October 14, 2005

Jimbo and the Washing Machine.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:00 am

Teresa of Technicalities shares her problem with a new washing machine, which appears to be leaking. Her post reminds me of something that proves, beyond peradventure, my utter dumbshittery when it comes to things mechanical, like washing machines.

Being an accomplished Laundry Guy, I spend a good deal of time with the washing machine in the basement of the House by the Parkway. I know the correct water temperature for each of the wash and rinse cycles for everything from dainties to grubby whites. I can look at a pile of stuff and know whether I need the low, medium, high or mondo high water level. Extra rinse? I have that wired too. Normal or ass-kicking wash cycle? No problem. However, just because I can operate the washing machine with the ease of playing my set of Ludwigs or my beloved Gibson, it doesn’t mean that I have a clue as to how the damned thing works.

A few years ago, I was in the basement working on the piles of dirty (or deemed, by convention, to be dirty) laundry (properly sorted, of course), when I noticed that there was a puddle near the washing machine. Behaving, as the mechanically feckless must, I ignored the puddle on the floor, hoping that the puddle was some kind of a weird aberration – perhaps Maytag’s version of a water fart. It was a case of Broken Appliance Denial.

Unfortunately, with each passing load, the puddle re-appeared. I had to face the truth. Mr. Washing Machine was sick and possibly dying.

I looked, but I was unable to find the source of the leak, which led me to conclude that the leak must be coming from somewhere in the bowels of the machine, a mysterious place where I dare not go.

The conclusion was inescapable. The machine was too old to spend the money that would surely be necessary to have it fixed. It was time for a new washing machine.

We went out to Big Store on Route 22 and picked out a new Maytag.

“No thanks, Jitendra, I don’t need the one with the electric ass-wipes. I just wanna wash dirty clothes is all.

“Do I want the ‘Super Guarantee’ – The one where you if you ever, EVER have a problem, just call Big Store, and Big Store will immediately make it right? And, I don’t have to deal with the manufacturer?

“Sounds good.” I said. “Sign me up.”

The next day, two burly guys came to the house and delivered the brand-new Maytag. Pursuant to the terms of my Agreement, they dragged the old washer up the cellar stairs and loaded it onto their truck, presumably, to be deposited in some place where old, leaky washing machines go.

I eagerly read the instructions for the new washer, and I was ready to rock. For the machine’s maiden voyage, I tossed in a load of cold-water colors and pushed all the right buttons. Sweet.

Forty minutes later, I returned to the cellar to remove the clothes.


There was a puddle on the floor! This can’t be.

I was seriously pissed. I immediately called the Super Guarantee number provided by Big Store and reported the problem. The person on the other end of the line gave me the Maytag “800” number, explaining that the Super Guarantee didn’t kick in for ninety days. So much for Big Store’s bullshit Super Guarantee.

I called the Maytag “800” number, and the person must have thought she was dealing with Charles Manson. Of course, she didn’t know anything about the Super Guarantee I purchased at Big Store. Rather, she suggested that I try to locate exactly where the leak was coming from and call her back.

By this time, I was pissed beyond description.

Still, I decided that I would play along and do my best to locate the source of the leak. I also planned to take pictures, because I wanted to carefully preserve the evidence that I would use to sue the shit out of Maytag for making a shitty product (breach of warranty) and Big Store for its bullshit Super Guarantee (breach of warranty, consumer fraud and anything else I could think of). The crowning glory of my lawsuit against Maytag and Big Store was to be a photo of the exact place from which the brand-new machine was leaking.

I told myself, “These sons-a-bitches screwed with the wrong guy. They have no idea that they are messing with a Laundry Guy, who also happens to be a Lawyer Guy.

I loaded up the machine and fired her up. I pulled the machine away from the wall and armed myself with a serious flashlight and camera. I fixed my eyes on the machine while it ran through the cycles, just waiting for the first sign of water.

No leak WTF??

I took my eyes off the machine and looked slightly left. There was a new puddle on the floor, which was wending its way toward the machine.

Oh shit.

Once the puddle reached the machine, it looked just like the puddle I saw with old machine.

Turns out that what was leaking was the tub into which the washer drained.

The tub???

Yes, the tub, asshole – not the machine.

Bottom line: I had thrown away a perfectly good washing machine and spent a couple hundred bucks on a washing machine I did not need.

As for the tub, a bit of duct tape did the trick.

Laundry Guy? Yes.

Lawyer Guy? Yes.

Sometimes Seriously Stooopid Guy? Unfortunately, yes.


