Another satisfied customer
Posted by Euroranger on October 2, 2009
As is probably evident by now, I use this blog as a place to vent my spleen at all the things (well not “all”…if it was “all” I’d never stop typing) I encounter that piss me off. This is a useful release valve for all the daily annoyances that, if left unchecked, would eventually build into a towering inferno of murderous rage as they are heaped and piled upon one another and compounding the emotion of whatever the polar opposite of “unbridled joy” is. By its very existence and my continued unfettered access to it, this blog ensures that my name doesn’t end up in a headline and my neighbors don’t appear on the evening news saying things like “gee, he was always such a quiet guy…I would never have imagined he was capable of such things”. Anyway, I’ve mentioned I live in Woodstock, Georgia having moved here from Tampa, Florida about 5 years ago. When we put an offer on the house here our agent advised us to tell the buyer to throw in a home warranty in case anything went sour on us. So we did. We have a natural gas furnace in the attic and an archaic A/C heat pump combo outside both of which are ample reasons to have a home warranty. The warranty also covers things like some home appliances and plumbing issues…so, I thought, it would be a useful thing to have. Amongst the warranty-covered items is our built-in microwave oven. This microwave, around…oh…a month ago, started making a gawdawful racket and wouldn’t heat anything. Now, I have other things in my house that make a gawdawful racket and don’t do what they’re supposed to but this isn’t about my kids (although I love them enough to not return them to the Walmart from where, I’ve consistently claimed, I purchased them). In addition to the awful noise while not heating my food, the microwave’s turntable also developed an odd jerking habit while it turned (sloshing any liquids you might have been wanting to heat and retain inside their containers outside their containers and all over the microwave) and it has a crack in the plastic door handle. This is about a single microwave…a microwave that is coincidentally enough (and this couldn’t be anything other than a contractual oversight) covered by my home warranty. Enter our warranty company, American Home Shield.
At this point, I’d like to be clear: everything I have said above is true to the somewhat questionable capabilities of my memory. What I’m about to say is solely my opinions based on events as I recall them but which are almost certainly colored with the emotions those events evoke. Again, what follows is merely my expressed opinion which, I seem to recall, is entirely guaranteed to American citizens by those Free Speech rights enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution. I know I’m still an American citizen because the IRS says I am whenever they want to take my money.
So, back on September 8 (25 days ago today) I placed a call to American Home Shield asking them to dispatch a repairman for my microwave. I was told such a person would be out promptly. Now, promptly to me means something like “quick” or “pronto” or “with haste”. Silly me. “Promptly” apparently means, “technically within a week” because while it took 2 days for the contractor to contact me, they took another 5 days to actually get around to coming out. This wasn’t a problem as, I described the problems the microwave had, gave them the make and model number and figured “hey, the guy is coming next Tuesday and by Tuesday afternoon we’ll have a working microwave”. Silly me (that’s two “silly me’s” if you’re keeping count at home but believe me, more are coming). Anyhow, the blessed day arrives and the repairman appears at my door. Now call me old fashioned and whatnot (I AM 42 1/2 years old after all) but a repair place who sends out repairmen to customers might consider that the deportment and appearance of their staff should be something that reflects well on the company. The contractor chosen by American Home Shield however has clearly advanced past such bourgeois notions as “neat” and “personable”. The guy that arrived looked like he’d just finished a fight with his girlfriend and lost. He looked angry and perhaps pissed off that he’d been commanded to come to my home to do actual work. Frowning with single word grunts to my greetings and invitation to enter my home don’t score big marks with me but I’m not trying to make a friend here, just get my damn microwave fixed. The equal fact that he’s one of those high society folk that believe that buying pants 5 sizes too big and then wearing them where they are falling off your ass is a fashion statement didn’t make the “first impression” score any larger. That he entered without tools or parts to, you know, actually repair my delinquent microwave completed the “oh fucking no” trifecta. Indeed, the “repair visit” consisted in its entirety of the following:
- hobo-like gruff repairman staring menacingly at the microwave
- pressing a button so that it might reproduce the sound I described
- assuring me they would be back in touch within 4-5 days to schedule a repair once the parts they will be ordering arrived
- demanding $60 for the warranty co-pay
And thus, on September 14, the repairman arrived, scowled several times, made me a promise, departed…and all it cost me was $60. Oh, and my microwave was unaffected with the possible exception of mild trepidation from the surliness of the repairman’s glare. He seemed like he was in a hurry as well. The entire encounter was possibly 10 minutes from door open to door close, 3 to 4 of which was me locating my checkbook and writing out a check. However, I figured this company, exhibiting such efficiency as they presently demonstrated to me and my balking magical food and beverage heater, had a great many more locations to stop at and a long list of appliances to frown upon and so our uncivil intimidator departed in haste to go fix more things. Silly me. No, where he went immediately afterwards was the bank upon which my check was drawn…to cash it. Not deposit it to their account so as to cover the cost of ordering the parts they should have already arrived with and installed but didn’t yet have because they hadn’t ordered them yet. No, nothing as normal as that. No, this fella went immediately to my bank and immediately cashed my check. I wasn’t aware of this until the next day but upon discovering this I began to have the first notion that this wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience…discounting the entirely exceptional experience of being disdained by a lookalike vagrant in my own home.
