photo by EfrankE

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Appliance-dependency Helplessness in Hawai’i

In today’s headlines, the U.S. President continues to tout the “Recovery Summer”, while the most publicly-visible and influential Keynesian economist, Paul Krugman, upon whose analysis and opinions help drive the president’s economic stimulus policy, states that we’re at the beginning of a Third Depression (either to be long or great).

Perhaps to emphasize the point, the Dow Jones industrial average has dropped 428 points (4.2 percent) in the last four days, currently down 14.5 percent from its 2010 high in April. Investors appear to be choosing liquidity over capital investment. This sort of trend generally is taken as not a positive development for architects,

However, this is not my most preoccupying concern. The most vexing problem lately has been getting the laundry done.

Some months ago, various of my progeny and their family members, together with us, their parents, moved into one house to help manage reduced incomes resulting from the contracting private sector economy.

There are eight of us here. Several of us play soccer, some surf, one is a triathlete, training sometimes twice a day, and there is a one year old, and we generate dirty clothes regularly and efficiently. We used to do 2 or 3 washer loads a day, until our 7 month-old Maytag washer broke down in a noisy, grinding and ultimately, irritating, though non-agitating (if you know what I mean), way. That was 6 weeks ago.

Four weeks ago, the repairman came out to fix the washer. He took off the top and front panel to reveal at least part of the damage. Concrete rings around the front and back of the drum, presumably functioning as counterweights or stabilizers, were cracked and chipped. The repairman said he would order the replacement parts and call me when with the date they were expected to arrive.

He never called. After repeated calls to his number, I was told the part would arrive a week ago last Sunday. I called on Monday last. No answer. The next day, his receptionist told me the part was on factory back order and wouldn’t arrive until July 16.

Skipping many uninteresting steps. I called the factory. They located a distributor with the part. It arrived yesterday. There were no stabilizer rings. I’ve called twice to the repairman to ask how to proceed with repairs. Neither call has been returned yet. Week seven begins.

We live on an Island, 3,000 miles from the nearest continent. Obtaining certain goods has always been a patience-building exercise. Usually, we just tally it up as part of the price of Paradise. I don’t know how many more weeks must yet pass before our warranty-covered repairs are completed. Patience-building time and Paradise price inflation are both growing.

In the meantime, the local laundromat is prospering in the down economy from the many bags of dirty clothes we wash and dry there every week at no small cost of time and money (Paradise premium rates).

If only architects provided a service that had to be obtained every week…


  1. They're taking their time so that the warrenty will run out before they start messing around causing real damage;-)

  2. That appeared to be the M.O. of an automobile repairman I used a couple decades ago. He had a gambling problem and was finally arrested and convicted of fraud and went to prison. I suspect he used the tactic you describe.

  3. Boy, I'd be pretty ticked ... and patience building be damned! How dare they? The price of these things is sky high... and no service? .... good grief! My next question is my usual.... where is a gun when I want one? I think that's probably why they made them illegal here .... people like me would always be out of bullets...

  4. Most of us eventually learn out here that to get mad at the only manufacturer's certified service rep on the island, or at least on this side, only makes the problem worse. Hence, patience building as the default solution. I still get ticked sometimes, but have learned to deal with the reality of things as they are.