Posted in Review, Shopping

Is your Refrigerator Running? It was until you “fixed” it.

img_0764

After five weeks of recent Sears Warranty battles, we finally got a replacement refrigerator. The original was only seven years old but was irreparable.  I have a home warranty through Sears that I pay 39.99 a month for. In the end, I’m relieved that I got a new fridge, but this warranty has been far from hassle free.  

First of all, I feel like I was duped into purchasing this plan.  I called Sears last fall to set up a repair for my washing machine (another broken seven-year-old appliance).  At that time, I was offered this amazing plan that would cover appliances and items I didn’t even buy from Sears.  Yes, the nice lady named Barb said it would cover the microwave I got elsewhere and the swimming pool that came with the house.  If I would have asked if it covered my kids’ orthodontics, I’m sure she would have said yes.  

She was a smooth talker and had a quick answer to my myriad of questions, so before I set up the repair, I agreed to be transferred to the warranty department to hear more of the spiel.  Although it sounded too good to be true, I signed up. I was a sucker, a Dum Dum, a Chupa Chup.  

I quickly realized this warranty and service was bunk when Paul the washer repairman finally came to fix the leaking machine. The repair was given a window of sometime during my kids’ childhoods between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  I needed to wait by my cell phone, landline, ipad, and laptop to get a more precise day and time; they never seemed to use the same contact twice. What a pain it is to be available at their convenience.  

Well Paul came on a Friday, diagnosed the machine, ordered some parts, and came back a week later. We were given the same window of time, so either my husband or I had to take time off of work to be home while Paul worked his handyman magic. It would have been swell if  he fixed it during this second Friday visit, but that weekend the machine leaked again.  When he finally returned the following Wednesday, he accused me of overloading the machine and told me to use the heavy-duty feature at all times.  He tweaked something with a wrench and left.  The leaking stopped, but ever since Paul “fixed” it, I can’t use the light-load dial, an option that I chose to conserve energy and time.  

Annoyed, I called to cancel the warranty and just pay for whatever Paul did or didn’t do.  It was too late though, and I was stuck to the agreement like chewed bubblegum.  I was responsible to pay my monthly fee of 39.99 for twelve months.  Whether I wanted it or not, my funds would be withdrawn from my checking account anyhow.  IMG_0860

Fast forward to January.  The freezer and ice maker from our refrigerator unit (from Sears) broke, so I used the sticky warranty. The first available appointment ended up being on Serbian Orthodox Christmas Eve, Friday, January 6th.   My husband had to stay home and wait for John (not Paul), so I made the 90 mile trip alone each way to visit my family and church and then return to be with mine on Christmas.

This was a great inconvenience, especially since John (not Paul) didn’t even show up! The only notification we were given that this appointment was cancelled, was via email where it stated a new one was scheduled the following week!  Everyone we called about this had no answer for the repairman’s absence.  Another week of living out of our coolers.  

John came next Friday and said he had no idea why someone didn’t show last week.  I’m sure he was “someone” but didn’t say it.  Anyhow, he diagnosed the freezer, ordered some parts, and planned to return when they came in.  The following Friday, he spent the entire day “fixing” the unit.  He admitted to running into trouble since the two hour job turned into six.  He said to give the freezer a night to cool down and we could use it in the morning.  

Oh my my!  Do you know what happened next?  I woke to a warm freezer and even warmer fridge. Since NOTHING was wrong with the refrigerator until John touched it, it was still packed with food.  All of our groceries were ruined!  John nor Sears was responsible for the spoiled food that we had to throw away. It’s all in the warranty, you see.  

My husband and I made several calls and emails and got nowhere with the food replacement.  Food vouchers could not be awarded.  They suggested we turn it into our homeowner’s insurance.  I was afraid of premium increases for making a claim, so we ate (uhh, not ate) our losses.  How unfair is that?  A repairman breaks the thing that preserved my food and he isn’t responsible for the resulting loss which would have been a couple hundred dollars, easy.   

The other problem was that no servicemen were available until, you guessed it, next Friday! At this point, I requested a whole new fridge, but this couldn’t happen until John or Paul or some other dingleberry came back to assess it for another repair. This is the jargon from the terms and conditions:

How long will it take to repair or replace a covered item?

Once the service technician diagnoses the failure and the item is deemed eligible for coverage, repairs/replacements are usually completed within 1-5 business days, depending on the item to be repaired.

At one point, a customer service rep seemed genuinely concerned like she could help, and I had a glimmer, a blink, a wink of hope.  She put me on hold, go figure, and came back to say sorry.  Then she asked what else she could do for me. I politely told her to unplug her fridge for the night and requested she call me back in the morning. She never called.  I bet she didn’t even unplug her unit.  She probably went on serving Popsicles, unspoiled meat, and fizzy drinks with ice cubes.

