We recently had to buy a fridge freezer and I was rather taken aback as we were buying it to be offered an extended warranty. Didn’t they think it was going to last? And it had a sticker on it saying that there was an extended manufacturer’s warranty on it.
So I didn’t buy the extended warranty.
And then I phoned the manufacturer to register for the extended warranty. They told me that this only covered parts, not the labour of the repair man, or the call out fee, or the cost of bits that broke from wear and tear (like freezer drawers). So would I like to take out an extra extended warranty that covered these things too?
When I commented that it did not seem to show much faith in the quality of their product the lady with whom I was talking didn’t really know what to say (it was off her script!).
I did not take out the extra extended warranty.
Since then I have had a letter from the shop I bought the fridge freezer from, just to let me know that although there was a one year warranty on the product I could extend that warranty (for five years for about a third of the cost of the fridge freezer!).
And then I had an email from the shop with the subject line: “We hope you’re happy with your Fridge-Freezer”
That’s nice, I thought. What lovely customer service.
Then I read the text in the body of the email:
We hope you’re happy with your Fridge-Freezer and we’re sure that the last thing you want to think about is something going wrong.
However it’s only when things go wrong that you discover how limited a standard manufacturer’s guarantee can be. Not only does it tend to run out just when you need it, but it usually only protects you for technical faults. This means you might be left exposed in the case of a breakdown or damage, and you could be left with the cost and hassle of organising repairs or buying a replacement.
Not ‘if’ things go wrong, but ‘when’!
Do they really have so little faith in the products they sell? Or is it more that they make a lot of money out of extended warranties because they have faith in the products and so few people claim on them?
Am I being cynical?
Am I going to take out an extended warranty?
Nope. In fact the more they tell me I need one the more I am going to resist!
Of course churches would never do that would we? No, I don’t mean selling extended warranties. But do we inadvertently give out the erroneous message that if you give more, do more, attend more than you are a better Christian and God will look more favourably on you?
And do we sometimes convey that we do not have faith in God when we say that people should pray and immediately insert the hideous caveat that if he doesn’t answer the prayer it’s not his fault because you didn’t have enough faith? We might not say it, but do we sometimes imply it or could people infer it from how we pray?
Following Jesus is so much more than buying a fridge freezer (with or without extended warranty). But being so much more does not mean that we need to make it complicated. He simply invited people to follow him. Churches are the ones who have added all of the extras!
Yes,answers to prayer are more nuanced than we give God credit for, but this episode from my past is a constant reminder of the order we should do things – pray first, not as a last resort!