Piglet put the kettle on…

Piglet put the kettle on Piglet put the kettle on,
Piglet put the kettle on we all want some tea…

Except we won’t have some tea because the pigging thing won’t work.

Mr. Piglet has perfected the Portuguese shrug
Mr. Piglet has perfected the Portuguese shrug

A couple of months ago we had a problem with our kettle. Now in the grander scheme of things a dodgy kettle is not the end of the world. However, to me it’s very much a matter of principle when I buy a kettle or indeed any appliance and it breaks six months later. Yes, I know we live in a throwaway society but if something has a two-year guarantee I expect it to work for two years, not six months. Are you with me on this?

I did consider recycling the kettle as a plant pot to grow some herbs in. However,Mr. Piglet looked at me and laughed and was about to throw it away when I suddenly remembered we now file all receipts for occasions such as these. (This is not the first time this has happened).

Clutching the receipt and broken kettle we returned to the shop and Mr. Piglet presented it to the customer service assistant while I went off shopping. Mr Piglet returned with a wad of A4 size paperwork in return. Have they not heard of save a tree?

“Where’s the replacement kettle?” I asked as I stared with disbelief at the paperwork.

“They are going to send it off to be repaired,” he shrugged.

“What, it’s only worth nine euros; it will cost them more in effort, postage and admin.”

“How long is it going to take?”

Another shrug. Mr. Piglet has now acquired the perfect Portuguese shrug when he does not want to answer a question.

For people who’ve never witnessed the “shrug” the shoulders hunch towards the ears while the palms of the hands turn heavenward, no doubt hoping for divine intervention. The shrug is accompanied by a blank expression, a smile or a sigh depending on the nature of your complaint.

I grab the wad of paperwork and return to the customer service assistant. I know the girl can speak English so I did not even attempt Portuguese on this occasion.

“My husband’s just returned a broken kettle.” I said tapping my foot slightly with frustration. Not directed at her, but more with not having an immediate replacement.


“Please can you tell me how long before we get a replacement?”

“A month.”

“A MONTH!” I said incredulously. Sometimes I can be quite scary. Probably hormones.

“Yes, a month.” She said tentatively.

“Why so long?” I asked, feeling more than slightly puzzled.

“Because we have to send it back to the technicians to be repaired.”

“But it’s going to cost you more than the kettles worth, that can’t be good business practice. You can plug the kettle in here if you don’t believe the kettle is broken”

My words fell on deaf ears and were met with the “shrug”.

At this point I’m wondering if it’s a ploy to get me to buy another kettle, I am losing the will to live and life’s too short. However, it’s a matter of principle. I stand my ground.

Another shrug “I’m sorry.” She says smiling apologetically which immediately calms me down and alleviates my frustration. Have you noticed a smile goes a long way?

“If you bring the kettle back within two weeks, we can replace it straight away; otherwise we have to send it away to be mended.” She explained patiently.

Six weeks later (that’s a Portuguese month) Mr. Piglet returns to collect the kettle. They can’t find the paperwork or our kettle.

Come back next week.

Two weeks later we return. The paperwork and kettle have gone AWOL so they give us a new kettle.

The moral of this story is: if you share the same ideals on a “throwaway” society don’t buy small electrical appliances miles from where you live in Portugal and keep the receipts for two years.

Does this sound familiar or is it just me?

Related posts
Livro de Reclamações
I Only Want My Oven Mended…please
Pigging Oven!

34 thoughts on “Piglet put the kettle on…

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    1. oh no, I just realised I got distracted and mis-read your final paragraphs! I should therefore have said: I’m glad you got a new kettle! 😉 (Excuse me, I’m rather tired, maybe I’ll go and have a lie down…)


  1. I used the Portuguese shrug at work today. I’m sure it did the trick because there were some puzzled faces around. Seems the Portuguese have perfected the Spanish phrase: “mañana” which tends to mean “tomorrow” or more simply “not today” as they don’t even need to speak to convey their message!

    On the subject of kettles, our house has a rule, 1 kettle every two years, because we’ve found that there’s not much difference on wear and tear between a £5 kettle and a £60 kettle, they all break in the end.

    Personally I’m glad I don’t like tea!


