Our dishwasher died a week ago.  It had given good and faithful service for many years (it came with the house 12 years ago).  So, I began the search for a replacement.  My wife found an offer from a mainstream retailer that appeared to come with a special 30% off sale – for everything except dishwashers.  Well, the next thing was to visit the “Dent & Ding” stores locally and as luck would have it, I found the one dishwasher that met every requirement – it was white, and it was quiet, and it even had a stainless-steel interior.  Did I mention it was white?  It was a perfect match for our kitchen.

I pulled out the old dishwasher.  A real feat because previous owners had built up the kitchen floor in front of the dishwasher – but a reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade does help – and installed the supply and drain lines in such a manner that the dishwasher was never intended to be replaced.  Previous owners that taken shortcuts in remodeling the kitchen that wasn’t obvious unless the dishwasher was removed.

Nevertheless, after a few visits to Home Depot (every project can’t be completed with at least three visits) I finally have the new dishwasher installed.  It was everything promised – it was white, and it ran quiet.

It also leaked.  At 8:30 pm there wasn’t any obvious reason why it leaked, so I called it quits for the night.

The next morning, I called the store and evidently was offered the advice of “Jiggling the dishwasher.”  Apparently, jiggling the dishwasher would properly align the seals and solve the leak.  I need to mention that the dishwasher came with a 6-month parts and labor with an additional 6-months parts warranty.

So, I jiggled the dishwasher and it still leaked.  (Just as an aside, my father and grandfather were plumbers and I’ve installed dishwashers before – I knew that jiggling won’t solve the problem but when dealing with companies that don’t really listen or have good customer services, you need to follow their instructions to eliminate their excuses.)

Then I was offered a new gasket – I found nothing wrong with the one in the dishwasher – but I had to go to their warehouse to get it.  Guess what?  After the gasket replacement, it leaked.  So, finally, they sent a tech out to troubleshoot.  He figured out, after nearly an hour, that the system that controls the spinning arms and shoots water inside wasn’t working and he had to take the dishwasher back to the warehouse to work on it.

I took the opportunity to do some extensive repairs behind where the dishwasher goes to bring things into code compliance – some good came out of the situation.  And then I call on Monday to find out what was the estimated date of repair.  There wasn’t one because “parts were difficult to find.”  The dishwasher is a Kenmore!  I again reminded them that they could repair or replace at their choice.  I was immediately offered a replacement.  Unfortunately, the saga doesn’t end yet because they have no white dishwashers.  They’ll check their warehouse and look for a comparable white dishwasher – maybe tomorrow or the day after.

The saga will continue.

What are the lessons from this escapade, so far?

  • There’s a risk with every purchase or action that must be accepted as a risk. All appliances were supposedly tested in the warehouse.  This one either failed to be properly tested or it failed after testing which does happen.  Nothing is perfect.
  • Careful communication is required. The tech assumed that I was insisting on the unit being repaired but what I said was “my wife likes this unit, but you can repair or replace – the choice is yours.”
  • Patience is a virtue. There was nothing for me to gain by being belligerent or abusive, in fact, I likely would get worst service by being so.  This used to be called “Acting like an adult.”
  • Persistence pays off. Some call it nagging but reminding people of their commitments is sometimes what is required.  You need to be respectful because the person you’re talking to may not be able to have any influence on the results.  Keeping talking until you talk to the person who can take action.

A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.