Two and a half years ago, we moved in to this house. Some of you may recall the hazy happy time we had moving, when we sold in September but couldn't get a new house until December? Well, in the four storage months, our then less than a year old refrigerator (from Sears) was left to rot - the movers spilled soda in the freezer part and then shut the door, thank you very much. A LOT of black stuff grows out of a puddle of sugar water in four months of darkness with limited air supply. A LOT. As I was not up to battling the black goo, we wrote it off (don't even talk to me about the hideous wrongness of the whole move...) and set out to get a new fridge.
On December 5th, we purchased the exact same model as the one that had rotted. They told us we could have it delivered on the 30th. Three weeks, plus the holiday. We slept on it and woke, determined to do better. We ventured over to a new store called The Great Indoors where we found a larger fridge that we liked better and that they could deliver a week sooner. Sign me up! Surprisingly, The Great Indoors turned out to be a Sears derivative and offered the same 12mos no payment/no interest deal if we used our Sears Card, which was great. They could also do the return on our first purchase without us having to go back to the original Sears store. Bonus! And so it was that on Christmas Eve, 2003 our refrigerator was delivered. I will never forget the date or the two weeks we went without a fridge, although it was December in the Northeast, so we were just using the back porch.
Flash forward a year. Our kids get a bit taller and more self-reliant and can open the fridge doors on their own. Every now and then, we find a door left ajar and, once, left hanging wiiiiiide open. Each time, we explained how important it is for the doors to stay Very Closed All The Time and life went on.
Once last year, the freezer door got left open (we think) and everything inside defrosted. We spent a day and a half cooking everything and a week consuming it. Frozen tartlet hors de vours! Pork chops! Chicken! Stew beef chunks! Corn! Peas! Anything not completely lost (ice cream, *sob*) was rendered into a meal or something that could become a meal. We didn't shop for about two weeks and it took a few months to stock the freezer up to my comfort point again.
In May of this year, the same thing happened. Pounds of meat suddenly needed to be cooked and consumed. Ice cream was a gloppy mess. Frozen fruit unfroze and spooged all over the freezer bottom. Totally delightful! (or not...)
In June, we finally ascertained that it's not the fault of the children leaving doors open and called Sears for a service appointment. They scheduled a date three weeks (!!) away saying they were totally booked and couldn't possibly do any better. On the day, their tech skipped the call and was another five days before they could squeeze us in on an "emergency" basis. The tech actually appeared for the second visit, said pish-tosh we don't have a compressor problem, just the rails for our drawer freezer are bent so the door isn't closing right. I was skeptical that a bad seal on the freezer could cause full disfunction of the entire refridgerator/freezer but he's the tech, right? He ordered us two new rails and showed us how to install them - an easy snap-in sort of thing. We paid him for the visit and the rails, which he said would be at our house in two days. Six days later, ONE rail showed up. Two days after that, I called parts to see when the second rail would get here.
Currently, we're in the fifth week of twice weekly thaws and I've stopped keeping anything truly perishable or likely to breed salmonella (100° and humid is not an optimal storage condition for, say, chicken). The third service call is still a week and a half away, the second rail still isn't here, and the supervisor of our regional service center greets me by name when my number flashes up on his caller ID.
Aside from all the regular reasons why this rots (literally), we have guests coming tomorrow. Hopefully they will appreciate not getting food poisoning more than they will not appreciate being served a variety of canned or boxed food where I'd ordinarily offer fresh. Did you know they still make powdered milk? I thought that went out in the '70s...