Saturday, November 26, 2005

What a DVD Deal!

Well, they say it is the busiest shopping day of the year. Since I have both a shopping gene and a parking gene, I had to pay homage to both and venture out for at least one item. My chosen quarry: a portable DVD player.

See, we will be traveling by car to Hometown City, Another State with a 5-year old for Christmas. It is about 550 hours and a good 9-12 hour trip, depending on weather and Sweet Girl's disposition. She is a wonderful traveler (we don't call her Sweet Girl for nuthin'!) but that long in a car seat can get on anyone's nerves. The last time we made the trip she was so good, but we could see that she needed something to help ease the time. So I've been planning this purchase for awhile and thinking I'd have to spend at least $200.00 to get one.

I saw a commercial for Walmart yesterday that caught my eye, so I checked out the internet ad to verify. Yeup, they had an off-brand portable DVD player with a 6.2 inch screen on sale for $68.00 until 11:00 a.m. today. I showed the ad to Champs and hopped in the car. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the snow was fun, but I'm used to that so it wasn't a problem. When I got to Walmart the parking gene was in full effect and I got to park three spots away from the door (no, I don't know why this happens, but it does. My family and friends will verify that I always get a good parking spot!).

They had plenty of the players in stock and I was glad. I had to buy the accompanying carrying case to get the car adapter, which I wasn't too pleased about since that was another $10.00, but oh well. I brought it home and showed it to Champs. He was sufficiently impressed and we went about our day.

Since Friday is date night (and I needed to get to the bank before the drive through closed), Champs and I decided to go out after dinner and check out Best Buy just for the fun of it (because, even when you can't spend the money, sometimes you just have to look at electronics, you know?). Well, I decided to see what they had for portable DVD players. They had a 7 inch Insignia (a Best Buy brand, similar to Radio Shack) player for $119.00 with a $50.00 rebate. It was a nicer quality than the first unit and the end cost would be only $1.00 more than I paid at Walmart. However, the car adapter was included, so that made it $10.00 better than the Walmart deal, even if we did have to wait for the rebate. Hmmm... Bigger picture, more features (like a full control panel on the unit instead of only on the remote) and a better price, but we would have to wait for the money to be returned. We thought about it for a minute, then decided to buy this one and return the Walmart one.

I asked the salesman for one and he looked around and asked a colleague. His teammate told us they had sold out earlier. Then he pulled one out from a top shelf and explained that it was a customer return. He further explained that because it was returned, it was priced at $104.00. Even so, all the pieces were there and we would still get the $50.00 rebate. He suggested we buy it and then take it directly to customer service to open it and confirm everything was there and it was working fine. That sounded good to us, so off we went to buy our new toy.

I asked the gal at the register for the rebate paperwork and she said it would print out with my receipt. OK, that worked for me. So then I went to customer service to confirm everything was there. I checked my receipt and noticed that the rebate portion hadn't printed. So I asked the gal there for it. "Oh", she sighed, "you don't get the rebate on customer returns." I told her that the salesman on the floor had encouraged me to buy the unit and assured me that I would get the rebate. She said, "Sorry".

Now, I've worked in customer service for about the last 13 years. I know all the tricks and nothing much gets by me. I asked for the manager. When she came over, I explained the whole story. She tried to tell me that the customer returns didn't get the rebate. She went on to say that the rebate was a "door buster" and had ended at noon.

I told her "I'm sorry, but your salesman told me about the rebate, sold me the machine, then explained that he was out and encouraged me to buy the returned unit. He assured me, without my asking first, that I would get the rebate. And the sticker on the display said the promotion ended on 11/25, not noon on 11/25. Since your employee assured me that this is the price I would pay, I want that price. If your policy is different, then you need to educate your employees." I didn't yell, but I was very firm.

She asked me to hang on and walked away. When she came back, she said that she had checked with the manager of the TV area. He had already heard about what the salesman told us. He confirmed that he had offered the deal so we should get it, but then set the employee straight so he wouldn't do it again. Then she said that, since she couldn't get the rebate paperwork for me, she would credit me with $50.00 right there. Sweet! That worked for me. Then we opened it up, confirmed that everything was accounted for and worked and brought our new toy home - at an even better deal than we had originally hoped to get. I was pumped!

