A Frigid(nightm)are / Electro-sux Horror Story

This is my family’s personal horror story about our ongoing customer service nightmare at the hands of Frigidaire/Electrolux.
On July 24, 2009, our eight-month-old Frigidaire refrigerator unexpectedly broke down and stopped cooling. All it would do was beep continuously. There was no reason for the failure: it simply stopped working.
We called Frigidaire/Electrolux customer service (their call center is located in the Philippines) to report the problem. Little did we know that we would be forced to call them every day, several times a day, for the next month.
The part to fix our refrigerator (the control board) was out of stock, so on or around July 30, 2009, Frigidaire/Electrolux customer service told us that if the part had not arrived by August 4, 2009, our refrigerator would be replaced with a new one. We would have been happy with this resolution, had it in fact taken place as promised. But as we soon discovered, Frigidaire/Electrolux customer service is full of empty promises.
In the meantime, we had lost about $400 worth of food that had been stored in the refrigerator. We threw out most of the food and kept what we could in a couple of coolers. We have been buying 40 pounds of ice practically every day since July 24, to keep the food cold.
On August 7, 2009, we received a copy of a letter from Frigidaire addressed to our local dealer from whom we had bought the refrigerator (Fry’s Electronics), requesting that Fry’s replace our failed refrigerator with a new unit.
That letter was sent from Frigidaire to Fry’s customer relations on August 7, 2009. On that same day, my wife Sandra personally went to Fry’s to ensure that they received the letter and to expedite the replacement of our refrigerator. Then ensued two days of being bounced around between Fry’s and Frigidaire — Fry’s wouldn’t release a replacement until they could verify the letter from Frigidaire, and it seemed that no one from Frigidaire was willing to take ownership of our situation and help us get our replacement faster.
On August 10, 2009 we called Frigidaire’s customer service call center for what seemed like the dozenth time. We were getting frustrated because we didn’t know anymore what to say or how to complain to them that would get our replacement refrigerator into our hands faster. Finally, the call center in the Philippines put us in touch with a higher-up customer service representative in the Frigidaire/Electrolux headquarters in Georgia. This person, Felicia Roseboro, told us she was referring our case to the “replacement department,” to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
On August 13, 2009, Ms.Roseboro told us that they could not find a local dealer in San Jose, CA who would agree to replace our refrigerator. On August 14, 2009, we received a call from a certain Keela Rhodes of Frigidaire informing us that instead of replacing our refrigerator, they would simply ” buy back” our refrigerator for the purchase price minus the tax, delivery and installation charges. She told us to expect a letter from Frigidaire/Electrolux later that day.
At the time of this writing, we have received a copy of said letter. It instructs us to send our own letter of response to Frigidaire/Electrolux agreeing to the buy-back, as well as the original purchase receipt and the refrigerator’s original “serial tag.” Since we are not sure what this “serial tag” is, for the last three days we have been sending email and leaving voicemail with Ms. Rhodes and Ms. Roseboro, asking for a simple clarification of what this serial tag is.
We have not received any response from Frigidaire/Electrolux since August 14, 2009.
Meanwhile, we have been spending extra money on food and ice for our coolers, every day since the eight-month-old refrigerator broke down 26 days ago. In four days, it will have been one month since the refrigerator stopped working.
We feel that no one in Frigidaire/Electrolux is genuinely interested in helping us receive a replacement.
We feel that if we do not call or email Frigidaire/Electrolux on a daily basis, then that company is perfectly content to disregard the hardship and inconvenience that our entire family has suffered, and continues to suffer daily, due to the failure of their eight-month-old refrigerator.
It’s bad enough that the refrigerator failed after only eight months of operation. It’s even worse that Frigidaire/Electrolux do not seem to stand behind their product. The worst part is that they make their customers feel like we don’t matter to them at all.
We just want a working refrigerator. We want Frigidaire/Electrolux to do right by its customers and ensure that this issue is resolved to our satisfaction, After all, it’s not our fault that the product failed. We have already been promised a replacement. How long do we have to wait for that replacement to be given to us?
in conclusion, my advice to you all is to stay away from all Frigidaire and Electrolux products. Let’s refuse to support a company that doesn’t value its customers enough to process a product replacement in a timely manner. Let’s use the vaunted power of the consumer to punish Frigidaire with our wallets.
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Of Groceries and Geography

I’ve always taken groceries for granted. You go to a grocery, you buy what you need, you forget about it until the next time; that’s how it is for most people, I’ll bet. That’s how it was for me in New Jersey, when we lived there, and also in upstate New York, where we lived most recently before now. It’s one of those things that you take for granted.

Well, I’m here to say that a) you don’t value what you have until it’s gone, and b) the quality of the grocery really does depend on where you are.

