Thursday, April 22, 2010

That's hot

There are two kinds of men in this world.

There's the charcoal man, who loves the smell of lighter fluid and the random crackle of an unregulated flame. The kind of man who stands close to the grill so he can smell and listen to a well-marbled rib-eye steak drip its fat on eager, orange glowing briquets. The kind of man who doesn't discard the gristle but savors its flamey, fatty goodness.

And then there are those who cook with gas. Pussies, I call them.

Well, in another indication of my declining manliness, two years ago I joined the emasculated ranks of meat preparers (I won't even call it grilling), who with a touch of a button, can pre-heat the BBQ.

After constant nagging...uh, persistent nudging...from my wife, I caved in and bought one of those shiny stainless steel 5 burner beauties from the local Home Depot. And much to my surprise, I found myself seduced by its convenience, its ease and even its tasty performance.

Last week while performing a little maintenance on the Ducane Meridian 4200, I noticed that the burner tubes, which distribute the gas, had completely disintegrated. The metal had literally split open. I grabbed a digital camera, snapped a few shots and penned a quick letter to the Ducane Customer Service department.

And that's when things got interesting. But not in the way you might expect from a man who loves a good fight with corporate muckety mucks.

I got a phone call from Ducane. Their American-speaking representative told me he was shipping out replacement tubes via FedEx. At no cost to me. Shocked by this display of responsibility, I quickly thanked him and called my wife, forgetting to inquire about the decaying flavor tents. I called the company back, was not put on hold, did not have to go through some tumor-inducing phone tree and spoke with another customer service rep. who was based in Illinois, not Islamobad. She quickly pulled up my file and put in an immediate order for new V-shaped flavor tents. No questions asked.

In all, it was the kind of customer service exchange that should be documented in a textbook and handed out to the kind of clueless CEO's who feel the need to go on CBS's UNDERCOVER BOSS.

Ducane has made me a loyal customer. They may have even converted me to a Propane man.
Because I swear, with the new burner tubes and the new flavor tents, my salmon steaks have never tasted better.


laura l. sweet said...

wow, what a refreshing story. Impressive enough for me to look into that company and consider purchasing a grill of my own.
Now, Mr. Letter writer, I hope you'll send them a note of appreciation.

Mark said...

Laura's right. If you ever want to see true shock on a person's face, walk into a business, ask to see the manager, pause a moment and than tell them what an incredible job they or one of their employees did. Most people's hearts can't take it.

Jeff said...

We've had a Ducane for years and love it. i sympathize with the initial feeling of selling out - the stick shift to automatic syndrome. But remember, this is America dammit. Convenience is nothing to be ashamed of. Neither is the perfect steak.

tris said...

It just makes your day doesn't it, to not be rerouted to some other department or the ultimate indecency- to reach the end of some circuitous path and have "Julie" or some other automaton say "Goodbye" before you even get to a person and you have to start all over...
Congratulations and btw our Ducane is prehistoric - before our children - and it still is grillin'great!