Today was change toilet seats day.
But I violated my top two rules of
buying retail. I grabbed a cart and
went to a familiar aisle I’d been to
before. I picked up my last three
smoke detectors. Then I went to
the toilet seat aisle to seek out
two replacement seats. I found
the model I was looking for. Only
two left. Retail rule number one:
Don’t buy the last of any item(s) on
on the shelf. I looked high and low.
I pulled them off the shelf. Oddly,
they had the same stock number in
black marker, but the boxes were
different. A curmudgeon of a clerk
turned down my aisle. By the look
on her face I could tell that her
daily plan of customer avoidance
had failed. “How timely,” I said.
She gave her eyeglasses a push
and snarled, “What’s the problem?”
She walked up to my cart and took
out what looked like a Star Trek
tricorder. Retail version. She
scanned both boxes saying, “They
are both the same thing, just
different boxes.” And she walked
away. As I stood there thinking
whether I should violate my retail
buying code, I hoped she went
back to the planet she came from.
Busy day. I had a few more stops,
so I made my way to the cashier.
Three stops later, I was home.
Going on one. Late lunch today!
I was hungry. Sandwich, olives,
and the end of my morning
thermos coffee. Half a mug. I
tasted it for temperature. Not
hot enough. I put a pinch of
Kosher salt in the coffee, then
zapped it for twenty seconds.
I decided no sugar. Added
creamer and took my place at
the table which is always the
same. I ate and continued to
read “Adventure V: The Five
Orange Pips.” Sherlock never
disappoints. One more sip.
That was a good half-a-cup of
coffee! Toilet seat time. Well,
I decided to open the one in
the plain box first. It was still
factory sealed in plastic but
the hinges were different. So,
I looked more closely. It was
the wrong model. Another
thing. The boxes didn’t shake
the same. The wrong model
shook solid; the other made
noise. Something loose inside.
Drat! I violated retail buying
rule number three! How did I
miss that? With trepidation
I opened the one in the right
box, but it makes noise when
you shake it. No plastic wrap.
Open hardware bags and items
loose in the box. What is this?
Not only loose but wrong
hardware; metal instead of
plastic. Someone returned a
“used” toilet seat. Or maybe they
just tried it once. Yuck! Well, I
couldn’t call that store back
because I know I bought the
last two in stock. So, I got on
my laptop and looked up
another store near me. I’ve
been to both. One is ten miles
east of me; another is about
ten miles west of me. I gave
them a call. After a long
complicated recorded message,
I got a customer service rep on
the line. After a short explanation
she said, “Not a problem. We show
seven in stock. One minute, I’ll be
right back.” Once again my US
Army experience came in handy.
I waited. The loud phone music
stopped, I heard a click, and she
said, “Guess what? All of ours are
factory sealed. No tape.” I was out
the door and on the way in five
minutes. I could have kissed her!
“Are you Alan?” I smiled at her as
I approached the counter. I think
the two toilet seat boxes under my
arm were a dead give away. “Cash
or credit card? Credit card takes
three days,” she told me. No brainer.
Cash out, cash in and I was out the
door with the goods. Got home and
got to work. Only needed a 5/8 inch
socket and a screw driver to put the
new ones on. To take the ones off
that came with the house wasn’t
bad but I would have preferred to
have worn a nuclear, biological,
chemical warfare suit, but I didn’t
have one. My other tasks for today?