In New Jersey, we had Shop-Rite, which handled our basic needs adequately. In fact, I would say that we were very happy with Shop-Rite. It had what we needed when we needed it; rarely were essential items out of stock. Every so often, Shop-Rite would have promotions like their “Can-Can” sale, in which all canned goods were heavily discounted. Aside from the fact that our local Shop-Rite could get a little crowded during the holiday rush, it was a satisfying grocery. We took it for granted, because it did what it was supposed to do for us, without fuss.

When we moved to upstate New York, we didn’t miss Shop-Rite, because that’s where we discovered Wegman’s. Wegman’s is, in a word, awesome. In a few more words: Wegman’s is, in our experience, the gold standard by which all other groceries must be judged. Why is Wegman’s so awesome? Think about a grocery that excels at pretty much every category by which a grocery can be judged. Clean and appealing interior and decor: check. Friendly, helpful, cheerful, motivated staff: check (for over a decade, Wegman’s has been a perennial member of Fortune magazine’s list of Top 100 companies to work for, usually occupying one of the top three spots). Comprehensive, thoughtful, well-stocked selection of grocery items: check. Excellent deli section with lip-smacking sub sandwiches: check. Complete, top-quality produce section: check. I could go on, but you get the idea: Wegman’s simply outperforms any other grocery chain I have ever tried, and I’ve tried a lot. If you live near a Wegman’s, consider yourself lucky, and cherish what you have. If Shop-Rite is a Toyota Corolla, then Wegman’s is a Lexus.

Now that we’ve moved to Northern California, we miss Wegman’s. I don’t mean that usual kind of missing something where you start out missing it a lot, then less as time goes on, until eventually it becomes a dull ache, dimly remembered. I mean that I’ve been here for five months, and I miss Wegman’s profoundly each and every time we go to the grocery over here. Exhibit A: in New Jersey, we only found it necessary to go to one Shop-Rite, the Nutley Shop-Rite, got everything we needed every single time, and didn’t feel the need to shop anywhere else. Exhibit B: in New York, we only ever found it necessary to patronize one Wegman’s, the large and newly-built Liverpool Wegman’s, less than 5 minutes from our house. Here in Silicon Valley, practically each time we go grocery shopping, we find ourselves having to flit from one grocery store to another, like pollinating bees, just to be able to find everything we are looking for. We go to Safeway, they have some things but not others, or their produce section flat-out sucks compared to Wegman’s or even Shop-Rite. So we are forced to go to another Safeway, or a Lucky, just to find everything we need, except those other place don’t have everything we need, either. We even tried a Save Mart, but it featured the sorriest-looking meat section I have ever seen in a major chain grocery, so we quickly got out of there. There was one day where we hit no fewer than five different grocery stores, including the much-hyped Whole Foods Market, in search of The One Grocery Store to satisfy all our needs, like we had in New Jersey and New York; is that too much to ask? Is it too much to ask that we find one, just one signle grocery store here in San Jose that can measure up to Wegman’s, or even just Shop-Rite?

The answer, unfortunately, is yes, that’s apparently too much to ask, and no, we still haven’t found that one grocery store. Even the two Costco branches near our house over here are strangely lacking in some basic items that we easily found in our New Jersey Costco, or our New York BJ’s. Sad to say, we are coming to the inescapable conclusion that when it comes to a satisfying grocery shopping experience, San Jose will never measure up to the other places where we’ve lived.

If you have a favorite grocery in the San Jose area that could change our minds, please let us know in the comments section. I’d love to be proven wrong!

Reflections on Supporting A Windows PC

I was tasked to clean a friend’s Windows PC of viruses and malware tonight, which led to writing and tweeting the following haikus:

Your Windows PC,
so full of crapware it hurts,
cannot be repaired.

USB device
is not detected at all.
Why does Windows suck?

Whoever told you
256 megs RAM is enough
should be head-shot. Twice.

Little yellow blurb:
“Network cable is unplugged,”
even though it’s not.

The Blog Singularity

I believe that we are rapidly approaching the blog singularity – the point at which more people will have blogs than those who do not.

At that moment, the definition of “human” will be altered to include “someone who has a blog.”

This is when all the blogs will congeal into a gestalt organism, become self-aware, reach through our computers and kill us all.

Then there will be only one Blog. And the Blog will look upon the vast emptiness, and will say unto it, “Let there be light.”

And the Blog will see that it is good.

The Scientific Atlanta DVR Apocalypse

If there is a hell on earth, it will surely involve the Scientific Atlanta consoles that Time Warner laughably foists upon us as “DVR’s”.

Each and every week, our “DVR” fails to record at least one episode of a season pass due to strange start/end time conflicts.

One would think that if the “DVR” was going to fail to record a scheduled episode, the least it could do is to inform us of the failure.

But no; our “DVR” simply fails to record a show, silently, like a thief in the night, stealing our entertainment options away from us.

Perhaps this “DVR” is actually the first phase of the coming machine apocalypse? Is this Skynet’s advance party, come to annoy us to death?