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Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: Buzz
Date: November 13, 2014 07:06PM
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What is the most prudent thing to do?




Our old (Costco) Panasonic microwave from a dozen years ago was getting more and more tempermental for the last few years, but wouldn't completely die. So, a couple of months ago we got a new one from Costco which is a little bigger, 1.6 vs. 1.2 cu ft, a little more powerful, 1250W vs. 1200W, and while about three inches deeper, the width was about the same and it is actually 5/16" shorter (more room for paper towels hanging under adjacent cabinet). Turns out the new one doesn't cook quite as fast on the same respective lower power settings for most things, but they both do a good job (compared to when the old one worked). I had the old one moved to the fixit room, where I finally got around to working on it...

After my (average) google fu turned up a few videos and sites on addressing the problems it exhibited, I felt comfortable trying to attempt two of the likely-to-work cheaper fixes I found online, along with some general clean up and wire wiggling and tightening. Much to my amazement, after reassembling the thing, whatever I did while poking around inside must've worked. Not only did the old microwave spring back to life, the old interior light that hadn't worked for several years before the cooking problems manifested themselves, was again working.

Now mind you, the old microwave does have some mileage on it, and the what-was-originally-white plastic front, that used to pretty much match the white metal enamled cabinet, is now more yellowy-tan than white these days... but gosh darn it, it's working like it's new again, even if it's outwardly showing its age. So, the obvious Costco dilemma is, do we take the new *much-better-looking* microwave back to Costco, in the hopes that the old one will now provide additional years of service? Or do we keep it, thinking that old one is on borrowed time, and will fail again shortly after returning its replacement?

FWIW, I've got the cooking specs and times down pat on the slightly faster cooking old microwave, and am still learning the nuances of the new one's cooking patterns. The old one's light now works again while cooking, but the new one's light comes on when the door is open AND while cooking (the old one's light was not made to come on while the door was open). The old one looks stunningly yellowed, faded, and slightly dated, while the new one just looks stunning. Mrs. Buzz was in favor of tossing the the old one, as she had no faith in my ability to fix it, and I'm sure she'd opt to keep the new one since it looks better sitting in the kitchen. OTOH, while I like the new one, it does look better, I feel more comfortable cooking with the old one since I haven't mastered the new one yet, so for me, the old one cooks better, and Mrs. Buzz is out of the country until Saturday night...
==



Sometimes it is what it is...
and then there's times when it's really better.



==
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: iaJim
Date: November 13, 2014 07:16PM
Keep the new one and donate the old one. It's not Costco's fault.
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: steve...
Date: November 13, 2014 07:17PM
You've been using the new microwave for a couple of months and there is nothing wrong with it.

IMHO, it would be wrong to return it to Costco.

My advice would be to keep it until the old one quits or sell it on Craig's List.





Northern California Coast
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: jdc
Date: November 13, 2014 07:19PM
Funny, we *rarely* use our microwave.

Occasional microwave meal when we are in a hurry and pre-cooking baked potatoes.

I have no clue of our's cooking specs or times it takes to do anything =)





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: November 13, 2014 08:03PM
Whatever you decide to do, it would be wrong to return the microwave you purchased to Costco.



It is what it is.
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: Uncle Wig
Date: November 13, 2014 08:17PM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Whatever you decide to do, it would be wrong to return the microwave you purchased to Costco.

Absolutely correct!



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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: BernDog
Date: November 13, 2014 09:15PM
Keep using the old one and store the new one. You'll be all set when the old one dies in one to twenty years.
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: November 13, 2014 10:19PM
Why would Costco take back a unit you have used for two months? Do you claim it is defective? That would be unethical.

Keep the new one and put the old one in your office or wherever to reheat coffee now and then. Or give it to someone who needs one.

