Issue 42

Is that an Available Option?


                Shopping is a well-honed skill.  Normally when Rebecca and I shop, we choose stores that have play areas for kids.  These stores recognize that we’ll probably spend more if we aren’t rushing to beat the moment when our child suddenly explodes in a fit that drives us out of the store before we can buy anything.  We really like these stores, however, because after we drop Skylar off, we can sneak out the back door and catch a matinee at the local multiplex.  This shopping excursion, however, we needed Skylar’s expert input before making a purchase decision.

                “Hey!” yelled a salesman as he ran towards us.  “Your baby is crawling inside that dishwasher.”

                “I know,” I said as Skylar stood and pulled on the top rack.

                “He’s going to break the door,” said the salesman.

                “That’s exactly why we here to buy a new one,” I said.

                I could tell we had a hungry salesman here.  His eyes narrowed and he began to salivate as if he I had exposed my jugular to him.

                “Actually it’s okay for your son to play there,” he said.  “These quality doors are built to last.”  He knocked on the hardened steel to show us just how strong it was.  “I’m almost willing to bet it could handle both your son and I together.”

                He had taken my bait.

                “I’ve got a proposition for you,” I said.  “If my son can play with your dishwasher for ten minutes without breaking it, I’ll buy it.”

                I could see the salesman begin to sweat.  I had called his bluff.  Did he have enough faith in his product to pit it against an inquisitive 11-month old?  He looked over his shoulder to see if his manager might be watching.

                “It’s a deal,” he said in a low voice.  As an afterthought, he put out his hand.

                “Okay...” I said in a way that seemed to undermine his confidence as we shook hands.

                He looked at his watch.  “How long has he been in there?  Two minutes?”  Already he was trying to put his finger on the scale, so to speak.

                 “Eight minutes is fine.”  I wasn’t even concerned that it was the salesman watching the clock: I have great faith in my son.

                Skylar was already hard at work.  His little tongue stuck out of his mouth as he pulled on the sliding bottom rack.  The tiny wheels resisted his efforts, locked in their track, but a solid yank popped them free, sending the rack and Skylar backwards.  I caught my son before he cracked his head on the tile floor.  The salesman caught the rack.

                “It’s supposed to do that,” he said.  “It’s removable.  For easy cleaning.”

                “Easy cleaning?” I said as            I placed Skylar back on the open door.

                “Hey,” said the salesman, “no helping him.  He has to start on the floor.”

                Shrugging, I lifted Skylar and placed him on the floor. The salesman realized his mistake too late. Perceiving that I didn’t want him in the dishwasher only enticed Skylar that much more.

                “You don’t have any children, do you?” I asked as Skylar pulled out the top rack and laughed maniacally as he tried to hang from it.  It was too difficult for the salesman to watch.  He turned away.

                “Is he done yet?” he asked.

                “He’s just discovered the swirling jet arm, or whatever you call it,” I said.  “Wow.  I didn’t realize those could bend so far.”

                The salesman cringed.  For a moment there was silence, and then the sound of Skylar popping out the bottom rack again.

                Rebecca nodded her head in approval.  “It’s almost like the engineers designed it so you could wheel the rack over to the cabinet where you store your dishes instead of having to carry them in several trips.”

                Next came the sound of plastic bending and then snapping back.

                “I have to say I’m impressed,” I told the salesman.  “The soap dispenser door is holding up pretty well.”  I watched as Skylar climbed out and started to play with the buttons on the underside of the door.  “Say, this isn’t one of those demo models that can turn on while the door is still open, is it?”

                The salesman finally broke down.  He dove for the dishwasher and slammed the door closed just as the jets started to spray.

                “You win,” he said, defeated.

                 “I don’t know,” said Rebecca.  “He seems to really like the see-through door.” Skylar stood with his nose pressed against the glass, mesmerized.  “Is that an available option?”


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