boy were we excited! Early in the week, however, we got a call from Sears saying a mistake had been made and the delivery had to be pushed back to the 30th. Not ideal but what can you do?

We were surprised to get a call from Sears on the 23rd telling use to get ready for our delivery on the 25th. Cool, we thought, Sears is coming through! On the 24th we got an email confirming a delivery the next day and then a call that night saying our delivery would be arriving between 12:45 and 2:45. Awesome!

On the 25th at 1:00 a big delivery truck appeared in front of our house. Wendy and I were giddy. I went out to greet the deliverymen and to move my car so they’d be able to get the stove into the house. One of the deliverymen hopped down from the truck. He asked if I was expecting a delivery and I said yes. He checked his clipboard and told me he had a wire for me.

A wire? A wire AND a stove, I said.

No, just a wire today – and did I know what kind of wire I needed?

See stoves don’t come with wires because there are all different kinds of plugs so when you order a stove you get a wire as well. And just because the stove wasn’t available didn’t mean the wire had to wait. Not knowing much about stoves I confessed I didn’t know what wire I needed but that I hoped there was some detail in the order that would help solve this puzzle. Rather than leave things to chance, the deliveryman came in to check. We pulled the stove out and he ID’ed the plug and went to his truck to get the wire. I signed for it and took his Sears satisfaction survey, not wholly satisfied.

Yesterday was the new BIG DAY. The same email/phone protocol let us know our new stove would be delivered between 9:15 and 11:15. Just before 8:30 I got a call from Sears saying they’d be delivering the stove in the next 45 minutes. I let Wendy know so her sister would be ready to greet the delivery. Cool!

When I got into the office there was an IM showing the stove in the middle of the kitchen. Great, I thought, they’re installing it! Then at 9:30 Wendy called me. The stove wasn’t installed. It was just left in the middle of the kitchen floor. She asked me to call Sears and get it fixed. I tried calling the store.

Going through the voice prompts I ended up speaking with a woman from delivery I guess. She explained that delivery doesn’t do installations and that no installation had been ordered for this appliance. I was confused. I knew we’d discussed installation. I knew they replacement of the original stove included installation. What happened? She didn’t know. She couldn’t help. She said we’d be hearing from someone within 24 hours to schedule an installation. So the plan was simply to have the stove in the middle of the kitchen for some indeterminate period of time? Maddening.

I attempted to call the store again. Impatient with the voice prompts I zeroed out and got a live person. She was helpful. She tried to reach the manager of the store. He was out. The assistant manager wasn’t in either. She offered to pass me to corporate. I accepted. It turns out that when someone at Sears redid the order they neglected to include the installation. Can it be fixed quickly? Not today. Maybe by Saturday.

Almost two hours later I’d spoken to no fewer than four people and still didn’t have a solution. Apparently there are no electricians in the greater Boston area able to install a stove. The associate who sold us the stove called twice to say he’d been calling and calling and waiting on hold to try to find out what happened and how soon it could be fixed. Saturday again seemed like the earliest it could be done. I was frustrated.

I wrote a blog post. I tweeted it. Within minutes @searscares contacted me. Please DM us your contact info and a case manager will be in touch. I sent my contact info. They confirmed receiving it and said a case manager would be contacting me as soon as one was free.

At the end of the day I went home. There was the stove in the middle of the floor. It sure looked good but when it comes to stoves, looks aren’t everything. I posted a photo of it to Twitter. Sears contacted me again to say they’d shared my tweets with customer care. I thought they’d done that four hours ago. Oh well.

This morning I still hadn’t heard from Sears. I tweeted that it had been 18 hours since they said they’d be in touch. As I write this they tweeted me to say that out of respect they don’t call between 8pm and 8am. That’s nice. Another sign of respect – as small one – would have been to install the stove. Or not to leave a stove in the middle of a customer’s kitchen. In fact, I would be willing to live with a call at 8:15 – or even 8:30! – in exchange for my stove being installed.

I was told that Carlos M. will be in touch with me within the hour. Perhaps surprisingly, within the hour I received a call. Carlos was apologetic and helpful. He confirmed a few details and said he would follow up and a few things and would be back in touch within the hour (a usefully ambiguous unit of time).

That was two hours ago . . .