Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Sears, Roebuck and Company

When I was a child, Sears, Roebuck and Company was a wonderful store, where one could obtain "everything" either from the store, or by ordering in the catalogue...Our local store was a favorite, and in the Christmas season, their toy exhibit was just amazing: so many things to watch and see.  It was magical!

When we went to Boston, sometimes we went to the Sears, Roebuck and Company store to buy something special.

As the years progressed, things changed, but the reputation of Sears appliances and other products, including Craftsman tools, did not.  Until in the 1980s. I personally noticed some decline with product, service and repair...

In 2005, Sears merged with KMart, and my opinion is that there was further decline.

But, what can I say... We purchased a lawn mower from Sears in 1984, and it lasted until 2006.  I think I got my money's worth...So, when I bought a new lawnmower, I went to Sears... I was actually very pleased, because the mower had the easy start feature that the 1984 mower had. The sales representative even told that the model I was looking at was good, but had many more features than the mower I was replacing, and if I was happy with my current mower, I could buy a mower that cost about $75 less. So, I did.  And, I have had no complaints about the mower.

Sometime in the mid 1990s, I purchased a water heater from Sears.  When it went out in 2007, it was out of warranty, but I considered that not to be an issue: the water in Lubbock is very hard, and a water heater that lasts about 10 years is a good buy.  So, I went to Sears again.  I purchased the water heater on a Sunday and it was installed the next day.  I was not particularly impressed with the plumber who did the installation.

That same year, a few months later, I had trouble with the water heater:  the pilot light would not stay lit...I waited 12 days for the appointment with the repair technician.  He was rude and insolent.  After he did the repairs, I went to work, and when I got home that night, I realized I had a gas leak... Sears was able to get another technician out a few days later. He was personable, informative, and helpful... He "saved" Sears for me. After he repaired the water heater, and replaced the sensor that controlled the pilot light, he asked me not to go to work right away. He asked me to stay home for 2-3 hours, and check for gas leaks.  And, he gave me his direct number to call, in case there was a gas leak, so he could return the same day and fix it....

This gentleman also explained to me that Sears had lost a couple of service technicians in Lubbock, and technicians were being sent in from other areas to help, hence the delays in getting repairs done.

Fast forward.   I realize now that for the past several weeks, when I take a shower, I have not needed to use the cold water. During the heat of the summer, that was not an issue... But, I really did not pay attention to that until I went out of town at the beginning of October, and got good hot showers in the hotel. 

So, I turned up the thermostat.  It did not help... I turned up the thermostat again.  And finally, I realized that I was not getting hotter water...I have been using a space heater to help warm up the shower. But the water is still just lukewarm.

I called 11/1/10 to get repair service set up... The phone representative was wonderful, but of course, out of his control was the scheduling process:  the appointment is between 8 AM and 5 PM.  They will call aobut 30 minutes before they arrive...

This creates a problem:  I can not sit in my office and wait for a call.  Even if I tried to do that, because of trying ot get out of the prison and home could take me 15 minutes or more than 30.  And, if I was trying to do work, there are so many scenarios that would prevent me from getting the call from the technician.  I did not want to risk missing the repair technician. I have plenty of leave.  So, I have arranged to be off as much or all of the day, as needed, so hopefully, I can get the hot water heater repaired.  

The jury is out.  We shall see how this repair project goes....

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