Yeah, we have to go back to Wally World tomorrow to return the first player, but that's OK... They've got a great deal on a blender I've had my eye on...

Here's a few comments from this post:
Star said...
Good Girl! THat's how to get what you want and still retain your dignity. I am also a CS veteran(23 yeaars).

YellowRose said...
I believe in standing up for oneself, because no one else will in the retail business!!
Thank you so much for all the kind words when you visited "My Garden!" I hope to see you again!
I'll be back here to see your "Rants, Raves & Revelations!" :)

Carmi said...
Hiya BG. It was great crossing words with you on Michele's and my blogs. Thanks for dropping by!
Great job holding your own on this one. I've learned much from reading this entry - I'm never a pushover either, but your experience shows how to really balance your response.
I couldn't agree more about the need for a DVD player on a long car ride. We bought ours - we regularly do 500+ mile trips with our three munchkins, and will be driving to Florida with it in the near future - earlier this year, and it's been a godsend.
I know we didn't have these when we were all kids. But we also weren't belted into car seats like our kids are these days. Times have changes: technology sure helps maintain our sanity.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Blond Girl's Firsts

First best friend: Jennie, who was 9 months younger than me. We grew up across the street from one another until I moved away in 9th grade. Jennie wanted to be popular; something I was clearly never going to be. In 7th grade, she told me that we could be friends before and after school, but not on the bus or at school. I gave that nonsense about 2 days and then told her we were either friends 24/7 or not at all. It worked; she decided I was more important than her bid for popularity.

Jennie was in my wedding and we did well for the first two years of my marriage. Then, in some I-still-don't-understand-what-happened misunderstanding (over a baby shower of all things), we drifted apart. She hasn't seen me since the operation or since my dad died. I miss her so much, but I feel so awkward that I don't know how to bridge the distance, you know?

First Car: Well, the first one I bought and paid for myself was a silver 1981 Ford Escort wagon. The hatchback was so rusted out that I called her "Lacey". I only owned the car a year and during that time it went through something like three or four headgaskets. What a pain! The first car I ever drove was a red 1975 Ford Pinto. I always wanted to have one of those bumper stickers that said, "Roses are Red, Violets are blue. If you backend me, then you'll blow up too!"

First kiss: My first kiss was when I was 20 years old. I was a bank teller and there was a customer who made it a point to visit my window every day. He was a good deal older than me; 34 years old, in fact. When I told him I was leaving the bank, it gave him the courage to ask me out to a movie and dinner. I don't remember where we ate, but the movie choices were "Howard the Duck" or a Rodney Dangerfield movie. We saw Howard. Afterward, he took me out to the Minnehaha Falls to walk around in the moonlight. At the bottom of the falls, we sat on the bridge walls talking. I was telling him about my dad when, out of the blue, he grabbed my chin and pulled me in, saying "are you feeling romantic?". After the kiss, I was so discombobulated that I started walking back up to the parking lot (100 or so steps) and when I got to the top, he asked me what that was about. I explained that I had never been kissed before and it scared me a bit. We sat in his car quietly for awhile and he just held me. After awhile, he kissed me again. I was ready this time. When he pulled away, he said "that was not the kiss of a woman whose never been kissed before!" But it was. I swear.

First big trip: In 1979 flew to Arizona by myself to see my sister, the Techno-goddess. I was 14 years old - and well developed for my age. I stayed for 5 weeks and while I was there, my sister got my hair cut, bought me new glasses, bought me my first pair of high heels (candies slides, remember those?), taught me to wear makeup and gave me a low cut dress. The effect was, um, dramatic. I wore the new outfit home on the plane. On the flight home, a steward offered me a glass of champagne. He nearly swallowed his tongue when I said was too young and asked for a pop instead. When I got off the plane, I walked right past my mom, who didn't recognize me. When she finally figured out that the young woman was her daughter (and not the child she'd put on the plane), she called my sister and yelled at her for nearly 15 minutes!

First flight: See above. I should have had the champagne.

