Trying Not to Blow a Fuse - My Appliance Dilemma

The vacuum cleaner is probably one of the greatest inventions ever as far as I am concerned. It is right up there with the automatic dishwasher, washing machine and modern ranges. Over the last century these fantastic inventions have revolutionized the way accomplish daily chores saving us countless hours of intense and backbreaking labor. And I for one am a woman who would not want to go back to the old way of washing clothes or cooking over an open flame.

So here's the question...what to do when one or more appliances manage to die at the same time. Appliances today are not cheap...most of them typically cost somewhere in the range of $500- $600 for a middle of the road model, and that is a hard one to swallow if two or more of these modern day miracles needs to be replaced.

Well with that being said, here is how my appliance dilemma has come about...

About 3 weeks ago our automatic dishwasher, which is just short of 9 year old, totally crapped out on us. It was like the thing had a mind of its own and simply quit. There was no warning of any kind...no odd noises or inconsistencies in performance...it just stopped working. So fine...we can deal with that for a while...we have two able bodied children who can step up and assume the task of washing and drying dishes. As soon as we can pull the money together we will purchase a new dishwasher. This is rather reasonable way of thinking isn't it? We made the decision that we can live without this wonderful appliance for a few weeks until we can buy a new one. 

It was only two days later that one of the burners on our kitchen stove refused to turn off. Me and hubs frantically played with the dang thing for about 15 minutes or so trying turn off the burner as to avoid the unthinkable of unplugging our entire stove from the wall leaving us without anything to cook on or in. Finally the burner was off and not to be used again. So now I am down to 3 working burners but thankfully the oven is also operational. But this is a prelude to the fact that a new stove will be in our not too distant future. Sometime after we pull the money together to replace our dead dishwasher we will have to tighten up the purse strings and begin to save so to replace the now dying stove.

Then last Friday I pulled out our 5 year old Miele to vacuum up the crumbs on the kitchen carpet from a biscuit the dog had eaten, and I realized that it was not picking up a thing! I flipped the vacuum upside down to make sure the beaters were moving and nope, they were as still as can be. Making sure that they were not accidentally turned off, I flipped the switch for the beaters on and off several times but still no movement. Dag...must be the belt I thought. I made the call to the closest vacuum cleaner repair shop which is easily 35-40 minutes away and ask if they repair Miele brand. "Yup" the man said and within minutes I was in the car with my Miele in hand making the trip out to drop it off. He told me just to open up the thing was going to be $40 but that money will also be applied to whatever repairs need to be made. "Call back on Monday morning and it should be ready for pickup" the man told me. I then asked for an estimate and he quoted "$129 to $149 roughly". Not so bad a price and then I can minus the $40 already paid to open up the vacuum. This we can live with and have no real setback in purchasing a new dishwasher, or so I thought.

Monday rolled around and I called the repair shop. I was told it was not ready and that they want to replace the chewed up electrical cord before they gave it back to me. Only one problem...they couldn't get the handle where the cord originates from to open. "Did you or anyone else glue this handle shut at one time?" the man asked. My reply was no and never. The only thing I have ever done was to change sweeper bags. "Call back on Wednesday to see if it's ready" the man said and that is what I did.

So today (I waited until 4pm to give them ample time to to work on my machine) I called the shop to see if it was ready. "Well no it's not" was the reply I got to my question. I explained that my vacuum had been there for a week already. "Can you hang in there another day or two and maybe I have a loaner here and you can just swing by to pick it up." Swing by...what is he kidding me? I told the man that I was about 40 minutes away from his shop and that if the sweeper will be done by the end of the week I would just rather wait to pick it up. "Let me ask you...did you ever glue the handle of the thing shut for any reason?" the man, obviously not the man from Monday, asked. No and never was again my response. "Well I worked on this for about an hour today and can't seem to get it open. How about I give you $100 on a trade-in on a new Miele?" A trade in??? What the heck!!! All I did was drop it off for a simple belt replacement and now we're talking trade in on a new vacuum? "You see I really can't give it back to you with the cord like this. It is a hazard, God forbid it causes a fire with these wires all exposed."  OK...I get that, but really how can we afford to buy a new sweeper when the dishwasher has to be replaced? "I can give you a new Miele originally priced at $699 but has been reduced to $599 plus $100 dollars off for the trade-in, with a 2 year supply of bags, a lifetime warranty on the motor, and I'll even throw in a bag of vacuum accessories which is an $89 value." Now my head was flipping spinning off my shoulders. I told the man that I can't just make that call because we currently have other appliances to replace and that I will need to confer with my husband.

