About six months ago I did something that I would regret for a while.

I didn’t check my pockets before throwing my jeans in the washing machine.

I didn’t even realize it until I took everything out of the washer and into the dryer. All my keys were there, wet and cold, in the back of the washer tub.

Electronic devices are not happy being submerged in water, let alone being subjected to multiple wash and spin cycles. But was the key fob built into my car key going to protest against the experiment, or was it tough enough to survive?

I took it to the window, pointed it at my car and tried to lock the doors. Nothing. Not even a beep or a flashing taillight. I tried again pressing the button harder. I knew it was in vain, but… UGH!

I took the box apart and let it dry. Still didn’t work after a few days. The key itself still worked in the ignition, so I took care of that for a while. Manually unlocking the doors with the key turned out to be a nightmare as it always set off my car alarm until I could turn the key in the ignition. So I made sure never to leave valuables in my car and usually left it unlocked.

Fast forward to a pleasant visit from my new neighborhood welcoming committee during the night one night last week.

I climbed into my unlocked vehicle, ready to drive to work, only to find my glove box open and its contents strewn about. The console had also been searched, although it looked like nothing had been stolen.

It’s time to do something for the key.

I had priced a new key and fob at the dealership, but the estimate was close to $300! I didn’t want to go this route if I didn’t have to.

I had seen the key counter on a previous visit to Great Lakes Ace Hardware in Frandor, so I thought I’d try to see if there was anything they could do.

I explained my problem to Wendy, who was working the key counter that morning. I told him that I dried out the key fob and replaced the battery, and it still didn’t work. She thought maybe the key just needed reprogramming, and set about making it happen.

Wendy worked on the key inside the store and outside my car to no avail. Back inside, she opened the key fob and disassembled its electronics. I took out a bottle of cleaner and started to carefully clean the film of washing detergent from all the delicate parts. She asked me if I was sure I had replaced the battery. As I started to say “yes”, I stopped. Expect. Did I? Hold! No. I did not do it. All I did was dry the key fob then put it back on! (The drum movie had already answered his question; I really didn’t need to.)

We found a suitable new battery, she installed it and went back to the car to test the key fob to see if it worked.

“Beep beep!” Click on! Doors locked and unlocked very well.

$9.11 and half an hour later I was on my way. Relieved on so many levels.

It feels like we live in a world where there are more customer service complaints than compliments. Meet Wendy from Great Lakes Ace Hardware in Frandor and everyone who really goes above and beyond to help their customers.

Thanks Wendy.

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