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Thursday, February 10, 2011



Thursday, 7:30 AM.  –15.5 degrees, wind W, calm.  The sky is cloudless except for a low, narrow band of lake smoke out beyond Madeline Island.  The barometer predicts snow.  I deferred our morning walk until it warms up a bit latter.  Maybe I have become a hot house plant. In other winter news, eight ice fishermen were rescued in the last few days after breaking through unsound ice, four off of Saxon Harbor, and four off of Outer Island. Without the rescue wind sleds they likely would have died.
    I am so often critical of American companies that no longer make things in America, and of companies that produce shoddy products and provide little or no customer service, that I am duty bound to point out a very great exception to that rule (and I am sure there are many more that I am not familiar with).  All of the plumbing fixtures in our house are Moen.  The kitchen sink faucet has been leaking for some time and I finally had the time and ambition to look at it yesterday with an eye to its repair.  Confidentially, I hate plumbing projects, and would rather plant a tree any day than fix a faucet, but it was not a tree that was leaking.  Anyway, after a lot of tightening this and that and some further consideration I decided I would need some parts and maybe some advice.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered that we installed Moen fixtures well over a decade ago because they advertised lifetime warranties.  I surfed the web and got their service phone number, and after a short wait I talked to a service representative who actually spoke English that was not broken to bits.
    Surprise number two: they had instantaneous access to all the records of what we bought and when, name, address and everything. Surprise number three: the representative had me go to the sink, turn on the faucet and explain over the phone exactly what was leaking, and she told me what parts I needed.  Surprise number four: the replacement parts will be delivered in ten days to my door by Fed Ex, free of charge. Tutorials on installation are readily available on the Moen web site.  They also used to  provide direct assistance by telephone, and I assume that service is still available. 
    Moen is headquartered in North Olmstead, Ohio, and has manufacturing plants in Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. It is a subsidiary of Stanadyne Corporation, an American company established in 1876  that has a long history of innovations in, and manufacturing of, first machine screws and the like, and now pumps and other parts for diesel engines and other high tech automotive applications. I sure wish some enterprising, patriotic TV program would investigate and celebrate similar American companies, of which there are undoubtedly many, and give them the recognition they deserve.
    Hats off to Moen for keeping America working, and for getting me off my butt!

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