Friday, April 4, 2014

Week 14

(Not a coffee grinder. In order to protect the not-so-innocent.)

The item: Coffee grinder.

The backstory: Mike received a coffee grinder as a Christmas gift -- I'm counting it as fair game in this weekly expulsion business since I used it all the time. It broke (twice), and I had the most frustrating interactions of all time with company name's "customer service" representatives. Needless to say, I will not be introducing any more of their products into my kitchen in the future. If you'd like to get aggravated right along with me, you can get the gist of it from my final email to them:

Dear name and the rest of the company name team -

I understand, it's my fault that I didn't fill out the original warranty card. (Honestly, I've never been good about filling out warranty cards in the past for any type of product, because I've never needed to be. I've never had a product break this quickly, and I've definitely never had the same product break twice in one year. So I'd like to thank you for teaching me a valuable lesson, albeit a painful way for me to learn it, I will now always fill out every product warranty card that crosses my path.) Thus company name didn't have to send a replacement grinder for the one that broke after only 9 months of use, so while I truly appreciate that, I don't remotely feel like a "Valued Customer." 

More than a functional coffee grinder, it would be nice to feel as though company name actually cared about my business or the fact that I've had two dysfunctional products. My interactions with company name's customer service have felt like I'm going into battle, like I need to somehow prove myself. I'm sure company name receives a large volume of customer service emails, but a standard form response of "I apologize for the inconvenience you're experiencing" doesn't begin to express any real empathy or sorrow for dealing with a coffee grinder that broke after 9 months, and then one that broke after 2 months. A little personalization, something along the lines of -- "Gosh, I'm so sorry you've had two of our coffee grinders break in less than a year. That shouldn't happen, and I apologize." -- would go miles in terms of brand loyalty. As an avid home cook and a food writer, kitchen tools and gadgets are pretty much my life; it seems that my future kitchen appliances will be purchased elsewhere.

Many thanks for your time,

This is the point where I wish I was a famous blogger, so when an appliance broke and I got crappy service, I could rant about it, and get an awesome response from a competitor. But I'm not, and frankly, I shouldn't have to be famous to get good service. Every single person on the planet should get great service. We should all be treating each other with kindness and respect and empathy, and hot damn would we all feel better and be happier.

Method of expulsion: I really wanted to take care of this grinder Office Space-style, but we tried to be responsible and see if it could be repaired. It could -- for far more than the cost of a new grinder. We could have taken it to be recycled, but we would have had to pay to do so. Apologies Mother Earth, this baby is headed for a landfill.
Monetary impact: Hours and hours of frustration and mental anguish. $0
YTD monetary impact: $168.88

Confused? Here's what's going on.

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