Mar 24, 2010

Darty and the Samsung tragedy, part 4

The Samsung hob had been re-installed on Friday.

On Saturday morning, some desperate noises from the kitchen. "Michael." A pause. "Shit."
-"What is it."
-"The Samsung broke again."
I rush to the kitchen, but the little on-off fingerprint button on the hob is still alight.
-"It is still working," I say.
-"Yes," Chang says, "but you cannot switch it on."
I push the ON button, and the hob appears to react normally; it offers a choice of burners to be activated, even boosted.
I touch a burner button, burner no 1, and a burner boosts.
"See," I say.
Everything appears alright. We are happily married. I return to my desk.
"Michael." A pause. "Shit."
-"What is it."
-"The Samsung broke again."
I rush to the kitchen.
Chang explains some intermediate adventures with the hob in Korean (it's a Samsung, after all). The little on-off fingerprint button on the hob that indicates generic readiness is no longer alight.
-"It is dead," I say, trying to keep my voice neutral so that Chang won't feel my suspicion that it's all his fault.
Chang feels my suspicion that it's all his fault.
-"Have you checked the circuit breaker on the electricity panel," I suggest. The hob has its own circuit breaker on the electricity panel. Yes, he did. I proceed to the electricity panel to check the hob's circuit breaker. The circuit breaker does not break the circuit; electrons can reach the hob unimpeded. We are happily married.

We push (fingerprint) a few more buttons, but this is just to calm our nerves. Then I say, in the manner of Titanic captains who have seen the iceberg:"We have to call Darty."

I dread those calls; I am fairly shy and hate to bother other people with my problems. It's Saturday. But, come to think of it, that's actually a good day. The assistance téléphonique, which would normally protect the DARTY Repair Man from being bothered by desperate customers, is closed. The computer will put me right through if I pass muster with the voice recognition system that doubles as emergency service switchboard on Saturdays. I have to pronounce the number of our department, "clairement."
So I say "Quatre-vingt-trois." The computer appears to detect the touch of an accent. "Je ne peu pas vous comprendre. Prononcez clairement the numéro de votre département." "Quatre-vingt-trois."
We go through this loop for a little while---computers like loops---until the computer declares itself satisfied. Eightythree, he/she understands. Now the main question. What is my problem? The computer offers examples, like fridge ("frigidaire"), vacuum cleaner ("hoover"---no, I am making this up, it's "respirateur"). He/she does not provide an example for "hob." I'm nervous. "C'est votre choix," the computer commands. I bungle, interrupt myself. Computers like loops.

OK, you get the gist. There is a happy ending in the sense that my final attempt to enunciate "table de cuisson" is gracefully accepted. A human voice takes over and is receptive. They will send somebody, on Monday. Yes, they are sorry. The second time. Yes, they understand.

The Monday Repair Man arrives (he calls in advance to excuse a slight delay) and picks up the hob. This time, the hob will be put to the most serious tests in their atelier. We utter more principled complaints about Samsung, Darty, and the World. Yes, he understands. But it's not his responsibility, it's the responsibility of the chef du service. The chef du service will have to decide whether a second repair attempt should be made (we got the hob 2 month ago---no, the Monday Repair Man observes, you got it on January 11, that's more than 2 months), or whether a brand new hob will be rolled out. Chang wants his money back. "Ce n'est pas ma responsabilité," the Monday Repair Man says.

Stay tuned.

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