Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Washer, Part III

While listening to my favorite radio show a few years ago I heard that the Friday after Thanksgiving was a good day to go to the DMV, and now that I had a reason to go I decided, why not? Well, the OMV (Louisiana's DMV) was closed Friday so I went Monday morning, and the lines were empty. But getting a replacement, or duplicate as the *dup* at the top of my license indicates, is not as easy as it would seem.

First, I was asked if I had any form of identification on me. Normally I would say, No, that's what I'm here to get, but remembering a valuable and interesting experience as I tried to board an airplane with an expired license last July, I offered my pilot's license, which does not expire, as a valid Federal identification card.

Of course, the ladies behind the counter at the OMV had never seen such and were suspiscous. I would be too; here's a smiling young man with cash and all the necessary information and a photo-less green card claiming that he lost his driver's license. Why should we trust him? Getting the license ended up being the easiest, and most pleasurable, part of the remaining experience. And I digress, so let me return to the story of the washer.

The previous day, Sunday afternoon, I decided to take my receipt to Best Buy and pick up the items we purchased. I walked to the front kiosk, handed the employee my receipt, and proceeded to wait as the appliances were brought to me. Within fifteen minutes I had learned that the favorite past-time at that kiosk is tracking on the security camera certain women who walk through the front doors.

So I wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and within thirty minutes learn that although the dryer I purchased has been easily found, the washer itself is more difficult to find. And not for lack of effort. Several employees, even one who is off-duty, were employed in the tracking-down of my missing washer. Being able to watch that pursuit on the security screen, between tracking incoming customers, confirmed to me that several of the Best Buy employees were on my side.

But not all were on my side. As it turns out, the service professional who placed my order on Wednesday night did not in fact order for me the washer and dryer pair that she sold me. What she ordered for me were two dryers. Now this was of certain irony, being that I now owned 1 bad washer and 3 good dryers, 2 of which were presently in my posession. It took no SAT scholar to understand that I preferred the washer over the second dryer and the off-duty employee, the most astute of the lot, quickly inquired into the situation with a few calls on the telephone.

What we learned is that the Bossier store (the closest) did not indeed have any washers present, nor did any of the warehouses. In fact, the next expected delivery from the warehouse or distribution center would be over two months later. And this is when the entire process got even more ridiculous.

What was offered to me was that the nearest store (Greenville, Texas) has the washer and it could be delivered to the local store and the department manager would call me when it arrives. Satisfied that this was the least painful route, and interested to see what Best Buy did to resolve the situation, I left the conversation at that and went home to pick up our dirty laundry and bring it to a commercial washing facility. Twenty dollars in quarters later I arrived home with all loads washed, but not dried, and very tired. I then proceeded to dry all loads in our new dryer, which was a slow but enjoyable process.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Handicapping the race in 2008

is something that I won't do here.

I'm about as much a pundit as I am Democrat or Republican. No, I'm not a Libertarian either. But as Giuliani appears ready to drop out and endorse Senator McCain I am beginning to feel confident about my feelings towards the current candidates. And feeling is probably the right word because it seems that picking the President is about as easy as picking stocks, except that I can pick multiple stocks and I'm confident that more will be good than bad.

So, my feelings lead me to these preferences in this particular order, for no particular reason:

McCain, John
Hillary, Sir Edmund (deceased)
Obama, Barack
Rigby, Eleanor
Huckabee, Mike
Cleese, John
Romney, George (deceased)
Miles, Les
Romney, Mitt
Paul, Ron
Clinton, Hillary

The Washer, Part II

So it's been a while since I began this story. I've forgotten much of it, but I'll try and make it worth your while to read. As I remember, I left with our four options. We could repair the broken washer, replace the broken washer with a like model, replace the broken washer with an advanced model, or dump my son's college fund into a commercial washer one quarter at-a-time. Actually, we had offers for used washers, but some of these were delayed (we'd still be waiting on one) and we didnt' think that we could wait very long. Not with dirty cloth diapers in the house.

So we took advantage of our situation and the Thanksgiving weekend sales adverts and went washer/dryer shopping. We realized that although the dryer was only 8 years old it might be a good time to buy one of those as well. Most sales essentially had you getting one unit half-off when you buy the set. Not as good a purchase as buying each item individually over time(waiting 5 years until it breaks and then paying full price for a dryer is a much better purchase than half-off now) but not an entirely bad deal either. We looked at like models (the low-end washer) and some of the high-efficiency front loading washers as well. These use much less water and electricity and claim to use as little as 1/3 of each compared to standard top-loaders. That was an enticing benefit, seeing as how much washing we get done.

So after some looking around we decided to pursue a pair of front-loaders at Best Buy (of course, dryers are already front-loaders) and decided that this was a good pursuit. If we end up saving in utility costs as much as advertised then we'll get back the price difference between washers ($300) in one year. That, and a generous offer from a relative, made this decision our preferred. Later on the same night we first looked at the washer I went back to Best Buy with a friend to purchase the combo. I should be able to purchase the units on Wednesday (prior to the mad holiday shopping rush) and pick them up Sunday or Monday, which seemed reasonable.

While waiting at the service desk to finish the order I dropped my license into a crack on the countertop. Apparently the countertops are large wooden layers that are no longer than 8 or 10 feet and bound together very tightly by large bolts with many washers. Despite the many washers, the gap between the adjacent pieces is large enough to slide a driver's license into. Not surprisingly, these washers place enough force upon the bottom of this gap to seal the countertop at that end (and no, you can't simply pull or use leverage to open the gap) so that my license is now consumed by the countertop into a gap too small to fish out from the top and almost non-existent at the bottom. And I am resigned to leave the store, late-at-night, several RewardsZone Dollars richer, several hundreds of dollars poorer, and minus one Louisiana Driver's License.