Black and Blue Friday

My 25 year old dryer and 15 year old washer were still running when Sears ran its Black Friday ad last year. Brand new, low water use, high efficiency, front loading, stackable washer-dryer pair for $579.98. Regular retail (does anyone pay regular retail for appliances?) price on those particular models was $1,399.98. “At least four per store” the ad said.

Key West has a very small store and it is an hour away. I figured four pairs would be the most they ever had.

Hmmm. I wonder if it is four pairs or four appliances? I didn’t want to get up at 0:dark:30 and drive 55 miles for something I didn’t absolutely need right then.

Why should I have expected any different? I called the store and the appliance department manager treated me like an annoyance.

I want a nap.

After the short wait programmed into the auto-attendant phone system, “Darrell” answered. I asked if he had the advertised washer and dryer in stock.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m in the shipping department.”

I asked the expected question about why a call to the major appliance department would be shunted to the shipping department.

“Because I’m the appliance manager but all my people are on the floor with customers.” Ahh, Sears.

Oddly, I was a customer.

Darrell spent about 10 minutes refusing to help me and asking for my phone number so “someone could call me back.” I do not respond well to stonewalling so I spent my part of those 10 minutes demanding that he treat me like a customer and give me the info I wanted. I got nowhere but I did leave my number with him.

He also refused to let me speak to his supervisor; he then refused to let me speak to the store manager when I asked to be transferred.

“You know,” I said near the end of the conversation, “if you had simply looked up whether you had the product in stock instead of being a dickweed (actually I probably said ‘instead of jerking me around’), you would have had a happy customer in me and would have had time to take care of two or even three other customers.”

I called the store back to speak to the Sears store manager. I had to leave my number on voice mail. I’m still waiting for that call back.

I need a nap.

OTOH, a saleslady named Ann did call me 45 minutes later.

“We had four pairs in stock,” she said. “I know we sold two right after the store opened but I think there are still two left.

Ann explained that they were giving customers a ticket that let them buy the appliances and that the sale rules said they could not do a telephone sale. Sort of no tickee no shirty, and you must be present to win. She put me on hold to check.

They did have two pairs left; Ann advised driving down right then. Key West is an hour from my little house but I loaded up and did just that.

The store sold one more pair while I was on the road. I got the last pair.

Ann tried twice to sell me a new pigtail and vent but I demurred. I wondered why anyone would buy either, since most retail appliances today are replacements.

“Our installers will not use an existing cord,” she said citing liability. “If yours is even a little bit frayed and your house burns, we would buy you a new house.”

Loading was interesting. The dryer was the first box out the door. The stock boy rocked his hand truck back steeply and laid the bottom front edge of on the tailgate. He rocked the hand truck up a little and we lifted it right onto the tailgate.


The box was two-three inches taller than my truck cap. No problem. He popped it over on its side and we pushed it to the front of the bed. The second stock boy brought the washer; the two of them laid it down on its side and popped it in without issue.

So here’s the bottom line. Ann at Sears was very nice, very helpful and deserves the little bit of commission they paid her. I got the washer and dryer I wanted. My 25 year old dryer and 15 year old washer experienced some … issues over the winter so I put the new ones in service and moved the old ones elsewhere. And I didn’t have to take Harvest Gold. Or Plum.

This year was different.

My UPS has been talking back lately so I’m thinking it’s time. Electronics don’t last as long here as in gentler climes. Office Depot had an APC 1500 VA UPS on sale for half price. No shipping. Big batteried UPSes are expensive to ship. I set the alarm for 5:40. Ayem.

Pink and purple sunrise and me without a camera phone. It was not red enough to take warning but I did watch. Not a sight I recognized.

Got to Office Depot about 6:20 and was dumbfounded to see the parking lot full. As in seriously full. Had to drive past many cars to find a parking space.

I did (eventually and with the help of a personal shopper) find and buy the UPS I wanted. Long lines at the checkout, mostly because the cashiers were hard selling extended warranties. Everyone was helpful and very nice. No Android Tablets. None of my other gimmes.

I also looked at a Ryobi cordless tool bundle in the Home Depot flier and didn’t even bother going there. Ditto the wrapping paper at Walgreens.

I thought long and hard about the wrapping paper. Then I thought long and hard about the lines. Inertia and the fact that I don’t actually use wrapping paper, particularly here, won out. About the Ryobi, if this year is anything like last year, the store was sold out in 10-15 minutes. It is the new 19.2 volt model which matches nothing I have. Drill, light, circular saw, vacuum. I would use the drill and light but can’t see much use for the circular saw or vacuum.

Back to the UPS. The Office Depot parking lot was full but, after writing that, I realized that “full” in a small town is a whole lot different than “full” in Miami or New York. Here, there were three or four or even five peeps at each of the three or four open registers. I’m really really really glad I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without at Brandsmart up in the United States.