Charlie: Let me let you in on a little secret, Ray: Kmart sucks.
Raymond: Yeah. Kmart sucks. – Scene in “Rainman”
I am a creature of habit. So for as long as I have been a purchaser of televisions in my life, all of them, save one, have come from Kmart. The one lone TV came from Circuit City. It lasted just long enough for the warranty to expire. Every other TV? Kmart. And they last years and years and years ...
I’m trying to remember how many TVs that actually is. Counting the three that are currently in the house, I think we’re talking at least eight, maybe as many as 10. Of the three currently in the house, one is in the mother’s room; it’s not very big. The second one is our current model which, for all intents and purposes, stopped working properly 4-6 weeks ago.
You still get a picture (lousy), the sound remains OK and you can barely make out anything written that appears onscreen unless it’s a dark background with white type. Otherwise, forget it. We’ve learned to adjust and only occasionally b*tch about it. (Usually, when there’s something we can’t read.)
And then, there’s the third TV. It’s a 32-inch I got for a huge bargain on Black Friday. (I bought it having a feeling that after being on almost non-stop for 2+ years, and in regular use for several years before that, this TV would eventually die.) It’s sitting in the dining room, still unboxed. Well, you say, what luck! One TV is broken and you have a brand new one.
Except that the 32-inch TV (which is 31 inches wide) will NOT fit in the Queen Anne entertainment center in the livingroom. Not unless I take the doors off. And the mother won’t hear of it. So, I decided that that TV will go in the family room – just as soon as the family room is relieved of its current warehouse duties. So, for the last month or so, we have been locked in a bad relationship with the current TV. (You know what I mean. The not ideal relationship; the one you know it’s not. It might even border on abusive, but you get just enough of what you need that you tune out as much BS as you can and tough it out. It’s easier than starting over. And it’s easier than hefting the behemoth out of the cabinet.)
Except yesterday, I hit the breaking point. I’m divorcing that d*mn television! The clincher was being unable to read the outcome of a docu-crime show. And the deal-breaker was seeing a TV that WILL fit in the entertainment center in a Sunday ad flyer. From Kmart.
I decided to just stop on my way home and see if they had one in stock. They didn’t. I asked about a store in a neighboring town. The clerk sent me to customer service. The girl at customer service kindly complied and called the neighboring town’s store – TWICE. No one in electronics ever picked up the phone. “I can give you the number and you can call a manager,” she offered sweetly after I’d stood there for 10 minutes. Sure, I thought. And get put in eternal hold hell like this again? Um, no. I left.
I’d now tried in person and over the phone. Neither channel got me a TV. Hey, I’ll go online! I buy all kinds of things online. And, while this has been a crazy experience on occasion with Kmart, I always end up getting my stuff. When I got online though, the website told me that the neighboring town was out – but my LOCAL store had the TV. Huh. So much for trying to do it in person! I placed my order and figured that sometime this evening I’d be going to pick up a new TV.
Instead, I got an email informing me that my order had been cancelled – as I’d requested. Wait. Cancel? When the hell did I cancel the order? Furthermore, WHY would I cancel it when I’ve already been through so much crap to place it?! So I called the customer service number in my email. Nice gal but I could barely understand her. And, I noticed that this number was different than the one in my original email. It made me paranoid. While the gal offered to place the order again, I passed. By this time, that scene from “Rainman” is playing in my head. Loud.
I went to the website and clicked on the “chat” option. Five minutes into that conversation, I am told that my store DOES NOT have the TV; neither does the neighboring town. The town after that, however, does. Do they REALLY have the TV? I actually asked that. Yes, says my chat buddy, at … and gives me the store address. I want to shout at the computer. I KNOW where the store is. But will I find a TV when I get there?
I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. Stay tuned …