/Mr Lynn



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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: Buzz
Date: November 14, 2014 12:12AM
Sorry, did not mean to imply that I somehow thought Costco had any fault here... we got 25+ years from our 1970's vintage Litton microwave, that developed a rust spot in its back corner, and started sparking. Probably could've sealed and painted it and gotten another 25 years out of it; those things were built like tanks. The 2002-ish Panasonic was bought at Costco, on sale, I remember waiting for them to be in the coupon book for an extra $15 or $20 off. It worked really well for several years, then the cooking light stopped working, and a few years later it periodically started shutting off after a few seconds, a problem that worsened with time. It finally became so aggravatingly frequent that we got the replacement, again from Costco. We got a new one largely because the Panasonic service center wanted about $40 for a diagnostic fee, and then about $75 (or an add'l $35) for a minimum repair charge... and the real kicker was, they're so backed up it would've been in the shop for a couple of weeks.

Over the phone, the service center said it might be something minor, but they wouldn't know until they got it opened up. With the new one in house, the internet info proved quite interesting, at least to me anyway... as noted, Mrs. Buzz wanted to take the old one to the local tech/hazmat disposal center and be done with it. I thought based on my web sleuthing, that a modest attempt to fix it by addressing a couple of cheap and likely issues found, could be worthwhile to keep unnecessary stuff out of the landfill. With a little bit of help, I finally got around to attempting it, and surprisingly it worked; the landfill will just have to wait longer to claim its prize.

The *real* motivation for the thread was nothing to do with Costco per se, or actually returning the seemingly properly functioning new microwave, but rather how to best give spousal unit a not too offensive "I told you so" when she gets back from her trip, by in part making (what I intended to be a humorous) veiled reference to Costco's (oft discussed here*) liberal return policy while doing so. I obviously was way too obtuse this time...




even though everybody seems to it at some time or other; I guess I gotta work on my subtlety. :-)
==
*
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Sometimes it is what it is...
and then there's times when it's really better.



==



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2014 02:07PM by Buzz.
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: DRR
Date: November 14, 2014 09:00AM
Buzz, the obvious answer here is B, wait for Mrs. Buzz.

However without the benefit of her opinion, my opinion is to take the new microwave back to Costco, with a clear conscience. If the old one breaks again, then just buy another. If not, then you're out no money.

I appreciate the view of "Costco didn't do anything wrong so it would be wrong of you to return it" but I don't share that opinion for a couple of reasons.

1) You pay for Costco membership. The return policy is a benefit of your membership. It's part of what you pay for; feel no more guilt for using their liberal return policy, than for buying $1.50 hot dogs from the food court.

2) Their famous return policy, is used in their marketing materials to gain new members. It's a major point of differentiation for them, and a big reason why we shop at, and love, Costco.

3) Related to above, but we tend to buy more from Costco, (per trip, and also versus another vendor), because of their return policy. So when I have to use it, I do so knowing that Costco and I have a very good working relationship - they get a bigger slice of my pie (spending) because of the benefit they offer.

In my opinion, it would be wrong if you bought it from Costco with the intention of having a "free rental," and then returning it. However, you bought it in good faith, feel free to return it in good faith.

Quote

Why would Costco take back a unit you have used for two months? Do you claim it is defective? That would be unethical.

Costco does not require you to lie to return merchandise. It's a satisfaction guarantee. They don't only take back defective merchandise. All my Costco returns are happily accepted, no questions asked.
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: vicrock
Date: November 14, 2014 10:26AM
Happy wife, happy life!
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: Mike Johnson
Date: November 14, 2014 11:28AM
The old one had developed a couple of problems, and while you could fix it, I doubt that would prevent it from developing new ones. The older it gets, the more likely it is to break. You spent some time finding a replacement, got one that fits well in your space and isn’t a lemon. Keep it.

List the old one on Cragislist for $10 firm and when somebody comes to buy it, tell them it’s free. Trust me, anybody hard up enough to go to some stranger’s house to buy a $10 microwave will be grateful if they can get it gratis.
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: November 14, 2014 11:33AM
You can either keep the old one in the garage to make hot tea for winter work, Or to make your own plasma. Or take it apart and make a magnetron gun.