So, I wait 4-5 days to hear back from them. Fair enough. That was September 14. Come the afternoon of the 21st (now 13 days after my initial call) I still had heard nothing so I called American Home Shield. They cheerfully informed me that THEY (not the contractor) had ordered the parts needed for repair because the contractor said they didn’t have a parts source for a device as strange, rare and alien as a “Kitchenaide microwave”. After I picked up jaw I asked when it was that American Home Shield had been informed of the contractor’s inability to acquire the parts and was helpfully informed that the contractor had tried that day to order them, could not and so informed AHS (short for American Home Shield but you can, like me, pronounce it like it sounds: “ass”) of the problem and they took care of it. So, not only are we well past the 4-5 days (we’re at 7) but the delightful contractor AHS selected only just that day actually started to do something in relation to my repair that didn’t involve baleful looks. I ask the cheerful AHS telephone drone how many more days I can expect to wait to have my appliance repaired and I got the precise “I dunno…call the contractor and ask” reply. My rage went to Defcon 3 on that bit of helpful advice.
So, more waiting with no microwave…a device I wasn’t aware upon which I depended so heavily. I am literally starving during the day because I’m far too lazy to heat up leftovers for lunch in something as ridiculous as “the oven”. Please, this is 2009. How else is a civilized man supposed to acquire popcorn? I was descending into pure barbarism eating “chips” and “crackers” as snacks in the afternoon. It was becoming a desperate situation to be sure. Anyway, skip forward another week to September 28. I get a call from the contractor advising me the parts had arrived and they could come out and actually repair something. I related that I’d be pleased if they could do just that and so we settle (by which I mean they inform me because they can’t possibly juggle other previously scheduled appliance frowning sessions in favor of actually fixing something) on Thursday, October 1 aka: “yesterday”. Well, I’m sure you can simply imagine my giddiness what with it being a mere 3 1/2 weeks after I first placed my call. For the life of me I can’t imagine why AHS doesn’t use “We’ll get it fixed in less than a month” as their new marketing slogan. Actually, scratch that, I can imagine why they don’t…but that’s called “foreshadowing” and you’ll simply have to read further to discover why.
Anyway, the auspicious day arrives yesterday and the same fellow who visited in the relative eyeblink of nearly 3 weeks earlier returns. This time around he is much more jovial (I’m guessing he won the girlfriend fight this round) and I actually cannot discern the top foot of either his asscrack or which brand of signature underwear he has carefully chosen to adorn himself with. He also actually has boxes in which, I assume, are the appropriate parts to effect the repairs. Things are looking up I say to myself and I return to my work upstairs with parting instructions to “let me know if you need anything”. Silly me.
So, I’m working away on various code related things when I hear my front door open and close and I notice the time. Egad! Two hours has elapsed since I left the kitchen. Now, the desk in my house at which I toil daily sits in front of a large window overlooking my driveway. I observe our technician return to his pickup truck and open the driver’s door and rummage about inside for something. What tool could he have forgotten I wonder? If he lacks a particular tool I have a well-stocked toolbox so I’ll be happy to lend him whatever he needs to get this now 2 hour repair job done. Perhaps he needs to check a manual or something he forgot. If he lacks it, I can probably locate it on the internet and would be pleased to print off whatever material he needs. To my surprise, he emerges from his truck with a plastic water bottle. Now, I sit there at my desk and say to myself “what the hell does he need with a water bottle to repair my microwa…HOLYGODDAMNSHITNOHEDIDNOTJUSTDOTHATINMYDRIVEWAY!!!”.
