Helen of Marlowe's Blog

The Machine Stops

Posted in Uncategorized by helenofmarlowe on April 28, 2011

April 27, 2011

Things fall apart. And I’m in a disgruntled mood. I suspect that’s normal after buying a product and expecting it to work (silly me) and then having to spend an hour talking to a machine.

June 18, 10 months ago, I bought a convection/microwave oven and a refrigerator. I almost never buy extended warranties (Consumer Reports advises against it) but this time, because of recent problems with similar products, I did.

The OTC microwave/convection oven, GE Profile model #JVM1790SK01, replaced a similar model that lasted only two years. This time, it was the light that went out.

Now before you roll your eyes at this silly old woman who cannot change a light bulb, let me tell you that you can’t either, unless you want to void the warranty. It wasn’t the exterior light bulb, it was the one inside that lights the food so you can see what you’re cooking without opening the microwave while it’s waving (which everyone knows is a sin). So a very nice man came out with heavy tools and exposed the private parts of our microwave. He replaced the light bulb, but the nice man hardly had time get home and open a beer before the light went out again. Another bulb is on order, and another service call will be scheduled.

On that same day (I hate shopping, so why not get it all over with at once) I also bought a refrigerator, Whirlpool model #ED2KHAXVQ. It has stopped dispensing ice. Not a big deal. We can open the freezer door and reach in and get ice. But things ought to work.

That was the matter that necessitated my talking to a machine. Humans no longer answer telephones. (Not that they wouldn’t, if given a chance.) This aggravation was further aggravated by my having to stand in the kitchen using the wall phone, because all three of our cordless handsets died this week. (OK, I sat, but you get the point.) My son was skeptical when I told him we are now cordless-less because all three handsets lost their charges. (To paraphrase Lady Bracknell’s remark to Ernest, it does seem a bit careless.) He says it’s implausible that all three cordless handsets would lose their battery charge at once.

He is right. It is implausible. Nevertheless, that’s what they did.

And as soon as I post this, I will go to the kitchen phone and call the Buick dealer to report that the $1200 we spent last year to replace the panel with all its gauges on our 2004 Buick LeSabre must not have been sufficient. Because again, we have no way of knowing whether the engine really is running hot, or whether we really are out of gas (the digital readout last night gave an estimated fuel range of 44 miles, then  474 miles, then 120 miles, 296 miles, all within a span of about 10 minutes driving home from AU meeting in the rain) and whether we really are driving 120 mph on city streets.

The gauges are out again.


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