Sunday, November 18, 2012
Shopping in the USA
Tell me if this doesn't sound familiar. A simple part breaks on (fill in just about any major appliance or fixture) so you pop down to the "big box" we got everything hardware store. After being greeted by the loosing employee of the week (makes you wonder what he/she did to get door duty) who is there not so much to help you but make sure nobody sneaks out the entry without paying, you inquire where the section keeping your hoped for product might be found. No point in asking specifics here this guy couldn't tell you where he left his car keys. Invariably what you're looking for is at the other end of this mega complex and almost always in the rear. After a walk of what might exhaust a marathon walker you come to the general area. Large overhead banners are there to give a general sense of direction and should not be considered accurate. After all they might have moved everything last week and failed to move the banners. I think that's their little employee revenge.
Sauntering down the aisle scanning the widgets and doo dads trying to hone in on the exact needed part you give up and look for assistance. Help is like a cop, never around when you need one but always there when you don't. On your trek back to the general area at least two of the orange vested have asked you if you needed assistance but you thought "hell I can find it myself when I get there" right? Wrong. It almost never fails that if they do have what you were looking for it's only to be seen as a display model neatly bolted to the shelf with an empty rack underneath. Maybe just maybe they have some stashed in the back room you thing half kidding yourself. So it's now time to find the elusive sales clerk. Like gazelles at the sound of a lion they have scattered to who knows where. Did everybody go on break at the same time? Eventually you spot one of the elusive beasts at the other end of the store. (The vision isn't completely gone. Didn't even need binoculars to spot the orange vest). Maybe you'd be lucky and spot another along the way but somehow that's never the case. You make the mad dash to the other end of the store only to spot your prey disappear into the employees only area. You finally make contact at the outside garden section of one offloading heavy bags of manure and you know the routine there. He'll direct you back to the section you were just in. But you just wanted one simple part. Okay then he'll call on the radio for back up. "Know the part or item number? He asks.
After a long walk back to where this all began you are fortunate enough to corner a section chief (assistant to an assistant in training) and he'll look in the back for you. Finally some service. You stand there for what seems like a half an hour (probably because he can't find it in the back either because he's going through the same process you just did) and the end result is either they just ran out or you can order it and it will be in Wednesday. You can come back then. There is in rare cases where you're lucky enough to get the very last of an item which is always made in China by workers who could care less if something works or not. They were just happy to make their quota and have a roof over their head. Then there's the stores policy of satisfaction always unless it cuts into their profits. Return it in what is it now 7 days for a refund or replacement? Funny how such things manage to make it about a week before the cheaply made item fails. After which you can still get a refund or replacement by writing the manufacturer, sending the faulty item back with a complete explanation of your dissatisfaction, plus shipping and handling charges. Sheesh I've had lesser punishments from a high school detention. Oh and I failed to mention that these items always come two three or six to a package.
How I miss the days when a hardware store was not much bigger than a living room, Clyde knew where every nut and bolt in the store was, things didn't break down as often and when they did it didn't take two weeks to fix them. Most everything back then was made of metal and it didn't take an engineering degree to repair.
Okay and while you're at it get off my lawn!