Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Tales of Clothes Dryers, Butt-Cracks, and Unredeemable Rebates

So here I am at my parents’ house doing laundry. I imagine it may seem a little silly for a 34 year-old man to be trekking to his parents’ house for such a chore, but I have a justifiable reason: my clothes dryer is temporarily broken. And by “temporarily” I mean, “oh, for about seven or eight months now”. Surely you are asking: “Joe, why haven’t you addressed this dryer problem that you’ve had for WELL OVER HALF A YEAR?” My reply would of course be: Shut up.

I’m sorry. I’ve been made fun of about my dryer problem for quite a while now, and I’m getting kind of sick of it. The fact of the matter is I have tried to address it. Several months ago I called the manufacturer to have them send a technician to service my broken appliance. You know how in TV commercials nowadays you see more and more technicians such as cable installers and electricians being depicted by beautiful women in cute company baseball caps and uniforms? I, of course, did not expect this. Life is usually not that good to me. So you can imagine my surprise when the doorbell rang and I opened it up to see, quite possibly, the ugliest man I have ever laid eyes on. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh; my mind was a little clouded with thoughts that this guy was going to charge me a ton of money. So he probably wasn’t that ugly, but he definitely was of the “butt-crack showing” variety.

He quickly diagnosed the problem and reported it to me. And by “quickly” I mean about the same time frame as “temporarily”. He pretty much took the entire thing apart, and then said that it’s broken. It was a good thing he did this, though, because it further reinforced how mechanically ignorant I am. To me, it went something like this:

“Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah about $200.”

So I had to make a decision:

  • Pay roughly $200 to repair this dryer
  • Pay only about $50 more and buy a brand new one
I chose the latter. The repairman agreed, saying, “Probably what I’d do, too. That’ll be sixty-five dollars, please.”

Yes. Apparently it was going to cost me money just to do nothing. It’s called a “diagnostic fee” or “service fee”. So I had to make another decision:

  • Pay this guy $65 to leave and still have no dryer.
  • Throw him out the window to save $65, while most likely incurring legal costs well over $65 (in case you don’t know, an attorney charging you for a paper clip is a legal cost that would exceed $65).
I chose the former, mainly because I doubted I could throw him out a window without a forklift or a chiropractic visit. Plus, he said he would give me a discount coupon for my next appliance purchase. Note here, though, that there were two problems with the coupon:

  • It was worth $40, which is $25 less than the $65 I spent.
  • It was technically a rebate certificate, and no one in the history of the Simmons family has ever successfully received a check for such a thing.
I’m pretty sure that nobody ever gets a check when they attempt to redeem rebate certificates. When the companies receive rebate certificates, the employees probably laugh themselves into a stupor while roasting marshmallows by a fire kindled by them. They probably wallpaper their break room with them. They probably put them in the toilet paper dispensers. They probably see who can make the paper airplane that can fly the farthest. Anything but actually processing one and sending out a check.

But that’s okay, because I never get around to sending out rebate certificates anyway. Anytime I buy something that requires rebate redemption, I always bring the new item home, decide that I will definitely mail the certificate right after I play with my new item, then never see or think about the rebate ever again. It’s okay! At least I have a system.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have another load of laundry to do before my dad gets home.


  1. I actually wrote this essay about eight months ago. The reasons that I'm posting it now are:

    1. Today, about a year and a half after the dryer broke down, the garbage men finally picked it up and got it out of my life.

    2. I can and you can't do anything about it so nyahh nyahh nyahh.

    3. Um...I didn't have a blog eight months ago.

  2. Rebates actually do come back to you. Greg buys the item, brings the receipt home and says, "You can have the money if you want to bother sending it in". And I do.

  3. Rebates actually do come back to you. Greg buys the item, brings the receipt home and says, "You can have the money if you want to bother sending it in". And I do.


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