Thursday, July 19, 2007

Defcon 4

Yesterday just before dinner Cathi mentioned that she bought her own Birthday Present. I didn't think much about it but asked how much she spent. She hesitated. "OK. Let's play the Hi Lo game from Price is Right.", I thought. "$300", I said, "Lower", $200, Lower, $100?, higher, $150?, nope $160".

Ok. What'd you get? "Some kids software." Huh? Cathi is usually complaining about how much time the kids are spending on the computer and she buys some kids games? Well these were supposed to be educational. I asked where she got it and this is where the Star Trek Red Alert sounded throughout the house.

"Sulu, raise shields!" I thought after she said "from some door to door sales people". I asked her if she already paid, "Yes", "OK - where's the software then?". "They'll deliver it here in a few weeks". My blood was starting to heat up quickly at this point. Defcon 4 had been reached.

Bill Gephardt would have probably agreed that a spanking was in order. But my anger management counseler's image appeared in my head telling me to just cool off and go on a walk. I took some deep breaths and asked for the receipt. The software was 10 CD's full of crap games. What I mean is games that was probably a Computer Science major's summer project and looked good on paper, but without the software in hand, installed and tried, made the $160 seem way over priced.

During the next 10-15 minutes I voiced my displeasure, but did so without causing a huge family crisis. I told Cathi that she needed to contact the sales people and get the money back. She agreed and apologized which was good, but very unsatisfying as she didn't really try to argue her case. I was also unsatisfied because I wanted the solution NOW and I also wanted to know with complete certainty this wouldn't happen again and was concerned that her turn to my line of thinking was so quick that she was just trying to avoid an argument rather than really understand my reasoning.

By the time dinner was over I was back to normal and Defcon 5 was reestablished.

After dinner I went upstairs and started helping Cathi fold clothes when I heard the doorbell ring and Jacob running upstairs smiling and saying "Mom, I found them for you down the street and said you wanted to talk to them". The sales girls were back. I can see why they smoothed Cathi over. Pretty Irish college girls trying to earn money over the summer. They gave me their 5 minute spiel including pictures and short descriptions of each game. But I wasn't budging. They gave us back the check and asked us to go through the cancellation process on the receipt.

So some lessons that hopefully were learned:

  1. Don't let door to door sales people in - unless its a neighbor kid doing a fund raising project. That's OK - cause it's more like charity rather than buying something you need

  2. Communicate before buying something over $100

  3. Don't pay for something from a stranger unless you get the goods in hand.

  4. Software, especially simple kids games doesn't (or shouldn't) cost that much!

  5. I'm going to buy a "No Soliciting" sign for our door

I'll buy some flowers for Cathi though since the incident was disarmed so nicely, and she didn't get angry at me even though I was pretty hot. Afterall, it was HER birthday present which I made her return. Maybe she can get something for herself that she really wants.

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