Goods & Service


If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you’ll at least have an inkling that access to goods & services is always somewhere near the top of my priority list.  bcp-readers-poll-2014-goods-and-services-20140-001We spend a lot of time at campgrounds removed at 20 to 50 miles from cities.  At our age no one can afford to be cavalier at their age and access to healthcare and the things you need to live your life.  Just what those things might be are as individual as the RV’er / Retiree / Human.

When our Microwave / Convection oven started misbehaving a couple weeks ago we began wondering how we were going to handle getting it fixed or replaced.  With a full summer of reservations — all of which were a fair distance away from major cities even access to a decent RV dealership wasn’t looking good.  And in this particular area there aren’t a lot of mobile RV services either.

We have an extended service policy on our coach — which covers the Microwave but we thought our deductible might be higher than the cost of repairing the old microwave.  Maybe we should just replace this 11 year old monster with a brand new one.  We took an information-gathering-chance and called the Sears Appliance Repair service.  Let’s see what the cost would be.Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 1.12.37 PM

We made our appointment and the tech was scheduled to arrive 6 days later.  Monday night we got a phone call to advise us we were the first call of the day.  When the tech called Tuesday morning I agreed to meet him at the entrance to the campground.  The service tech was particularly nice.

We learned that the repair would cost about as much as replacing the 11 year old model with a brand new one, and that it would be two weeks before he could come back to install the parts (longer than we were going to be here).  He re-wrote the service order and we ended up paying about 30% of the quoted service call rate. That was a technician’s discretion thing I guess, but I’m convinced that the way you treat people makes a big difference in how they treat you. He went out of his way to help us out on the cost of troubleshooting.

He was gone soon after arriving and I got on the phone.  45 minutes on the phone with the Sharp Corporate offices verified which current ovens were same-size replacements.  I went a step further to verify which of those replacement models were current production.

You can often get great deals online — but sometimes the deals are no deal at all when you discover that what you bought has been discontinued by the manufacturer some years before! So, being careful not just to buy the cheapest oven that had the same dimensions was important to me.

The replacement is on order.  It will be shipped to Milwaukee and this September when we were in town for a month Michael will help me pull out the old unit and replace it with the new one. (He says wiping hands!)  Now to live with limited microwave capacity for a month and a half.

The takeaway for me is twofold:

  • Warranties are warranties — they aren’t a guaranty that nothing is going to go wrong.  And they don’t cover everything.  When you make choices about things what warranty policy or extended service policy to by you balance deductibles against purchase price:  you can cover more and pay more, or you can cover less (higher deductible) and pay less for the policy. You make a calculation about how much risk you want to take.  We have collected nearly all the cost of our extended service policy already.  The fact that this repair isn’t going to be covered isn’t anything to be upset about.
  • Cost of ownership is more important than ideas about “getting your money’s worth.”   Being frugal, is not the same as being cheap.  Being economical is not the same as being miserly.  We could repair the microwave we have, and some other part in the 11 year old appliance could fail in 30, 60, or 90 days.  For not much difference than the cost of our deductible we can replace the entire unit and hopefully live failure free for a few years.

Power Control

If you’ve been computing more than 10 years you may remember the old “Power Control Centers” that a lot of us used to use.  Power CenterThe 2” thick box laid underneath the old desktop computer and you would plug all your power cords into the back and on the front there were individual disconnect switches for each of your accessories.

Well, I’ve been thinking about those things.  I used to have two of them and I wish I still had them (except that they were too large for what I need now) Above the driver’s seat we have a cabinet where the satellite receiver, the DISH antenna control, and the DVD/BluRay controller live.

From time to time the DISH receiver needs to be disconnected for 10 seconds for various changes in programming and antenna problems.  Then there is the antenna controller which needs to be powered on when we arrive at a new site, but does not need to be powered on for the entire 2 weeks, or 4 months that we are living in pone place.  If you hit the POWER button on the Antenna controller it automatically goes into STOW mode and retracts the antenna into travel position.  The only way to power off the controller is to disconnect it at the power source.

Tripp LiteI finally found a small version of the same idea that will fit in the overhead cabinet.  Now I’ll be able to disconnect the individual appliances as required, without standing on my driver’s seat and reaching way back into the recesses of the cabinet to find the proper plug to pull!  LUV it!  That will be shipped at the same time as the microwave.

I use Amazon quite a bit.  For me, Amazon Prime is a good deal.  This particular purchase we aren’t having shipped to US, but that’s because we’ll wait until Michael can help me to install the 70 lb Micro/Conv oven.  But we have shipped to Corps Campgrounds, to Forest Service offices and to Campground addresses all with success. And Amazon Prime for the entire year costs about as much as shipping for this one purchase.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow. 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

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2 Comments

  1. In my opinion, Amazon Prime is one of the best deals around for RVers who move frequently. That and Passport America. Even being permanently parked now we are still using Amazon Prime because we got spoiled at how quickly things arrive using it.

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