Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life

Monday, September 26, 2005

I've Got An 'ole In Me Washer

We have a Maytag Neptune washing machine. Unfortunately, it appears we weren't using correctly. Thus, the gasket between the rotating drum and the door developed a hole in it. This is a Bad Thing.

So I did a search for appliance repair shops in San Francisco and came across an article that recommended two shops: Accurate Appliance and Parkside Appliance. Given that we're fairly close to the Parkside district, I called them first. I explained the problem and was told they don't work on the Neptune machines. They asked where I was located and, based on that info, suggested Continental Appliance just up the road from me.

I called Continental to see if they could help. They could, but started off by telling me it would cost $85 just to come out and look at the problem. I asked if that would then be applied to the cost of the repair and was told no, the repair -- parts and labor -- would be in addition to the $85. I thanked them and hung up. Even if it weren't for the $85 scam, they weren't terribly personable. They weren't impolite, mind you, but they weren't terribly friendly either.

Back to the article, and I called up Accurate Appliance. Same story there -- they don't work on the Neptunes. They suggested Mars Appliance and gave me the number. I called and was told they could do it, but needed the model number of the washer to see if they had the part in stock. I told him I would check when I got home and call back. Well, I went off and left the number at the office. That was Wednesday, and I work from home on Thursdays. Friday, I remembered to get the model number on the way out of the house. That morning, I got a call at the office -- the guy from Mars was calling to see if I had gotten the number.

I gave him the number and he said he had the part and could come out the next day -- Saturday. So I asked if he knew about how much it would cost to replace the gasket and he said probably around $220-230, parts and labor. So I said okay. The next day, Leo showed up and set to work. He was courteous and personable. When he was done, he told me that we were using the machine wrong and he wanted to tell us how to use it so we wouldn't have to see him again.

He explained that we were using way too much soap -- actually, it was more like way, way, WAY too much soap. Like 17 times too much. He said to get rid of the soap we have because the temptation is too strong to fill up the cup and dump it in. With the regular detergent, we should only be using two teaspoons of soap. Not tablespoons but teaspoons. By putting in way too much, it was generating too many bubbles and couldn't drain properly. Water was staying in the machine, causing mildew, and eating away at the rubber gasket. It also meant our clothes were coming out soaked with detergent. So we're switching to the HE -- High Efficiency detergents and only putting in a bit.

Before he left, I asked about swapping the door on the dryer so that it opened on the other side. It opened so that the door was between the dryer and washer. He said it was a matter of three screws, that I could do it in five minutes. Knowing my skill level at such things, I asked how much he would charge to do it. He said nothing, that he would do it for free, but I demanded that he charge us. So he said two dollars. I begrudgingly accepted and he indeed switched the dryer door to the other side in much less than five minutes. When it came time to write the check, he said to make it for $220. I said it had to be at least $222 and indicated the dryer, but he said it had been $218 and he added the $2.

All in all, it was an excellent experience. If you ever have the need to have an appliance fixed, I highly recommend Greg and Leo of Mars Appliance at 1.415.333.2400.

Journal Description

My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.