Over many years I’ve told heaps of people how well Ilve ovens cook. But they have two big flaws. Being of Italian make, they are built to confuse. Design idiocies seem inherent in them. First, the knobs fall off. They’re held on by a worm-screw in a tiny handle that jams onto the shaft turning gas on and off. Very chic-looking, they come loose easily and often. (Ask anyone who has owned an Alfa Romeo car about built-in idiocies.)
Secondly, the oven I have is equipped with the most brainless analog clock I’ve ever seen. It has knobs and bells and little windows in its face showing a miniature red hand or black hand. You could read the Ilve handbook for a million years and still not know how to work the thing. (I’ts supposed to let you time a start and a stop to your cooking.) Thus designed, though, the most interesting thing about the clock is that by knocking one of the knobs by about half a millimetre you can in fact shut down your oven’s whole electrical system. It’s as if a major fault has occurred.
We rang the Melbourne number for Ilve repairs the other day when this happened, not knowing someone had accidentally shut the system down by turning the knob. My wife is adamant that she was told nothing about how the oven can be shut down in such a way when she booked a repairman. Equally, she was absolutely convinced the terms of the visit were not spelled out to her.
Advantage Appliances of Mitcham, which must sub-contract to Ilve, sent a chap out one morning. He turned the knob a couple of millimetres — a couple of seconds ‘work’ to start-up the oven — and charged us $99 for the pleasure of his advice. I couldn’t believe it. All attempts to get the service manager of Advantage Appliances to ring me back to discuss a discount or at least their procedures have failed. I can’t believe the greed of some organisations — indeed, the endemic greed in Australian businesses these days.