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A Lighter View … Repair department … please

July 1, 1993

A Lighter View … Repair department … please

By Karen M. Morris, Humorist

My electric stove, Chucky, suffered from a poor work ethic. Chuck had two heat settings: luke-warm and incinerate. He had an unnatural hatred for exotic foods and enjoyed turning French fries into tasteless carbon forms.

I was tired of soot suppers, so I resorted to a rare but effective form of tough love. I drug Chuckles to the curb and sped away in my car. He was replaced with a gas stove named Flame. But Flame was a flasher and every opportunity she got, she’d flaunt the letters PF for power failure. She was one chip short of a functioning motherboard.

No problem. All I had to do was call the service number in the manual, right? Wrong. There was no service number in the manual. I dialed the number listed under Maintenance Agreement and got the marketing center. There, I was greeted by a non-human and given a special number to call for stove repairs in Baghdad.

“Thank you for calling,” answered non-human No. 2. “Do you need a delivery time? The location of our nearest store? Non-technical or instructional assistance? Store hours? Repair? Or home refinancing? Please respond.”

I don’t handle multiple choices well. I tend to freak out and forget my options. Nervous, I screamed into the phone, “REPAIR!”

“You want the menu repeated.”

No. I want REPAIR!

“Your answer is invalid. Would you like the marketing center?”

No, not there, REPAIR!

“Please hold while I connect you to non-technical assistance.”

I was transferred to non-human No. 3, who said all the lines were busy. But, since I was a valuable customer, she would play funeral tunes for me while I waited. After 45 minutes, I started to chew through the phone cord just to make the music stop. Finally, non-human No. 4 answered and gave me seven more options. None of them were REPAIR. I was told to hang up at the end of the recording. But, I refused and shouted, “I’m not an animal. I’m a human being.”

I stayed on the line until a human answered. She discovered I had the wrong number and promptly disconnected me. Four attempts later, I reached a human in REPAIR. I explained to him that my stove, Flame, kept shutting herself off. He listened intently, while eating something crunchy. When I mentioned the flashing PF, he coughed into the phone and said someone would stop by on Friday. Before I could thank him, I got a dial tone.

On Friday, a repairman showed up. I told him about the problems I’d had with Chucky and how I had to send Chucky away. I showed him some hand-drawn schematics of Roger, my refrigerator. And then, I told him my new stoves name was Flame, and that I had incredibly small feet. The man was spellbound. When I mentioned that Flame displayed a PF during her time-bake phase, he raced over to Flame and scribbled down her model number. “It’s her outage,” he wailed like a wounded animal. “She shot her watts and is running without a semiconductor.”

“Is that bad?” I cried.

“Nah. Stoves like Flame have a history of this kind of problem, so we keep her parts in stock. I’ll set one aside for you and come back next Friday.”

On Thursday, the REPAIR department called. “Hello, Mrs. Morris,” said a real human voice. “We just wanted you to know that your part is in the air.”

“Why is it in the air?”

“Well, that’s how they ship ’em, silly,” she giggled. “And I’m calling to tell you to watch for its arrival on Saturday. You’re a valued customer, so were having it air shipped.”

“Air shipped from where? Your shop? Its only four blocks away. The repair guy said he you had plenty back at the store and reserved one for me.”

“We don’t have any at the shop. That’s why were air shipping one to your home.”

“If I’m such a valuable customer, why did you let someone steal my part?”

“No one took your part. Your part is in the air and we want you to call us as soon as it gets to your house.”

“First you let someone steal my part, and now you want me to warehouse your inventory? What if someone steals it off my porch like they did at your place?”

“No one is going to steal your part off of your porch. Now, are you going to call us or not when you get it?”

“Can I talk to a human?”

“I’m not authorized to make that kind of a deal.”

On Saturday, my part came and I left a message with a non-human in Baghdad. On Friday, Flame was fixed. Yesterday, I cleaned Flame and she responded by flashing me with a giant PF. Here we go, again.

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