'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
LOCAL DEALER BEATS BIG BOX
I am ready to report the findings of an extensive scientific study I have just completed. During the past three years I purchased two major appliances, and here are the conclusive results:
First, my wife and I bought a new oven/range for our kitchen. We purchased the oven/range at one of those big, national box stores. For the purposes of my scientific study, there is no need to identify the particular company, but let’s just say it’s name might rhyme with “Rome Repo.” Anyway, the oven/range was a top-quality name brand product, and the price was very reasonable. To get the actual appliance to our house, however, was an adventure.
First, the item was not stocked at the local big box store. You would think with a building the size of Yankee Stadium they would have room to stock a few oven/ranges. Nope. The products were stocked in a warehouse in Albany, or possibly Albuquerque—I could never get a straight answer about that.
Also, the big box company doesn’t deliver the items themselves, instead they subcontract that job to a different firm. In our case, the firm was a guy named Lenny who owned a van. I think his name was Lenny. It might’ve been Mike. That was another bit of information I could never get a straight answer about either.
We received a voice message from Lenny/Mike saying he would deliver the oven/range on Monday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. At about 8:30 p.m. on Monday, with no sign of Lenny/Mike anywhere, I called the big box company’s customer service call center, located in Atlanta, or maybe Albania. Since they had already “handed off” the assignment to the subcontractor, they could provide only limited information. This is what I learned: Lenny/Mike might actually be named Dave. He worked out of Massachusetts, or possibly Montana. He had no cell phone. He had no email. But I was assured that if Lenny/Mike/Dave said he’d deliver the oven/range on Monday between 5 and 8, we could be confident that we’d receive our appliance no later than Wednesday.
Without any further voice messages or other communication, Lenny/Mike/Dave appeared at our front door with the oven/range at 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday. He worked out of Long Island. And his name was Charlie. We liked the oven/range very much, but the delivery left something to be desired.
The second phase of my major scientific study was conducted quite recently. We needed to purchase a new clothes dryer, and with the Lenny/Mike/Dave/Charlie saga still fresh in our minds, we decided to try a different approach: I would build a dryer out of spare parts in my garage. With the homemade wood stove without an exhaust flue saga still fresh in my wife’s mind, she vetoed that plan. So instead our plan was to purchase the dryer from a local, family-owned company. There is no need to identify the particular company, but let’s just say it’s name might rhyme very closely with “Sugarak.”
We selected a top-quality name brand product, with a very reasonable price. The owner of the company (not a customer service voice on different continent) told me it would be delivered the next day between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. On the next day, at exactly 5:35 p.m., a truck pulled into my driveway, and two pleasant young men, each with only a single first name, delivered and installed the dryer.
So the conclusion of my scientific study is this: buy from local dealers. The prices are darn good, and the service beats those big box stores, hands down. And tell them Lenny/Mike/Dave/Charlie sent you.
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