hey sears! this is what a working refrigerator looks like…thanks to gerhard’s in malvern….

Thanks to Gerhard’s Appliances in Malvern we have a working refrigerator at last! Aesop says the moral of this story is #ShopLocal

The other day I wrote about why no one should purchase a paper clip from Sears.  As I write this their giant white, nonfunctioning, unlovely Kenmore paperweight is still sitting in the house waiting for freaking Sears to come and get it.

This all started August 31 when my husband and I ordered a new refrigerator from Sears because the old one while less than 10 years old  was dying (Samsung in case you are wondering and the parts and repairs IF you can get the parts are VERY expensive.)

On  Friday, September 14th Sears delivered the refrigerator.  Now mind you, you have to pay extra to get it into the kitchen and they unbox it, but the do not hook it up.

Within FIVE minutes of the delivery truck leaving we discovered GAME OVER. We were the proud owners of a broken yet brand new refrigerator with scratches on the front and elsewhere.  Now the scratches I could have lived with and covered up with appliance paint, but a broken brand new refrigerator? No, couldn’t live with that at all.

For the past week we have been making call after call to Sears.  Two days ago I got super irritated by the volume of ridiculous calls to the Phillipines and called the remnants of the corporate offices in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. As luck would have it I got the same man who was snarly with me on the phone last week, the one time I was able to get someone in the United States on the phone.

And yes I recorded the call. Why? Because unless you experience the vortex of hell known as Sears “customer service” you do not understand.

Yesterday (coincidentally?), after sending my little AV project around to Sears and Consumer Reports and media outlets like magic a person from the U.S. who worked for Sears called my husband.  Did we want a new refrigerator? NO Did we want the giant white Kenmore paperweight repaired? Oh come on! Are we being punked? We were already told in no uncertain terms by the Phillipines that wouldn’t happen so NO just come and pick it up. And REFUND OUR MONEY.

Well apparently, they are sending people to pick it up. I won’t hold my breath as to the speed.  But what has been SUPER ANNOYING is they took our money in under five minutes via an electronic sales transaction on their website, yet they sit ON our money and have full use of it while we have custody of their sucky broken GIANT white Kenmore paperweight.

I will further note that I had to get Lite Movers of Wayne, PA (can I rave about them for a nanosecond? They are AWESOME and we highly recommend them!) whom we had to pay to remove the dying Samsung to the curb since Sears also no longer removes dead/dying appliances to come back last Friday to move the GIANT BROKEN WHITE PAPERWEIGHT out of the kitchen!

Yeah O.K. Sears, you aren’t inconvenient, time-wasting, frustrating, or money wasting AT ALL are you?

Doesn’t seem like a fair trade does it? Doesn’t seem like Sears did anything other than waste our money, cause us to spend MORE money and gave us the lovely gift of appliance shopping PTSD did they?

I have to ask can I charge Sears rent for the space in my home the GIANT WHITE UNWORKING KENMORE PAPERWEIGHT is taking up as tomorrow is ONE WEEK since they dumped it on us? (But I digress)

Meanwhile, we needed a refrigerator.  Last Friday afternoon my husband ordered another refrigerator from AJ Madison whom I had never heard of. By Saturday morning he had an email saying oopsies they would not be able to deliver until some time in OCTOBER.

(Did I mention this has been going on since around August 31st? Actually before if you count the attempted repairs on the dying Samsung which after a couple of hundred dollars and the inability to find parts was stopped.)

I will admit I had the full housewifey meltdown at this point.  Yes, yes I did.

So we called up Gerhard’s in Malvern and Angela took tremendous care of us in about ten minutes. Ten minutes.  Delivery included.  Beat everyone else’s price AND they do installation and remove dead appliances.

Yes that set my housewifey heart all a flutter, I kid you not.

And today? They showed up when they were supposed to, their delivery guys were wonderful. They installed it, help me set it up, removed all the packaging and the dead Samsung and like Lite Movers, didn’t scratch a wall or mark a floor.

The moral of this story is Sears still sucks and  SHOP LOCAL.

Oh and this time we went Frigidaire.

If you live in Chester County, you can find Gerhard’s at 116 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern, PA and their phone number is (610) 644-6666.

attention to detail is key IF you are choosing a realtor


I love the junk that people pay to have delivered to your mailbox. Today’s offering is above.

I make no secret of my disdain, dislike, pick your own adjective of “Realtors” who do this.

