Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lawn No-er

It seems this tale needs to be told. I have been waiting for it to be me. However, I am ready to claim defeat, and this story will remain as one of those things that really highlights the crux of the matter--the reoccurring communication breakdown--the "why the what"?

It all started early this past spring with our annual conversation about whether to just have the lawnmower serviced, or "treat" ourselves to a new one. That is when we pretend my husband is Lord of the Lawn, and he gets supreme power in related decision making. Once he decided we would get a new lawnmower, he put his faith in Consumer Reports. The magazine's snazzy charts and symbols helped him narrow his choices to two lawn mowers. I felt compelled to weigh in on some bells and buzzers I'd like to see in a new mower (trade in the pull cord for a slight turn of key)...In other words, I felt it was time to remind him that I cut the grass seventy-five percent of the time, and our son had made some mumblings about how he could make some money around here.

The first mower (oops-spoiler alert!) came home looking so fine and shiny. When my aunt mentioned that her lawnmower wasn't working, of course I offered her our old one because we had a candy apple red beauty in our garage. (I should mention here that legend has it that she has the strength of ten men, and had in fact pulled the pull cord right out of her mower.) The new beauty really did turn on easily (once I actually read a little of the manual). I wasn't winded before even starting the job. It was self-propelled, but apparently at a factory of the slowest walkers to roam the land! There was no override to the self-propelled mode, and the machine itself was so heavy and clunky, I might've ended up going even slower operating on my own power. I was willing to work out the kinks of slow and steady winning the race, but it was also very difficult to maneuver. I could've blazed a very nice, straight path, but you see how impractical that would be considering the more square'ish shape of our yard. I reported this information back to the Lord of the Lawn, and his eyes only looked slightly glazed over, so I thought the message was conveyed. I tried the lawnmower again, with similar results, and again promptly reported my findings. The third outing for that mower was conducted by Lawn Chief himself, and his findings were apparently so significant that it was agreed that a return must be made.

Consumer Reports had that alternate suggestion for us, but I had to give up my turn key ignition...fine. Our son got the glory of the maiden voyage with lawn mower number two...and I got the glory of running outside at least six times to PULL THE DEVILISH CORD when the machine kept stalling. (Let me add here that my cousin--clearly inheriting his mother's strength--pulled the start cord out of our mower, so they had both in the shop. OK, this part of the storyline is amusing.) Now I looked outside and did not see cows grazing in our yard, nor was our short dog getting lost in the tall grass. I determined that the lawn was not of a height significant enough to warrant such gagging and choking by the mower. I more
grumbled my findings, than simply reported them this time. When I had the pleasure of doing the lawn myself the following week, I more yelled my anyone in the vicinity who might've been outside or had their windows open, and only slightly more calmly reported them to the Lord of the Lawn.

I am sure I mentioned the issue a few more times as the grass was approaching its next cutting. Now that two out of three of us had been ruled out as worthy opponents of "the staller", the man of the house headed out. I thought I detected a swagger that said "The grass will bow down to the Lord of the Lawn. The mower will rev its battle cry, and all will be right in our yard!" The only thing I liked about that machine was that, as it claimed its defeat, I'm pretty sure I heard it say "You should've listed to your wife! I suck...and am not a vacuum cleaner!" I sprinkled a few inquiries here and there about what would happen next in Mowergate 2010.

I don't imagine my husband felt much joy at having to come home to tell me that Home Depot has a 30-day return policy...and his visit was on day 34. I also don't imagine that you think I was terribly exuberant at this notification. While he seemed annoyed with the store, I can assure you I was directing my lasers of dissatisfaction right at his forehead while announcing that I had sent up red flags at day 7!! He followed Home Depot's directions and took the mower to a licensed repair place for that brand. They service them there, but don't sell them anymore because of their performance...thank you Consumer Reports!

We finally got the mower back after they replaced the mulching portion of its program, and it better! An email was sent to the company (but not by me) explaining the situation, and the one in return ended with "we must respectfully decline your request for refund or replacement." I pondered whether I should unleash myself on the unsuspecting customer service reps there, but figured it was not my battle to fight...yet. They said he needed to bring the mower to a licensed service place (as in the same one we'd already told them we brought it to) and we'd be instructed how to proceed, once they talked to the people there (and probably told them not to talk trashy about their product--wah wah wah!) So now we've been without a mower again for a week, and have heard nothing.

(Note: Aunt's mower is now not working again, but our rejected one is getting the job done just fine. No, I don't want her to bring it to us!)

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