Musing on food and cooking ...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why Sears Is Losing Money Every Quarter

As Dear Readers know, we melted the stove and had to go and purchase a new one. We selected Sears as I have a Sears card. We went in last Saturday, found a stove we could deal with that wasn't $1500, and purchased it with a service plan. The sales person checked the schedule and said, "We can have it there tomorrow!"

Fantastico! Living without a stove sucks. So, Saturday night we get a call from Sears Home Delivery saying, "Your stove will be delivered between 1:45 and 3:45 pm.

Fantastico! We clear our schedule. We go out Sunday morning but make sure we are back in time to clear out the old stove and make a path for the delivery. At 2:30, we get a call from Sears Home Delivery. "So sorry, but we don't have the stove. We'll have to reschedule for tomorrow."

Not so fantastico, but it does happen. I am very clear with them that I am disappointed with them, that this has happened before, and that they need to accomodate my schedule with the redelivery. And that schedule is that I can receive a delivery any time after 4 pm. The customer service person says she enters it in the system.

Sunday night, we get a call from Sears Home Delivery saying, "Your stove will be delivered between 9:15 and 11:15 am. " Um, that is not anytime after 4. I call. The customer service person apologizes and reschedules for Tuesday, again making the special note.

Monday night, we get a call from Sears Home Delivery saying, "Your stove will be delivered between 9:15 and 11:15 am. " Um, not anytime after 4 pm. I call. The customer service person says, "We have no note that you requested after 4 pm. And I see we are also supposed to be delivering a new freezer to you, and there is another delivery on September 30th for something else."

Um, no. First the delivery needs to be after 4 pm. Anytime after 4 pm, but no one will be home before 4 pm. Second, as I have told the customer service people before on at least three occassions, a whole new freezer was not needed, only two replacement parts, which were ordered and came via UPS. And finally, the only thing we need delivered is the damn stove. before September 30. Thank you.

So, the customer service person again makes a note and reschedules our delivery.

On Tuesday night, we get a call from Sears Home Delivery saying, "Your stove will be delivered between 9:15 and 11:15 am. " Um, not anytime after 4 pm. I call. This is getting pathetic. The customer person again says, there is no note; she will reenter it. I inform her that I am beyond irritated and about to cancel the order and go with their competitor. She doesn't seem to much care. sighs

Wednesday night is the night I teach, so I work from 8 am until 10:15 pm. Boxer was home minding the circus and so he got the call from Sears. "Your stove will be delivered between 1:15 and 3:15 am. " Um, not anytime after 4 pm, but closer. Boxer calls and tells them we can't do it, it has to be anytime after 4. We both work. The customer service person is incredibly rude to him. "We can't guarantee times. Take it or leave it." "Well, we will only be there after 4 pm." "They can call you 30 minutes before they get there." Which would be fine if we could be there between 1:15 and 3:15. Especially knowing they are likely to (1) not show up at all - which has happened to me or (2) show up at some random time. He informs her again that we will only be there after 4 pm. And she - get this! - hangs up on him. Hangs up on him! For our nearly $900 purchase! She hangs up on him!

Boxer relays this exchange to me when I get home after class, and I am exhausted and just cannot deal with this crap anymore. We talk a little bit and figure if we can talk with the delivery person, we can just say come after 4 pm and the delivery guy will be more helpful.

So, I get up and expect to get a call early on my cell, which is where Sears always calls. Nothing. I get to work, and guess what is there? A call from an unknown number. "Hola? This is Jerry from Sears. We will deliver your stove between 1:15 and 3:15 today. Ok? Bye!"

No number I can call him back at. Nothing. No notice that he will call us 30 minutes before he gets there. Nothing.

So, now the conundrum. Do I bow to the evil pressure that is corporate America and attempt to work at home this afternoon? Which I can do but don't enjoy as I get easily distracted. Or do I let Jerry show up there at his appointed time and wait for him to call, wondering where I am to accept the delivery?

It is no wonder Sears is in the proverbial crapper, business-wise. Their customer service sucks and their products are cheap and can't withstand anything but the lightest of use.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Today's Episode, in which We Melt the Stove

Yes, I know it has been a long time since I posted. I have been battling illness again; first Boxer and then Mia Madre brought to the household various chest cold type illnesses and I got nailed. Such is life. We have also been busy preserving the harvest (tm).

First, I did a lot of dehydrating of green beans, yellow beans, carrots, and sweet peppers of various extractions. The hot peppers are strung up, as I very much learned never to dehydrate them on my dehydrator a couple of years, when I did so and suffered from the self-induced equivalent of pepper spray to the face for over a week from the volatile oils released into the air.

We also canned. And canned. And canned some more. Our primary focus of canning was maters and salsa. We had three bushels of maters, most of which we got from a local organic farmer who specializes in heirlooms. Mia madre also brought her maters for the making of her salsa.

Here is Boxer washing the maters so that I could scald them.

And here is mia madre skinning and cutting the maters, and getting in a quick taste. Yum!

And here is the finished result of our first batch of yellow mater salsa, made with our homegrown hot lemon peppers. Which are really hot. Like go to the hospital hot.

We also made lots and lots of jam: forest fruits (mixed wild blueberries and raspberries), raspberry, and blueberry. We ended up doing a batch of salsa for mia madre and were going to do apple butter and pickled beets, too. Only one major problem though.

We melted the stove.

When we started doing major canned maters, apparently everything just got too hot (hell, you gotta vigrously boil that stuff for at least 20 mins). The electronics that control the oven and everything appear to have melted. We got the dreaded F11 code, which means a short. And yeah, we can reset it, but it keeps going off and the buttons all work intermittently, and we were afraid to even try to turn on the oven in case it exploded. Unfortunately, it would have cost more to fix it than it would to get a new stove. And so we have ordered a new stove, which was supposed to be delivered today, but Sears called at the end of our delivery time window to inform us that they actually don't have it. Bastards.

So, our basement is filled with goodness and we anxiously await the new stove. And we all hope that all illness will go away soon!

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Just a couple of quick pictures today, because my throat is a bit sore and I have to save my energy for some other stuff.

Despite pepper thieves, we have had a fairly decent harvest... this is from mid-August, and right now some of our spaghetti squash and maters are pretty much ready....

And this is life in our household...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

When I Am Dictator...

Humans filing tax returns will be able to declare their pets as dependents. Why such an odd thing, you might ask? Because pets cost nearly as much as kids (hyperbole, I know but still!).

Pele has a tooth issue. She needs to go in for x rays, which in cats, require sedation, and while she is knocked out, they insist on doing a dental cleaning. Just to knock her out and look at what is happening is $350. Depending on what the x ray shows, it could be a cavity. The tooth might need to be pulled. That, right there, is going to be another $400. $400 to pull a damn tooth! And it could go much higher, if cancer or some other long-term debilitating illness is involved. Who has that kind of cash in hand? Not I! When I asked the vet if I could do a payment plan, they faxed me a copy of a credit card application. Just what I need ...

I just spent four years of going through this with Leo. Thousands of dollars in medical bills, some of which I am still paying. Hell, I have three cavities myself that need filling that are going untreated due to lack of money.

I am so tired of struggling financially. Every time it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel, I get hammered again. I feel like no matter how hard I work and how much money I make (and I make well above minimum wage), I feel like I can't earn enough to cover costs. I am so tempted to say, "Screw it," and just walk away from everything, drag Boxer off to Mexico, and become a beach bum....