When I get these flyers, I call to be removed from the mailing lists.  And in this case, the guy is trying to impress me with Delaware County real estate and locations where I wouldn’t want to live.  All  miles away and a different county. It’s kind of an apples to oranges situation.

And attention to detail with a realtor is also SO important. Poor Don Don Dowd doesn’t know to take the time to proof read his flyer?

moronHow do I know? Because the phone number on the hundreds or possibly thousands of mailers delivered has the wrong office phone number printed! I was crying laughing at the just deserts of that when I called to have our address removed…when you dial 484-496-4000 you get a wrong number recording.

So  I looked them up on Facebook and called the correct number which is 484-498-4000.  And all I got was a 12 year old answering the phone who said she worked for an answering service so she could not help me.   Really? Fabulous, right?

So Don Dowd, this blog post is for you.  If your answering service can’t help anyone, let alone offer to take a message and you can’t pay attention to proof-reading your irritating tree-killing mass mailing / solicitation flyer, why would anyone want you as a realtor in the first place?

To all of my fabulous realtor friends in Chester County and elsewhere, it is my pleasure to refer along all of you. You are real, work hard, pay attention to the smallest detail…and best of all you don’t waste your money on these tacky flyers.

Now time for the circular file for Donny’s flyer….


local business RAVE: design build maintain llc


I have a lot of shade gardens in the back, and I just can’t do all the mulching and all of the work by myself anymore.  The past few years I have had a couple of surgeries and am recovering still from a nasty sprained ankle after a fall on vacation this summer, so I have needed some help.

We had also pretty much run out of wood chips from spring tree work and all of the recent rain has washed away a lot of mulch. A lot of people like mulch, I prefer hardwood wood chips.  I also love cedar wood chips.

So we hired Design Build Maintain, LLC to bring in the wood chips and spread them. This is the first time in years I have had to buy any, and what they bought me this morning was clean, uniformly sized as far as chips, and as weird as it sounds, smells great.

They did an awesome job, they have terrific crews who are very neat and gentle on your plantings. And they are also incredibly reasonable for as hard as they work and the work they do.

They came in here with 10 yards of woodchips this morning and I have a couple yards left but they spread the rest. What they didn’t use was neatly put onto my existing wood chip pile. They completely cleaned up and weeded before they spread the chips as well.  They were a little luxury I gave my garden, and I am so happy with the result.

They do full-service landscaping and lawns and hardscaping as well.

Just thought I would tell everyone because they did THAT good of a job.  Everyone who knows me will tell you I am very picky when it comes to service providers, so if I tell all of you locally about something and I rave, they are simply that good.

I also mention that I have had fits and starts with a couple of other small local landscapers and I was not happy with them at all.  As a matter of fact, the last company I hired to do wood chips (and all they had to do was spread them as we had the chips ready and waiting) disappeared part way through the job and never came back. So I have been really skeptical of landscaping companies.  With the exception of tree work which I can’t and don’t do (I happily use Treemendous Tree Care if you are interested), I do not ask anyone to do anything that I haven’t done myself.

This review of Design Build Maintain LLC is one of a VERY happy customer.  I was not compensated for my opinion in any way. And they also get props for me having conniptions over all of the rain delays.  Mother Nature has not been cooperating the past few weeks, and the weather caused rescheduling.  I am not a large customer, just a small one, and I got the same kid glove treatment as someone with a sizable estate. I really appreciate that.

Design Build Maintain is based more in the Main Line section of Chester County, but you can call them to see if they can come to you.  I find them via their Facebook page and they respond quickly.  Their phone is (484) 319-5890.

prime now vs. peapod delivers, fresh direct, and instacart.

I have tried them all…..all of the grocery school delivery services that is.

Who I have been using most is Giant by Peapod. But they don’t always have delivery availability when you need it, and even with a “plan” their delivery is getting expensive. Oh and don’t forget the fuel surcharge.

I used to use Fresh Direct when it was a special occasion but they are probably almost the most expensive. And then there were those instances of frozen fresh flowers, fresh herbs and vegetables when I needed them to be fresh and not frozen for holiday dinners and parties.

I tried Instacart a few times, but really didn’t mesh with them so I actually deleted the app from my phone and tablet. I also find them hugely expensive.

Recently I have tried Prime Now Whole Foods by Amazon. I have to tell you thus far I am really impressed.

The Prime Now app is easy to use. It is attached to my Amazon Prime account and the customer service is outstanding. I had a couple snafus with my first order and they cleared them right up practically instantly.

