For decades, the lady of the house presided with grace and competence over dishwashers, ranges, refrigerators, washers, and dryers. Now, she’s fit to be tied.
Her fury definitely does not bode well for President Barack Obama’s futuristic plans for the federal government to micromanage American businesses.
It seems that a legendary retailer of household, lawn, and garden appliances, which she and her mother before her grew up relying on for appliances ranging from Amanas to vacuum cleaners, has flung her under its automated repair-services bus. Inept as that big business has become, she expects worse yet from bigger government.
A Tennessean of melodious voice, she has impeccable grammar and exquisite diction. But she fears she no longer may be able to make herself understood in English, which she taught in school back when schools taught English.
It all began with a leaky gasket on her dishwasher door. Armed with her appliance’s warranty, she called the store’s toll-free number. A marvel of technology known as interactive voice recognition answered in a disembodied, recorded, unisex tone of authoritative superiority:
Voice: “Say your phone number, beginning with the area code.”
The lady of the house obeyed distinctly, in English. No mush-mouth, she.
V: “Repeat your area code clearly.”
LoH again did as told: “Eight-six-five.”
V: “Is that area code three-seven-nine?”
LoH: “No, it’s not. It is . . . ”
V: “Say your area code.”
V: “West is not a valid answer. Do you mean eight-six-five?”
V: “Say the name of the appliance you are calling about.”
LoH: “A dishwasher.”
LoH: “No, a dishwasher!”
On and on it went, the lady of the house steadfastly refusing to accept a gasket on some weedwacker with no door. In the fullness of time, a live person came on the line and scheduled a repairman to come fix the dishwasher door.
Then next, a washing-machine hose ruptured. The lady of the house phoned again. This time, it was a riding mower the robotic ignoramus insisted on fixing.
That evening, after a toddy to retrieve sanity, she mused about whether Obama will answer warranty calls now that he’s running General Motors and Chrysler:
“I wouldn’t trust that man to service a riding mower, much less even touch my weedwacker. As for those greenie-weenie cars he wants to sell us, he can . . . ”
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com. Read John Perry's columns here.
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