So Tom and I swept confidently into the into the Sears appliance department practically giddy with our secret knowledge that the dishwashers in the mid-price range were every bit as good as the high-priced ones.
We tried to act very non-chalant as we looked over all the models, as if we were naive consumers who thought that one model might have an advantange over another, all the time knowing that all dishwashers were the same, that we could just pick any old model that had a sprayer attached to its top. We even mosied on over to the top-of-the-line models, the Bosch's and Samsungs and GE's, opened their heavy stainless-steel doors and examined their fancy racks and fold-down shelves and dozen buttons, scrutinizing them as if we'd consider shelling out $1,100 for one of these tiny-motored snobs and pitying the poor naifs who would. Little did I know how my arrogance would come back to bite me.
Anyway, we settled on a modest, sensible Kenmore in black with the requisite upper sprayer and an Energy Star rating which, according to the energy guide tag it sported, "meets or exceeds the Government of Canada's high efficiency levels." Government of Canada's? Oh well, I guess Canada must be setting the standards these days. Whatever. Anyway, we figured if it's good enough for Canada it's good enough for us.
At $329.99 (reduced from $399.99) our acquisition was the least expensive upper-sprayer model in the store. With the $40 coupon that my repairman gave us (reduced from $65 because our machine cost under $400), that brought the price down to $289.99. We were positively gleeful.
Until the $139.99 deliver fee was tacked on. Then the $129.99 5-year warranty we grudgingly sprung for - I mean why should parts start breaking as soon as you buy the darn thing? But, oh well. Then there was $19.99 for the installation parts - now we have to pay for the installation parts?! And another $15 to have the installer haul away our defunct dishwasher - I mean, come on! Throw in the tax and we were up to a total of $584.72
But fine. We had our new dishwasher, even if we left the store grumping a little about all the added fees.
Though by Monday morning our grumpiness had all worn off as we anticipated the arrival of our new mid-line-but-just-as-good-as-high-end dishwasher. I left for my yoga class while Tom stayed home to wait for its delivery.
When I returned home from yoga, feeling refreshed in body and mind (though that feeling would be short lived) the dishwasher was there. I went over to take a look at it. I grabbed the handle, pressed the latch to open the door and pulled. The door wouldn't open. I pressed the latch harder and pulled again. The door didn't budge.
"There's something wrong with the dishwasher door," I called to Tom. "The latch is stuck. In fact I can't even feel it"
Tom came into the kitchen. "That's the top of the handle you're pressing. This door has no latch. You just pull it open." He grabbed the handle and gave it a good manly yank and the door opened.
"Oh," said I, and tried just pulling the door open. I couldn't do it.
"Pull harder," said Tom.
I pulled harder. Finally I gave it a seriously hard yank, really throwing my back into it, and it sprung open. My elbow hurt.
I shut the door again and tried opening it again. It took another hard back-yank to get it opened, Now my elbow hurt more.
You know that sinking feeling you get when you've just spent a lot of money on something and it doesn't work right?
Anyway, I called the number for the repair service and told them about the recalcitrant door on my new dishwasher. I asked them to send out someone to fix the door. They said they'd get back to me.
A little while later the guy who installed the dishwasher called me back.
"There's nothing wrong with the door," he said. "Those non-latch doors are just really hard to open. Really hard."
"But it wasn't hard to open in the store," I wailed.
"That's because that was a floor model," he said. "Probably been there for years and been opened and closed a million times. After a couple years yours might loosen up some, too."
"But couldn't somebody come out and loosen it up for me?" I pleaded. "I mean, I can't open the thing without wrenching my arm!"
"Nope, nothing anybody can do about it. Those latchless models are really hard to open."
So I called Sears to tell them I wanted to exchange my dishwasher but the person who sold it to us wasn't there and I'd have to come into the store anyway to work out the exchange.
Tom pointed out that we'd most likely have to pay another installation fee, buy another set of installation parts, pay another haul-away fee. And who knew if our $129.99 warranty was transferable? All of a sudden I was out of steam. I had things I needed to do. I didn't feel like going back to Sears. If they told me I had to pay another installation fee I'd say "forget it" and walk out of the store really ticked. I decided to say "forget it" now.
I plopped down at my kitchen table and conjured up the image of my dishwasher guru as if he were in front of me sitting cross-legged on my kitchen floor.
"Why," I sadly asked his spector, "in all your wisdom did you not take note of my boney hands and skinny arms and tell me to be sure to get a model with a latch?"
Maybe I gave up up too easily, but rather than face a potential confrontation with Sears I surrendered to living with this latchless, arm-wrenching tyrant dishwasher.
But if my dishwasher guru is correct in his prognosis on the life span of all appliances, I'll only have to live with it for 8 years. By which time I'll be 70. Have a great weekend anyway! 8)
We've been running the machine on the energy-saving "smart wash" cycle. I cleans the dishes just fine. It's gonna be a long 8 years.