Today, we had a guy from Sears come out to look at our washer. It’s not agitating, draining, or spinning, so it’s full of dirty water from our last load of laundry. The “repair guy,” (and I use that term loosely) told me that he wasn’t sure when they’d get the part in, so we should probably suction the water out before it gets smelly.
He helpfully suggested, “If your husband has a wet vac, when he gets home, you could ask him to wet vac the water out.”
Because, of course, my delicate lady hands shouldn’t be operating a wet vac. How would I know which button turns on that big ole monster hose with its beastly, roaring engine? When I told Matt this story, he reminded me that the Sears guy’s recommendation actually makes sense, since a wet vac only works if you insert your penis first. Clearly not a job for a woman.
We’re not going to have them repair the washer for many other reasons, but that little performance made it easier for this fair maiden to send him packing.
The following is a list of actual quotes I’ve heard from repair men who came out to diagnose some problem or another while my husband wasn’t home:
“When your husband gets home, ask him if he can get a hammer and flatten this out.”
“If this happens again, see if your husband can tighten the knob with a wrench.”
“Tell your husband he made the right decision calling me out here. This isn’t an easy job.”
And this one from a landlord who was concerned that I might be the only person home when two guys showed up to install a washing machine in our old house:
“Can you make sure Matt’s home when they arrive? He knows about this kind of thing. I’d be more comfortable knowing he was there to supervise.”
Actually, Matt doesn’t know how to install a washing machine, but he is very good at pointing to the big hole in the kitchen where the washing machine is supposed to go. He was quite the authority when those installers arrived with our new appliance. He led them through the door and over to the laundry closet. With his deep, masculine voice, he said, “It goes there.” Brilliant.
As dear Mrs. Banks would say, “Oh, how clever of you! I would’ve muddled the whole thing.”
It’s a pity I didn’t better prepare myself and my home for the repair man’s visit today. A true lady would’ve worn her best dress, apron, and pearls. I should’ve had a tea service all set up and sent the children on an outing with their nanny so as not to disturb the knowledgeable man at work.
But no. Shrew that I am, I insisted upon presenting myself in shorts, with a messy bun, and absolutely no tea in sight. Dreadful!
And, of course, as I mentioned in the beginning, the man from Sears ended up not selling me a thing. (No surprise. As a woman, I can’t be bothered to purchase anything as serious as repair services. My days are far too consumed with syncing my ovaries to the phases of the moon and puzzling over how to operate machinery without a penis.)
But later, I thought, there are probably repairmen visiting family homes every day without another man in sight. What with the men having to go off and put in a hard day’s work at the office. Those poor servicemen have no choice but to deal with the lady of the house.
So I figured it might be helpful for all of the other manly appliance repairmen out there, who might have the occasion to sell their services to a woman at one point or another, to deconstruct my interaction with the Sears man today. So here it is. Maybe you can learn something.
Sears guy: OK, so the washer’s not draining properly. My opinion is that it’s a problem with the drain pump. I tried to force it to drain, but it just made this humming noise, so I think the pump needs to be replaced.
A humming noise! Oh dear, that sounds technical!
Me: Well is there anything else wrong, like with the motor or the transmission? When we first called you, it was draining fine. It just wouldn’t spin. I did a couple loads of laundry that way and I had to wring the clothes out, but the washer drained each time. It was just this last load that wouldn’t drain.
Him: Unfortunately, I can’t tell if there’s a problem with anything else until I get it to drain. I’ve already ordered the part. Hopefully it will come in today and I can come back later to replace it.
He already ordered the part? Obviously, it makes no difference to little old me, but shouldn’t he have asked my husband if we wanted him to do the repair?
Me: How much will it cost to replace the drain pump?
Him: Oh, with parts and labor, you’re looking at somewhere between $200-$300. But if the motor is bad, you might as well get a new washer. That would probably be over $600.
Such large and approximate numbers! My uterus is flooding my brain with computational hysteria! Please don’t tell me the exact price, dear sir!
Me: So, you’re saying that I have to pay you somewhere between $200 and $300 to replace a part, after which you’ll determine if we need to replace another part that would cost more than a brand new washing machine?
Him: Yes. That’s the only option. I have to get it to drain before I can find out if anything else is broken.
And here I was thinking of so many other options! Like fairy dust. Or a Fonzie-style kick to your juke box.
Me: Why would I want to pay you $200 to $300 to repair a washing machine that I might have to replace anyway? Can Sears offer me some kind of credit toward a new washing machine if it turns out that the “two-hundred-to-three-hundred-dollar” repair doesn’t actually fix it?
Him: No, we don’t do that.
Of course not! Silly me! If my husband were here, surely he’d explain the wisdom behind committing to pay large, undefined sums of money for a service you may not need. Leave it to a woman to want something to show for our money.
Him: Hold on, I’ll get you a print out so you can see exactly how much it costs.
Before you do, let’s step closer to my fainting couch.
[Long, awkward silence while he tapped keys on his big boy computer for about six minutes.]
Him: OK, give me a minute.
At this point, without explanation, he went outside to his truck, started the engine, and sat there, idling in my driveway, for over an hour. When he finally returned, he had no printout, no specific numbers, and a twelve-inch beard. He told me that I didn’t have to get the repair, and I could just pay him $99 for the diagnostic service.
Me: But you didn’t tell me what was wrong with it!
Him: Yes I did. I said the drain pump needs to be replaced.
Me: But I told you that it wouldn’t spin even before it stopped draining. And you said I would have to pay you $200-$300 to repair this drain pump anyway, even though you don’t know if that’s the reason it’s not spinning. And it’s probably not, since the motor malfunctioned before the drain pump did.
Him: You can’t just not pay.
Me: You can’t just charge me $99 and not tell me what’s wrong with my washer or how much it would cost to fix it.
I’ll spare you the rest of the play-by-play, but I didn’t pay him the $99. Since he’d arrived late and then spent over an hour in his truck, I had about three minutes left before I needed to be on a business call with a client. So I asked him to leave me a bill and I would call Sears later to discuss it.
He walked out my door, got in his truck, and drove away.
So I guess he didn’t want my money after all.
And that, my friends, is how NOT to sell your manly services to the lady of the house.
Do you have any tips for NOT selling stuff to women? Come on, ladies! I know you’ve had a salesperson or repairman talk down to you before! Dish!
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