First time skiing/snowboarding: OK, I am a native Minnesotan, so I should full of stories about this. But I've never skied. The closest I've ever come is once in 5th grade when our class went cross-country skiing at a local wildlife reserve. It was slow, quiet and 25 degrees in the middle of January. Perfect for my one and only skiing experience.

First Alcoholic Drink: When I was 15, my parents had their 25th wedding anniversary and we kids threw them a big party. Somehow, I was standing in as the bartender. I didn't know the first thing about mixing drinks. My uncle asked for a "JD & coke". "What's in it?", I inquired. He told me the ingrediants and I proceeded to fill a glass half full of Jack Daniel's and half full of coke. My brother intercepted the drink and explained I'd made it waaaayyy too strong. I took a big swig and said "what, it tastes fine to me". He poured half of it out and then filled it back up with coke and took it to my uncle.

This scene was replayed about 4 times over the next hour; each time I made a drink, I would make it half booze and half mixer. Each time my brother would intercept it and make me take a taste. Each time it seemed fine to me (this was my first indicator that I could hold my liquor). Later on, my brother tried to make me think I was drunk by swaying each time I looked at him. I knew better though; I wasn't drunk, he was just a joker!

First ticket violation: I got my one and only speeding ticket coming down off a bridge and going about 5 miles per hour too fast. The speedometer on the car was broken. I didn't realize then that I could have fought the ticket. Oh well; its the only one I've ever gotten. Notice I didn't say it was the only one I ever deserved.

First job: This, of course, does not take 6 years of baby-sitting into consideration, but after I graduated from high school, I got my first "time clock punch job" at K-mart working behind the snack counter. I wore the most hideous orange and brown polyester uniform ever designed by man. I'm surprised anyone even had an appetite after looking at me in that horrible outfit. I only worked there for three months, and I never went back to that kind of job again.

First date: This is scary, I know, but I think it was the date of my first kiss... I'm not sure! Yes, it was. The ill-fated fish date came later, but that's another post.

First memory: My earliest memory took place one rainy day when I was around 2 or 3. I was buckled into the car seat of my mom's baby blue VW bug, clutching my blue and white polka-dot stuffed elephant and reading a picture book about and elephant and a mouse in a very colorful jungle. I sure wish I knew what the title of that book was!

First crush: Ah, young love in the sun. During my 5 week stay in Arizona (remember, I was 14), I fell madly in love with my sister's 14 year-old neighbor, Billy Sjoquist. He had the cutest curly blond hair and freckles! Billy and I were inseparable and did everything together. We built a house out of 6 decks of cards and went swimming every day. Everything was great until the 4th week when he tried to touch my girls (it must have been the makeup and haircut and all that my sister got me). I made him stop. He mimicked me in a high-pitched sing-songy voice. I told him he was a child and that was that. We were done. I wonder what he's up to now?

First True Love: Easy. He's my first true love and he will be my last true love: Champs, the sweetest man I've ever known.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

The 24 Hour Meme

If you haven't figured it out yet, I love memes. Not sure why; I just think they're fun. So, I decided to create one of my own and see how far it spreads.

Here's how it works: I'm going to list each hour of the day and then a reason why that hour (anytime in the 60 minute block) is significant. You can cut and paste the basic template and then fill in your own times. Then, comment here to let us know you've posted yours. Sound like fun? You know it! Challenging? Of course! Buckle up, here we go:

12:00 a.m. - Midnight is important for all the New Year's Eves - especially 1998, when I decided that, as of that moment, I was no longer waiting to meet a pastor to marry. Instead, I would just relax and have fun and date for the sake of dating, instead of finding a husband. I met Champs 31 days later.

1:00 a.m. - This hour is one of a fond memory. Our wedding reception ended at about 1:00 a.m. and our best man escorted us to our honeymoon suite (in the same hotel as the reception). He was there about 10 minutes, showing us the gift he'd prepared for us, taking pictures and reminiscing about the wedding. We finally, gently guided him to the door. It took us a few minutes to get him to understand that, now that we were married, we'd like to be alone, please!

2:00 a.m. - The first time I visited Champs in his hometown, I left the cities at 5:00 or so in the afternoon. I arrived in Hometown City, Another State at about 2:11 a.m. or so. Champs was waiting up for me. We got engaged two days later.

