Just one little thing….


A few years back, I inherited a small amount of money and used some of it to buy a new sewing machine, a Bernina 440 especially for quilters. I love the machine; don’t get me wrong. It makes me smile. It was the first model with a quilting stitch regulator which, when I remember to use it, makes a good difference in my quilting. But I have a wee tad problem with the customer support.

I don’t think there is any actually. Now I recognize that perhaps my questions are not the serious, difficult ones a customer support person is probably used to. Whatever those may be.

My questions are from someone who uses the machine almost daily and tends to forget things. Especially the things that are not in the dumb instruction book that came with the machine.

When did everyone decide it was okay to post the large instruction books, the ones that actually answer questions, on line? And to give us consumers the crummy mini booklets which really don’t cover much of anything?

I don’t believe it has to do with saving paper because the companies who profess that they are saving paper by not giving us the instructions we need, do include all kinds of promotional materials. Bernina has included printed info on all kinds of products I don’t want. But for the instructions, I have to go on line.  Which takes an incredible amount of time and is beyond tedious.

So in the mini booklet they saw fit to provide, half the symbols the machine uses are NOT listed. Or at least the one symbol that I can never remember what the hell it means, is not listed.

Every time this symbol comes up, I search frantically through the book. Because the machine will not work when this symbol is displayed. So after ripping several more pages in my desire to find out what the hell it is, I turn to the Internet and customer service. That’s because the same people who put the damn instructions on line, also determined that we can only access customer service on line. Since we have nothing better to do with our time.

So I email customer service asking politely at first what does this symbol mean. And never once ever have I heard back from them. Even when I start getting not so polite.

I realize that I am forgetting a very simple symbol and one that everyone should automatically recognize. But when I purchased my Bernina for a few million dollars, didn’t I also purchase the right to ask the occasional stupid question?

I have become so paranoid about how Bernina customer service has been ignoring me for four years now that I have started imagining scenarios about why.

I imagine my initial request, “Please tell me what this symbol means ASAP since my machine will not run until I fix whatever it is which is wrong” coming into customer service in New York (which is where their Internet page says they are) and the person on whose computer it showed up, laughing wildly and then reading it to the other people in the room. And they all decide to send me the ole “this office is on  vacation and will get back to you when the office reopens.”

When I sent the next request for elucidation a few months later, I imagine they forwarded it to the folks at corporate headquarters somewhere in Switzerland so they could have a chuckle too.

And I fantasize that the Swiss customer service head said “Zis is too stooopid to respond to. Zend thiz cuzomter ze ole ‘on vacation’ email – forever.”

Because I still am waiting all these years for the answer to my question. And although I am grateful for the wonderful technological advances that have happened with our sewing machines, I miss the old days when a stupid question would actually be answered. Even if the questioner asked it over and over again.

There is a lot to remember in life.  I think I can be excused to forgetting what the symbol that indicates that, OOPS, I left the feed dogs down, looks like. Don’t you?