The other thing with Prime Now is the groceries come packed neatly, and frozen and perishables are packaged separately in an insulated bags. As a matter of fact if you buy ice cream it comes in an extra insulated bag inside the insulated bag.

Everything comes in environmentally friendly paper bags so I don’t have to remember to give the plastic bags back for recycling. The bags for perishable items are also recyclable.

Now the one thing I don’t like is Prime Now is another grocery delivery service that has delivery people using their own vehicles. Instacart does this too. So unless they’re wearing ID (which my delivery people were), you have to look twice before opening the door. Peapod still does better here in this area as well as Fresh Direct with uniforms on their drivers and business trucks.

So far, Prime Now is beating all of the grocery delivery services on speed and delivery availability. And they also give you options of time frames where they will offer free delivery. Prime Now is also kicking butt in then produce area. Their meat and poultry is as expensive as Fresh Direct but the quality is impressive.

Prime Now also prefers you add your tip into your total before you hit submit for your order – their drivers are not allowed to accept cash tips.

I used Prime Now when we came home from a little time away with family because they were the only people I could get to deliver groceries when I needed them the day of my return. I wasn’t going to use them again so soon, but when I pulled up Peapod yesterday they didn’t have any availability for a couple of days.

I will be honest I never thought I would be a person who would get my groceries delivered. But it’s a nice option when you’re short on time.

Please note my opinions are my own and I have not been compensated in any way by any of these grocery delivery services to write a review.

it’s not best buy, it’s worst buy?

I have to say no one should bother with Best Buy because their customer service and delivery is the pits. And I will tell you why.

One of my best friends ordered a new washer dryer stacking combo from the Plymouth Meeting PA store. The store was fine, but let’s talk about their delivery people.

With regard to delivery, first there was an understandable cancellation due to snow.  But instead of giving them a delivery priority AFTER the snow, they just shunted this family to the back of the line. And when they finally showed up they arrived without the right install stacker kit (or whatever you call the pieces that make a set “stack”). Did they come back with the stacker kit? That would be a NO. They instead left my friend’s new washer and dryer sitting in her dining room and made it all the customer’s problem.

So my friend has three kids. Which means A LOT OF LAUNDRY. So there was all the time at the laundromat, the fact her husband had to go find the proper stacking kit at one of the Best Buy stores and subsequently hire someone ELSE to install it because wait for it…..Best Buy customer service and delivery people couldn’t be bothered making it right!    My friends even had someone to take the old washer and dryer out of the house to make it easy when Best Buy people were SUPPOSED to come pick up the old set. Best Buy could not even do THAT and for Easter my friend’s guests and family were greeted by dead appliances in the driveway…..you know what everyone wants on a holiday when they are hosting friends and family. A Hillbilly Holiday.

I told her honestly she should have used Sears or a local appliance store in the first place and I will certainly never use Best Buy personally after this horror show.

I have dug up some comments (people are from ALL over the country) I saw posted on social media regarding Best Buy, so I know my friend is not alone. And she is one of the nicest people so I am indignant on her behalf.  Best Buy did not even offer to compensate her for her additional costs and time!  Smart customer service would have apologized and offered a gift card equal to what they paid for having to go purchase the install kit and hire someone else to install and gotten someone out to her home ASAP today to pick up the old appliances. But no…they didn’t.

I will note my friend said the people physically in the Plymouth Meeting, PA store are super nice, but these are things outsourced to faceless customer service people and whomever does their deliveries.

Here is also what I dug up regarding executives of Best Buy, because when you call corporate ((612) 291-1000) , they are super unfriendly and will basically not transfer you to executive escalations. So this is what I found (in addition to Facebook@BestBuy.com):

At the end of the day, this is WHY it is so good to SHOP LOCAL.  There are plenty of excellent businesses who sell appliances.  Yes, maybe you will pay a little more because they are mom & pop or regional but at least you get good service.  I will also give a plug to the Sears Outlet. We have used them several times and they have been terrific.  We have also used Queen Appliance and they are terrific.On my own in years past I have also used D & K in Newton Square and I love them – they are old school.  I also used Gerhard’s once.

There are options.  Even Home Depot and Lowe’s aren’t bad.  I guess I just do not get how Best Buy stays in business because I never hear positive stories about them any more.

The moral of this story is shop local because Big Box can be a Big Bust, or at least that appears to be a regular occurrence with Best Buy, unless of course all the negative reviews are figments of customer imagination?




hunker down, chester county

I have lost count of how many people are without power in Chester County.

It is going to be one of those winter weekends.