A week later, John (UGH! Him again!) came back to attempt to fix his mistake. After four more hours of trying, he finally put the “cannot repair” seal on the deal.  Whoa!  He apologized but didn’t replace the food.  I thought I was being sly by taking pictures of his work truck to score the contact for John’s boss, but I was duped again!  The number was an alternate to the Sears Home Warranty Center and I talked to no boss.  I’ve had it with automated operators and incompetent customer service reps.  

It took another week to send out a replacement fridge, one comparable to the original discontinued unit.  So far so good and everything has been chilling with the new model, thankfully.  Maybe because it was delivered on a Thursday, not a Friday.  I’m satisfied with the refrigerator, but aghast at the time, food, and energy wasted on this claim.  When did groceries, appliances, and customers become so disposable?  

Are there any warranties out there that are hassle free?  

Posted in Inspiration, Review

The Shack: Part-Time Sunshine’s Review

the shack

Like millions of readers, I enjoyed the bestseller The Shack by William P. Young.  Eight years ago it was a title chosen in my book club. This story profoundly stuck with me since, and I give the book 10/10 Shines.

Yesterday, I went to the movie theater and saw the film version of The Shack directed by Stuart Hazeldine.  I wasn’t sure how the film would live up to the book  (a reader’s constant concern), but I think it did it justice and give the film 9/10 Shines.  The pieces extracted and played out from the book worked for me on the screen.  

With that said, I recommend reading the book before seeing the movie. If you are looking for a better appreciation and comprehension of the multi-riddled, bizarre concepts of faith then this is the starting point.  Please note that this is not true dogma or theology and is a work of fiction. Even though The Shack is made up, I still think it conveys profound life lessons:

To try to be good

To avoid judging

To love all including enemies

To know you’re not alone

To forgive others

To forgive yourself

To have faith and hope

To be open to healing

The main character, Mack suffers the unfathomable loss of his little girl who gets abducted and is brutally murdered. His greatest pain comes from the guilt that he couldn’t protect her.  He is angry at the God he blames for letting this tragedy happen.  In the midst of his relentless grief, Mack ends up having an unexplainable, mystical experience to soften and soothe his darkened heart.

The Shack can be coined as religious, spiritual, hokey or all of the above.  The vision that Mack has can be viewed as a dream, a miracle, or a bump on a head from a tornado blown house (whoops, wrong story, but still another inspirational one.)  My vision of God doesn’t match Mack’s vision, but as a reader and viewer I don’t feel pressured to believe how he does.  

As a Christian, I am captivated by Mack’s journey to confront the haunting permanence of his daughter’s death.  I don’t know what in this mortal world, besides faith in another world–a better world like Heaven–would ever help me personally heal from such a thing.    

As a mother, I can’t imagine this heinous disaster, and the truth is, I’m not sure I could even begin to forgive something like this on my own; I am human and therefore a judge of good and evil.  The story pulls from the Bible and claims that God will judge and deal appropriately with all the wrongdoers.  This is hard to just accept in the face of tragedy, but I believe it is possible.  In this regard (and many others), The Shack could serve others as a resource of hope and fortitude.  

One of my biggest takeaways from The Shack has been the concept of the Holy Spirit as breath and wind.  When I became a runner, I embraced this notion.  I like to think I am out there wrapped up in the Holy Spirit.  

The Shack reiterates the Christian concept of a good God who is omniscient who is everywhere at all times.  Mack’s vision gives him a tangible way to feel and believe in the Trinity which is revealed to him in a multitude of ways: as a man or woman of any age or race; as an amazing garden or weeds of wildflowers; as a perfect meal, as a stick of poison (when alone, it’s deadly, but when combined with something else it heals), as the wind, as feelings, emotions, and knowledge.

Viewing The Shack inspired me to be a more vigilant and active Christian during this Lenten Season. The reminders of how to fight the good fight as a sinner are all there. 

On a personal note, I’d like to add that human beings crave living proof, yet faith is a belief that is not proven.  I think if you are open to accepting it, signs that inspire faith happen.  I have personally experienced God in unconventional ways too.  He has shown up just when I needed him in nature, music, and a plant that should have died ten deaths by now.  If I told you I last saw my father as a black butterfly, you may believe or doubt me, but it doesn’t matter.  This is my miracle which I find great comfort in. I have faith that it’s the most beloved of all the signs I’ve ever had from God.

What miracles have you experienced?  Share and help others shine on!