Category Archives: Rants

Why I Will Not Be Shopping At Sears

Sears is an interesting company. They delivered a brand new dryer on Friday, complete with rusted gouges on the body. Most companies would send undamaged merchandise, or offer to repair the damage. Sears, bold pioneers that they are, have chosen instead to offer to send me a bottle of touch-up paint and their thanks for choosing Sears. I am not sure that the business strategy of instilling ill-will in their customers is such a wise one, but to each their own.

Thanks, Sears

Edge of BRAND NEW Kenmore dryer, including gouges and rust.

Were this the first problem with Sears, I might be willing to chalk it up to a lousy customer service person. However, as this is just the latest in a string of problems with Sears, and the washer and dryer they were to have delivered on March 1, I have to consider that Sears is not a company that I would trust purchasing anything from again. Ever. I purchased a Kenmore stackable washer and dryer, and stacking kit, on February 10, 2012. Because my gas supply is propane (LPG), I had to purchase the LPG conversion kit as well, and agreed to a $119.99 dryer installation fee so that the installer could convert the dryer from natural gas to LPG. To be sure, I confirmed at the time of order that the installer would indeed be converting the dryer from natural gas to LPG.

I should have realized as soon as I received my receipt that there was going to be a problem: The dryer, with its installation on top of the washer, was scheduled for delivery and installation on February 13, and the washer, stacking kit and LPG conversion kit were scheduled for delivery on February 14. How they planned on installing the conversion kit before it arrived, or planned on stacking the dryer on top of the not-yet-arrived washer was beyond me. This was shortly after I placed my order, and after checking with my contractor and discovering that we should probably wait a few weeks before having the washer and dryer delivered, I called Sears back to reschedule the delivery for a time that was more convenient for the contractor, March 1. I also suggested that since the dryer was to be converted to LPG and stacked on top of the washer, perhaps the dryer could be delivered AFTER the washer. This, Sears informed me, would be fine.

Both Sears delivery service and Sears installation service called me on February 29. The washer and accessories were scheduled to be delivered around noon the following day, the dryer to be delivered and installed a little before then. I mentioned to the installer that the washer would not be delivered until after the dryer and he decided that he would wait for the washer to be delivered first. I also reminded him that the dryer needed to be converted to LPG. This was the first he had heard of this, and was beyond what he normally does for installation. Because of this, he said he needed to call Sears and would call me back shortly. The washer and accessories were delivered March 1. The dryer was not. Neither was the call back from the installer.

I called the handy Sears installation number a day or two later, and after a little over an hour talking with various people and receiving many apologies, I was told that the dryer would be delivered, most likely on Monday, March 5, and yes, they knew I needed it converted to LPG. The installer would take care of that. Rather than have me continue to hold, I was told at that time I would be called back shortly for an estimated delivery time. Like the call back from the installer, the installation service people failed to actually call me back. The installer himself did call me, however, on Monday evening to let me know he would be delivering and installing the dryer the next morning, March 6.

March 6 passed, without a delivery or installation person in site. March 7 passed, without a delivery or installation person in site. March 8 passed, without a delivery or installation person in site. While no delivery or installation person was in site, he at least made it to the phone on March 8: The engine in his truck had apparently blown, and he could not make the delivery on March 6. He would, however, be delivering my dryer in the morning, March 9. Yay!

The dryer was delivered, March 9. At this point, the installer stated that he does not perform LPG conversions, and because the dryer cannot be hooked up, he could not install it. He filled out the paperwork and noted that because the dryer was not converted, he could not install it. I signed it so we could get a refund started on the installation fee. All of which begs the question: Why was I not originally told that the Sears installation person could not perform the installation of the conversion kit? Had Sears mentioned something in the several calls previously where it was discussed, I would have not purchased the $119.99 dryer installation and would not have been annoyed by their inability to perform the installation service that I had paid for. I would have instead contacted my propane supplier, Sequoia Gas, and paid to have them perform the conversion, which is a service they offer.

This entire experience has left me with a rather disinclined to recommend Sears to anyone I know who might be making an appliance purchase, as at present I have a dryer that is not installed, cannot be used until I pay another company to perform the conversion that Sears was supposed to take care of, cost me $119.99 over list price, and wondering whether it would be better to contact the Better Business Bureau and Ripoff Reports. I have contacted Sears, both about the conversion and installation issue and the rust issue. For the rust, they are shipping out some appliance touch-up paint so that I can hide the rust for a while. For the installation and conversion, they are supposed to get back to me in the next few days to discuss what happened and hopefully refund the installation fee. If it is refunded, I will accept that I have a rusty dryer and cannot trust Sears to stand behind their products. If it is not, I will send a letter to my credit card company to dispute the charges and contact both the Better Business Bureau and Ripoff Report. If, by some miracle, Sears realizes that perhaps customers would rather receive undamaged merchandise when they buy something new and either send someone out to fix the rust and scratch issue or replace the dryer as well as refund my installation fee, I will consider shopping at Sears again and updating this to reflect the suddenly improved customer service. I won’t hold my breath for this last option, however.

The Dark Side

My conversion to the Dark Side is complete. I watched my wife go over and scoffed at her, how easily-led she was, how willing to lock herself in to a predetermined path. Then came Vally, showing me the power and ease of using the dark side. I liked my freedom, liked being able to do things my own way and on my own terms, but the structured world they offered was tempting.