3:00 a.m. - This hour belongs to one of the saddest days of our marriage. Around 3:00 a.m. or so on 9/9/99, we got a call from Princssis, Champs' sister. Their father was dying and if Champs wanted to see him, he needed to get home. I had him on a plane by 6:00 a.m. or so and he was in Hometown City by 11:00 or so, but he was too late. He missed his dad by about an hour. That was the only other time I ever drove to Hometown City by myself.

4:00 a.m. - Once in a great while, by some miracle, Champs and I will both wake up sometime between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. and we won't go back to sleep. We will lay there, in the quiet of the pre-dawn hour and enjoy one another's company. With a mom and a small daughter living here, those few quiet, private moments are precious and I cherish them.

5:00 a.m. - Sweet Girl was born at 5:55 in the morning, weighing in at 5 lbs, 15 oz. Now she's 5 years old. That number and Sweet Girl are pretty connected.

6:00 a.m. - I better darn well be out to the bus stop by 6:00 a.m., or I'm going to be late to work!

7:00 a.m. - This time is special each day because it's when Smoothie and I go down to the coffee shop to get our morning fruit smoothies with vitamins. This is our gab time and it always energizes me to get a lot of work done after.

8:00 a.m. - Every Saturday and Sunday morning, Sweet Girl comes running into our bedroom and we three spend a good 45 minutes in bed laughing, tickling and talking. This started when she was a baby and we'd go get her and bring her in with us. Some day she is going to decide she is too old for this ritual, and a part of my heart will die with the passing.

9:00 a.m. - On a Saturday morning, this is the significant hour of The Family Breakfast. Be it waffles (Champs makes the best waffles!) or pancakes or my special cinnamon french toast, we all get together around the table and enjoy time together before the business of the day begins. Sweet! And I'm not talking about the syrup!

10:00 a.m. - SHOPPING TIME! Just ask Geekwif and Curly Girl. By 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday, we can be hot on the trail of the best consignment shops in the city.

11:00 a.m. - October 19, 2002 at about 11:20, Champs and I went to the closing of our home. This is the first home we ever bought. Man, we signed a LOT of papers!

12:00 p.m. - On 9/27/2003 my father lost his battle with lung cancer sometime after noon. I was planning to go visit him that morning, but decided to wait until after Sweet Girl had her nap. So I missed him. It happened to both Champs and I.

1:00 p.m. - This is the last one I haven't filled in yet. I can't think of anything significant about 1:00 in the afternoon. Wait, yes I can! In our city, at 1:00 in the afternoon on the first Wednesday of the month, every city in the metropolitan area tests their civil service sirens. The Twin Cities is HUGE and it doesn't matter where you are; you will hear sirens the first Wednesday of the month at 1:00. I remember it freaked Champs out a bit at first. I'll miss it when we move to Another State.

2:00 p.m. - We have a family tradition on New Year's Day. We have a late lunch/early dinner of soup and sandwiches. Then we eat again later in the day. What a way to start the year :-)

3:00 p.m. - This hour belongs to Champs. He was born at 3:29 p.m. His mom likes to tell me that his father took one look at the head full of red curls and said, "oh no!" I, on the other hand, am delighted by each red curl.

4:00 p.m. - Sweet Girl time! I leave work every day by 3:30 to that I can be home to meet her bus at 4:20. That's why I leave so freakin' early in the morning!

5:00 p.m. - Daddy comes home! You haven't seen joy personified until you witness a 5 year-old girl who is so happy that her daddy is walking in the door. She screams, laughs and jumps up and down - kinda like Dino when Fred came home on "The Flintstones". I love it.

6:00 p.m. - Nothing really special about this hour. What is significant, however, is how many different ways you can find to feed your family at this time of night. Especially when you don't really feel like cooking. Thank goodness for frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts!

7:00 p.m. - Champs and I were married at 7:00 in the evening on 10/09/98 in a beautiful candlelight ceremony. It wa beautiful and I loved every minute of it.

8:00 p.m. - This one is mine; I was born at 8:42 p.m. My mom went through 36 hours of labor!

