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    General Electric

    Wednesday 29th July 2015

    About thirteen months ago, just before summer began in 2014, the fridge that had come with the house stopped working. Because that can happen. By then, the fridge was at least a decade old; I’m not sure exactly how old it really was because, A) it had come with the house, and the house was built in the eighties, and, B) I didn’t really care enough to look for a manufacturing date on the thing. What mattered overall was that it had stopped working.

    If you’re looking for a trigger warning: A) you’re a pussy; and, B) the relatively timecritical emergency of replacing the fridge before all the food inside it went bad has proved to have been the least stressful element of this whole story.

    Dealing with the dead fridge was fairly simple. We noticed that it was dead in the middle of the night; we drove down to WalMart [not my favourite place, even in the middle of the night when nothing else is open] and grabbed a couple of big styrofoam cooler things, and a few bags of ice; we got the food out of the fridge and into those, as required; we got the colder food from the freezer moved out to the massive coffinfreezer thing in the garage; then, as the sun was rising in the east, we drove back toward WalMart [which is also in the east, which is awesome because who doesn’t love to drive into the rising sun in a city whose smog is thick enough that people tell it to eat less and move more], but cut left at the last minute and hit HomeDepot to go shopping; then we found a fridge we liked—kinda midrange—four figures, but closer to three than five; but it was out of stock, because of course it was; but we were able to order the same fridge in black, supposing were weren’t married to stainless.

    So, we did that. And, a couple days later—just as we were about to need to go get yet more ice—some guys showed up with the fridge and kinda installed it.

    I say kinda because there were a couple of flaws in the procedure.

    For one thing, despite all Point of Sale Promises [polysyllabic for Lies], the guys installing the fridge wouldn’t hook up the waterline, because it was made of copper. Or something. I’m not sure what the hell the problem was. I’m just sure that, according to them, they couldn’t do it, by the letter of some law they wouldn’t identify; but Hunter could do it, because they were lying about the law. So, Hunter did it. Then they looked at what she’d done, and blathered something about her doing it better than they could—which we kinda knew, because they couldn’t do it at all, because there’s a law no one can cite.

    For the other thing, they installed the fridge kinda…wrong. For over a year now, one of the two doors has been a centimetre higher than the other. At the time, they said it was cool because houses settle; or, in the monosyllabic: We Don’t Want to Fix It.

    I suppose there’s the third thing, if I wanna get really nitpicky: they had to remove the cupboard above the fridge to get it into place; then they just put it back, resting atop the appliance, because actually putting it back where they’d found it fell under We Don’t Want to Fix It.

    But, okay: we’ve got a new fridge; black is good; food goes in it and gets cold; everyone’s happyish.

    Until the beginning of June, this year, when the newish fridge stopped dispensing ice and water and stuff, which is a problem because Hunter’s primary use for the fridge—even above keeping food cold—is smacking her Contigo into the icemaker and filling it with arctic, filtred water. Especially when it gets hot around here. Like, around the beginning of June.

    Also, the freezer now beeps incessantly, starting two seconds after I open the door, which drives me mad. It’s supposed to start beeping like that after about a minute, just to remind you that you’ve been staring into the freezer for sixty seconds and there’s never been a reason to do that, ever. But, because something computery is broken in there, it starts beeping even before I’ve got the door entirely open; probably, that’s related to the icemaker dying; and, possibly, that’s related to the slackers installing the door wrong back in 2014.

    But, this isn’t about blaming stupid people for—

    Okay: it totally is. But that, as I’ve said, was all the least stressful thing about all this.

    A couple months ago, toward the end of May or beginning of June, something in there broke. Why it broke after less than twelve months when the fridge it had replaced had lasted for at least ten times that long is anyone’s guess. Mine’s that these dickweeds misinstalled the door while hiding behind laws they couldn’t identify. But okay.

    By any estimation, a major appliance costing four figures and dying within a year is likely still under warranty. Just to clarify: I mean a real warranty—not the hilariously useless extended warranty which serves no purpose but to give a company an extra five hundred bucks so it won’t do anything if your device breaks after a year. Notable examples of that are the laptop I stupidly got at SoundTrack in 1998, the laptop I stupidly got at BestBuy in 2002, and the laptop I stupidly got at CircuitCity in 2003.

