The temperature in our newish refrigerator is 65 degrees. We don’t need the thermometer To tell us that’s in the Danger Zone, as there’s a rank smell.

I dread the call to Crane Appliances, the third call for service on this miserable excuse for a refrigerator. The last time, Crane took more than six weeks to replace the broken door handle.

As expected, a call to Crane gives me a choice of five numbers to tap. I tap number 3 and get another selection of numbers. I tap number 1, which gives me another choice. I tap 3, and get the manager, who switches me to Service, where I leave a message on voice mail that is never returned.

How many employees does that small store on State Road have that it needs to key out the one person who can help me?

It doesn’t seem that long ago that the iceman delivered ice to this very house and our milk, butter, and lettuce kept fresh in the yellow-painted icebox my father built.

In desperation I call Frigidaire, the company that manufactured this piece of junk. Again, a litany of choices, eight of them, spewed out so quickly in a baby doll voice I have to listen twice.   At last I get through to Service, and am put on hold. “All our representatives are helping other customers. Please hold. Your call is important to us…”

Yeah, sure.

I hold for ten minutes and slam down the phone.

I call Cottage City Home Appliances in Oak Bluffs. A real woman answers on the first ring. Her name is Amy. It’s like a drink of cool water in the desert. I give her the measurements I need for a fridge and ask how long it would take them to get one to me. Not a Frigidaire.

“We have a Whirlpool in stock and can deliver it tomorrow morning.”

Just like that.

The new fridge arrived at 8 am this morning and is humming quietly, unlike the Frigidaire. I called Crane, went through the numbers to get the manager, told her to have the offending machine picked up, and they’d better not charge me.

And furthermore, I would like to get my money back.

“That’s not possible,” said the manager. “We would normally repair the refrigerator, since it’s still under warranty.”

This I will fight. Three service calls to fix an unfixable piece of junk? More than six weeks before Crane was able to install a new door handle?

I have to wonder how many weeks that frustrating encounter with Crane and Frigidaire took off my life. And how many other lives are they shortening?

Cottage City Home Appliances, it is.  One call, one person, and prompt service.  Jason Balboni does the service calls for Cottage City. For several years Jason has tended our washer, dryer, and dishwasher. And it was Jason who introduced us to the marvel of hen keeping.                                                                                                                                       ♠  ♠ ♠

















About Cynthia Riggs

CYNTHIA RIGGS, author of eleven books in the Martha’s Vineyard mystery series, has a geology degree from Antioch College, an MFA from Vermont College, and a Coast Guard Masters License (100-ton vessels). She recently married Dr. Howard Attebery, who came back into her life after 62 years.
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  1. “Your call is important to us” should be on the same list as “The check is in the mail” and “I gave at the office.” Arrgghh. But what a relief it is to promptly get hold of a real person who can do what needs to be done promptly. I hope you get back not only your money but the weeks off your life (more books!). What good is a warranty if all your food spoils while you’re waiting for the repair person to show up?

  2. bellis2688 says:

    This is what I go thru when I call the VA or Tripler or any call I make for service call or any company. I’m used to it.

    Sent by Barbara


  3. Summer Songs says:

    I have never used it, but there is a “lemon law.” Sometimes if you call your congressperson you can have intervention. Also there is always an investigative reporter around ready to stick their nose(s) into any situation that keeps them on the payroll. Lately one such investigative reporter wedged himself snugly between two next door neighbors in a heated battle over weeds. The hateful holier than thou neighbor prevailed on his neighbor with the weeds by having the article appear on our local NBC outlet thus shaming him into availing himself of the volunteer group who happily swarmed his property removing excess unsightly growth. The victorious neighbor gloated, his furious, set jaw and white hair drifting in the late summer breeze, “When he saw this story appear on TV, it “scared the s*&t out of him!”

    So, you see, you can get results. Perhaps in some cases the ends do justify the means, but in the above example (weedy neighbor) I am not sure it really does. I believe this older man with the weedy yard actually was bullied and intimidated into it. The hostile neighbor was unable to rectify the situation, only the investigative reporter. Our America Today.

    Good luck with your new Whirlpool. There are laws protecting all of us “of a certain age” from harassment; laws governing the collection process, (if it should come to that); and of course the “lemon law.”

    Probably a gig on your local news media for this miscreant (Crane) will do the job.

  4. Summer Songs says:

    “Section 9” on this Massachusetts consumer protection page may help; also there is a link to the actual statutes and a number to call. Section 9 says you write a detailed letter within 30 days so read carefully. Maybe my attention span precludes accuracy in this case, because just as I was reading this consumer page for the State of Massachusetts, a sudden flurry outside my picture window drew my gaze. In a bright sunny patch of ground about 20′ from the window a very large redtailed hawk had just landed on its prey. It grappled for about 30 seconds, making sure it had a good grip on the prey, and covering its catch with its huge wings, she looked around carefully several times for her own safety! Then she lowered her beak to the ground, to make sure she had a good grip, and picked up her prey in her beak. The prey was a vole that was foraging by our garden arbor, near where I feed the birds. Then the big hawk quickly launched herself back into the air, at exactly the same angle from which she had plummeted in! I had seen this on TV many times but this is the first time I ever witnessed in “real life.”

  5. Summer Songs says:

    Sorry, I was trying to change all the “it” and “its” in the comment to “she” and “hers” but only got halfway through as Wolf Blitzer (husband is watching TV) was yammering on about Hilary and her health and. . . oh my goodness. . .

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