Yes, dear reader, despite my kitchen being located less than four whole feet from our downstairs bathroom and being cleverly disguised as a bathroom complete with the camouflage of a sign affixed above the door entitled “BATHROOM”, Mister Fixit just unzipped, whipped out his dick and is taking a fucking piss into a water bottle while standing in my driveway. My neighbor Maureen is out walking her two youngest in a stroller…cars are driving by…my next door neighbor’s elderly father-in-law Don is in the side yard petting my dog over the fence in full view of my driveway…and this fucking dude is doing the mandatory three-taps-and-a-shiver while standing right in front of my house in broad daylight.
As my hateful God is my witness I was actually struck a bemusedly kind of dumb for a moment. Did Fixit not spy the cunningly hidden bathroom next to where he was supposedly working? Did he perhaps not know that the room labeled “BATHROOM” might contain a functional toilet? Did he perhaps not know how to properly use a toilet? Did he think it would be somehow inappropriate for him to use the bathroom in a customer’s home (completely discounting the obvious counter-notion that pissing in your driveway is somehow more appropriate)? And why did he recap the bottle and leave it in his truck? Does he save his urine? Is it precious or perhaps worth some amount of money? Is my urine also worth money and I don’t know it? Have I been literally pissing dollars down the toilet for years? In the midst of all this I completely missed the one benevolent action that my hateful God has bestowed upon me in years: Fixit only had to do “number 1”. Thankfully he wasn’t working downstairs after a lunch of 3 bowls of chili and a couple of beers. I literally don’t want to contemplate what he would have done or what he would have had to go fetch out of his truck had his biological imperative been “a deuce”. The whole result of this episode was that Fixit, thus refreshed, re-entered my home supposedly to continue fixing things, Maureen indeed did notice but continued walking and I haven’t seen Don since…I hope he’s all right. He’s a nice old man.
Anyway, another hour elapses and Fixit calls me downstairs and declares that he is done. He advises me though that he can’t figure out how to remove the existing cracked handle and replace it with the new handle. He also tells me that the herky jerky motion of the turntable is supposed to be like that although he has replaced the motor and despite the fact that the turntable turned smoothly up until around 6 months ago. However, he takes one of my plastic coffee cups, fills it with water from the sink, sets it in the microwave, presses a few buttons and begins to demonstrate that the device now works and heats water. Approximately 2/10ths of a second pass before there is a loud sparking sound, a bright flash and the light inside the microwave begins to flutter intermittently. Fixit looks stunned and possibly constipated. I take a step backwards saying “I don’t think you’re done”. Fixit retrieves his tools and commences to remove the microwave from the wall again and I retreat upstairs to immediately consult the exclusions clause of my fire insurance policy. Another hour elapses (we’re on 4 hours now) and Fixit again calls me down. Everything remains as it was (handle not fixed, turntable still acting like a rapper’s record player) but now the water that doesn’t get spilled from the coffee mug is indeed hot. Fixit apologizes about the handle, claims the turntable is working as designed and writes out his final invoice affixing the following note that I am to relay to AHS:
Another company will be coming out to replace handle. Mic okay after testing.
And away he goes but not after mentioning how inconvenienced his day has been made because of the amount of time he needed to repair (that would be 1 repair out of the 3 he was there to perform, BTW) my microwave. I set aside my astonishment at his affrontary long enough to verbally wish him to “drive safe” whilst I mentally wish for him to be struck by lightning knowing full well that the hateful deity who dogs my existence has orchestrated this entire debacle and will almost certainly not give me the satisfaction. After he leaves I tested his “fix” by popping and eating a bag of my formerly abandoned popcorn. I am still alive but wondering how long the symptoms of radiation sickness need before they become apparent. However, the turntable and handle are still in their previously broken state so I called AHS this morning to arrange for “another company” to come out (hopefully one qualified to do such repairs and, if possible, fully housebroken) and complete the repair.
