Wednesday, October 14, 2020

From across the other pond

Like you, I have been homebound for the past 8 months. Choosing to safely ensconce myself in my humble abode in an abundance of caution. Not so much for my sake, but for my immunocompromised wife, who has left the house even more infrequently than I have.

"Oh what I wouldn't give for 10 minutes at the supermarket, just to stroll the aisles and compare prices of spaghetti sauce from Ragu and the fancy stuff from Barilla."

Also, like you, I, we, have been doing a great deal of shopping online. Feeding the insatiable Bezos machine and guessing the contents of the many packages that arrive on our doorstep, almost hourly. 

"What is it? What is it?"

"I don't know, I forgot what I ordered."

Unlike you, or perhaps you have the same affliction as me, I have a penchant for gadgets. Once you purchase one gadget, the algorithms kick in and you are subject to ads for many gadgets. Mostly of the useless variety. 

For instance, because of the architectural geography of my house, my daughter's bedroom is quite a distance from the air conditioning fan in my attic. By the time the cool air travels along the duct ways and makes its way to her room it's exhausted and barely one degree cooler than the sweltering Santa Ana heat.

As a result I hear a lot of griping and whining. 

Not only about our shitty expensive after-market air conditioning, but also about my poor remodeling sense. Word to the wise: anyone contemplating the addition of a second story should do their homework on rudimentary plumbing, electric and framing concepts.

In any case, I took the plunge and bought a portable air conditioner for her room. The cube-like device was small, efficient and looked cute, a must for any 24 year old woman. The ad, and I don't know why I believe any advertising considering my knowledge of weasel words and hyperbolic embellishment, said the $59.99 magic machine would lower the temperature in the room by ten degrees -- it didn't.

When it arrived, three weeks late, from Wuhan, China (no joke), I was disappointed to say the least. It was constructed from cheap plastic. The box it came in weighed more than the device. Moreover it was hardly advanced state of the art engineering. 

Once I had it assembled, I placed the ice cold water in the "Temperature Reduction Manifold Tray". I turned on the device by "Activating the Laboratory-Tested Circuit Connection Switch" and waited for the "Refreshing Enjoy Cool to Air" wizardry to happen. 

My wife and daughter had a good laugh as I lowered my head and requested prompt return instructions from Amazon.

That is not to say, the endeavor was a complete waste of time. Asian gadget aficionados like myself know there's always a treat from these type of purchases. Sometimes it's the hilarious broken English copy on the outside of the packaging. 

Or, in this case, it was the unusual (pictured above) customer satisfaction card, which I filled out in excruciating detail. For no other reason than it makes me laugh.

Speaking of laughs involving correspondence with faraway Asian companies, who can forget my many responses to the mail order bride spam I was receiving in my mailbox?

Let's revisit one of my favorites...

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