Or donate it. I'd donate it.

Note: Now that your testosterone level has been increased by successfully fixing the thing, you may want to share the benefits with Mrs. Buzz.... grinning smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2014 11:34AM by cbelt3.
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: November 14, 2014 01:20PM
Quote
cbelt3
You can either keep the old one in the garage to make hot tea for winter work, Or to make your own plasma. Or take it apart and make a magnetron gun.

Or use it to nuke a glow stick.



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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: Buzz
Date: November 14, 2014 02:52PM
I have physical/neuro issues that make it unsafe for me to cook conventionally without assistance, so I've grown pretty adept at microwaving and probably use ours more than most folks. We do have our guest unit that has an "alley find" microwave in it... Mrs. Buzz scavenged it around 8 or 9 years ago, and it was nearly new then, so it replaced the much older/worser one we had there before. I suspect we'll keep the new Costco microwave as it is here, and use the old Costco microwave next door, and then put the alley found GE compact microwave up for grabs... as belty implied, Baby Buzz immediately chimed in for the magnetron gun.

MJ- while the new one provides a scootch more room for the paper towels, the old one is significantly bigger than the compact unit it's likely replacing, so we'll just have to work around that. I'm hopeful that the fixes will last a long time; anecdotal evidence online suggests they should... which means if/when it fails again, it'll probably be the (relatively) expensive components that don't warrant fixing, at which point it will be a goner.

DRR/vic- appreciate the sentiments. I didn't intend the new purchase as a "rental", I only knew the old one still occasionally worked when it didn't shut off after a few seconds, so intuitively I thought is was worth a shot at trying to revive it, rather than junk it... the biggest issue to me, was Mrs. Buzz pushing back, and just wanting to dump it without trying. I figured that if we took it to the city recycle place, that they'd just tear it apart rather than put any time into trying to fix it.... belty's kinda on point w/ the testoserone thing; I did want to prove Mrs. Buzz wrong for her lack of faith, if possible, and if not, at least confirm that it really wasn't worth fixing prior to dropping it off at the city yard. Getting it to work like new again is what motivated the thread, I felt like the wife needed some neenering in light of my success, but I didn't want to broach the thread directly in that light, and evidently I initially strayed too far afield so that my intended implication was lost... although in retrospect, a thread entitled "How to best neener your wife?" would probably have garnered a record number of views and responses.
==



Sometimes it is what it is...
and then there's times when it's really better.



==
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: November 14, 2014 05:18PM
Companies that intentionally sell at Costco know the return policy and build that into their pricing. Companies that don't intentionally sell at Costco don't have to take the merchandise back.

I think you went above and beyond in trying to fix it. You're not required to. Good for you for not just tossing it in the trash.

What I would do is leave the new on in place and wait for it to fail, then put the old one back in. Based on people I know with newer microwaves, they fail a lot more often than the old. Most I know get 3yrs out of them if they're lucky. Some friends of ours have gone through three microwaves in the past few years, and ours is still from the early 90's. Your old one could very well have more life left in it than your new one.




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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: vision63
Date: November 15, 2014 07:40AM
I wouldn't take it back because it's time for a new one and I wouldn't trust the old one over the long term.

But it's nothing wrong with taking it back if you didn't need it. This would fall under ethics. If I'm Mr. Costco, I endeavor number one to satisfy my customer. That's why I have a return policy. If you meant to "borrow" the microwave and return it purposefully then that would definitely be unethical. If you had no idea that you'd be returning it and you don't need it then no way is that unethical.
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: November 15, 2014 10:47AM
you don't need it then no way is that unethical.

I agree, but wonder- does the warranty allow for allow for "...no longer need it" circumstances.

Full disclosure, I wouldn't return it after two months of use, just because I apparently retroactively negated the reason for the purchase. If it was unopened, and I was just lazy getting it back, there'd be no problem returning it.

