We have a large deck off the kitchen and dining area of our home, upon which rests a gigantic gas grill purchased 8 years ago at no small expense. My wife, whose parents owned a very successful Italian family restaurant in suburban Chicago, has been known to have the stove, the Jenn-Aire grill in the kitchen, and the outdoor gas grill all operating at full capacity to create her culinary masterpieces on Saturday evenings when we’re home. This is a year-round thing.
Last Saturday evening, following the purchase of mass quantities of high-end butchery products and several tons of asparagus at the store, as she was in the early preparation stages of the evening’s feast, she came into the media room where I was engrossed in a baseball game, and said “will you check the grill…it smells like gas is leaking”.
That’s never a good sign, especially at El Rancho Morrissey.
Last summer we nearly burned down the house at a family gathering where too many fat-laden brats and sausages were on the grill, resulting in a HUGE conflagration which I battled with a fire extinguisher until my brother put the final touches on the job by emptying several bottles of Leinie’s onto the flames. And a couple summers before that, Chief Bloom and his brave squad had to come over and bail us out of problem with a leaking gas container.
I dutifully checked the grill….found nothing wrong…and reported back. My long-suffering wife dragged me back out onto the deck, turned the gas cylinder on (I hadn’t bothered to take that crucial step), pointed at the crack(s) in the supply line to the firebox of the grill, and said “take a whiff”. Oh. THAT gas smell.
Needless to say, dinner plans were “changed”.
I called the national 800 line for the company from which we’d purchased the grill (at great expense) in 2001, and discovered that our warranty AND extended service plan had expired in 2008. We’ve changed phone numbers since then, and they never got a chance to telemarket us into re-upping. Anyway, I told them what was going on, we agreed that I needed a “new hose and regulator”, and I took their earliest appointment….yesterday afternoon, between 1 and 5.
The robotic phone device called the night before to ascertain that we were still interested in having the service person come over. I pressed “1” and we were good to go. The guy shows up around 2 PM, says “what’s the problem?”.
He doesn’t know I need a new gas hose and regulator. Gotta order that. Don’t carry it on the truck. Can’t keep all the different ones on the truck. Gotta order it. Takes a couple weeks. Cost on that’ll run ya around a hundred bucks, and when it gets delivered to ya, call and make an appointment and I’ll come back and install it.
So, he’s telling me that I have a $99 trip charge for THIS service call; that I need to find the handbook that came with the grill, get the part number, order it from their parts department, IF they still have it in stock; and when it arrives, I’m supposed to call the 800 number to set up another appointment for him to come over. He left an invoice for his $99 service call, which I will NOT pay. This trip could have been avoided completely if the person I first talked to had been even marginally competent.
If I followed their “plan”, I’d have about 300 bucks of expense to put a part (similar ones retail on the internet for under 40 bucks) in an 8-year-old grill which is not covered by warranty or extended warranty, and it’s gonna take about a MONTH from first phone call to actual repair.
I'll be grill-shopping this weekend.