Monday, September 15, 2008

How much does it cost to change a light bulb?

I decide to use my time and temper wisely, to say nothing of saving pennies and petrol. First I shall visit Wolf Camera for the repair, then I shall go to Home Depot to exchange the light bulb for the correct wattage, then I shall collect the organic vegetable box. Should be done in under an hour, well in time to collect the children from school.

I head off to the repair shop.

Inside I find four women chatting. They greet me in unison, so I know that they are all employees. They recognize my air of expectancy.

“How can I help?” offers an amiable face.
“I should like to have this camera repaired please?”
“That one?”
“Cheaper to buy a new one.”
“I knew you would say that but I have come mentally prepared for a repair not a purchase.”
She grins and leans across the counter to grab a huge file, “a new one would be so much better than that old thing.”
“Old! It’s not old. It’s my new camera in fact.”
“Hey it must be what three or four years old?”
“4 years young actually. Nothing is old unless it has reached it’s 25th anniversary.”
“Antique! Well it’s gonna cost an initial $148 to fix.”
“Initial? How about final?”
“Ah you never know until you start. Like I say, you can buy a new one for that. A better one than that big clunky old thing.”
“It’s not big and it’s not clunky and most importantly of all, I know how this big, clunky old thing works.”
“Ah but when you first bought it you didn’t know how it worked did ya. But you learned. You’ll learn how to use this new one too.” She waggles a green camera in front of my nose, the size of……something very small.
“It’s green!”
“Yeah, they do em in all colours now.”
“Fluorescent would be handy as then I’d be able to find it in my hand bag more easily.”
“Cute bag.”
“TJ Max.”
“Really? It looks designer.”
“It looks knock off.”
“O.k. so how doyalike this one.”
“I don’t know. Does it do very teeny tiny close ups because that’s what I need.”
“Lets see. How about that?”
“Dya wanna clean your glasses?”
“Oh dear. Yes. Just a tick. Ah! That’s much better.”
“If you buy this camera you get a HP photo scanner, fax, copier, printer for free.”
“Free after mail in rebate.”
“So not really free then?”
“Cost ya about $10 tops.”
“Sure thing.” She pats the huge box. I look at my wrist watch. I remember that he’s been researching these machines for weeks as the fax has fused, the printer has packed up and the scanner is totally scatty. An ‘all in one’ would be just the ticket, a lovely surprise, one less thing on his ‘to do’ list. I remember that there were two very important things related to this research and purchase. “Can I bring it back if it doesn’t fit in the cupboard?”
“Closet? Er …….I mean……..can I bring it back for any reason?”
“Sure. You getta free book with it too.”
“Free book? How I love the word free.”
“Free if you have 12 pages, five bucks if you have 20 pages.”
“Er……there must be some logic in there somewhere.”
“You want the 20 pages?”
“No the twelve please. Are you sure it’s free?”
“You wanna sign up for classes?”
“No time for classes, I like to fly blind.” I check my wrist watch. This is taking longer than I thought.
“You want insurance?”
“How much does it cost?”
“$48 for a year.”
“No thanks then. Do you have any chips?”
“Things that hold the pictures.”
“Memory cards?”
“That’s the one.”
“What size to you want?”
“What sizes are there?”
“2MB, 4 MB and 8 MB.”
“I’ll have the biggest. Two please.”
“That’ll be $140.”
“You’re joking?”
“Special offer.”
“What about this Lithium battery. How much does that cost please?”
“Er…..$12.99 but they’re on back order.”
“Does it come with a re-charger?”
“I’ll go get you the camera from the back.” I stand in a daze at the counter watching the seconds tick by and turn into minutes. I read the repair manual whilst I wait. $45 for a repair………I wonder if I’m looking at the right page? She reappears, “sorry we’re out of stock, I’ll order you one.”
“I’ll take that one.”
“Which one?”
“The one you showed me.”
“But that’s just for display.”
“No problem. I’ll take it anyway as long as you can find the manual.”
“Dya want insurance in that case?”
“Nope, no thank you.”

I stagger out of the shop bogged down in boxed purchases. He’s going to be so pleased!

I dash to Home Depot for the replacement bulb as the countdown continues. Why does everything take so long? An alarm explodes in my head as I return to the car and race to the school.

Much, much later, my husband returns from work. The children are in bed, asleep for many hours. He finds me hanging from the door frame by my fingertips to feel the satisfying xylophone clicks of my spine. My kind of yoga. I beam at him, step across the kitchen and drape myself on the huge box, the surprise.
“What the hell is that?”
“It’s the thingy you wanted to replace all the other thingies that have broken. Surprise!”
“But that’s not the one we wanted.”
“I’ve checked. The whole thing, including the box, fits in the cupboard.”
“Of all the things you could remember, that’s the little niblet that you remember.”
“What was the rest that I was supposed to remember?”
“Ink jet cartridge refill cost comparison, to name but one.”
“Oh. So you don’t like it then?”
“It’s not a question of liking it.”
“It’s free!”
“Free?” I explain in exact detail.

He sighs as he runs his fingers through his hair.
“Right so these memory cards are the wrong kind.”
“You wanted littler ones?”
“They’re not compatible.”
“And this cable, we already have one.”
“Ah. But otherwise it’s o.k.?”
“So you didn’t notice then?”
“Notice what?”
“It doesn’t print photographs.”
“Are you sure?”
“Quite sure. You really shouldn’t be let loose in a shop alone. It’s just not safe.”
“Ah. So not so much of a bargain afterall. I’ll take them all back tomorrow.”
“How much was the camera?” he asks, examining the receipt for the light bulb from Home Depot.
“Er…….just a sec I’ll nip off and see if I can find it……..upstairs…...” As I reach the top of the stairs with no intention of looking for something that isn’t there, I realize that I have forgotten the organic vegetable box, which will now have reached a stage of putrefaction sitting abandoned on a Californian, red hot spot, all ready for collection.


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh my. don't you just hate it when that happens? btw, how do you like your iphone? i simply love mine!

smiles, bee

Osh said...

oh my goodness, you had an Osh kinda day!

Heffalump said...

Ouch! I'm sorry things didn't work out better. Those sales people really know how to get us all turned around don't they?

Hammer said...

I find myself in the same predicament all the time.

I bought a new printer in January and went to get new ink cartridges.
$75...right next to it was a new printer ink included for $60

So my old new printer went into the trash.

Trixie said...

Ahh...Maddy, I think you were having a 'senior' moment. And you reckon I'M getting old!

Jayne said...

I need a new printer and scanner, you wanna email your wrong ones to me ? lol
I'm hesitating buying for those same reasons - cost, fit, memory cards, etc ;)

Whitenoise said...

Yes, shades of my spouse... "I don't know... it was green... and it came with this" ;-)

Jazz said...

I had no idea you had all these blogs. I love this!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my :D

I've got a present for my hubby sitting on his desk waiting for him to come home. I see a visit to the returns desk may be in my future also.