We have a newer Kenmore hood microwave that drives us nuts. It is one of the high-end units that seems to have its own operating system -- probably based on Windows 95.
We bought it because a Sears salesman recommended its “ease of use.” Sounded good, since we have a lot of guests use our kitchen. There is one dial on the face that controls pretty much everything. It doesn’t have a vast array of buttons positioned around a central keypad. It looks clean. It looks straightforward. Sounds great? Not so much.
The problem is, everything is controlled from this one dial. You turn it to highlight your menu item on a large LCD display, then depress the dial to make your selection. The menu system rivals that of a modern-day ERP system. There are menus nested five to six layers deep, which means you lose track of where you are and how you got there. What makes things more frustrating is that guests use it and have no idea where to start with this silly dial on the front of what looks like a Star Trek replicator.
The guests start spinning and pressing, spinning and pressing, all the while changing the configuration of the microwave so it no longer functions in any known microwave fashion. We laugh about it, we grit our teeth about it, and we spend too much time trying to reset it back to its factory settings. But the fun really starts when we get a lock-up on the interface. Windows users get the Blue Screen of Death; we get the Green Screen of Death (GSOD) because the back-lighting on the LCD is green!
Shortly after purchase, the unit started locking up (GSOD). No functions, no menu movement -- just an expensive, oversized nightlight. We found the only way to reboot and reset the unit was to unplug it for a couple of seconds and plug it back in. Grrr. We called Sears customer service, but since the unit was working fine when they came, there was nothing they could do. We set a stool near the kitchen area so shorter people could open the cabinet above the microwave and reset it as needed. We called Sears again as the GSOD was becoming more frequent.
During the service man's second visit, he reset the unit by pulling the plug. He then suggested we must have "dirty power," and that was causing the problem. He recommended I get a good-quality surge suppressor to plug for the microwave. What? Frankly, I am not buying it, nor am I calling Sears again!
This is a kitchen appliance, not a delicate electronic laboratory instrument. I have many thousands of dollars of computer and AV equipment coming through the same power panel (different breaker), and that equipment should be much more sensitive to "dirty power." I have experienced no problems whatsoever with that equipment. The unit was designed by monkeys! This Kenmore microwave is on the short list for a yard sale. Good riddance!
Where are those old polished chrome Amana Radaranges from the 70s? They were heavier than a boat anchor and built like a tank, but they would heat a cup of ice-cold water to boiling in about 15 seconds. They just don't make 'em like that anymore.
This entry was submitted by Brent K. and edited by Rob Spiegel.
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