The Intermittent Fault


All of us who operate heavy machinery – hifi sets, digital cameras, and electric foot massagers – will have had the experience of the intermittent fault. That sudden loss of power or extra surge as the appliance hiccups. Extra watts or nothing doing. The first time it happens we are worried and the second time concerned. The third refusal makes us angry and we take it to the repair department to punish it.

The painful emotions that surged through us up to this point were valuable training, because they are going to be called into greater play throughout the repair consultation. The fee asked for the diagnosis will be just shy of appalling. From the point of view of the repair technician it is fair enough – he’s going to have to prise the back off of whatever you bring in and dump the dead beetles and candy wrappers out and then try to find out where it is broken – he needs to be paid something for this.

If he says that this diagnostic fee will be subtracted from the repair cost you can go ahead with the comforting assurance that the final cost will be a doozy. A doozy minus the quote fee, mind, but still a federal figure. It will remind you that you could have saved yourself this trouble by buying a better appliance in the first place.

When you return, after a suitable period of time, and he tells you that they haven’t been able to find any fault with it in the workshop and indeed have been playing music all month on it…you can rest assured that you have an intermittent fault. Of course the quote fee is lost, but at least the guys in the workshop had music. You can be glad for them. The fact that it was a coffee machine you put in for service is beside the point. Take it home. Plug it in. It will do nothing – neither coffee nor Caruso.

You can take it back to the repair shop and you will not be charged another quote fee. They will be happy to give it another try over the next month as they rather liked the tone and there is a series of concerts coming up in the afternoons that they don’t want to miss.

You can spend the time profitably by going out and shopping for a better appliance.


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