The end came quickly and mercifully for our dear Kenmore Calypso washing machine. After a few weeks of looping through its spin cycles and throwing itself out of balance, Dave and I agreed it was time to call in an expert. We had purchased the machine at Sears, a store that I must say has always provided us with a strange sense of happiness.
You see, Sears is my oatmeal. (And I am rather fond of oatmeal.)
It is the comfort food on the buffet of big box providers. Not fancy nor flashy. I wouldn’t even call Sears particularly impressive. But there is an unheralded beauty in the simplicity of a straightforward and reliable process. With the customer experience changing so dramatically in the last decade, it’s heartening to know that the traditional approach to major appliance repair can still deliver. I nearly shook with the anticipation of the impending Norman Rockwell re-enactment. My hero, the modern day Maytag repair man, was going to arrive and fix my washing machine – and maybe while he is at it, he might bolster my faith in humanity and remind me of all that is right with the world.
Dave, who is also a Sears fan, had a slightly different perspective, which was immediately apparent when he went to schedule the appointment …. online.Me: What are you doing?? Dave: I’m scheduling the appointment online. What days are you free this week? Me: You can’t schedule the appointment ONLINE! You need to call. The old-fashioned way. Dave: Why? Me: Because it’s Sears. Tell them I’m free on Wednesday.
I’m not sure whether this made any sense to my dear husband, but being a menschy guy, he sighed and dialed-in where he talked to a live person who shared with him that our Calypso was 10 years old and that it would cost $85 for the service call – which could be applied to repair or another machine. He also added in a $40 dryer cleaning.Me: You see! You NEVER would have gotten that information had you booked online! Viva-old fashioned phone calls!! Dave: Fine. But when this machine is not fixable, I think we should look into getting a front-load stackable unit. They are really cool-looking! And then we can add a utility sink and countertop into the laundry room.
Now Dave and I are untraditional in many ways when it comes to household chores and responsibilities. But when it comes to laundry, we are the Cleavers. I do it. I even like it. Which makes me the boss of the machines. And I am not remotely interested in cool-looking. Or turning an $85 repair into an $8500 utility purchase and remodeling contract. Nothing about “front-load” speaks to me. Top load has worked for me all these years and by golly….
Wow. In the span of 10 minutes, I had aged, like 50 years. I had become an old, crotchety woman who was living in the 1970s!! Maybe Dave had it right. Maybe we should move right into an online purchase based on an online report of the best washers out there followed by an online crowdsourcing event on everyone’s experience with washing machines? Change is good. And you can’t stop progress!
Of course none of these thoughts ever left my brain. Instead I just said to Dave:Let’s see if he can fix it.
Well, my modern day Maytag man did not disappoint. He showed up on time, complete with a cap and tool box. He made the necessary noises of concern when I explained the machine’s recent behavior. He shared with me that he has been fixing washing machines for more than 30 years and that we had a “rare” model. Possibly only 3 out of every 100 machines he works on are the Calypso brand!
And then he broke my washing machine beyond repair.
Apparently, it was an accident waiting happen. In fact, he was surprised I was still able to do any type of laundry in the condition it was in. He showed me the corroded thing-a-ma-bob, and the torqued whatchamacallit, and a small piece of something that “just came off in his hands when he was trying to assess the situation.”
I nodded while doing the math of how many pairs of underwear the lowest common denominator in our family has before running out. I derived that we had three days tops.Uh… excuse me, Miss? Oh… yes. Sorry. What were you saying? I was telling you about the coupon that gets you a discount on your next Sears appliance. Great. Thank you! Can I ask you a question? What do you think of stackable top loaders? Are you raising a family here, maa’am?
Raising a family?? Well, I think that’s what they called it back when I was young. How precious! I nearly swooned.Why yes. Yes I AM! Then I would go top-load. Those fancy machines are harder to fix, you know. You just need to get the clothes clean right? Right.
And then off he went, into the sunset. And a few hours later that evening, off Dave and I went to purchase our brand new washing machine and extended warranty from Sears, which was delivered two days later.
It’s a top load. It doesn’t stack. We didn’t research it online. It had a JD Power recommended tag on the floor model which we took as gospel. It has a bigger tub than the Calypso and it sings to me when I turn it on. And today we all have clean underwear for the week.
Progress, my friends, is in the eye of the beholder.