A fun and challenging hobby of mine is evaluating which of my large ticket-item purchase mistakes was the worst. The list over the years is impressive, but I am currently engaged in an epic losing streak. I mean, how does one choose between the Khrysler Kamikaze, the Proscandal television, and the Frigiderror refrigerator? The most valuable moving part on any of them turns out to be the warranty, which you can access if you disconnect the power and remove the dashboard.
We bought the fridge one year ago after an equally-inept G.E. model gave us four of the worst years of it’s entire life. Which was a total of four. I once blogged about its recalcitrant ice machine here. So Sherry and I were resolved: we were never going to get suckered in and buy another G.E. fridge ever again, boy howdy! We ended up purchasing a Frigidaire top-freezer model. And everyone knows G.E. is certainly not an abbreviation of “Frigidaire,” right?
Our first sign of trouble came about the second month of ownership. We started hearing funny “clunking” sounds and an eerie noise that resembled human indigestion. So, we did the thing that every new appliance owner would do: we called G.E. I mean, they were on speed-dial already and we were on a first-name basis with a customer service rep named “Darla.” Then, we laughed and called Frigidaire. And Frigidaire told us to call G.E.
I kid you not. It turns out that Electrolux, which does have an “e” in its name but certainly no “g,” is in the process of buying G.E. Guess which other appliance manufacturer Electrolux owns? As part of the deal, apparently G.E. is now handling service calls for Frigidaire.
Except they aren’t. We were told to go find a local appliance repair shop certified to handle Frigidaire products. Ten months and four service calls later, the repair shop is on speed-dial and we are on a first-name basis with a customer service rep named “Okie.” To call this fridge a “lemon” would be an insult to lemons. Especially those lemons that became rotten, smelly, moldy, and rusty because the fridge couldn’t keep them fresh. The freezer wouldn’t freeze, then the crisper wouldn’t crisp, then the refrigerator wouldn’t refrigerate, and then even the handle wouldn’t hand. No, really. The plastic door handle simply snapped off. Okie kindly informed us that the Frigidaire, er G.E., warranty simply would not cover the handle. Since we are not prepared to send one more dime to G.E., we certainly aren’t going to buy a replacement part, so we simply don’t have a handle on things.
The last break-down nearly sent Sherry over the edge. Okie came by and informed us that it would be a “complicated repair that requires a special kit,” which he would have to order. With our warranty about to expire,
Sherry got on the horn with G.E. to demand a replacement fridge. After they all had a big laugh, G.E. did actually agree to replace the broken handle and extend our warranty for another six months. Which means we get another half-year of free visits by Okie.
Looking back, I am trying to figure out where it all went wrong. The best that I can think of is when I foolishly decided that our hungry family of six actually needed a refrigerator in the first place. But the biggest mistake was probably when I concluded that “G.E.” is not an abbreviation of “Frigidaire.” I mean, had I been a sly one, I would have realized you can’t spell “Frigidaire” without a “g” and an “e.”