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

Read on for a sad and stupid tale of woe! Read on for a catalog of incompetence! Read on for an example of temper being set aside! Read on for a glowing example of Sears Fail . . .

In 2011 we redid our kitchen. As part of the project we replaced a number of appliances, including our stove. Our existing stove was an old electric range that came with the house. We toyed with bringing gas up to the kitchen but decided on induction. It heats up fast like gas but is crazily cool to the touch. There weren’t many models out at the time and we settled on an Electrolux, which we purchased at Sears.

Quickly the immaturity of the technology became evident. A variety of circuit boards needed replacing on a regular basis. Eventually the oven stopped working and then the whole unit died. Thankfully for use, there were more than four parts replacements in less than 12 months and Sears agreed to replace the unit.

We went to our local Sears store. We again considered gas, thought about electric but decided to stick with induction. We ordered the stove on April 18th. It was to be delivered on April 25th. Because the original stove had been deemed a “lemon,” the replacement would include the removal of the old stove and the delivery and installation of the new one.

There was confusion among the sales associates. One put together the order – including installation – but a colleague said since this was a simple slide-in unit the delivery people would be able to install it. It seemed reasonable at the time.

A few days later we got a phone call. An error had been made with the order and the stove would now arrive on April 30th. Not ideal but such is life. On April 30th the delivery truck arrived. The old stove was removed and the new one brought into the kitchen. The deliverymen couldn’t do the install. No installation had been ordered, they explained, and left with the stove sitting in the middle of the floor.

For more than two hours I was on the phone with Sears trying to figure out what had happened and find out how it would be fixed. The earliest installation, I was told, was May 3rd – four days away. This wasn’t acceptable. I spoke with a number of people at Sears, none of whom could provide any explanation for what had happened or accelerate the installation date.

How did it happen that no provisions were made for installation? Was the assumption that we’d simply have the stove in the middle of the floor indefinitely? Is it really possible that there is no one capable of installing this stove in fewer than four days?

All of these things seem impossible to me. What I have seen is a series of errors, one compounding another, until we are left with the current situation: a functionless cube sitting in the middle of our kitchen awaiting installation. This is unacceptable. The offer of a $50 gift card, while thoughtful, doesn’t make up for the many meals we have been unable to make at home. Rarely have I seen such incompetence, such a failure to perform or such a lackadaisical attitude toward a customer’s concerns.

At a time of stress for our family we have few options. The stove is there. The installation is pending. Meals are going uncooked. It’s safe to say we won’t be shopping at Sears any time soon and will be actively discouraging others.