Samsung and Best Buy Sold Me A Derivative Knockoff TV For Black Friday
Trent Lapinski

I always think of the elderly when I read about soft scams like this one. Someone will have bought Ma and Pa a nicely priced Samsung and arranged for Best Buy to deliver and install it. It will be crooked and it will scream when they turn it off. The remote might not even work. Ma and Pa won’t complain, and it won’t be until the return period is over that the buyer finds out. “Mom, why is the TV crooked and why does it scream when it’s off?” “Oh, that’s just how it is. We don’t really turn it off so the screech doesn’t bother us. It’s above the frequency your dad can hear anyway. And we got used to the funny angle.” They’re watching the World Cup, in Spanish. The buyer asks why. “I thought you knew. It only gets the one station, so we watch soccer on the weekend. All week, actually. The ads are good. And we love Sábado Gigante. It’s on every day from when the soccer ends until, well, I guess it’s on all night. It’s a little racy, but your dad enjoys it.”

But that’s just my morbid imaginings. This story also brings to mind a truly lousy front-loading Samsung washer and dryer I bought at Lowe’s in 2014: beautiful, metallic cherry red, huge, and expensive. It took a few years to admit to myself that the washer does not work. It’s not the water, the detergent, or any propensity of mine for rolling in mud. It functions without exploding or leaking like some Samsung products, but clothing and linens are not clean when they come out. Mustard or ketchup on a shirt don’t just leave stains. They’re still there. I can scrape them off, and I do, and I throw the item into a pile to be re-washed or otherwise dealt with. Things that were white are grey.

The dryer is maddening; it was evident from the start, but not a warranty issue. Samsung’s position is that all dryers do what this one does. Not hardly. If you are a hobo planning a trip you would love it, because it takes what you feed it and delivers a hobo’s bindle. A sheet will capture all smaller items and twist into a rope with a bulge at one end in which the smaller items are captured and compressed. This happens within minutes, with an audible confirmation generated by the bulge’s rise and bonking fall with each rotation of the drum. When the cycle is complete, you pull on the rope, which is often tightly coiled for good measure, arm over arm, until the whole thing is free of the dryer. Holding the non-bulge-end high above your head, allow the rope to uncoil, then untwist, so you may retrieve from the bulge a still-wet wad of shirts, jeans and towels, and either hang them up to dry or waste another measure of gas and electricity to dry them in the dryer, which takes a while, because it doesn’t get any warmer than warm-ish. I have developed workarounds, but it’s like watching soccer and Sabado Gigante instead of what I paid to watch.

This year I looked for the machines on and saw that they had been discontinued. The reviews were still there, though. I am a more sophisticated reader of reviews now than I was then. They’re fake. They’re in poor English, they are all alike, and they mostly end with “Highly recommended!,” the calling card of the fake reviewer. 99% of them are fake, anyway. The real ones that crept through could all have been written by me. The Lowe's site gets a feed from Samsung, so I assume Samsung is behind it. Whether Lowe’s is complicit, I can’t say.