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The ‘Dumbing Down’ of America

on 25 January, 2017

I suppose that this probably puts me squarely in the “old lady” category, but I have to tell you this story. It is one of those ‘shaking your head’ in disbelief kind of stories and me and The Kid laughed about it solidly for like four hours on the day it happened and sporadically since it occurred.

My house is a computer connected sort of house. Routers – both wired and wireless -and computers and smart devices abound. I invested in a Nest thermostat about a year ago and have seen great reductions in the amount of heating and cooling we use in that time. I really like that I can make changes to the schedule and the temperature setting in the house without having to go to the hallway (where the thermostat resides) and can do it in the middle of the night with ease.

I had heard about some of the other devices being developed, so I opted to try another. I set me sights on the Nest Cam Outdoor, with installation at the front door. This is so that I can see who is there before having to try to get to the front door from my sewing room or bathroom or wherever I may be. You know, getting up and moving still takes a minute or two to get rolling ever since the bi-lateral knee surgeries.

While on one of my many trips for supplies, The Kid and I found ourselves at Home Depot. And they just happen to have a display for all of the Nest devices. Quite convenient if I do say so myself. So we take one of the purchase cards from the display and along with our other items, we head to check out.

img_3923Now, as you can read, you are supposed to take the card to the service desk and they ring it up and you pay for it… then they get the camera for you.

Well, this particular young lady took the card (and paint and glue etc) and rang the purchases. As she completes the sale via credit card, she places all the items a bag and hands it to us along with the receipt.

Let me reiterate: she places this 6 1/2″ piece of fiber board with some printing on it into a Home Depot bag and hands us it and a receipt that clearly shows that we bought a $200 camera. And then she turns to the next customer.

I’m not usually known for being tongue tied or at a loss for words, but this particular interaction caused me to be able to grasp exactly what she did. I am looking in the bag and then to my son and back again, trying to fit the pieces together in order that something makes sense!

I have to reach into the bag to retrieve the card and then assert myself back into a conversation with her. I have to have the look of befuddlement on my face as I hand her the card back to her and ask “…and you’re now going to actually give me the camera I bought, right?”.

Well, now it is her turn to be confused. She is looking at the card and then to me and back again. I ask her “you don’t think I just paid two hundred bucks for this piece of cardboard, do you?”.

I am shaking my head in disbelief. She tries to hand the card back to me. Even the generally-won’t-say-shit-even-if-he-had-a-mouthful quiet and shy young man looks at her and shaking his head says to her that she needs to get an actual box containing a camera. She turns to another clerk and holds out the card. I have no idea what she is thinking or how the hell she came to be standing behind a cash register in a store where tens of thousands of dollars must go through that store every day.

Her co-worker sort of shrugs and giggles at her and then looks at us and says that they will be right with us. They disappear behind a wall and I can her Clerk2 explaining to Clerk1 that she needs to find the box that corresponds with the code on the card. They are back there a while and I am thinking that they don’t have what we ordered and next comes that hassle that the charge she just rang up will take three days before the credit is applied when they come around the corner with the box.

And yes, I checked it and double checked the code on the box to make sure it is the right one and proceed to slice through the sticker to open the box… I want to make sure there actually is one inside! For some unexplained reason, I wasn’t sure that they didn’t know that there is actually supposed to be a product in exchange for the two hundred bucks and change! Clerk2 is watching me do this and does another sort of chortle kind of sound and make this gesture with her eyes to say ‘Clerk1 is kind of ditzy in a honest sort of way’.

Frankly, I am still shaking my head that this actually transpired! I mean, this isn’t a revolutionary new process for safeguarding expensive small items from sticky fingers… this is a time tested process. Any clue that Clerk1 now understands this is conspicuously absent from her face, but The Kid and I take the box and our bag and head towards the door. I look to my son and say, “Did that really just take place?”. He laughs.

We’re still laughing about it. It is steadfastly becoming part of our personal interaction – a “you had to be there” kind of inside joke. I’ve been wanting to write this story, but I had to go back and get one of those cards so I could take a photo for the post. This post. I’ pretty sure this will be one of those jokes that we keep between us for a long time. 🙂img_3922So, to end this post on a positive note, I wanted to show you my violets. I became the defacto owner of this plant when I took over a desk vacated by someone way  back in my job history. It has done so well that I had to separate it into two pots. The blooms this year are absolutely amazing… in this planter. The other one is barren so far.img_3921

MacCupcake

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