I called Mr. Rosemary Lane at work and explained the entire situation. I asked him what he thought we should do and his response was to go out and buy another vacuum only a different, less expensive, brand. But I love my Miele...this is my second one in 12 years and I have to tell you that I am not exactly easy on any of my appliances. With 2 kids and a dog and cat that both shed I need a good brand when it comes to vacuums. Also I am not exactly impressed with this repair shop's inability to replace a simple electrical cord. They have my machine but with no idea of how long it is going to take them to fix the thing, AND they won't give it back to me with the cord's wires exposed.

So here we sit with no dishwasher, 3/4 of a stove top and a vacuum cleaner being held hostage in a repair shop, a questionable repair shop, 40 minutes away! Boy when it rains it really does pour and I am usually a pretty positive person. I'm just hoping...scratch that...praying that nothing else appliance-wise or anything else-wise gives out in the meantime. At this point we have decided to mull over our options but let me ask you...

What would YOU DO??? Cuz I'd sure like to know!

I sincerely hope your day as far as appliances working is going at least a little bit better than mine.


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  1. I would buy a new vacuum cleaner SOMEWHERE ELSE. I don't like it when I am being forced to buy something.
    Holding your vacuum hostage, not having it ready twice when he said it would be ready, and not even bothering to pick up the phone to talk to you about it... I would go somewhere else and buy a new one. It would be a cold day when I gave this place my money.

  2. In the uk we would ring trading standards and get them to put the boot into the repair shop, for rubbish service. We don't have dishwashers as standard , we have children and YouTube probably shows an easy fix for the cooker...lol..sometimes the UK and the US are worlds apart

  3. Get a new vacuum for sure even if you have to deal with a cheaper one for now. The nerve of that repair shop!! I'd send Hubs over to get the old broken one and tell the guy you're taking it somewhere else to get fixed! So sorry about all this! Maybe the stores will start having appliances on sale soon for the end of the year or the Holidays or something and you can find a good deal. Gotta get better from here and you'll have a semi-new kitchen!!

  4. Check the newspaper for estate sales. We often see top brand vacuum cleaners selling for really good prices at estate sales. Maybe buy a Hoover next time. I have an upright Hoover than I probably paid less than $100 for and it's still going strong after at least 20 years!
    Also, maybe there's something going on with your electrical panel for that many electric appliances to go out at once.
    Good luck!
    Sue P.

  5. Oooh, we have been in this same situation. reading your post brought back many "not sooo good" memories. :) My stove, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner and AC unit went out last year all within days of each other. It was a true disaster around here. LOL I cooked everyday for about two weeks for a family of five on one burner and washed so many dishes I thought my hands were going to fall off. We purchased the stove and dishwasher after taking advantage of some good sales at Lowe's and ended up getting a cheaper vacuum, a Bissel, which it has turned out to be just fine. Hope you get everything resolve soon. Enjoy your weekend! Maria

  6. Buy an in-expensive "back up" vacuum cleaner for emergencies such as this one... Hoover and Bissel both make a really good upright that can stand up to rough and tough!! Just until you can purchase another high end one that you are comfortable with!! I absolutely would not do business with the repair shop....... :(

  7. Get your vacuum cleaner back and tape the cord up well with good electrical tape. I'm not an electrician, but if it's only a little worn on the cord, it should be fine. Have the kids wash the dishes. And three burners will hold you for a long time. I don't think I've ever used all four at once. You should be able to get by for a long time yet. And I love the vintage ads!

  8. These days, they don't make anything like they used to. We live in a "throwaway" society and I have recently decided to stop buying expensive appliances with all the bells and whistles because they just don't last.

    My daughter has a $300 specialty vacuum that has been nothing but problems the entire 4 years she's had it. Based on the pretty good reviews it got, I just bought her a bagless, Bissell upright vacuum designed for people with pets but I have been "test driving" it for the past several days. Good grief! This thing seriously puts the $600 vacuum I have to shame! I was absolutely shocked how much stuff the Bissel vacuum pulled out of my carpet that my expensive vacuum has been missing. Now on the one hand, I'm a bit disgusted having to empty the canister (and it's kind of small so it has to be emptied frequently) but there is also something weirdly satisfying about seeing the amount of pet hair and dirt that it is pulling out of my carpet. I obviously can't speak on longevity yet since we've only had it for about 2 weeks but I'm impressed enough that I am seriously considering buying one for myself. It has a 5 year warranty, which is pretty impressive for an appliance that costs less than $150.00, but it's cheap enough that I won't cry a bucket of tears if it doesn't last beyond the warranty period.

