I really ain't that dumb, lady

Posted on 14 Feb 2008 at 4:51pm

I decided recently that it was time to replace my kitchen appliances that came with the house I bought in Oak Cliff a couple of years ago. I had been making do with my drop-in range on which the two front burners didn’t work, but when the dishwasher went out that was it. I quickly realized I didn’t know how to wash dishes by hand. I couldn’t figure out what to do with the dishes in between washing them and storing them in the cabinet. I mean, they were like wet. It was way to much trouble to wash one, dry it off, put it in the cabinet and start over. The refrigerator worked, but it was ugly. And the way things have gone with my house, it would have died soon.

So I logged on to Sears.com where I discovered what I wanted on sale. I ordered all new kitchen appliances in basic black. I decided that I wanted a free-standing range because it was a lot cheaper than a new drop-in. That’s where my problems began. Obviously, the cabinet had to be cut out the rest of the way to the floor to fit the free-standing range in.

The Sears Web site offered installation of free-standing ranges for $99.99 so I assumed that involved a little work on the part of the installer. I clicked the button and added the installation amount to my order. A couple of days later a woman from the private contractor Sears had arranged called to schedule an appointment for the “installation” of my free-standing range. I explained to her what I wanted, and she informed me that would be extra. Her husband would let me know how much extra when he arrived, she said.

So I started thinking about it — what does $99.99 worth of installation of a free-standing range actually mean? I was already paying a separate $65 delivery charge. You’re probably already ahead of me. Yep, he was basically going to plug the sucker in and declare it installed. He might also need to adjust the levels at the base of the range.

After I called Sears.com and canceled my order, I called the installation woman back to ask if I could just hire them directly to come out and do the work to install my free-standing range. “Oh, no,” she said. “If you want us to do the work for you, you’ve got to go through Sears.”

The long and short of this is that Sears.com really wanted to charge me $99.99 just to make an appointment for me. I guess it’s easier to sell something like that over the Internet. I’m hoping a sales person in a Sears store wouldn’t attempt to do that face to face.

I reordered my appliances, but this time I looking for my own installation person. (Does anyone out there have any suggestions?) I’m not bitter at all about the experience. In fact, I’m quite happy. When I called back to reorder, the sales price on the appliances had dropped another 10 percent. Thank you Sears.com. It was indeed an interesting experience doing business with you.

— David Webb

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