I too am few up with Sears. A couple of years ago my furnace died. Being who I am, I got several quotes from different companies. I decided to go with Sears. They employ contractors who, according to Sears, work only for them, to help ensure quality. The 2 guys who did the work did a great job, fixed some other issues created by the previous home owner, and left me their information if I had any problems in the future. Fast forward to this summer. After several strong storms it was apparen that we needed a new roof. From the experience with the furnace, I called Sears. While they were more expensive than others I felt comfortable from before. Well, it's been nothing but a headache since. All I can say is the roof looks great. They left parts of the lunch on the lawn, cigarette butts all over the place, and enough nails to re-do the roof. After supposedly magnetically sweeping the yard, I still found enough nails to fill a sandwich bag. They came out again to clean once more, and laughed and snickered the entire time. After confronting them about it, I was ensured they got it all and we should calm down. With a 2 year old running about, nails in the grass is a big issue. Well, a month later we are still finding nails and they have nothing to say, nor will they come back out to clean again.
I've got a nice Brother laser printer that has a flashing "Drum" light. I figure I've got a few more pages then it's done. It's an old printer, but it's been reliable and I like it. So I price drum units and it turns out that they are more expensive than a new Brother printer of comparable capabilities!
Not sure that even a simple machine is that great. I had a washer for a number of years that quit working. Being an EE, I did some simple tests and found the main (mechanical) timer / control was dead. Great, I thought, that's easy to replace. Except for the fact it cost amost as much as a new washer. Unfortunately, the "simple" replacement unit has a "shake the whole house" feature....
Greg, you'e right about the disregard companies seem to have for their own brand names lately. It could be that the pride in design and manufacturing excellence has diminished with outsourcing. The slipping sense of quality with brands like Sears and Maytag is surprising given the cost to build a name.
It is interesting how brand names don't step up to repair their mistakes before considerable damage is done to their name. They spend fortunes on advertising but refuse to spend literally a few more bucks to make their product reliable.
Speaking of disposable products - I remember someone telling me that they would buy a new printer every time their inkjet cartridge was empty. It cost less to do that than buy a new cartridge...
My folks had a sears washer and dryer that lasted about 20 years and it did need minor repairs along the way. The gear box went out and they purchased an HE maytag which was a huge disappointment. It needed a repair every year or two at best. Flustrated with that set, they bought LG brand with insurance. No problems yet. But I thought they were crazy buying insurance for a washer and dryer. I have a 4 year old mid-grade washer and dryer that works like a champ with no buttons and LCDs and plastic tubs to replace. Noticed the newer high end units are more plastic than anything and parts are assemblies. Super expensive.
Yes, it is striking how many stories we get about the new technology failing in standard appliances such as dishwashers, washers and refrigerators. Rarely do we hear about failures in basic functioning. Usually, the story is accompanied by an anecdote about going on the Web and finding tons of consumers experiencing the same problem.
Todays Sears is not The old Sears. So do not get too bent out of shape. It happens with most everyone. I can tell you a much more strange story.
A couple of years ago I had to visit Chicago for a show and conference. With my schedule I did not want to make early reservations and then cancel, so I waited to the last minute and then was not able to make reservations in a "normal" hotel. My option was Choice Hotels. So I made reservations and was offered a membership and a credit card, to earn points. Actually is i would pay with their credit card, I would get two nights free out of five nights stay. I applied over the phone.
Just a bit about myself, and you will see why !!!!! I came to US as a transfer student about 35 years ago and completed two schools. Married with grown kids, house, dogs, great job....... The American dream.
Now back to the story: About a week later I received a letter from the hotels card processor that I need to e-mail a copy of my passport or a Naturalization Certificate to provide proof of residence. You can imagine how I felt. I called the number and was connected to a very nice operator who stated that because may social security was issued to me after the age of 10, I need to provide a copy of my passport, even though they see an extensive credit report. Basically he needed me to confirm that I'm a Citizen of USA. As his speach was clearly not American, i asked him where is his call center. He replied: Singapore.
Isn't it funny that a US Citizen is required to e-mail a copy of his passport to Singapore to prove the he is a US Citizen to a castomer service abroad. Can you imagine that !!!!!
Obviously I politely told him to go to hell and canceled my reservation. Motel 6 was much more receptive to my regular credit card.
Just another in a long line of examples (much to my chagrin) proving that while seductive, the bells and whistles of new appliances typically just open a can of worms that won't be replicated by opting for the barebones model.
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