    If you are interested in considering buying a new vacuum, even if it's just temporary until you can decide what you want to do about your Miele, here's the Amazon and Target link for the Bissell I bought. (It is currently selling for the same price on both sites but I ordered from Target so I could return it easier by taking it right back to the store if we didn't like it--but as it stands right now, we love it so much it's not going back!)



    Oh, one other thing. Prior to making the decision to buy this Bissell, I almost bought a Shark because I liked several of their vacuums. However, I got to wondering how warranty issues were handled so I had a live chat with a customer service rep on the Shark website. He told me if their products fail and need repair during the warranty period, they do not have any local authorized service centers. The customer has to ship the vacuum back to Shark for repair and the customer is responsible for shipping charges BOTH ways. At the price of shipping these days, that could easily be $20.00 or more each way for something large in size and weight like a vacuum! Thanks, but no thanks Shark! On the other hand, there is an authorized Bissell repair center just 5 miles from my home. If you want to see if there is one near you, you can go to the Bissell website and enter your zip code: http://www.bissell.com/service-centers/

    Regarding your Miele the vacuum shop is holding hostage...The repairman might just be saying he can't get into your vacuum in hopes you will simply purchase another one. I'd do as Amy suggested and send your husband to pick it up. As much as I hate to say it, I often think servicemen take advantage of women and give them a load of cr*p that they wouldn't dare pull on another man.

    One last thing: before you decide to replace your dishwasher (or stove), you may want to read the consumer nightmare I went through a few years ago over a defective Samsung front load washer. I learned a few VERY important lessons about buying appliances from that fiasco. http://mycottageofbliss.blogspot.com/2010/04/samsung-front-load-washer-from-hhgregg.html

  9. Oh Barbara. I'm sorry!!! Life is so overwhelming when too many things like this happen at one time. Makes you feel like you just can't get ahead. Doesn't it?

    I would just get a new vacuum. We are on our second Dyson in 15 years. I had to replace mine a couple of months ago. Watched the sales at Kohl's and used a coupon to get it for a great price. Love it!

    Maybe just limp along with the stove and make the dishwasher your priority?

    When we've had to replace appliances, I've read all the Consumer Reports. Sometimes it has worked and sometimes it hasn't. Three years ago, when we redid the kitchen at our last house, we bought all new Kitchen Aid appliances. Loved them all except the dishwasher. The top rack would fall off all the time and the repair MEN (more than one) told us that Kitchen Aid was aware but nothing could be done as it was a design flaw.

    Keep us posted. We all go through these things. Have you noticed how they always seem to happen at really inconvenient financial times?

  10. OMGoodness, Barbara. I really feel for you.I'm not familiar with your brand of vacuum, but it sounds kind of like when you need to fix a foreign car in America! What a challenge. I know I couldn't be without a vaccum, since I (or should say Jerry) vacuums every day what with cat hair and the piggys that eat while watching TV (and we don't even have little kids). I kind of like doing dishes by hand but there again we don't have kids and only the two of us. As long as I have an oven, I think I would be good with only 3 burners but the ball is in your court!!. Sorry, and I know you will make the right decision for you..Happy Monday!!!.Judy

  11. the vaccum guy might be trying to scam you,no way id buy from him,just saying

  12. The vacuum guy doesn't sound to kosher. It's a bummer when you have multiple appliances go all at once. I would probably go to R.C. Willey and put them on an 18 month interest free plan that they have going on right now. Hubby and I just went there and bought a new refrigerator. When we bought our home it had two dishwashers in the kitchen. I thought it was over the top and that one would never get used. I find that I am constantly using them both. Nice when you haven't had a chance to unload one yet to have a 2nd one to fill. It will be super nice if one ever goes out. Best of luck! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  13. We operated a small appliance repair for a number of years. Your vacuum cleaner person is not being straight with you and you need to go somewhere else!!!
    I have (and love) my Dyson for the long haul and big jobs...I also have a Target issue Bissell that I love. It is small and lightweight and I use it most every day to clean up yard debris that seems to walk in every time sweet hubby opens the door. We also have a cat who SHEDS!!!
    If I were doing the spending, I would buy a vacuum from a store that has a great return policy in case you find it not to be up to your standards. I would then limp along with the stove but replace the dishwasher as soon as the pocketbook will allow. Just my piece of useless info for today :^)
    Have a good weekend and blessings to you,

  14. Be sure to thoroughly read over the warranty to be absolutely sure you have all the information you will need to file the claim.Pdf manuals


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