Continuing adventures of a humidifier

About eight years ago, I told the story of purchasing a humidifier from the local Home Hardware.
The high-tech age had arrived, so we bought a very elaborate model. It carried the brand name of a large American company. For most of our lives we had bought basic, stripped-down products, but this time we went for the Rolls Royce of humidifiers. It had clever features like removable easy-to-fill canisters that slowly metered water into a tray containing a wick. A three-speed fan forced air through the wick and into the room. A control panel contained humidity and speed regulators and status lights. The light-oak cabinet matched our living room decor and the sales info claimed quiet running, making it perfect for our small apartment.
We could have bought it from a big box store, but we opted for the local hardware. They delivered, unpacked, and assembled it. We filled the water canisters, set the controls and waited for the moist air to flow. It didn’t – not until we leveled it, putting a very low-tech board under one end.
We set the fan for medium speed, but jumped back when it roared like a jet engine. Switching it to low dropped the sound to a tolerable level, but only if we turned up the TV’s sound. We sat back and enjoyed the flow of moist air, for about 30 minutes, when the fan motor began to growl fiercely. The store swapped the motor for another that worked no better than the first one. We tolerated the noise while the dealer spent hours telephoning the Canadian office of the manufacturer and the US factory. We put up with it because we liked the high-tech design and stylish appearance. 
Then we came home late one evening to the acrid smell of an overheated electrical circuit. The humidifier motor had seized. The manufacturer, although denying any ongoing problems with the model, replaced it. It worked no better than the first one, but with an added vibration coming from its imitation oak cabinet.
Our patience exhausted, we asked the hardware store to replace it with a standard, cheaper model. This one worked beautifully. What is so remarkable about this story? Service. The people from the store came to our apartment at least three times and spent hours trying to resolve the problem. What if I had bought the thing from one of the so-called big box stores?
I might have saved $5, before manhandling it to my car, unpacking and assembling it, and then finding it defective. For service, the store would have told me to take it to the nearest manufacturer’s repair depot.
Why remember this little adventure eight years later?
The humidifier finally quit working. Its innards had become encrusted with lime to the degree that three little idler wheels had seized. When I tried to fix one, I broke it, so I returned to the local hardware store to order parts. After a few days of research, they informed me that the manufacturer no longer stocked the parts.
“But don’t give up,” Don in the store said. “I am wrecking my old humidifier. If those wheels are still usable, you can have them.”
The next day I picked up the used but workable parts and will soon have the unit working again. While many of my neighbours spend money and time driving to neighbouring cities to save a few dollars, I intend to keep buying from the local shops.
I’ll bet you can figure out why, even if they can’t.

Ray Wiseman