Letter to the Repair Man

Dear Mr. Repair Man,

During a year of much appliance repair you have offered me a lot of unasked-for advice, and now, I want to return the favor.

You must become very frustrated with your customers. I'll bet you often have easy answers to a simple problems. No doubt you get impatient with clients who arrange an appointment -- only for you to arrive and push the “On” switch and have something run just fine. I feel your pain. Sometimes things aren’t really broken. You just have to show up to prove it. I know this. I am a Mom.

Perhaps your frustration leads you to believe that you should give a lot of advice. However, in my strongest words, I want you to hear something that would benefit both of us. Three words: “Don’t say it.” To further my point, I provide the following practical suggestions:

  • Do not look down the tube of my vacuum and then hold it up for my inspection as though the sticky goo stuck down there is a crime. It isn't.
  • Do not suggest how it would have been better for my carpets had I not let the red fruit punch leave the kitchen, or if my family stopped walking around barefoot in the house. These comments are neither helpful, nor constructive.
  • You do not need to ask if I’ve tried ‘unloading the dishwasher.’ Really. Let’s just assume the best.
  • Do not suggest which appliances are/ are not necessary. It is not helpful to tell me that I should “just use the microwave/convection oven” instead of fixing my large oven. I actually use my oven. Similarly, it’s not worthwhile to suggest that a trash compactor is "not necessary." Again, not helpful or constructive.
  • I don’t want to hear how I am supposed to retract the upper 1/3 of my vacuum tube after every use. I won't. This is tantamount to asking a cat to take up lap-swimming.
  • At no point is it beneficial to ask me, “Well, do you know how to start the dishwasher?” This only tempts me to ask you if you know how to use a wrench.
  • I don’t want to you to comment about the dry spaghetti, dead things, or legos under my stove. Similarly, there is no need to roll your eyes or mention how many socks, guitar picks, or gum wrappers you found under my washer and dryer. You can just think those things silently to yourself.
  • Yes, I do know where that stain came from.
  • No, I don't regularly remove the string from the roller in the vacuum head.
  • And, let’s just agree, the lint which is in my lint catcher right now is not proof that I never clean out my lint trap. It only means that I haven't yet cleaned it out today. If you do not believe this, it's best for you to just think it silently to yourself, and not speak it out loud.

Mr. Repair Man, maybe I’m overly sensitive. Maybe I’m prone to shame. I don’t know. But I can’t be the only one who feels this way. So, it'll be better for frazzled moms everywhere all if you just do what you do best, minus the advice. And we'll keep doing the same.

Until the next machine stops ...

Fondest Regards,

Your Loyal Customer


Matt Parker said...

what a funny post! i loved it! and i loved that suddenly i don't quite feel as bad about the hardened jelly crusted on my kitchen chairs! ha ha.

Tassie said...

My addition, "And when you find out I'm a pastor, don't demand I explain why I think I'm going to heaven and then laugh at me for stumbling around, trying to figger out if you are already pissed off in general or just testing me. Really. Stick to fixing the ice cube maker."

Kelly said...

I love this post. I am definitely NOT one who follows all those crazy directions, and I am not sure that I know anyone who does. My home is always in a partial state of disrepair it seems...

Robert said...

a good appliance repair person will best avoid snarky comments and suggestions. simply listen. advice should be dispensed--even when suggesting simple solutions--sparingly and professionally.

they've seen people do and say some dumb things in regards to their appliances, so the technician is often jaded. yet they should still show patience and compassion. you don't need to let the customer know you think they're stupid. you want them to use your services again, after all.

so, yeah, i understand your witty post. it makes sense. at the same time, you definitely should have all your appliances maintained frequently. a little bit of effort on your part keeping the various parts and pieces clean and in good working order will save you the hassle of having to deal with appliance service personnel.

Kleigh (clAy) said...

@Tass: Thanks for the funny Ice Cube Maker comment.

@Kelly: Aren't we ALL in partial states of disrepair!

@Robert: You are HIRED! Thanks for speaking for true professionals.

CalebCKan said...


ann said...

i love that you speak to the doubts we all have as moms, whether or not we are doing well in this amazing thing of 'momness'. being fragile in random moments (often unexpected) and then have someone who doesn't even know me make comments that have the ability to undo me - ugh! along with the boys, having girls means a whole nother set of things to find under appliances, behind the dryer - - like huge clumps of long-hair balls!! oh, and don't forget the myriad of bobby pins i find EVERYwhere