Monday, March 05, 2012


Figurative pain

I typically turn up my nose at those extended-warranty plans that stores try to sell for everything. No, I don't really want to pay you $23.95 on the off chance that my product fails before I get years of use out of it. I have made a few exceptions, however. When my mom bought Nico's baby monitor off my registry right before he was born, she went ahead and bought a replacement plan for it. Good thing, too, because the parent half of it stopped holding a charge less than a year later. I activated the replacement plan and got a voucher, and then bought the updated version of the same monitor because it was one of the very few that didn't have a video monitor or a pad that I was supposed to put under the baby to alert me if he didn't move sufficiently within a certain period of time. Those seemed excessive (and expensive) and really, I just wanted a basic baby monitor. I hadn't been happy with the range of the one we had, but I hoped that the new version represented an upgrade. Having been burned once, I purchased a replacement plan for the second monitor. Shortly before Christmas, the second monitor failed in the same way the first had - the parent unit not only refused to hold a charge, but beeped for low battery even when it was plugged into the wall.

Unfortunately I misplaced the receipt and warranty card for the second monitor and it has not turned up in my decluttering and filing. I finally called the Babies R Us store where I bought it in a desperate bid to not eat the cost of the monitor plus warranty. The manager there was exceptionally helpful and tried going back through the computer system to see if it had stored a record of my purchase. Since I had bought it with a merchandise credit instead of a credit card, though, there was no record. He encouraged me to try the warranty company even though I didn't have the receipt, and that actually worked. The call center chick I talked to was in a big rush, but she was polite and competent and issued the order for the replacement voucher even though I had no proof of purchase. Within two weeks I received a form letter from BRU with a credit attached for the price of the monitor plus tax, which I plan to hang onto until I need another baby monitor (or other large, necessary piece of child-gear). As un-thrilled as I was with the monitors themselves, the overall experience earned a big customer-service and pro-warranty thumbs up.

The second warranty experience is from today. I purchased a Dirt Devil steam mop last May, which I dearly loved. Two months ago, it stopped making steam, so I dug out the card for the warranty plan and toted the broken mop back to Menard's today per the instructions. I don't know if you've ever shopped at Menard's, but the stores are roughly the size of Rhode Island and the employees never seem to know where anything is located. I stuck Nico and the mop in a cart and hiked over to what I thought was the service desk, only to be sent back across to the other side of the store. Once I'd turned in my mop, I was told to bring another one up to the desk to complete the exchange, so we set off to the appliance section at the back of the store where I remembered finding the first mop. Unable to locate one, I asked a guy in the vacuum aisle where to look. He sent me to the mop aisle in front of the store, which had only old-fashioned mops and brooms. I asked a girl there where to look, and she sent me back to the appliance section.

Now, I don't know if it's a legitimate medical thing (borderline hypoglycemia?) or just Get the Bitch a Sandwich Syndrome, but I get really cranky when I'm hungry. Seriously unreasonably cranky. As I was making my way back to the appliance department for the second time, Nico bored in the cart and requesting "Go home and play," I could feel the stirrings of hunger-induced rage. I found the same clueless guy and got him to rustle up his department manager, who ascertained that not only had my mop been discontinued, but the store was out of the comparable model they could've given me instead. In the end they refunded the purchase price plus the price of the replacement plan, in cash - they offered a store credit first, which I declined - so that's another big thumbs up. I guess the lesson here is to get replacement plans if they're not insultingly expensive (the mop plan was only $4.95 on a $50 product) and pack provisions (and maybe a GPS) if you're going shopping at Menard's.

Incidentally, if you have a recommendation for a good baby monitor or reliable steam mop, let me know. We had this monitor first, this monitor second, and this steam mop.

Literal pain

I broke the corner off the nail of my right middle finger last Thursday, far enough back that it bled a little bit. It didn't hurt horribly at the time, but I was shocked at how badly and how long it hurt afterward. On Friday it felt like a really bad bruise any time I tried to use or bumped that finger, and on Saturday the sore, bruised feeling was even worse. It wasn't horribly bad, but it was surprisingly painful for such a small injury and because of its location it's impossible to adequately cover with a band-aid. The phrase "cut to the quick" suddenly has new and clear meaning for me. I have also been surprised at how often I use my middle finger for things other than rude gestures, and how hard it is to avoid bumping or otherwise re-injuring that kind of injury. I had to be careful carrying chairs at work on Saturday and washing dishes on Sunday was a bit of a bitch. The worst, though, was earlier tonight. The bruised feeling is pretty much gone, but I was tying a trash bag and somehow stabbed the edge of one of my lefthand fingernails right into the raw spot on my wounded finger. It hurt so bad that I had to clamp my mouth shut to avoid using very inappropriate language in front of Nico.

And now, because I am still tired from the weekend (also, possibly, old and lame), I think I'm going to go read in bed until I fall asleep. Hopefully I won't throw my phone across the room in my sleep like I did last night. (W.T.F. Also, thank God for the Otterbox.) Tomorrow, the zoo!

Reading:  Spindle's End by Robin McKinley

Playing:  Howl by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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