You Get What You Don't Pay For

I decided to buy a home entertainment center for my apartment. I am trying to become a man and this seems like an important step in doing so. I’ve actually had a television for the last month but I have been too lazy to go get the cord to get reception. And since the Olympics were coming up I figured it would be cool to watch the Olympics in surround sound.

I needed assistance in my purchase. I selected a store called PC Richard. I figured since my name is Richard, surely a store called Richard would mean great things. Actually what it means is the people in that store know about as much about electronics as I do. Which is to say they know nothing about electronics.

I flag down a gentleman who seems only too eager to be of assistance as he pushes past another man eating a chocolate ice cream cone to help me. This should have been my first sign that this guy was clueless. Guy (whose name I didn’t catch because I couldn’t take my eyes off the baffled look on his face) really does not know how to help me.

We are staring at a wall of multiple entertainment systems, none of which are in my price range. None of them look new. In fact, a few of them look broken. After some back and forth, it is obvious Guy couldn’t tell the difference between a subwoofer and a Subaru.

Guy goes over to talk to another employee who is standing behind some HD TV blasting Shrek II. I can’t hear what he is saying but I imagine he is repeating all of the questions I just asked him. He is speaking for a minute before the other employee responds and says a bunch of stuff to him. Guy, then turns to me and says, “Oh… get it?”

Do I get what? I’m standing in front of a 94 inch TV with a giant green ogre screaming a Scottish accent through my brain. What the hell could I possibly get except that? So I nudge past Guy to the wizard behind the TV so he can tell me what I need to know. He knows things, and tells Guy to bring me back to the wall of broken toys. So we go there, stare at stuff, and I tell him it’s all too expensive. (I don’t tell him the truth which is that I wouldn’t trust this guy to sell me a jelly donut)

He asks me if there is anything else I need. Reluctantly, I decide to tell him that I need a cable to plug into the wall so I can get reception in my TV. Again, he’s baffled. I thought that sentence was pretty clear. Not so much. I have to explain it to him 3 more times, each time using a different combination of hand motions and nouns that I don’t know the meaning of because I know nothing about electronics. And apparently, this guy only speaks English, he doesn’t comprehend it.

He finally brings me to the area where the cables are and shows me a black 50 foot cable for 19 dollars and a white 50 foot cable for 16 dollars. I ask him what the difference is. He tells me it’s just probably mislabeled. Yea right. I really trust you. For all I know I’ll buy the cheaper one and bring it home only to find out it’s a dynamite fuse and I’ll blow my apartment all the way to wherever the hell Shrek lives.

So I tell Guy, there must be some differentiating factor as there is a 3 dollar difference. It’s in black and white… literally. So Guy stares at the packages for a minute and then says to me, “Umm, you can ask Ron… do you know Ron?”

Do I know Ron? Oh yea Ron, of course, we go way back. We actually go bowling on Tuesday nights. NO I don’t frigging know Ron. Do you know why? Because this isn’t god damn Cheers!

If it was, your name would be Woody, I’d have a beer in my hand, and Dr Frasier Crane would pipe up and answer all of my questions.

So I point to a man on the floor plugging cables into a TV. I think since he hasn’t electrocuted himself yet, maybe he is intelligent. So I ask Guy, “Is this Ron?” Guy responds, “Oh…uh… sure you can ask him.”

What? Oh I don’t care. I talk to floor employee. Floor employee tells me the cables are exactly the same. I ask why the price difference. He ponders that for a second and says it must be a mistake. I don’t trust him either.

I go back to the first non-idiot employee who helped me. He reads both packages and tells me it’s probably just a pricing difference. Him I believe. Third times a charm.

So I take my package to the counter and the nice lady rings me up. She tells me the price is $18.50. I count my dollars, “Ah hell I don’t have enough I have to use my card” I said. She asks me how much I have, I tell her 16 dollars, she scrunches her face, looks at her register and asks me if I have a quarter. I give her one. She lets me have my cable for $16.25. SCORE!

I take the cable home, unroll it, go to plug it in and realize… I don’t have the correct adapter. So I just threw it on the floor and stared out the window instead. I think I’ll just pretend to have TV instead. And that way I don’t even have to pay for cable. Brilliant.