Friday, October 28, 2016

Refrigerator Karma and Mexican Business

Refrigerator Karma and Mexican Business
            Back in March, the first day I moved into my wee casita, a noise, like a 747 on the runway awaiting clearance for take-off, startled me into combat position. (It ain’t pretty.) Once my heart quit pounding in my ears, I realized the racket came from my refrigerator. Three days later I began accompanying the noise with pilot to control tower “conversation”. Another three days and the sound was background noise, like cars on the highway, ignored.  

Something is wrong. The fan rattles? The motor is on its last legs? I don’t know. I consider buying a new one but delay action. My food stays cold and fresh. 

A month ago, Leo asked, “Would you like to sell your noisy refrigerator and buy a new one?”


“My cousin Eddie just got married and he and Anna don’t have a refrigerator.”

“Maybe. What do you think my refrigerator is worth?”

Leo hemmed and hawed, wanting me to give a price. I refused. Finally he said, “$1500 pesos.”

“No, I said. Too much. I don’t know if this fridge will run for five days or five years. How about $1,000?” Reverse bartering. We sealed the deal.

At the local mubleria where I had purchased my bed and my stove, on a Wednesday, I bought a refrigerator. Delivery on Friday. I followed directions: let the gases settle for twelve hours, then plug it in. Sounded strange but what do I know?

I was busy. I plugged in the new fridge late Saturday. I’d moved my old fridge, filled with food, to the outdoor kitchen, so no hurry. Sunday morning I began to transfer my food.

Oops! Opened the freezer door and felt hot air. Opened the fridge. Decidedly warm. The “frost-free” aspect certainly worked overtime! But no refrigeration. Maybe I could use it as a stove in winter.

Business is different here. Working with both Leo and Josue, because of my language deficiencies, we contacted the store. “Refrigerator doesn’t work.” “Not our problem. Call Mexico City.” There is a process. Mexico City to Guadalajara to a company repairman. I don’t want a deficient model repaired; I want an exchange. Doesn’t matter. Follow the process. He’ll be there manana.

The man didn’t show. More calls. Reschedule. A week later, the repairman came in, plugged the machine in, wriggled his hand inside the freezer compartment. Warm air. Called his supervisor. Josue was translator that day. The repairman didn’t acknowledge me. I was wall paper. He explained the next step in the process to Josue. Supervisor had okay-ed an exchange. Repairman would email a report. Order would go out for exchange. No problem.

Ha! On Friday, delivery day, no truck appeared. Called the store. Shrug. Start entire process over from Step One. Many phone calls.

Week Two Plus: Repairman said, “I’ll email exchange approval form. You print. Take it to the store.” Leo delivered form.

 Moving into Week Three. Still no refrigerator. Store response: Shrug. Not our problem. Both Leo and Josue got ornery for me. “Firm words”. Fortunately, not easily translatable.

Meanwhile, my patience wore thin. I don’t have a new refrigerator. Eddie, remember Eddie the newlywed, doesn’t have any refrigerator? I’m ready to remove the doors on the $5300 pesos fridge, paint Mexican designs around the body and make a garden planter. (That is the least offensive of my creative ideas.)

Then I got it. Karma. Refrigerator Karma. Back around 1990 we bought a house in Poulsbo, Washington. No fridge. We charged a new one at a mall store and in order to save delivery fees, my husband and my son loaded the refrigerator in the back of the pick-up. It’s a short drive. They didn’t tie it down. Going down the freeway, the refrigerator, which even then cost more than $5300 pesos, bounced out of the back of the truck and landed upright in the middle of the highway, still on the attached pallet.

We removed strapping tape and cardboard, lifted it from the pallet. Yep, large scrape and dent. We called the store to repair it. Here is where my story gets confusing. Evidently, the men from the store thought the refrigerator had been damaged in shipping. Evidently, nobody corrected their assumption. They delivered a replacement, post haste.

Interestingly, we never were billed for the refrigerator, which we had charged at the store. Time passed and we, I confess, sort of “forgot”. Well, it was easy to forget. Easy but not honest.

Today, three weeks from purchase, my newly replaced refrigerator, delivered last night, is filled and silently keeping my food cold.

I think I just paid my “Refrigerator Karma Debt”.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

October 27, 2016

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