Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The old man and the clock

Old people have their good and bad points. They are usually very crotchety and will return rosebushes, try to shop with their dogs and demand the world on a string.

But sometimes they are absolutely delightful and will smile and make little jokes with me and just make the day brighter. One dear old bird I will always remember is one day that I was working the 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. shift on an absolutely crushingly busy Sunday after staying out till 4:30 a.m. I was tired and hung over and looked it.

I was really dragging and this dear old thing, all dressed up in her Sunday best with the husband in tow in his suit, asked me how I was doing. I told her I wasn't doing so hot because I'd stayed out until 4:30 a.m. And you know what she said? "Well, I hope you were at a prayer meeting!" I nearly burst out laughing.

But back to the tale at hand. Modern technology defeats people who weren't born with things like computers and modems. Heck, I remember when we had a party line telephone. My grandparents just got rid of their old rotary dial phone last year. And granny-dearest still takes pictures with a very old Kodak with actual flash cubes.

So I shouldn't have been shocked when this old guy came in with a battery-powered alarm clock with no box — just the receipt and papers inside a plastic Ziploc bag. Yeah. Old people LOVE plastic sandwich bags.

I've even gotten returns in empty bread bags! I'm not knocking it. My grandma saves them and weaves rugs out of them. She also fills them with sand and puts them inside old socks to stop drafts at the bottom of doors in winter!

He tells me that he can't get the clock to set. Which is understandable. I can program my TiVo. Most of America can't program the VCR. And then he says that the numbers always seemed to look funny, like they were messed up.

I take the clock out and look at it and see right away what the problem in. Anyone want to take a guess? Bueller? Bueller?

The old dear had forgotten to remove the plastic display strip that had 12:03 or whatever it was from the face of the clock. So it was displaying the actual time and then the 12:03 superimposed on that. No wonder the numbers looked like some sort of wild alien language.

I pulled the plastic off and showed him that it was indeed the correct time. He goes "How about that." I asked him if he wanted it now that it was fixed.

He still returned it. Stupid old fool.


Old Benjamin said...

I stumbled upon your blog this week and love it mightily. Please keep up the great work. I promise I’m reading every day.

Another manufacturer’s decal story: I sell electronics for a well-known small-box retailer. It was all I could do not to laugh out loud at the cretin who wanted to return a caller ID device because the same person (John Smith) with the same phone number (800-555-1234) kept calling all the time! They walk among us and make babies!

Alex said...

HAHAHA - oh dear god, I work at a customer service desk at a major retailer in Canada. I had an old dude return an electric thermometer because it "didn't work".

You guessed, LCD plastic cover still firmly affixed.

Had a good laugh about that one, ann in my reason to return line in the computer? "Potential darwin award winner."