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  • John M Donovan

All We Wanted Was Clean Dishes

Oh, Home Depot, you always cease to amaze me.


The dishwasher that came with the house kicked the bucket back in February so Cybil bought a new one from the Home Depot website. Delivery was scheduled for February 28 and the email informed us we’d get a call about a half-hour before the installers arrived. That call arrived at 6:30 a.m., which is not a time we normally like to hear the phone ring but it was fine this time because it meant we were first on the list.


The installers showed up at a little after seven, hauled the old dishwasher out to their truck, brought in the new one, and started installing. “Install install install,” came the noises from the kitchen, right up to the point where one of the guys said “We’ve run into a problem.”


Rats, I thought. The problem, he explained, was that the new dishwasher was equipped with a straight plug as opposed to a flat one. “We can’t push the dishwasher all the way back against the wall because the plug sticks out too far. Which means it won’t be flush with the cabinets and that we can’t secure it to the counter.”


“I can see how that would be a problem,” I said. “And while my wife and I tend to embrace the unconventional—as should be obvious by the fact that we live in a geodesic dome—we aren’t the sort of iconoclasts who would like having an unsecured dishwasher that isn’t flush with the cabinets.”


One solution, said the installer, would be to run the cord under the sink and plug it into that outlet where the garbage disposal is plugged in. Problem there, he noted, was that that outlet runs off a switch, so essentially the garbage disposal would be running for the entire length of the dishwasher cycle.


“I suppose after an hour or so we’d get used to the noise,” I said, “but it does seem less than ideal.”


“Better idea would be to go get a cord with a flat plug from Home Depot,” he replied. “Course, you’d have to schedule a time for us to come out, put that cord on, and finish the installation.”

That did seem more sensible, I admitted, and as soon as they left I started the process. I called Home Depot to reschedule the installation and they said they’d put me down for Monday, March 7. I proceeded to the Home Depot location in Urbandale to pick up the cord, but didn’t see any flat-plug options in the dishwasher cord display. A Home Depot employee acted like he’d never heard of such a thing, but did manage to find one on the company website.


Unfortunately, not a single Home Depot store in the metro had a flat-plug dishwasher cord in stock. “We can order it for you,” said the employee. Since not ordering the cord would mean not being able to run the dishwasher, I agreed to this. The order was placed. “It should arrive here at the store between March 4 and March 8,” said the employee.


I thus had about a 25% chance of the cord arriving the day after the rescheduled installation, meaning there would be nothing to install on the day of the rescheduled installation. I liked those odds, up until March 5, when I got an email from Home Depot saying my cord would arrive on March 10.


I called Home Depot to reschedule the rescheduled installation. “We have availability on March 10 and March 11,” said the helpful scheduler. I thought it would be safest to go with the 11th, so once again the installation was on the schedule. Another week of washing dishes by hand certainly wasn’t going to hurt me.


On Sunday, March 6, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. I answered and heard a recording: “Good news! Your order is ready to be picked up at Home Depot!”


My order was ready to be picked up at Home Depot. This was the order that was supposed to arrive on March 10, the order that, had they told me it would arrive on March 6, I wouldn’t have needed to reschedule the rescheduled installation for. I picked up the order immediately because I thought there was a chance they might give it to the wrong person.


On Friday, March 11, a new team of installers arrived. Tony and Wayne. Super nice guys. Clearly skilled at their jobs. “So all we’re doing to changing the cord on this dishwasher, then finishing the install?” asked Tony. That is correct, I said.


They set to work. A minute into it, Tony asked “Why did they tell you you needed a flat plug?”

Because, I said, the dishwasher couldn’t be pushed in all the way with the straight plug.


“That isn’t true,” he said. He and Wayne used the original plug to plug in the dishwasher, then finished the installation and rolled their eyes at the incompetence of the first team of installers.


Oh, Home Depot, you always cease to amaze me.

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