  1. Sorry Jim – I had to crack up over this one. LOL.

    Comment by Kate — October 14, 2005 @ 8:59 am

  2. Hate to see what would happen if you found a puddle under your PC.

    Comment by Vipergirl — October 14, 2005 @ 9:47 am

  3. Cause and effect my man. Years ago my wife called t o report our brand new car had broken down on the interstate. Like you, I was pissed. Took my tools (I know nothing about cars) and jumped into the car to go fix the problem enough to drive it back to the dealer so he could shove said car up his rear. After checking every wire etc., I realized she was just out of gas. Cause and effect.

    Comment by hoosierboy — October 14, 2005 @ 10:01 am

  4. Hysterical tale, Jim!

    Comment by zonker — October 14, 2005 @ 10:12 am

  5. I laughed bitter tears. Been there, botched that.

    Comment by Sluggo — October 14, 2005 @ 10:43 am

  6. REALLY funny, Jim. Has that Erin Brockovich-y tone, too. The expert diagnosis! Preserving the evidence! The CSI flashlight, even! Just hysterical.

    Comment by dogette — October 14, 2005 @ 12:52 pm

  7. .. just goes to prove, Jim.. duct tape DOES fix everything…

    Comment by Eric — October 14, 2005 @ 3:28 pm

  8. Sorry, Jim, but I too had to laugh at your predicament.

    It did remind me of the time a coworker was bitching about how her classroom computer wouldn’t print. We had been having problems with that model printer but thought I could help her out. Tried everything I could think of with the computer and after 20 minutes decided to check the wires. Yep, someone had flipped the switch on the surge protecter the printer was plugged into. (The computer was on a different line.)

    Comment by joated — October 14, 2005 @ 4:18 pm

  9. I’d laugh… but the water gods would come after me! I dare not think myself superior to anyone because I make all the same mistakes! However, I will say that duct tape RULES!!!

    Comment by Teresa — October 14, 2005 @ 5:56 pm

  10. I have such bad vacuum cleaner karma that I dare not laugh too hard at this either! My washer has the same puddle – but there’s no tub & the hose isn’t leaking. I’ll wait until it demands Depends. Now the dryer is working to beat the band – except there’s no heat. Hmmmm. . . It’s getting a bit cool here for the clothesline – so I did just call the “fixer”.

    Comment by moos — October 14, 2005 @ 6:35 pm

  11. All I can relate that to is this…

    Bill Cox: [lawnmower won’t start] Karl, see if you can figure out what’s wrong with this. It won’t crank up and everything seems to be put together right.

    Karl: It ain’t got no gas in it.

    I hate washin’ machines to man. Now you know why that Maytag feller sit’s on his ass all day lookin’ for the phone to ring…

    Comment by RedNeck — October 14, 2005 @ 7:48 pm

  12. Great story Jim, of course it was funnier when it happened and we got to see your face

    Comment by Russ — October 14, 2005 @ 7:57 pm

  13. After reading all these and imagining what the average tech service hotline call must sound like, is it any wonder that companies are shoveling tech centers to dirt-poor third world countries when the majority of their tech expense has to handle calls like Jimbo’s?

    Comment by Sgt. Hulka — October 15, 2005 @ 8:48 am

  14. Must be that time of year. I started the dryer last weekend and it made the most un-holy, squealing, shuddering sound, then shut itself off. I resigned myself to having to at least take a look, so I moved enough junk out of the way to pull the dryer of enough to get behind it, took off the back and… nothing. After twenty minutes of jerking around, I stuck my hand up inside where the vent hose gets attached and felt something… a sock had fallen down the slot where the lint screen goes and gotten all tangled up in the squirrel cage fan.
    Once I managed to get it out, the dryer ran fine. Sears lost that one!

    Comment by gregor — October 15, 2005 @ 11:38 am

  15. Broken Appliance Denial. Been there, am there. My hot water heater’s been sounding like a conga drum player for a long time now, and I get nice rusty-colored warm water for a while when I run the tap. But I’ll wait for the damned thing to rust out at the bottom and flood my basement before I do anything about.

    Comment by Shamrock — October 16, 2005 @ 12:09 am

  16. I did the same thing with a dryer.

    I thought the dryer was putting rust spots on my clothes, and took my sister’s word that she had performed some sort of scientific test to prove it to herself. Why a biologist would take the word of a Marketing person on a scientific study is beyond me.

    I also figured, “why the hell would a dryer leave rust stains that looked like the holes in the washing machine”

    A year later and a new dryer later, I realize, the washing machine, if clothes are left in it for too long, will put rust spots on my clothes.

    Thanks sis!

    Comment by media in trouble — October 24, 2005 @ 3:56 pm

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