  2. Your story matches the French mentality, not to mention the “shrug” 🙂
    I bought a netbook that immediately froze up to use for the first time and after hours on the phone with tech support, they told me to take it back to the store – Non, not to replace but to send to the repair shop to see if it NEEDED to be replaced – huh?? Two weeks later, I was told it could be replaced, but they didn’t have that model – mais, oui! I then bought another brand/model for 20E less = money back and it works great!


  3. This remided me of the time a couple of months ago when we bought a cheap plastic shower curtain pole. Got it home, opened it and the spring inside was broken so it kept collapsing. We took it back to the shop and they immediately fetched another one. Thinking that this was all good and simple we then watched the shop keeper cut open the packaging of the new one. Pull the pole apart. Take out the springy thing. Pick up our broken pole, put the new spring into our old pole and hand it back over to us! Where the logic in that was I have no idea!


    1. LOL 🙂 sorry Tosta that is so funny! and I bet they put the pole with the missing part back on the shelf for sale again. Happened to a friend of ours with mosquito blinds. They bought the one with the missing part!


  4. That shrug is universal, I think. lol There’s more than a few folks I know that utilize it daily.
    I’m glad you got a new kettle. I hope it works for several years to come.
    I agree with you about buying small appliances close to home, 🙂


    1. Hi EC, I never noticed the shrug until I came to Portugal and when we are in the UK I don’t see it (If they are English). What I do notice in England which I never apprecaited until we came to Portugal is People (men) hold open the doors for you but not here.


      1. Hey Pip, that’s interesting about men not holding doors open. I guess it’s not part of their culture.
        I remember when I was growing up there were 2 things that would spark instant chastising from teachers: one was a shrug and the other was replying by shaking your head. They wanted vocal responses. If you did not know something or were unsure then say it, don’t shrug. And if the answer is yes or no then say it, Then they would add, I can’t hear your head rattle. lol


    1. I wishmore people complained about faulty goods and were less accepting.
      However, I can appreciate people work and lifes too short…but to me there is always that nagging thing called a matter of principle and why let them get away with it. Lucky we no longer work


  5. A lot of small appliances seem to break down just after the 2 year guarantee is up too, which is annoying! In Australia the guarantee is only for 1 year, which isn´t long. Nice that you got a new kettle in the end!


    1. Sami – don’t make me feel even worse: we are at different ends of the same continent and my receipt says two years 🙂 !


  6. Oh sheesh: bought a kettle also about six weeks ago [does Morphy Richards ring a bell up north?], also a two year guarantee – and I got mine on line: didn’t like your story a’tall, a’tall, a’tall 😦 ! [OK, mine’s working, but things ALWAYS break down at Christmas!]


  7. It really doesn’t make any sense at all. That shrug and a smile just wouldn’t work with my son, who just bought a $1000 dishwasher which didn’t work after it was installed. A few days later, they sent someone out to look at it, and wanted to send it away for repair. My son stuck to his guns, got a refund, and bought a different brand.


  8. yes it’s sooo annoying when things break only after a few months. But – at least here in London, I now always use Freecycle. there is always someone out there who can fix things… our kettle in the office broke (must have been 3-4 years old) I put it on Freecycle, saying that if someone wants it and they can fix it, they can have it. I have given away so much stuff like this, some in good order and condition, some broken, and somebody always takes it!! I hate throwing away things and they go to landfill site!!


      1. Croatia is not really “customer orientated” — long way to go… you must return something within 7 days and you’ll get a credit to buy something else. I think UK is best for customer service, returns, damaged items etc.


  9. I totally empathise with you. Our kettle, which we paid about €20 for, hoping that it would last longer than the last one, has started playing silly beggars after only a few months and no, I won’t bother trying to get it fixed – it would cost me more in petrol and stress than a replacement will. I’m going to the UK for Christmas so I’ll buy a £6 one from Tesco and bring it back.

    I don’t know why kettles don’t last long here – maybe it’s our dodgy electrics – but we’ve gone through at least five in the last five years!


  10. Haha that made me laugh. Everything breaks here within days. I say I will take it back and husband says I can’t.Just watch me sunshine. I go into the shop with offending item and he ducks down behind nearest display while I rant and rave with shop keeper and invariably I win.
    There are no kettles in the Dominican Republic by the way. They don’t exist. If you want hot water you need to use a pan to heat it up. Most odd.


  11. I hate when something new breaks like that, what a foul mood it put me in. I always dread ordering gifts online, too, because invariably something breaks or is lost and the paperwork that follows…. /sigh


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