The Gonzalez Family Herald

Headlines and commentary from a Northern California family of seven.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Chaotic Insanity Run Amok

Merry blinkin' Christmas!

I know, that was not nice. But I wanted to prepare you for this post. You see, I did something so stupid, so insane, so ludicrous, you would think that I digressed in age and mental stability to that of a block of cheese. Are you ready for this? Here it comes... I went to a store at 5:00 AM this morning.

Now that the laughter has subsided and the tears are wiped from your eyes, I can tell the whole story.

I was reading the paper yesterday and ran across an ad for an HP Photosmart 2610 printer/copier/scanner/fax with built in networking, front card readers and PictBridge. It was listed at $260 with an in-store instant rebate of $130 and a mail in rebate of $30. I thought this was too good to pass up so I figured I be at the store when it opened to go get mine. Mind you, this was not so much a Christmas present as a business necessity seeing I am currently using an HP Laserjet 4 something or other that prints one page per year if it decides to print at all.

OK, where was I? Oh yeah, I set my alarm clock last night so I would wake up at 4:30 AM and be at the store when it opened at 5:00. I figured that there would be a ton of people at other stores so there had to be a chance that I would be able to find what I wanted with some degree of reasonable expectation. That being said, I went to bed last night with the alarm clock on and set for 4:30 AM.

Sometime yesterday my two year old daughter decided she wanted to go play in my room. Her favorite things to do in my room is jump on the bed and draw the blinds. Oh yeah, and mess with my alarm clock. She had somehow managed to set my regular clock two hours later without me knowing about it. So when the alarm went off at 4:30 I was up and out of bed, dressed and in the car within minutes. As I am pulling out of my driveway I notice that the clock on my radio is showing 2:51. So I look at my phone and it shows 2:51. So I park the car, go into the house and look at the VCR, the microwave, the kitchen clock. Yep, you guessed it. 2:51 AM.

So now I am noticeably irritated, but still willing to hunt down my bargain, trap it, kill it and bring it home to feed the family. So I reset the alarm clock time, go to sleep and prepare to awake in two hours to pursue my dream of owning a really nice printer. Except, I can't sleep. Not only can I not sleep, I can't even rest. So I lay in bed until about 4:00 AM and then gracefully doze off to sleep until the stinking alarm clock decides it wants to wake me up at 4:30! My irritation level has just gone a step higher.

But not to be thwarted, I rush out of the house to get to Circuit City to get my printer. As I drive over an overpass near a Walmart and Fry's Electronic I begin to think that the world is coming to end and everyone in my city is rushing to get out of the area. There was a line of headlights that spanned about a mile to get to Walmart and Fry's. At 5:00 AM. What are these people thinking? I am supposed to be the only nut that goes out this early on the day after Thanksgiving.

Anyway, after trudging through endless traffic and numerous people that should seriously not be on the road that early in the morning without their happy place, I made it to Circuit City and stood in the half mile long line to get in.

The line moved pretty quick getting in the store, but once inside it was sheer and utter mayhem. What I thought was going to be a nice buying experienced turned out to be a trip to the ninth circle of hell. Funky smells, bad words and grouchy faces were present in abundance. However, my printers were not. Apparently the first 50 people through the door were able to get one, but everyone else just had to grin and bear the fact that they were stupid for not waiting in line since 3:00 AM. Irritation level rising... must... get... out.

I left Circuit City badly in need of some coffee and a nap. I went home, got on the computer to see if there was an inventory left of the printer I wanted and found that the Internet told me they still had some. Hooray! So I pulled out my handy dandy credit card and, voila, I was the proud owner of a new printer. All I had to do was go to the store and pick it up. Which I tired to do later that day.

Now I am going to bypass the story of the twice broken Christmas tree I bought at Lowes so I can keep you tuned in to this story. I am also going to leave out the second trip I made to Circuit City in pursuit of a laptop that, unless you had a voucher or you wanted to wait until 11:00 AM for a chance to see if there were any left, were completely unavailable. Back now to the third trip to Circuit City and the mishap that was shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

I arrived at the customer service desk to pick up my printer. After waiting for several smelly minutes for one of the two customer services reps to be freed up, I handed my receipt to the CSR and asked for my printer. He went into his little back room and came out with a guy named Frank that told me that the printer I purchased on line was not in stock and they were not expecting anymore to come in. Shocked and slightly embarrassed at the sight of this man telling me that my $140 expense was for naught, I asked the man what my options were. I pleaded with him to get me a printer as I desperately needed one and was losing my grip on sanity without one. He tried his best to help me, ultimately agreeing to sell me the floor model. After about a half hour of looking for the right accessories for the printer he finally got me back to the customer service window where his manager approved the sale of the floor unit at a reduced price of $79.

Ah, now I feel better. I also hope and pray that everyone who reads this will snap out of it next year and, at 5:00 AM, be sleeping with their spouses in a nice warm bed instead of trying to kill someone who blocked an intersection trying to get the last DVD player on sale at Walmart.

Merry early Christmas. May your shopping experience be happy and enjoyable one.

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