Saturday, May 10, 2008

great expectations

i had no idea that buying appliances could consist of so much confusion and stress. i guess this is ignorant, but i kind of assumed that to acquire a washing machine and dryer, you simply bought a washing machine and dryer, and then it was hooked up for you. this is what lowe's promised in its commercials of charmingly befuddled actors who come into the store with a major home project that, upon asking a sales representative, they find–to their delight–that it's never been easier and cheaper to make vast improvements to your home thanks to the lowe's customer promise.

so i went to lowe's home improvement warehouse (TM) today to buy a washing machine and dryer and ended up with no washing machine, no dryer, and a new outdoor table and chair set. it was not meant to be this way.

the cheerful green table and chair set appeared before me almost as soon as i walked into the store. of course, this was cleverly done so that i would instantly be attracted to go and inspect, which of course i did. a little sign hung from it that proudly proclaimed "great deal!" initially i scoffed but when i grabbed the price tag hanging next to it and read $70.00, i realized that lowe's was not playing around, as one should not play around when lawn furniture is involved. there was only one box left of the set, so a guy moving the handcarts around had it brought to the check-out for me where i could pick it up later.

my journey finally brought me to the appliances section. i was met by a man who had clearly not found job satisfaction by joining the lowe's "team." for my part, i could have been a happier customer, but my one criteria, when asked what i was looking for in my purchase, being "cheap," i don't think i met his hopes for a customer to whom he could sell the highest end machines.

anyway, our exchange ended poorly after it seemed that the free home delivery and installation were only on machines of at least $400.00 each, and only if i installed an electric dryer. did i have an electric dryer or a gas dryer? i had no idea; i told the sales rep i would ask my landlord. i left the store to call my landlord and couldn't reach him. then i called my neighbors and asked what they had. "gas," the said. ok.

i went back in the store and over to the sales rep. "gas" i said. he nodded. "propane or natural gas?" he asked. i blinked at this new detail. i began to suspect that this was going to comprise of a lot more complexities than i had previously forseen.

"ok; so i can't get the free installation on a gas dryer?" said i. "no," he replied, with absolutely no will to live. "so," i concluded "i only get free installation and hook up if i buy a machine that i can't use?"

the sales rep paused, unsure exactly of how to answer "yes."

"yes," he said. i nodded gravely. "so, it would be better for me to buy this cheaper model that i can use and pay your delivery charge than to pay for the higher end model that i will still be charged for?"

he seemed unsure again of how to agree that that was the case. i asked him to write down the model number of the cheapest washer/dryer set and thanked him and walked back towards the check-out, where my lovely table and chair set waited for me to decide its fate. at that point, i was discouraged from spending any sort of money at all, but i decided to get it after all, and spent the afternoon putting it all together.

i'm happy to say that i love it and it was quite a redeeming end to my otherwise frustrating day. here is a picture i took with my camera phone, so it's not spectacular, but it gives you an idea of my new little outdoor area to relax and enjoy the sun. i plan on getting a firepit as well.

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