So far, AHS has sent me a contractor who:
- took his sweet time getting around to getting here
- showed up looking like an angry vagrant
- did nothing on his first visit but glower in a professional manner and take money he hadn’t earned
- couldn’t order the parts to fix things he’s supposed to be able to fix
- couldn’t fix the things he’s supposed to be able to fix once those parts arrived
- exposed himself in front of my neighbors
- bizarrely keeps his own bodily secretions
I dialed AHS thinking they would be horrified by the tale I had to tell and would take immediate steps to remedy the situation to the satisfaction of their paying customer. Silly me to the point that God is probably laughing his divine ass off right now. After navigating an automated phone system designed to keep you from speaking to an actual employee I got the pleasure of speaking with “Markweeta”. I related everything but the ritual pissing/saving piss event as I didn’t see how that affected the quality of the repair and since the contractor wrote on his invoice that another company would be sent, could we please arrange for that today as the repair isn’t complete and I’m not sure the repair Fixit did do is even safe. Markweeta (and please, can we stop with naming children after invented, foreign-sounding names because they don’t make the kid sound like he/she’s from a different culture…just from a retarded set of parents) told me she could not do this and that, get this, American Home Shield had been contacted by this contractor and they told him he would need to come out again and finish the repair! Apparently, someone at American Home Shield, despite probably not knowing the first damn thing about repairing a Kitchenaide microwave and likely being equally ignorant as to the true depth of Fixit’s incompetence, has decided that Fixit IS indeed qualified and knowledgeable enough to fix the microwave he just failed fixing. I tried explaining to Markweeta that Fixit’s efforts were entirely unsatisfactory and that his very own invoice said that someone else would be coming out to make the repair. Apparently, this omnipotent person at American Home Shield knows better than the actual contractor what his true skills are and cares nothing for the satisfaction of their customer with the service they received. I told Markweeta I was unsatisfied with the quality of the repair and what was the process for a customer complaint of such to be resolved? Markweeta advised me that such an action needs to be initiated with the contractor manager liason at American Home Shield. I said something to the effect of “good, please transfer me to speak with that person” and she replied with something to the effect of “no, that can only come from the contractor themself”. I then I said something to the effect of “holy fucking goddamn shit you have to be motherfucking kidding me you incompetent half-witted rotting cockholster” and then I unmuted the phone and said something to the effect of “Markweeta, do you have a supervisor I could speak to”? She couldn’t transfer me fast enough.
By comparison, her supervisor, “Trineeda” (I swear these are the real names…you just can’t make this kinda shit up) couldn’t answer her ringing phone slow enough. However, once she did answer it, she was very consistent in reading from the same script as Markweeta effectively telling me that I could go shout off a high rock if I was requesting anything so ridiculous as “customer service”. “Trineeda” though had the added bonus of apparently not possessing a superior that owned or knew how to operate a telephone. You see, I informed her that she was of even less help that “Markweeta” and I asked what her role as supervisor allowed her to do that Markweeta’s role as “customer thwarter” did not. Because that question was not on her script I never did get a stock answer to this. I was told that, essentially, there was nothing I could do about the situation except request a call back from one of the mysterious, mythical, non-telephone answering beings under whose name(s) “Trineeda” falls on the org chart of American Home Shield’s “Fuck The Fucking Customer Customer Service” department. This call back will occur sometime within the next 24 hours. However, this is a Friday and I leave for the weekend around 5PM today…so unless I hear from this make believe superior at American Home Shield who has the power to directly speak with the Contractor Management folk, I suspect I’ll end up calling again Monday afternoon and repeating this whole farce.
Suffice to say dear readers that were I asked to complete a survey of the quality of service I’ve received from the contractors American Home Shield has sent my way, I would indeed use words like “incredible”, “outstanding” and “remarkable” but only where they precede words like “apathy”, “ineptitude” and “unconcerned”. I will be researching similar home warranty companies later today and should I find their premiums, co-pays and items covered to be comparable, I’ll be dumping American Home Shield like a bad habit as soon as humanly possible and I don’t know enough people I can tell to do the same and avoid them like the plague. They’re more than happy to collect your premium payments and increase your deductible (from $45 to $60 recently) and throw in a metric ton assload of exclusions for things they won’t cover but they definitely won’t give a flying rat turd about the quality of work their ridiculously unqualified contractors will perform on their behalf and their notion of “customer service” would be to tell you to “not let the door hit you in the ass on the way out”…if they cared enough to say even that much when a handy “fuck you” is much shorter and to the point.
My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.