XP on Mac?  Are you f**king kidding me?

Something is seriously wrong with you, boy . . .

After years of struggling on my own, dealing with the aftermath of unmatched freedom and competing ideas, I finally did it: I bought my own MacBook Pro and joined the Dark Side. And I have to say, I love it. A trackpad that actually works? A trackpad that provides useful navigation and input? What novel ideas! A UI that is stable, and programs that don’t mysteriously crash or include text that matches the background (I’m looking at YOU, VLC on LXDE!!!)? What a novel idea! Yes, I still love my various Linux laptops, but I think I’m stuck in the beauty and simplicity of the Mac world for a while now. I’d better be, now that I have the wireless trackpad, keyboard and number pad.

Conversations With Myself

Oh Marmaduke, you’re such a card . . . what are you doing no- f**k me, is this thing on? Oh hey there . . . so, what is today’s topic? Oh yeah, California versus Idaho. I like California, I really do. But I also like paying a dollar less per gallon of gas, half per kilowatt of electricity, and not having to dodge piles of shi… feces while walking in public places.

So, California, or more precisely, Humboldt County, California: Majestic redwoods, foggy mornings and sunny afternoons, beautiful windswept beaches, and the mighty banana slug. I do not think I could give up the ocean again. Humboldt is beautiful, but suffers from a poor economic base and the high cost of California living. Everything from land to gas to milk to taxes is more expensive here, even though so many here are poor. Maybe if we weren’t paying $4.47 per gallon of gas, we would have more money for more important things, like cookies.

Idaho, or Coeur d’Alene anyway, is flat and cold and filled with people who believe the current President is a Kenyan Marxist Socialist Nazi Communist Manchurian Candidate (i.e. “the sheriff is near”). It is also quite affordable. And unlike Humboldt, Kootenai County has no shortage of doctors and great libraries. It may not have as many breweries as Humboldt, but it does have Trader Joe’s, Lowes, Home Depot and Spokane, WA nearby. I would sell my wife for a Trader Joe’s in my area (hey, TJ’s people, are you listening?) . . .

If I switch to driving a UEV and move the family into one of these, California might just match Idaho on the affordability front. Idaho will never match California on the oceanfront and banana slug front, however.


The vomiting is over, the bathroom dashes are at an end and the burning in the pit of my stomach has subsided to a dull ache. Yay. I am a wimp, I suppose, but I do not like the flu, and I very much do not like losing my weekend. I was ready for the sunshine, ready for something other than a weekend lying in bed and smelling much less than fresh. And considering that we may have a full septic tank, which makes every flush an adventure, I had better things to do.

And since I am complaining already, $1097.00 to interpret a single X-Ray? Really? Oh well . . . it’s not like I had anything better to do with that money. Hopefully, at some point part of the $1097.00 will include actually discussing it with me.

You are my love, you are my dreams, you are my everything

There are many advantages to a home office: Short commute, no gas costs, no traffic jams, a comfortable work environment, no pants . . . Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages. The refrigerator is only a short walk away. It is easy to forget to shower, or even get dressed for the day. Six dogs in a small house inevitably leads to the overwhelming aroma of dog flatulence . . . Continue reading


Starfish at low tide

Starfish at low tide says "Relax, dummy!"

When I was growing up, General Electric claimed “We Bring Good Things To Life.” Sometime in the last decade or so, they must have accepted that this is not always so, as now they offer “imagination at work.” So, does providing a risky containment field count as “imagination at work” or as “bring(ing) good things to life”? Either way, I would have thought that forty years would be enough time for GE to focus a little less on imagination and a little more on reality. And to maybe consider that risking bringing an end to lives, good or otherwise, might not be such a good thing. (pssst! There’s a NAUGHTY WORD later in this post (although in all fairness, it is balanced out by being attached to a picture of kittens), so don’t click on the continue link if you are offended by NAUGHTY WORDS!!!!!!!1!!!ONE!!!ELEVENTY!!! Continue reading

Lights Out

Sitting in darkness on a morning like this, it is the little things that I miss most. Lights. Heat. Refrigeration. Yes, I am truly back in Humboldt. I know because we are ten hours into a power outage and I am being reminded of the one thing North Idaho did better: Keep the lights on. Continue reading

Through the Eyes of Jennifer

I have been to Lake Tahoe. I have been to Reno. I have never been to Las Vegas. Other than after reading an article in Sunset Magazine, I have not had the urge to visit Vegas. Perhaps it is because I lack the gambler’s spirit, unaffected by the call of the slot machines and craps tables. Or perhaps it is because I find the thought of DisneyLand for Degenerates slightly offputting. Continue reading

Flight To Nowhere

Several hours late, but Jennie is finally off for a week-long veterinary management conference. I had forgotten how small and poorly-served our local airport is, so I guess this is a good reminder. There is, or might be, a restaurant at the airport, but it is not open on Saturdays. With no schedule listed, it might not be open any days. None of the car rental facilities (facility?) are open Saturday morning. Instead of handing your checked baggage to an attendant so it can be sent back to be checked, the attendant sends you around the corner, through the door marked “Authorized Personnel Only”, to drop your baggage off next to the baggage X-Ray machine. So not only do you get to fly out from here, you get a very short stint as an airport intern. Yay! Continue reading