The Whirlpool Experience

microwaveYesterday, between the thawing of a frozen bagel and the reheating of a cup of coffee – my thirteen month old microwave stopped doing what it is supposed to do.

It didn’t quit completely. The platter still squeaked in circles, the timer still glowed phosphorescent-blue and the fan continued to rattle. But whatever I put in – came out cold.

I tried what people do when things go on the fritz. I pushed random buttons, hoping that a random setting caused the problem in the first place. When that failed, I tried to induce electronic amnesia by pulling the plug. That didn’t work either.

Finally, I got physical.

Believe me, body-slamming a micro-wave is a great way to relieve stress but it does little to reheat coffee, so I dialed the manufacturer’s 1-800 number.

Here is how that went.


Machine: “Thank you for calling the Whirlpool Experience Center.”

Me: “Huh?”

What kind of jargon-filled mind dreamed up an “Experience Center”? No wonder their micro-waves don’t work.

Experience? If I wanted a phone experience, I’d call one of the thousands of 1-900 numbers dedicated to that purpose. Besides, I have already had one Whirlpool experience today, why would I want another?

But you have to give Whirlpool credit for one thing, they automated their end of the conversation. After all, who wants to talk to a guy who just body-slammed a kitchen appliance?

I also credit them for the sexy-female voice they used for the call-routing system.

Machine: “Before we get started I’ll need a little information from you. Are you calling from your home phone?”

Gosh, she also didn’t waste any time, already she wanted my phone number.  I was flattered.

Me: “I’m calling from my cell.”

Machine: “Say yes or no.”

This was a red flag. She sounded controlling. I’ve had bad experiences with controlling women and I didn’t like where this relationship was headed. Still, I knew it was useless to argue with a machine, so I gave her what she wanted.

Me: “Yes.”

Machine: “Are you the owner of the product or are you calling on another’s behalf? Say owner or other.”

Me: (proudly) “Owner”.

Machine: “Would you like to hear a list of Frequently Asked Questions?”

Me: “Huh?”

Machine: “Say yes or no.”

Me: “No.”

Machine: “We are experiencing a higher than normal call volume. Do you want to stay on the line?”

Me: “How long do I have to wait?”

Machine: (silence).

Me: “C’mon. Be nice. Give me a clue. How long do I have to wait?”

Machine: (silence).

Again I gave her what she wanted.

Me: “Yes.”


By mistake, she transferred me to the Whirlpool daycare facility. I figured this was the case because I heard children shrieking and banging frantically on empty coffee cans.

No, I realized this was not true. She had routed me to the Experience Center on-hold music system. The audio quality was dreadful. Why was I not surprised? Their micro-wave oven quality was dreadful too.

I held the receiver a foot from my head until a voice broke through the racket.

Machine: “Please stay on the line. Your call is important.”

If my call was important, you would think someone would answer it or at least I’d be enjoying blissful silence rather than being tortured by poorly produced garage bands.

Many miserable moments later.


A Guy Named Hugh came on the line: “Hi, I’m Hugh. How can I help you today?”

Me: “Hi Hugh, I’m Greg. Before we get started, can I ask if anyone at Whirlpool has actually experienced the Whirlpool Experience Center?”

A Guy Named Hugh: “Huh?”

Me: “Say yes or no.”

Author: Almost Iowa

18 thoughts on “The Whirlpool Experience”

    1. Thanks Irina, it may have been a brilliant revenge but it didn’t heat my coffee. I suppose that is the difference between being brilliant and being effective. It is like I tell my junior colleagues, it is better to be wise than smart.

  1. When I call these places, I am so glad to finally talk to a human being I make friends. I now have a number of friends in Canada. Thinking bout vacationing up there. I have already several places to stay when I get to Toronto.

      1. And just think of all the great musicians from Canada like Gordon Lightfoot and the Guess Who and most of the members of the Band. On top of that some mighty fine writers like Alice Munro, Robertson Davies and Margaret Atwood and Robert Service.

  2. Hope you at least got money bacl or a working microwave. The Federal Post Office lost my package of medicine. I get to deal with them and their Muzak today.

    1. Whirlpool’s warranty covered the $6 part but did not cover the $160 service call fee.

      You should consider yourself lucky, the post office has the best Muzak, I use their number rather than subscribing to Pandora.

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