Yesterday Rick and I spent about an hour on our backs on the deck each trying to install a new part on our barbecue. Often I have written in this blog about customer service and I’m about to do it again. We purchased this behemoth gas barbecue with a well-known brand name attached to the hood when we moved in this house. In June we celebrated our second year here. In barbecue years, I don’t believe this is old. Hardly used the first summer, it hasn’t been overly burdened. Kind of like a car owned by a little old lady who only drives the vehicle back and forth to church on Sundays. Though we do barbecue frequently during the summer months, the machine has not been abused. As it takes the other three seasons off, I don’t see why it refuses to perform during the one season it is expected to.
Rick has been on the phone so often with the technical support gentleman that they’re discussing china patterns. Lemons in all types of products are a reality and this one definitely is a “Friday car”. When we first purchased it we paid the $60 to have it delivered. The closest store selling such things is a half an hour from us and unless Rick strapped it to his back and schlepped it up the hill, delivery was the way to go. Once installed and the truck back down the hill we discovered there was an issue with the lighting mechanism. Great. After repeated calls to the store we were told they would exchange the barbecue for another one but we would have to bring it to the store. Ummmmm? If we couldn’t bring it to the store to exchange it for another, yup you win the stuffed bear, for $60.00 they would gladly pick it up. Good news, for another $60 they’d then bring the new one back up the hill. Well, where do I sign?
Finally it was decided they would ship us the defective part and when received walk us through installing it. I believe if this is the case we should charge them for our labor, and we’re don’t come cheap. The part was due to arrive in two weeks but never showed up. Rick once again was on the phone with his new friend in the customer service department. After some research they determined the part had never been shipped. Why am I not shocked? I’m just askin.
The new part showed up several weeks down the road. After some finessing we managed to get it installed and for at least a month the barbecue performed as promised until once again the same part malfunctioned. This time Rick called the store directly. The manager in charge of the outdoor equipment indicated she would come up personally and inspect the barbecue. She arrived as promised and after looking it over said the wrong part had been ordered and ordered the correct part while here. For another month we could not use the grill while waiting for the right part. Are you with me so far?
The part arrived and for the remainder of that first summer we seemed to have achieved lift-off. Last year when we fired up the grill ignition was again a problem. Unbelievable. Rick was getting so good at working on the grill I thought of hiring him out and making some side money. We labored through the summer with adequate on and off grilling and covering the beast for the winter hoped for the best this year.
Wellllll, guess what? First the heating was off. The grill gets too hot so has to be constantly regulated to make sure it doesn’t either cremate whatever is cooking or not cook it at all. To add to the mix the side burner needed a replacement part because when turned on created a flame probably picked up on satellite and burned a hole in the bottom of my good saucepan. The newest replacement part for that unit arrived this week and that is what we were trying to install yesterday. Somehow the new screws do not fit where the old ones used to. Screw being the optimum word here.
Ahhhhhhhh. Once again Rick found himself on the phone. The gentlemen on the other end assured him how much they appreciated our being a member of their brand’s family. During the conversation it was discovered they had not only given us once again the wrong part, but we had the wrong propane tank. The tank we have been using for two years (suggested by the store we bought it from) apparently, should be smaller. Okay. BTW as to being part of their family, we already have a family and enough on our plates with the group we have without adding more settings at the table.
My solution is a simple one. I say we use the bigger tank, turn it on full, and blow the thing up. With the current fire danger this probably would not be prudent, but I am warming up to the idea (no pun intended). Sigh. Sooooooooo, a new tank has been ordered. I don’t hold out hope for seeing it any time soon, but Rick may well be leaving me for the customer service man.
I had a bowl of plums that needed to be eaten so I tried them in this alternative to traditional pineapple upside down cake. Yummy. Thought it would be pretty on the table for the holiday.
Plum Upside Down Cake
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
8 ripe plums (not mushy) cut in half and seeded
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup hot water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray 9″ square cake pan with cooking spray. Place butter in pan and put in preheated oven until melted. Sprinkle brown sugar over top.
Prepare plums and turn cut side down on bottom of pan in four rows of four.
Beat egg until lemony colored and fluffy. Slowly add sugar to eggs.
In separate bowl whisk together dry ingredients. Add to egg/sugar mixture in two increments, mixing well after each addition. Put lemon juice and vanilla in hot water. Beat into mix.
Carefully pour over plums. Bake for 40 mins. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Place plate over pan and turn over.