    So, Hunter called HomeDepot to ask what to do about a broken fridge. They were helpful: they told her to call General Electric.

    She called General Electric. They were helpful too: they told her that it was under warranty, and they’d have someone out to fix it in a week.

    That was at the beginning of June.

    A week later, a guy came out to fix it. We got the food into big styrofoam coolers with ice, and he took the fridge apart to not fix it because the thing he figured was broken wasn’t broken. But that’s no problem: he’ll be back a week later to fix the real problem.

    We get the food out of the styrofoam and back into the fridge.

    A week later, in the middle of June, he comes back with the part he needs to fix the real problem. And that doesn’t fix the problem because he’d guessed wrong again. We get the food out of the styrofoam and back into the fridge, and he promises to be back after another week to fix the problem we’ve had for three weeks now.

    The guy calls, toward the end of June, with an excuse: the part he actually needs is The Whole Entire Door, and it’s out of stock. So he won’t be back until July, when they should have them available again. So we don’t move food into styrofoam.

    At this point, I start wondering what in hell is wrong with these people. Really, I start wondering how this benefits anyone involved over just replacing the damned fridge. But then, I wondered that when BestBuy couldn’t fix my laptop for a couple months, too.

    A couple weeks ago, we got another call: the door is still out of stock; it’ll be a while.

    Yesterday, on Tuesday 28th July 2015, eight weeks into this whole freakshow, UPS dropped off a couple of boxes for me. Two of them. And each contained a door.

    I wasn’t sure why we got two doors. I wasn’t sure why we got any doors. I’m a little unclear on the part where General Electric wanted me, the victim customer, to take delivery of massive parts in the absence of anyone who was supposed to deal with them. But, that’s what happened. And, apparently, I’m not the only one perplexed by this.

    A couple weeks ago, one of the times the backordered door was delayed, Hunter called GE to ask why in hell they were plotting toward snailmailing the doors here to the house at all. The answer from GE Corporate was that they’d never heard of anyone being so stupid as to do that, so it must be the company to which General Electric outsource Warranty Fulfilment, or something. Which was polysyllabic for We Can’t Guess; but Then, We Don’t Care.

    So, yesterday, a couple of massive boxes get here. And, because it hasn’t really gone a day without raining in Denver this year, suggesting that leaving these massive boxes out on my lawn would be a mistake for reasons beyond not much wanting massive boxes living on my lawn, I got to drag both of these damned things into the house to keep them dry.

    Today, the guy showed up to install the door. Finally.


    One of the doors was a refrigerator door. Meaning that there was no icemaker in it. Apart from that, it was fine; it just wasn’t anything I needed, let alone needed to drag the hell into the damned house.

    The other door was the freezer door. Had the icemaker in it. Yay.

    And it was dented unforgivably.

    If you’re curious: I didn’t open the massive boxes, even once I had them in the house. I didn’t see that as my problem. I wasn’t even sure what was in them, apart from heavy things I’d had to carry around while hurting my knee. For all I knew, each massive box was just half of the freezer door—like, an inside and an outside, or something. So, whenever the door got all dented, it was before it got to my yard, and before I dragged it the hell inside.

    Bright Side: The guy who, at the end of July, still couldn’t fix the fridge he’s been trying to fix since the end of May, knew that we hadn’t damaged the door; it was clear that it had happened during shipping, after some idiot had mailed it to me under the assumption that I’d wanna lift it. Twice, counting the door I never even needed.

    So, he took the dented freezer door away to his van, which was all nice and empty because General Electric just mail doors around. Also, he took the fridge door out there, because mailing that separately is just something General Electric do to spend money and therefore remain unable to simply replace a damned fridge two months after it stops working.

    I think the plan as of now is for yet another door—presumably only one, and presumably the right one, and presumably devoid of big dents—to get mailed here next week; then the guy comes back and…who knows…maybe fixes the fridge before it starts snowing around here. I’m not even sure if that is the plan; I’ve pretty well stopped listening, at this point.

