By Ipsita Sengupta Feb. 17, 2020
It was not a dark stormy night, just a regular evening when maa put some food into the microwave and it refused to start. My predicament — starring arguments over warranties, elevator pitches for tips, and desperate phone calls to robots — began there.
I remember our first microwave like we bought it yesterday. It may not have been our first electrical appliance, but it was my first time accompanying Baba for such a significant purchase. It made me feel like I was significant to major family decisions.
Little did I know that I was bringing home a bleeder.
When we first entered the home-appliance exhibition, my eyes were dazzled by the brilliant gadgets decked up with a million features each. I say million because I lost count after three. Each item had its own speciality, which I failed to follow or compare. The Maker seemed to have created them after he practiced putting together humans and finished unsatisfied.
Still I was buying into everything they were selling — I have always been a sales-person’s wet dream. Being the easiest to coax when it comes to shopping, the first microwave I saw was the “one” for me — with a three-way convection (?) and the conviction to give baked goodies the perfect crisp and a brown tint, it came for an extra thousand bucks than the others on the shelf.
When the oven was brought home, Maa, turning her eyebrows into a summit, reminded me of the uselessness of “convection”: I was starving myself to slide into jeggings (or some such fancy pants), Baba has diabetes, and she doesn’t like cakes. After a few days of frowning, she gave in. We all enjoyed heating food the first few months — turning rather than flipping, electricity over fire: Evolution. We were living happily with our first microwave: Me boasting, Maa avoiding eye contact (since I won), Baba busy not getting involved. And then it all came to dissolution.
Short-term troubles are always followed by a parade of dreadful difficulties — this time it was the untrustworthy WARRANTY.
It was not a dark stormy night, just a regular evening when Maa put some food into the thing to heat and it didn’t start. My predicament began there. I knew I was soon going to be blamed for my “bad decision”. So I wiped the my-oven-is-better-than-your-oven look off my face and shouldered the responsibility of calling the service centre.
I looked up the current phone number of the company online, after the one in the manual connected me to a woman who repeated, “This number does not exist. You seem to have dialled a wrong number,” without pausing to hear my side of the story. After burning through seven numbers, my patience close to needing an IV drip, someone from the other side answered: “How may I help you?” Though, I could swear I heard: Alleluiah!
However, my miseries didn’t end there. Shaitan is my benefactor who often visits me with his harbingers. Short-term troubles are always followed by a parade of dreadful difficulties — this time it was the untrustworthy WARRANTY. The people who compose these conniving commitments are trickster 10 pro, minus the glitches. They contrive loopholes the size of potholes, and we fall in them, never to be rescued. After a thorough examination (that’s what he said) the service-person told us that a circuit or something like that (don’t remember the gibberish) which is an essential part for the functioning of the microwave (blah blah) needs to be repaired. And here comes the curveball — that part doesn’t come under warranty.
Seriously! Where were these revelations at the time of transactions? Am I expected to study asterisks too? We were caught by the neck now, they, seasoned rabbitters. There was no scope for negotiation. They sliced two grand off Baba’s wallet, just like that. This was a lesson for me: Not how to avoid such trickeries, but become more resilient to them.
After a quick diagnosis, you will be rewarded with a bill that will temporarily arrest your neurons.
When buying a product, pray to the 33 crore Gods and Goddesses — on one leg if possible — for your merchandise to last long enough to not see you become the prey. Then after your prayers have been declined, call the service centre 50 times. They’ll call back 10 times to discuss a convenient time for a visit. Rest assured, they will end up showing up at their most “convenient time”, just when you’ve gotten out of the shower or are leaving for work.
They will be sporting a my-way-or-stairway-to-limbostan look and temporarily convert you into their makeshift helper. In a mono-tone they will explain why the LED panel does not come under warranty, and you will question your understanding of LED. After a quick diagnosis, you will be rewarded with a bill that will temporarily arrest your neurons. After recovering, you will wish yourself in a period without technological advancement. Don’t worry, you will get over it as soon as you whip out the smartphone to pay by Paytm.
After settling the bill without any choo-cha to avoid any future handiness, the service-person will make a pitch for a tip that’ll send stars to your eyes — but, by now, you have been bitten too many times to be just shy. So, quickly make an excuse about being low on change and promise to call back when your salary comes. This way you will feel the satisfaction of making them taste their own soured promise.
If you have never faced a situation like this in your life then you must’ve saved a few planets or at least one struggling ecosystem in your last life. I hope that luck always remains with you (provided you allow me to borrow some every now and then). The ones, who on the other hand, can identify with this jam, will understand. I hope I am not the only one.