I am on a mission to improve my standard of living through consumer
electronics. I used to fight against the introduction of gadgets
into my house, having seen how useful essential tools like bread makers
and pasta machines really are. Do the math: after the first
excitement wears off and the gadget finds a permanent home crammed in the
back of a cabinet, youve still paid $20 a pound for that
pain-in-the-butt fresh pasta. But things have changed.
Im like a new convert to any religion: I used to fight against it
tooth-and-nail, but now that Ive seen the light, Im going in
gangbusters. After we footed the bill for an expensive
computer, how hard could it be to justify a new coffeemaker? The
email account we sprung for came with a free web page, so its only
naturally that we put our son Skylars picture up in a cyberframe for
the world to see: add one scanner and a brand new digital camera. Of
course the camera only made sense. Im thinking about all the
money Ill save on film development costs.
One of the great joys of electronics stores is that they carry so much
more than just the item you came in to buy. I simply didnt know just
how much I was missing out on. The last stereo I bought was a $100,
and it came with a record player and speakers. Im glad Im
enlightened enough now to know that I can get monolithic towers with
lung-shaking surround sound for every room in the house. I dont even
have to run any speaker wires if I use wireless transceivers. Im
ashamed to admit it but, recognizing that admitting ones sins is the
fastest way to recovery, I have never bought a TV in my life. I
dont watch much except for movies on tape, but now I see why: I never
had a television the size of a wall before.
I have been missing out for too long, and I have a lot of ground to
recover. Originally Rebecca and I went to Costco only to buy toilet
paper cheap, but
I shake in anticipation at the mere thought of going
there. Batteries by the brick, talking books, hot dog cookers,
pneumatic tools. How can words even begin to describe the thrill of
upgrading ones paper shredder? I cant wait until Skylar is big
enough to push a third cart around so we can buy even more. I know
we dont need a pallet of creamed corn every week, but how can I resist
saving that much money every time we go?
Weekends have become a series of campaigns. Friday night, after all
the strip malls have shut down, Rebecca and I fill out product rebate
forms and plan out our strategy for the coming day. Using military
mapping software, we plot the most efficient driving route to hit all the
stores we need to visit. Ive even installed a Global Positioning
System (GPS) in the car to keep us on track to the nearest meter.
What I dont understand is the rush to close down all the stores by 6pm
on Sundays. But no matter. We just discovered on-line shopping
over the Internet. Admittedly, its not as much fun as actually
holding and touching the things I want to buy how else could I have
learned that I absolutely needed the foot bath massager unless I tried it
first but it does get us through those long Sunday nights.
On-line shopping also has the added charm of all those packages arriving
in the mail. Now its like Christmas several days each week.
With such a cornucopia of valuable possessions, of course, there come some
obvious considerations, the most important of which is protection. I
recently called the insurance company and added a Consumer Commando rider
to cover all of our new treasures in the event of fire, earthquake,
tsunami, or nuclear fallout. Having the digital camera paid off
because I could take a picture of everything we owned except, of course,
for the digital camera itself. (I bought a new regular camera to do
that.) I also buy everything on the credit card that lets my son put
peanut butter sandwiches in the VCR.
My biggest worry, however, is theft. I have enough cardboard boxes
and peanuts to open my own packing plant. Im afraid to put them
out on the street on recycling day for fear that someone will drive by and
see all of the valuables Ive got in my house. It reminds me of
those movies where the murderer discovers just how hard it is to get rid
of a dead body. With six feet of cardboard to dispose of each week,
I have gained a new appreciation for such ingenuity.