31, 2008, Volume 16 Nr. 4, Issue 248
is a friend of mine. We trade conversations when they seem
important enough which is to say that we don’t talk about
stuff everyday. We often talk about stings we are a part of,
usually the victim. Some of these are fodder for other
characters of our ilk but no less immune.
most recent nagging sting is a new flat screen TV set his wife
bought several holiday seasons ago for about $427 and about
which he reported to me both in his own low key complaints and a
number of phone conversations.
One morning Henry turned this marvel flat screen TV on. It
lingered for only a second or two and then went absolutely black
Henry, to me on the phone
let it go. I had to go somewhere. But of course the whole family
noticed it. This TV was set up in an alcove of the kitchen, a
place we all had a tendency to hang out in. That was in the fall
of the second year. I made a call and discovered it was no
longer under warranty. My wife told my daughter Jean and Jean
took it to a repair guy in Clarendon.., our nearest big city.
The repair guy said he could repair it for $65. Under
instructions Jean said OK.”
it was ready the repair guy called and Jean picked it up and I
put it on the wall again. Its home.”
I might have said to him.
we watched it for quite some time. You know how well people keep
track of all the hours they watch on a TV and write it down in a
special ‘Your TV Record’ notebook”
on,” I must have said. .
day in the fall of last year, I turned the TV on as quite usual.
It came on with its marvelously clear picture and good sound…I
don’t know…the Tomorrow show or something. Well, the picture
and sound lasted about 30 seconds and then the set had a heart
attack again. Nothing I could do would make it tick. So I called
the repair guy in Clarendon.”
Lally and me on the phone
Repair,” the repair guy said. I told him who I was and
reminded him of our past business. After some soul searching he
came up with some recognition, although he seemed to have good
visualization and sound recall about it.
yeah,” he said. “I remember.”
it’s done it again,” I said. He didn’t seem too surprised.
I shot a volley of questions at him: “Did this particular
model have many problems. Was he seeing a lot of this model?
What did he charge when his first fix didn’t work? And Just
what was the charge for fixing it
dollars,” he said.
think I may have said “What!?”
but he repeated “Sixty-five dollars.”
many of the other TVs have this problem?”
yeah,” said the repair guy. .
questions followed by more answers: The problem is “static
electricity” which knocks out the programming section stored
in something like a mother board which was readily knocked out
and the programming had to be reinstalled to make it work.
Sixty-five dollars. Could he change the board out and put a new
one in? No. Who could? If he reinstalled the programming, what
were the chances that it would be a final fix. None. Aren’t
there hundreds, even thousands of this same model LC TV that are
on the market or have been sold?
Yeah. Does he have many to repair? Not after the first repair.
What could he do? Is there no warranty left on it? No. No. No.
conversing with the distributor
some luck on his computer browser, he discovered a distributor
in the next state. He called the distributor’s number. Yes
they were the distributor. No warranty. Yes, common. Repair in
Chittenden City in the northern part of Henry’s state in an
approved shop. Henry called the approved shop. They were very
nice. Henry explained. They said they would look at it and
provide a repair estimate for $45.
talking with the accredited repair guy
Time passed and an old set replaced the LC TV in the kitchen nook. Henry was balking at the $45 inspection which he was sure would reveal everything he knew about the set, but he finally broke down when he found someone who was willing to make the drive, but because she had other errands of a medical nature which would take her within 25 miles or so of the accredited repair shop.
She did so and left it with
instructions to call Henry when a closely estimated price for
the repair was known. In a few days the call came and the very
nice man on the other end said that the board had to be
replaced. The cost would be $427, labor and board.
“Why wouldn’t I buy a newer
model for $421?”
“You are really attached to
this one?” the accredited repair guy said and asked in one
the alternative?” Henry asked.
“We’ll junk it if you don’t
picked it up in 30 days.
“And the repair would be
$427?” Henry asked, hopeful for mark-down.
“Yup,” said the accredited
no use,” said the repair guy.
got a basement full of these sets,” said the repair guy.
mean that the manufacturer knowingly sold many these sets to
people? Knowing the sets were going to fail?”
do you think?” asked the accredited repair guy. “He fixed
his next lots, put the proper board in guarded from static
electricity, changed the model number, and is selling the new
one with a 7 model number instead of the old 5.”
give up,” Henry reported he said to the accredited repair guy.
difficulty Henry said he found the name of the CEO in Japan, but
when he was emailed Henry received no response from the
corporation or gentleman. He also wrote a detailed letter to the
United States SEC; no response there either.
all we or Henry know to this day there are hundreds of SHARP LC
20”, model 5, flat screen sets stacked in the basement of the
accredited repair guy’s up there in Chittenden. And stacks of
mail at the SEC wherever.
2009 and in the corporate world it’s still caveat
emptor. Maybe more so.
Peter Shepherd is a retired English teacher, sociological, and political observer recovering from nine or ten years of depression during the latter Clinton and complete Bush years. Here he reveals some of his inclination to write short stories, questionable poetry, film scenarios about justice of various kinds, and letters to his representative, senators and TV producers.