Further disclosure, though a Costco member for many years, I've never looked up their return policy and don't know what it is.

Now. if Bro. Buzz is truly dissatisfied with the new power levels, that, to me, probably falls within a generous return policy's guidelines.

If a policy is- If you want to return a purchase from us, we'll accept it, no questions asked, no stink-eyes leveled, then anything short of deception goes.






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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: Buzz
Date: November 15, 2014 04:37PM
Again, definitely did not buy it intending it as a "rental"... we needed a working microwave. Since the new one looks *much* nicer, I'm pretty (99.99999%) sure the wife is gonna vote to leave the new one alone when she gets back. The surprise for me was how well the old microwave was able to be resurected; in the face spousal unit's determination to banish it to the dump.

As to Rammie's comment, I do feel more comfortable with the old microwave's cooking abilities vis a vis its well known (to me) power level settings, and I'm admittedly a touch frustrated with my learning curve on the new one... but then again, it's been so long since I mastered the old one, I don't remember how long it took to do so. But realistically, since the plastic on the front of the old one is so yellowed, Mrs. Buzz isn't gonna care about how well it cooks after being revitalized, or how long it takes to master the new power levels, she'll opt for the glamorous stainless steel finish of the new one, regardless of relative cooking performance, so I suspect we won't see the old one here again, unless or until the new one fails and the old one is still up and kicking next door. FWIW, I don't think I'll have the new one's power levels mastered by Thanksgiving, but I'm pretty sure I'll have it nailed by Chanukah, or possibly Pearl Harbor Day if we have lots of leftovers.
==



Sometimes it is what it is...
and then there's times when it's really better.



==
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: November 15, 2014 07:22PM
FWIW, we have a Sharp microwave that just stopped working. I took the back off and looked for a fuse, but couldn't find one. So just gave up and put one we had kicking around from the office we closed in the kitchen. Not nearly as good. Now the question is, where do dispose of a non-working microwave oven?

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: Buzz
Date: November 15, 2014 11:23PM
Mr L- Scour the internet for the service manual, you ought to be able to find the fuse... maybe also look for info on other low cost solutions for your oven's issue(s). My search showed possible door switch involvement and control pad shielding as the two cheapest fixes for ours... the magnetron and inverter were found on the expensive list. If the cheap fixes hadn't worked, our city has a recycling/disposal facility that would have been used; perhaps yours has something similar... or maybe there's another alternative or two to help you dispose of it in a planet friendly fashion. A local repair shop might take it off your hands to use for parts, or contact Sharp about recycling; most big companies are environmentally conscious these days. Good luck.
==



Sometimes it is what it is...
and then there's times when it's really better.



==
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: November 16, 2014 07:21AM
Buzz, I found a Sears site with a parts list and diagrams, here:

[www.searspartsdirect.com]

but though it lists a fuse and fuse holder, I couldn't find them on the diagram.

I couldn't find a service manual on the Web. I figured it wasn't worth trying to get someone to repair the unit, as it would cost more than a new one.

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: Buzz
Date: November 16, 2014 01:14PM
Maybe there are videos/blogs online that will provide info on your model... that's how I found info on ours, and surprisingly, and thankfully, the info was correct. Good luck.



Sometimes it is what it is...
and then there's times when it's really better.



==
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Re: Latest Costco Dilemma....
Posted by: DRR
Date: November 17, 2014 10:35PM
Quote
RAMd®d
I agree, but wonder- does the warranty allow for allow for "...no longer need it" circumstances.

That is fully on you to decide. It's not a warranty per se it's a "satisfaction guarantee" - they'll take it back as their rules state if you're not satisfied with it. Of course that's a broad interpretation and something only *you* would know. You could be not satisfied with how it looks, the dimensions, the sound it makes... or, in this case, the value it provides (as Buzz has another working microwave again). Entirely up to you.

Follow whichever personal code you like but don't imply that exercising a return policy is wrong or unethical. (Not directed at you RAMd®d)
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