“Put that man on the phone!” I growled, “Mom, do not let him leave!”
My poor parents.. On our last visit, my daughter and I mentioned that the fridge was making a pretty concerning, grinding noise. “Every time you come over you find something wrong!” my mother pushed back, “this fridge has been working great for 14 years, plus we have a Sears warranty. If it breaks, I’ll call and they’ll replace it.” “Well mom..” I demurred, “it’s a fridge, not a TV. You shouldn’t wait until it breaks..”
Fast forward to the day after Thanksgiving.. and the fridge is stone
cold dead. My mom calls SEARS and they set up an appointment to fix it. Fast forward again and the repairman is standing in the kitchen telling her that the compressor is shot but he can’t come back to install a new one until the day after Christmas..
“Do NOT let that repair man walk out of your house!” I repeated loud and low into the phone..”this is unacceptable to make you wait a month mom, tell him you want a new fridge delivered right away!”
Oh Sears…what happened? From gold standard to slum-lord service in just a few years; no wonder you’re going out of business. But to tell a legally blind, 87 year old woman with a husband in the hospital that she needs to wait one full month for a fridge repair? That has got to be a new low.
To everyone’s surprise, a new compressor arrived via UPS within days. My mom called SEARS immediately to give them hell and demand they install it ASAP-
This is what unfolded after she dialed their toll-free number:
Mom was automatically prompted by a recording to enter information about her appliance and the open work order. Every time she was asked a question she simply replied “I can’t see the numbers on the paper.” Miraculously, mercifully, she was connected to a human being- a man named Faust.
And she was going to give Faust hell.
“WOW” my mom started off after he introduced himself, “Faust is a German name… we lived in Germany for years!” I imagined poor Faust on the other end of the line rolling his eyes and looking at his watch.. “And then,” my mom continued as she recounted the story, “I told him how important the SEARS catalog was to me when we lived overseas..”
And it was.
I remember laying flat on the floor as a wide-eyed kid, lovingly leafing through that big fat book and being utterly amazed at all of the beautiful stuff that was available to buy in America. I also knew that within a few months my sisters and I would be sporting at least a few of those itchy, poofy dresses from the catalog.
And the toys, my goodness..all of those awesome toys!
When my mother was done recounting the life story that led up to the broken fridge, Faust told her he was going to see what he could do to expedite the repair. Within minutes he was informing my mom that the repair man would arrive the day after tomorrow.
Mom told Faust it was truly a Christmas miracle, that HE was a truly miracle.
Faust thanked her for her patience and then did something completely shocking and unexpected.. He asked if he could pray for her husband. My mom said “sure!” and Faust, yes Faust, went on to pray for my sick step-dad. Wow…
Maybe there’s hope for humanity, and SEARS, after all.