Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring cleaning, cold frames, Sears Sucks, "Joe sent me" Neo American secret underground shopping

Yesterdays spotty sunshine and almost warm weather came with the usual dose of frenzied  labor.  Jimmy got the yard completely cleaned up and edged. I don't know about the rest of the urban farmers in the area but over the winter our little back yard utopia gets pretty  scruffy. Lots of extraneous items laying around: buckets, sticks, neighbors coffee cups (really people... take your crap home) small mason jars ( we hang them around the trees to put tea lights in in the summer), stems of long ago tomatoes and other and sundry  leavings. And every spring it all gets raked up, swept and  polished.  It looks really pretty back there this morning.  Jimmy also put up the skeleton frames for his cold frames. I stayed in the house, opened all the windows and doors and cleaned in preparation for some painting. The back of my car is filled with stuff for goodwill. (anyone who wants a box of video tapes I found at the bottom of a closet should come get them today) (note to beloved daughter: I found your levis with the holes in the knees  wadded up in the  fold out sofa bed).  Many things were dusted and vacuumed. Some things were repaired, some were not. The 'not' being the freezer which I completely emptied and  scrubbed out. (who knew how many  ice cream containers with  a half a scoop of ice cream a  freezer could handle before there is no more room  for  anything else).
One of the shelf clips  broke at some time since the last cleaning and I thought i would just go to sears and get a replacement clip ..... or a package of clips but surely no more than $5  dollars would be spent on  this itty bitty item.  I decided to call first since Sears has a history of  not wanting to sell me anything.  Good thing I did cuz if I had driven there with expectations  someone would have gotten hurt. As it was, I was transferred many times to the  'right' person, wound up with a parts 'specialist' who was the most unhelpful ass I have dealt with in a while. I'm not even going to go into the details because they are tedious. 6 phone calls later which included everyone within driving distance that sells whirlpool I found myself talking to a local used appliance   guy who said , "yes ma'am I have those but they are only sold in a repair kit  for $26". He apologized very nicely for the shortcomings of Sears and their ilk and validated my frustration at  the  corporate  arrogance of pushing an overpriced 'kit'  to replace a  five cent part.   When I got off the phone with him I chose to finish my little chore  and that particular shelf is now being held up by frozen orange juice.   And Sears? Well they are woefully inadequate at meeting my consumer needs.  They have, in the last few years, become nothing more than an overpriced walmart. As our economy sinks deeper into the abyss of  outsourced manufacturing and imported low quality goods and ever increasing poor customer service from corporations, there seems to be a barely visible  light  in darkness...... local small business owners.  Folks who are working out of their garages and might not even have a  business license.   Locally owned B&M's who are seeing  the  exodus away from  warehousey corporate stores and who are listening to what people need and attempting to meet those needs.  And of course the internet which gives  us easy access to companies in other states  like  Wigwam ( high quality made in USA ) socks. But it is still a sad commentary of corporate and bureaucratic  fascism when shopping for a durable quality product with good cusomer service occurs in a back alley with a knock on door and a 'Joe sent me' conspiratorial whisper. And so goes the Neo American super secret underground shopping experience. How long before it becomes mainstream?

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