Friday, April 3, 2009

Shop Locally. Think Whatever.

The telephone stopped ringing on Sunday. The refrigerator stopped refrigerating on Monday. The pilot light on the water heater went out Tuesday. They were going to charge $100 to relight but knocked it down to $50. (Thanks, guys! I suppose I should've just relit the damn thing myself, but I hate messing with gas lines if I'm not sure what's going on. Too many times seeing that Friz Freling Bugs Bunny cartoon where he throws the match into the powder room and Yosemite Sam has to run in and fetch it out.) Turns out the pilot was symptomatic of a larger problem, to boot.

So. Yeah. $1,000 for a new refrigerator from these guys. And then $1,200 more for the water heater with installation from these guys. (Checking my bank account see my federal tax refund of $2,155 just came in. Sigh.)

I actually strongly recommend both Waadt and Frankel's. Before discovering Frankel, we tried a bunch of different plumbers who would "guarantee their work for life". But what they'd do is shut down after a couple of years and re-open under a new name. We had the same scam artists come in 2-3 times under different names before we realized what was going on.

Frankel's backs their work and have been in business for a long time. Plus, they're straight up about what you need. (The previous plumbers installed a commercial quality garbage disposal in the kitchen, which our pipes couldn't possibly support if we actually needed it.)

The best thing you can say about Waadt is that they care. If you've ever bought something from one of the big chains--Circuit City, Best Buy, wherever--you know they don't really care about you beyond the sale. Why should they, right?

I mean, don't get me wrong: I'm sure the corporate level cares to some degree, though they're always balancing things like pissing you off versus how much it costs to make you happy, and you're not a "you" but part of a large demographic. The people who run Waadt are right there on the floor; there's no minimum wage employee buffer. That alone would make anyone care more.

But more than that, they've always been good about selling floor models if you're pinching pennies, and they have a great repair guy who once located us a free dishwasher.

Some of the best advice ever is to "shop local". Not because corporations are all evil and corporation-y but because there's a good chance of longer term happiness. Local appliance stores can often give better deals than the big box chains. And they have way more invested in your happiness.

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