It isn’t always the big battles on the Spectrum; it’s the little ones too. The little ones are bigger at the time than they are in hindsight. It is in hindsight I can write about them and have a chuckle or two. If I can laugh about any battle, it hasn’t defeated me.
A little one started when my Mom interrupted my blog-writing asking me to open a can for her. I’m not complaining about that. It just throws me for a bit to pause when I’m creating a masterpiece. Arthur (arthritis) makes opening a can with a manual can opener a painful proposition. I figure I better have empathy since Arthur probably already has his eyes set on me in the near future. I come from a long family tree of Arthur’s victims.
This made me think of a battery-operated can opener I had seen at a store having a 20% off sale the very same day. Since I was planning on going anyway, barring a large crowd, I made note of it to look for one. With a small showing of customers at the time I entered the store, I went ahead and bought a red Handy-Dandy battery-operated can opener, one of those As See on TV products. Besides my Mom needing one, I am attracted to a battery or electric gadget like a coin is to a magnet.
I took it out of the package in my bedroom to get the gadget up and running without my Mom knowing a thing. I wanted to surprise her by doing a “show and tell”. That was a good plan but that’s not how it went down. After installing two “AA” batteries, I pushed the button and not a sound was heard. I tried placing it on a can in case the opener wouldn’t work without having something to spin on. That’ didn’t work. I was so frustrated! I don’t give in to defeat easily when it comes to gadgets. I am the “gadget queen” in my clan. After numerous efforts, this “queen” eventually came to the conclusion it was a “lemon” can opener.
I didn’t ask for this battle, but it fell in my lap and I saw it as having two choices. I could toss it and try to forget it; or, I could take it back to the store for an exchange/refund. My Mom would have taken it back to the store without any hesitation whatsoever. Me? Just the opposite. I have a phobia of customer service desks. My first inclination was to do to the malfunctioned opener what I do with party invitations: toss out!
The price receipt, though, kept staring at me. Guilt is another biggie of mine. I came up with an idea to ease my guilty conscience. I’d put it back in the store bag, go back to the store, and if there was a store clerk who seemed friendly enough, I would ask to exchange it. I didn’t want a refund because I wasn’t ready to give up on presenting my Mom with a can opener that would defy her nemesis, Arthur.
I’m proud to say I got up the nerve to approach the customer service desk and asked for an exchange. She took the lemon and dropped the exchange item in a bag with a “have a good day”. I could breathe easy now as I walked out the store after my victory of facing the exchange challenge. I know such transactions come easy for a lot of folks, but not for me.
It was back to the drawing board. The only difference was it was black instead of red. I wish I could say that after the battery installation, the handy-dandy opener came to life. But that’s not how it went down. It wasn’t making a sound either. After repeating what I did hours earlier with the red “lemon” one, I re-dressed it back into its package. I wasn’t sure if I was going to return to the store or not. Two customer service interactions in one day — there’s only so much I can take!
It was aggravating I couldn’t get a gadget to work. I can’t thread a needle, but I know my way around setting up a smart phone, smart watch, etc. I had to try one more time to save my reputation for gadget-fixing. I used a can of chili as my guinea pig. Just as I was about to take my finger off the start button and give in to defeat, the opener came to life. It started its journey around the can lid while I watched in amazement.
This was supposed to be the end of the story. Nope! A few weeks later, the black handy-dandy opener met its fate of a trash can after opening a can of green beans. It did a spin around the lid of the can. The problem was it wouldn’t let go of the lid. They were inseparable! I did manage to free the green beans but I had to toss the can opener with the can still in its mouth.
Now, most people would have given up by now. But I don’t give up easily. I wasn’t about to be outdone by any kind of gadget. I received a 20% off e-mail from a store and I saw this as a sign to go ahead and purchase No. 3. I’m thrilled to say the third one was the charm. As for what my Mom does when she needs a can opener, she still hollers for me and I do the honors.