9:00 p.m. - This is the soaky bath hour. For the next 5 months, I am sure that I'll be freezing cold. If I want to sleep at night, my only defense is to get in a tub of the hottest water I can stand and thaw out. I don't know why I'm this way, but since I had the gastric bypass I've been a human iceberg.

10:00 p.m. - Time for the nightly news. I have a love/hate relationship with the news. I always watch the same channel and I like the anchors on the news. I need to hear the weather and I enjoy the "feel good" stories. But with gangs in our cities and my brother-in-law, Tank, in Iraq, I'm really not fond of listening to national and world news.

11:00 p.m. - In spite of how early I get up every day, it's usually sometime after 11:00 before I actually get to bed. I need more sleep!

And that's 24 hours - spanned through my life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

If You Don't, Dont.

When Champs and I got married, we had a lot of fun getting him acquainted to life in the big city. Having come from a small town to this HUGE metropolis area, he had a lot to learn just in terms of getting to know how to get where he was going. This was in 1999 and Mapquest, thankfully, was a mainstay at that time.

He did pretty well; he quickly learned all the routes to home, family, work and the local grocery stores and restaurants. After he'd been here a few months, he got a new job installing office furniture. That job nearly got him in trouble. See, every morning he had to call in to find out where that day's assignment was and then meet his team there. As long as they sent Champs to Minneapolis and points north, he did OK. But when they sent him to St. Paul and other points east, he got very nervous - and sometimes, lost. To put it mildly, he HATED having to go to St. Paul, Mapquest not withstanding.

One day he was told to go to St. Paul. He nicely asked to be reassigned, but they said (succinctly) NO. He then asked for directions to get to the site. They gave him a list of directions that seemed to make sense so he headed out. Once he was on the freeway, he couldn't find the "crosstown" no matter what he did. The people there forgot that he's not a native and didn't tell him that he needed "62 east" - they used the local jargon.

After driving around for an hour or so, he found his way home and used Mapquest. That solved the Highway 62 mystery and got him to St. Paul. However, once the got close, the street he needed seemed to disappear. He followed the map. He called the office. He stopped and asked the locals. No matter what he tried, he couldn't find his way to the site. Finally at around noon, he gave up. He went home, called in and told them he couldn't find the site no matter what he did and that he would not be in that day.

The next day he called in for his assignment. Oh no, St. Paul again! My normally sweet, mild tempered hubby lost it. He stomped around. He slammed the refridgerator door shut. He kicked the bedroom door - and he let loose with language and opinions so unsavory that I was in shock.

I put up with this as calmly as possible as I got ready for work. I tried to cheer him up and see the bright side. I told him to take our car since it was a more comfortable drive. He agreed that he would drop me off at the bus stop on his way out. I mapped the route for him on Mapquest since he was too angry to do so. I did my best to help make it all better for him, but it wasn't enough. All the time, he kept up his pity party.

Finally. I. Had. Enough.

"Stop it!", I told him. "OK, so they are jerks for not remembering that you're new and they're jerks for sending you to St. Paul. I've already pulled it up on Mapquest and this one is easy. You toured the city yesterday, so you know where you're going. You are being a brat and I've had enough! You're an adult. Now start acting like one!" I gave him one last glare and stomped out to the car.

Champs came out and quietly got into the car, much subdued. He drove me to the bus stop in silence. I was too mad to do much talking. When we got to the bus stop, I got out of the car and then leaned back in. I told him in a pretty deadpan voice, "I love you... VERY MUCH. If you get in a better mood, call me. If you don't, DON'T."

Funny thing, he called me about 3 hours later, his mood much improved.

We still laugh about that morning to this day. And if one of us says, "I Love you. Very much", the other one generally laughs and asks, "Oh no, what did I do now?"

Here's a few comments from this post:
Geekwif said...
That's a very compassionate way of course. ;)

kenju said...
What a sweet story. Our direction flaps (and there are many, since hubs is directionally challenged) usually end in a spate of name-calling and shouting.

Shannin said...
As a non-native the whole 35W and 35E had me all confused, especially because they run north and south! Don't get me started on Eden Prairie Drive (which is a huge circle...).

Holly said...
heehee. next time i'm mad at husband i'll just tell him i love him. very much.