By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
I’m getting older. There are numerous signs to remind me of this but foremost among them is that I’m getting grumpier. I am easily annoyed by things that don’t work. I could insert some joke here about our government but that’s too obvious – and besides there are lots of other people griping about that. Slumping stock market? I can deal with that. Nope, I’m annoyed with the little stuff that sucks the life out of me every day. Here’s just a slice from my last week.
1. I went to Costco to buy a jar of almonds. $500 later I checked out. Among the things I bought was a package of scissors. They were encased in a plastic “clamshell”. Ironically, the reason I succumbed to buying the scissors is that my old pair could safely be given to a 3 year old. In other words, they were no match for Costco’s plastic. I tried to pry the package apart. No luck. A swift slice with a paring knife resulted in a “swing and a miss” and practically sliced my finger off. I hacked at it with a utility knife, looking a bit like a scene from Psycho. But the blade was too dull for the “Costco shield”. My language, on the other hand, was becoming quite colorful. What I needed was a really sharp pair of scissors. Like the ones in the package. They were as well-guarded as the Crown Jewels. I thought about whipping out my husband’s chain saw. At last I found a newer utility knife. Success! The scissors were freed from captivity but I was exhausted from the effort. Do you think the CEO of Costco has ever tried to open one of these things?
2. My husband and I have been trying to eat more healthy the past couple of years. We are under the delusion that consuming our daily servings of fruits and vegetables now is going to make up for a lifetime of Oreos, Dairy Queen Blizzards and Chili Cheese Fries. So I spend quite a bit of time in the produce section of the grocery store. Have you tried wrestling with those plastic bags from a roller that you put stuff in? They are impossible to open. Yesterday I wanted to put some tomatoes in one. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get the bag open. I used to solve this problem but licking my fingers and then twisting the edges apart. But ever since I read that grocery cart handles are the dirtiest place on Earth, I make Howard Hughes look like a meth addict by comparison. I took the tomatoes and the plastic bag over to the carrots that had just been sprayed (by the nozzle that also is full of germs, by the way) and wet my fingers on that moisture. Okay, I’m a little nutty about this but really – can’t they make a bag that will open without me having to risk the norovirus?
3. We have been customers of Direct TV for 12 years. I’m pretty handy with AV components so I’ve been pretty successful in fixing most of the problems we’ve had with receivers over the years. But last Thursday our receiver went out and none of my usual tricks would fix it. I was terrified that I might miss “The Real Housewives of Orange County” so I broke down and called customer service. It went something like this:
Me: (After 30 minutes on hold) Hi – my receiver is not working. I have pressed the red reset button, I have unplugged the unit for 15 minutes, and I have put new batteries in the remote. I think I need to be connected to your next level of technical support.
Them: Hello. My name is Lobert. (Okay, so I’ve been transferred to some country where they have trouble pronouncing “r’s”). First, I need to ask you some questions. Have you tried pressing the red reset button?
Me: (Annoyed) Yes, I told you, I’ve done that. I’ve also unplugged it and changed the batteries in the remote.
Them: Have you tried unplugging it?
Me: (on my last nerve) YES!!! I told you that – TWICE.
Them: I have to go through my list. Have you changed the batteries in your remote?
Me: (eyeing the ice pick and wondering it it will go completely through my head) Yes – I’ve changed the batteries.
Them: Oh, well if you’ve done all that then I can’t help you. You need the next level of support.
So, here I sit, no TV, but I’m eating tomatoes and I can cut coupons out of the paper with great precision. That will have to keep me happy for now.