    Seriously: I’m done listening. We tried that. Now, it’s my turn.

    General Electric: In 2014, I was okay with getting one of your refrigerators; I remember a time when you made good stuff, and the fact that you’re about the only remaining American company doing this sort of thing implies that you’re good enough to survive in a world of oriental knockoffs. But I’m starting to suspect that your survival is more of a happy accident. At best, I’m thinking that your survival has a lot to do with making worthless stuff and charging four figures for it. Maybe the spread between what you make and what you charge is great enough that, so long as one in ten of your products outlives its warranty, you’ll end up making a profit. Maybe you’re simply charging so much for so little that the interest you make off the MSRP is enough to survive on even after everything pukes within a year and you launch into mailing people massive doors and sending out people whom I’m convinced would attempt to change a flat by replacing the headlights. I don’t know how your business model works; I just know that works is a charitable term.

    So. Here’s what’s gonna happen next….

    Next…actually, let’s not worry about next just yet. Let’s talk about what’s already happened. That thing where you mailed me a useless door or two? That thing where you gave me the choice of A) carrying a massive, useless door through the house, B) leaving it outside for the neighbours to stare at as the rain destroyed it, or C) refusing to accept it and hoping UPS would take it away while my fridge remained broken. I went with A, which I assume was the one you preferred too. And then I wrote you up an invoice for it:

    And thanks again for hiring me into manual labour without asking whether that was anything I wanted to do vocationally.

    Now. In the event that you were thinking about so much as blinking at me, let’s go over the transaction….

    You’ll note that I’m only charging for having to carry one of the doors. Obviously, mistakes can be made—particularly if you’re profoundly bloody retarded. So, I’m only billing you for the one door—partly because the second door was after I’d wrecked my damned knee: the damage was by then effectively done.

    I’m also giving you a discount on the appointment you made me miss downtown today. Just between us [and the entire internet reading along and concluding that General Electric are too stupid to outsmart an amoeba], I really wasn’t in the mood to deal with parking today anyway. So, thanks for getting me out of that by scheduling whatever we’re up to, at this point…came out once…and again…and cancelled the third but too late to avoid wasting my time…and then again a couple weeks later…I guess this was the fifth time you didn’t fix my fridge despite asking me to put my life on hold. And besides: it wasn’t really my appointment anyway; I’m just Hunter’s ride. She’s the one with the Disabled Veteran numberplates on the car in the driveway behind my Formula; she’s the one who could really have made an appearance at the VA to discuss with her psychiatrist her stress over having to keep going out in public to buy absurd amounts of bottled water because her clever moneysaving trick of having a fridge make that unnecessary was foiled by General Fucking Electric.

    I’ve left out any legal fees, because I’m an optimistic guy and I can’t imagine doubting that you’ll remunerate without the need for a big huge public trial threatening to pervade the breadth of social media at a time when people are being just a tad fastidious about throwing four figures at any major appliance which might prove irrevocably useless to the consumer within a year of having bought it.

    We good? Great. Let’s talk future issues….

    Are you mailing me another bigassed heavy massive door next week? That doesn’t work for me. I’ve lived the dream long enough: dashed are my aspirations one day to become a manual fucking labourer carrying useless shit around. So, really: don’t bother. Or, if you bother anyway: pray that it stops raining for a while. Because there are two things I can promise you above all else: I’m not carrying your dented shitware inside again, because I don’t want to; and Hunter isn’t carrying your dented shitware in, because she’s teensy and can’t carry an entire large sack of catfood. Also, I charge US$100,000 per night that idiots store their shitware in my yard for the neighbours to see. In case you, like, lack the liquid wherewithal to just replace a fridge two months after it breaks, or something.

    I’m done playing with you. You’ve got my attention, and you didn’t want it. You owe me ten thousand bucks. And, since my final agreement was to be here next Wednesday to watch your little moron drag whatever off my lawn to stick onto the fridge, that’s where my patience truly ends: beginning on Thursday 6th August 2015, I’m charging you an additional thousand dollars per day until the fridge becomes operational to my satisfaction.

    Have a webcomic:

    More later….

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