My washing machine died.
Not all by itself, I must admit. It had help. It was merely sick for a long time before I finally called in a professional to euthanize it once and for all.
It started out a few weeks back when I began to hear a soft grinding noise, as if someone had lost a penny in the basin and it was rubbing against one of the machine’s moving parts. My first thought when I heard the noise was something had fallen out of my pants pocket during a wash and gotten lodged in a crack. However, after a detailed search of the wash tub, I found nothing obviously out of place that would account for the sounds.
More recently, the washing machine had started making a loud squeaking noise whenever I was washing my clothes, like a discomfited mouse objecting to unpleasant treatment.
As more time passed, the noise grew harsher and more urgent. Finally, during one shockingly abrasive wash cycle, the machine froze while still full of soapy water. Although I was able to get the tub to drain and restart the wash cycle, the writing was now clearly on the wall.
It was time to call for a professional.
Before I called anyone, however, I remembered that when I bought the washing machine it had a five-year warranty on parts and maintenance. Hoping that it was still within the warranty period, I dug through my drawer of loose appliance manuals and receipts (we all have one of these, don’t pretend you don’t) trying to find the exact date I had purchased this particular machine. To my surprise and delight, I actually found the receipt about two thirds down the pile, slipped in between a manual for our toaster oven and a pamphlet labeled, “Assembly Instructions for Your Dog Crate.”
In hindsight, I really should have read that last one more closely as I almost lost a finger the last time I collapsed and re-assembled the metal dog crate. But, maybe we’ll relive that story another time. Let’s stay focused on the washing machine for right now.
I read through the receipt and discovered that I had originally purchased the washing machine in October, 2013. I can see you all trying to count backwards in your minds, but let me save you the trouble. That was five years and three months ago.
Yup. Five-year warranty expired by barely three months, and the washing machine decided it was time to throw a bolt.
I don’t know why. Maybe the machine thought it was being funny. Or, maybe I yelled at the wrong phone solicitor and karma was coming back to bite me in the ass. Regardless of the reason, I was exactly three months on the wrong side of the warranty expiration.
But, warranty or not, I had a sick machine and I needed someone to come fix it.
The service/repair man that arrived at my door a few days after my reluctant call for help seemed very nice, even if he did appear to be no more than a year or two out of kindergarten. He was friendly, professional, and he assured me that based on my description of the noises my machine was making, he knew exactly what was wrong and how to fix it. Greatly relieved by his assurances, I showed him to his patient, and moved myself to the living room to allow him to work without interference.
As I sat on the couch, watching the television to keep myself occupied, I heard a banging noise coming from the laundry room. It wasn’t an intermittent “bang, bang,” then silence. It was rapid-fire, continuous, and relentless. I thought that I had gotten lost and stumbled into blacksmith’s shop while the proprietor was working on a particularly stubborn horseshoe. It was either that, or the repair guy had just gotten dumped by his girlfriend and he was taking out his frustrations on my washing machine.
The hammer on anvil sounds continued for almost twenty minutes before it finally stopped.
As the ringing in my ears gradually subsided, the service tech wandered down the hallway, out into the living room to find me. I was expecting him to tell me that he had found the problem and everything was fixed now, or at least to say he was sorry about the noise.
Instead he smiled at me, shook my hand, and said, “Yeah, you need a new washing machine. I left my bill on the counter. Have a nice day.”
I asked him if I could still use the old one until I had time to buy a replacement. He laughed and shook his head as he walked away, as if I had just told a remarkably funny joke. “Oh, God, no,” he said, still laughing. “That thing is dead.”
With no other recourse, I grabbed my car keys and headed out to find a new machine. I had two weeks worth of laundry piled up in my closet and I sure as hell wasn’t going to wash it by hand.
When I entered the appliance store, I pointed at the first machine I saw and asked, “How much?”
The eager saleslady on the floor beamed as she walked over to me. “Oh, that’s a very good model, sir,” she informed me. “It’s on sale right now for $999, and it has over two hundred settings just to wash your delicates. It’s also one of our best rated machines for durability.”
“Please stop there,” I told her, knowing in my gut what was coming.
But, she kept talking.
“It will last forever. And, the best part is…”
“Don’t say it,” I begged.
“… it comes with a five-year warranty.”
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