We have been told by neighbors 5pm Sunday for power restoration maybe. And others have been saying that as well.

When I first reported my power outage, PECO’s system gave me a hard time. Both on the app and the toll free emergency/outage number. The system did not believe me there was a power outage.

Then as more and more people called in power outages the text messages started. First they said 5 PM today, but by 4 PM the system said “assessing damage”

As of 8:44 PM they still say “assessing damage” which is utility speak for we don’t know what the hell is going on right now.

So is it time for our elected officials to ask PECO Energy some tough infrastructure questions? As in did they ever put it all back together after the 2014 ice storm? Because my sources say no.

I have been told that PECO Energy’s website is completely overwhelmed and crashing. I don’t know from personal experience if that is true because I use their app or I call them.

The emergency/outage number is 1-800-841-4141.

There are lots of trees down everywhere, so I think some of the roads are a bit of a mess. And the winds are crazy outside.

So March has definitely arrived like a veritable lion. Stay safe and warm and dry everyone.

foodie heaven and worth the wait: whole foods exton, pa

One of my Christmas presents was a lovely gift card to Whole Foods in Exton. Yes, the store we never thought would open. A giant construction project and a corporate buy out by Amazon later, and it finally opened on January 18th.

The Whole Foods in Exton is located at 175 N. Pottstown Pike in Exton. Is easily accessible from 100 and also from 30. The parking lot was a bit of a crush, but when we went today for the first time, a good spot opened up quickly.

I actually think this is the best Whole Foods I have been in. I used to avoid the Wynnewood store because the crowd was obnoxious and the parking lot worth your life. Even re-built in Wynnewood it feels cramped. I never liked the Devon Whole Foods because of the crowd and the parking lot. But Whole Foods Exton? It’s a whole new experience.

I also think Whole Foods Exton is going to kick Wegman’s behind and I will tell you why.

Wegman’s in Malvern is cavernous and dark. The aisle shelving is SO tall in spots you feel isolated in the aisles. I also do not find it well organized and the store since it opened doesn’t flow. You can’t necessarily find things easily, nor necessarily someone to help you when you need it.

I like Wegman’s all right, but I am thinking I am going to like Whole Foods in Exton better. If I managed a Wegman’s I would be “shopping” the Whole Foods in Exton.

When you walk into Whole Foods in Exton, it’s huge but light and airy. You see the mechanicals in the ceiling but the store has loads of natural and electric lighting and as opposed to the darker feeling of a Wegman’s or a Giant, it’s so much better lit.

Wegman’s is also spotlessly clean. And the staff is friendly, well-trained, knowledgeable, and also neatly dressed.

From produce, to the fish market in the store, to the butcher it’s clean and well laid out. First time in the store and I did not have a problem finding anything.

They have a wonderful array of very fresh pre-made food if that is your thing. For pre-packaged food which is NOT my thing, it’s quite appealing. Especially the array of salads and grains and roasted vegetables.

They have an amazing yogurt selection. And breads and bagels ? Yum. Cookies too. I tried a double chocolate chip and it was delicious.

I had way too much fun buying produce and fresh fish that did not smell fishy. One of their great deals today was a shrimp ring for $7.99. The shrimp was incredibly fresh and I loved the cocktail sauce.

Whole Foods in Exton also has a nice in store wine and beer store. Admirable wine selection which was very boutique-like. The beer selection my husband said was o.k. but could stand some improvement. But beer-wise we are spoiled in Chester County by The Beer Store in Lincoln Court Shopping Center on Route 30 in Malvern.The store was mobbed as it was a Saturday, so that was a little overwhelming. It was also at times amusing people watching as there were some folks who were just such serious food people.

There were also some of the Main Line flora and fauna who had ventured west and still shop while on their cell phones.

And of course, the cart zombies. They are the ones who wander and stop, oblivious of all around them. My husband said I was one, and to my fellow shoppers I apologize I was having so much fun checking everything out!We ran into a friend and her kids also checking the store out for the first time. Apparently, her husband was suffering from sticker shock elsewhere in the store.I will say that while things are not quite ACME or GIANT prices since Amazon purchased Whole Foods, the prices are vastly and definitely improved. It won’t necessarily be my every day grocery store all of the time, it is affordable enough to visit far more often than Wegman’s. Hopefully prices stay that way. If prices stay that way, Whole Foods will also eat into the business of Fresh Direct in this area.

Readers, I had a swell time. Can’t wait to go back! Next time I will check out their cafe/juice bar and Pike’s. It was totally worth the wait.