September 2, 2008

La Gringa picks the lemons

Limones indios, La Ceiba, HondurasLimones indios, small but sweet

I have a real knack for picking out lemons. Not the fruit. You know: the 'lemons'. Those stinkin' products where I could have selected 15 other brands, some even cheaper, but no, I had to have the lemon.

Case in point: My Maytag Neptune washer/dryer combo. Isn't Maytag known for reliability and quality? What about that lonely Maytag repairman that I've seen on TV all my life? Wasn't this one of the most expensive models at the time? Take a look at this report! Is that incredible or what? It was so bad that there was a class action suit against Maytag.

Next example: My gorgeous, very expensive Fisher-Paykel dishwasher that made my life easier...for about 6 months. I now have the most expensive dish DRAINER in the world. The parts are hard to get in the US. Can you imagine getting them here in La Ceiba? We can't even find a hose for it. It turns out that this lovely appliance has some decidedly lemony features as well, like a $400 control board that goes out.

After those two big goofs, I learned my lesson and started researching purchases on the internet. I'm not sure if that helps either.

I ordered a new Logictech wireless mouse a couple of months ago. I really like it...except that the friggin' batteries last four days! How can that be? I turn it off at night. Some of the reviewers said their batteries lasted for months!

Let's not even talk about the stock market. I've been paralyzed with fear watching my stocks go up and down and back up again. Most of my moves have been wrong or at the wrong time, so I just watch it and do nothing.

I'm so jealous when I read reviews that say, "I didn't like it so I took it back." We don't have that luxury here. Virtually no company takes anything back for any reason. You buy it, it's yours, no matter if the darn thing is broken when you bought it. Most companies don't warranty their products outside of the US and Canada, so there is no satisfaction there. Sending something back and forth to the US for warranty service is usually cost prohibitive.

So, now when it comes to buying a new appliance or computer or even a mouse, for God's sake!, I over-evaluate. I read the opinions on Amazon, New Egg,, and every other site I can find. Even though a product can get tons of rave reviews, it seems that there are always some who say "It's crap. Don't buy it." which just adds to my confusion.

I don't trust my judgment at all anymore. Sometimes I really think that if my inclination is to buy Product A, I should actually buy Product B just because I'm usually wrong.

I probably still would not have my new laptop if a nice computer geek hadn't written me to recommend one (Toshiba) and a place to buy it. And even then, there were six Toshiba models in my price range, so I sent him the list and asked him "which one?"

I'm driving El Jefe crazy. It's just that purchase decisions in the US are provisional − you can change your mind, but here in Honduras, they are so permanent!
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