The grand-twerp came into command central and stood just beyond my reach. I saw him mentally measuring the distance between us and he took half of a step back. “Do we have any extra TVs?” he asked. At first I was impressed that he was a giving person, wanting to help the disadvantaged. Then I woke up.
“Why?” He took another step back. “Mine is broken.” Silence for a 4-count, and then I repeated the question. “Why?” He hesitated a second and confessed, “It wasn’t made very good. I punched it and it just shattered. Samsungs do that. I looked it up.” I mentally measured the distance between us and lowered the footstool of my recliner. “Why did you punch it?” He thought for a few minutes and said “I don’t know.” Well, as long as you don’t know, that’s fine. Even money says it was out of joy instead of from anger. People punch TVs all of the time when they’re happy or doing well on their video game. It could happen.
Since I wasn’t happy enough to punch him, I took a deep breath and tried to remember why not drinking vodka is a good thing. I centered my chi or whatever the Geezer Life Force is called.
I thought I might have bought the warranty with the TV. It couldn’t be hard to find and redeem the insurance. We have a filing system. We file important papers in the house. Sometimes we put them in the car or the camper, but usually in the house or the barn. Probably the papers were in the house. Maybe.
I finally found a treasure trove of appliance and electronic guarantees in a drawer full of odd socks and sterilized tuna cans. I like to keep similar things together. Six hours, 84 socks, and 3 cans later I found the receipt. Smack that easy button, because I am done.
Receipt in hand, I fired up the old compubox. I cruised over to the website of everyone’s favorite cultural and fashion Mecca, Walmart. Their legal department wanted me to load a picture of the receipt in the easiest way.
It took me about an hour to get a legible picture of the receipt loaded. That was easy. I filled out an easy form and hit the easy button. Done and done.
The next day, I received an email that said “You’re almost done, just complete these easy steps.” I just needed to reload the receipt again and send proof that I recycled the TV. I also needed to send them a copy of their own email because they obviously don’t have a sock/can drawer to keep important things in.
How hard could it be to recycle a TV? I mean, I’ve seen that someone recycled TVs by throwing them in the weeds, but I haven’t figured out how they got documentation proving it. I called our city office, and they aren’t a fan of that sort of recycling. I called various recycling centers all over the Galaxy and TVs were verboten. Finally I learned that Best Buy takes TVs. Their website guaranteed they’d be glad to take any TV. Just bring it in, drop it off, and pay $25.
The nearest store is 50 miles away, so I took the easy way and called ahead to ensure that they still welcome TVs. After 90 minutes negotiating with the automated gatekeeper, my phone went dead waiting on a human. A recharge and more negotiations still didn’t get a person on the phone, so I took the easy drive to the store through the Indiana Abyss.
I parked in the easy space and went in the store with the broken TV under my arm. I walked around through the labyrinth of backlit glass counters and blue-shirted deaf attendees. I surmised they were deaf, because every phone everywhere was ringing and no employee answered any of them.
I finally found a roped off serpentine path to a desk that said “Customer Disservice.” After being next in line for a fortnight, I made it to the non-hearing associate. His lip reading was impeccable, because he understood my need to pay him $25. He slowly gave me a recycling receipt and a headache.
After the trip home, I was able to upload the proof I didn’t throw the TV in the weeds. I waited. The next day I resubmitted everything and I waited. Day 3 came and went. Day 4 flew by.
Day 5, I got an email that my claim was processed. Day 6, I searched the electronic version of a sock and can drawer, my trash folder. My easy-to-use gift card had been languishing there for 2 days. I and it went to the store and got a replacement TV. That was easy.
In the end, it took me about 60 hours, nine gallons of gas, $25 cash, and an ulcer to get an $88 TV replaced. If I earned minimum wage, and, at today’s gas prices, my free TV cost $553. That’s an easy way to get $88. The grandkid should maybe take a step back.