Sunday, May 18, 2008

Patriotism the American Way

We are a patriotic family. We love this great land and the ideals and principals upon which it is founded. Therefore we decided to spend our tax rebate check and feed the economy. So what to buy? I felt inspired, like Bryce, that food storage would be a good start, but I felt we needed to do even more, and again like Bryce we decided to buy a enlarged TV so we could…….be patriotic and cheer on our American athletes at the godless Chinese Olympics.
So armed with red white and blue fever and a charge card we went shopping for a simple item – one grossly oversized, but thin, TV screen. I figured an hour would be sufficient to pick out something and load it in the back of Explorer and then lean back and watch some cool Blue Ray, HD, kick butt movies. Don’t laugh because reality is so cruel.
Well that hour shopping trip has turned into a two week ordeal of comparison shopping. I picked up a whole new language like, remember 1080 “P”, not the outdated 1080 “I” and don’t even think about 720, that’s from the ancient times of the year 2007. Projection or Flat Screen – well how big is that rebate check? Do you want a screen size that you can see comfortably from the couch or do you want a HE MAN size screen so you can catch your favorite programs while playing with the kids over at the park. Consider the future technology in bulbs, HD needs replacing in 2-3 years at a cost of $300 so jump up to LED’s and stretch out the life of your living room entertainment center. But wait there is also a better technology if you use LCD’s. And of course the highest technology – Plasma - certainly unobtainable from just one simple tax rebate check. We would have to collect several checks from the neighbors to gather enough assets to purchase an enlarged Plasma screen. Maybe if we promised to turn the sound way up and keep our curtains open they might be willing to contribute. I would appeal to their deep patriotic feelings. With a huge screen I would even be willing to do instant replays of the sports teams over at the park that they could watch while in the park. The choices got complicated real fast and it seem like the rebate check was shedding important zeros.
Mom and I talked about it and decided that a reasonable compromise would make the best sense. We would go for the larger screen (61”) but with an older technology. We figured it would be easier to find the on and off switch that way. Dave, our son-in-law technical wizard, was thinking of a modest screen (52”), but with a forward looking technology. He did such a good job controlling his urge to shout NO!!! don’t buy that inferior TV.
After two weeks of study and research we were finally ready to make the purchase that would bless our home with sweet tunes and gentle images of inspiring stories. Not really, we wanted sweet action and fast played images of incredible special effects that would blow us out of our seats. We were going to replace the painting of Jesus with our big screen purchase, and put him over to the side, but thought better of that and kept the Savior in his rightful place above the mantle.
We entered the store knowing exactly which TV to buy and planned to quickly get back home for Jensen’s 2nd birthday party. Oh the best laid plans…..There happened to be an “out of the box” special on one of those coveted PLASMA screens. It was the right size and technology and so what if it cost the equivalent of 4 tax rebate checks. It was a steal…
After another hour of deliberating and crunching numbers balancing cost verses value we went with the 58” Plasma set. Then the real fun began, because then they started adding in all the extras. A box from the cable company to convert the signal to fill up that huge screen, a special unit that allows you to play the new Blue Ray movies (much higher priced that a $25 DVD player), combined with something called a PS III (this was at Dave’s urging because we could start a Rock Band or something), of course the maintenance package (which cost more that any TV set I had previously purchased), add in the hand held remote gadget that controls all the new devices, a charge for a service call to calibrate the whole system, and finally they charged me $130 for the 2’ cable to connect everything. But the cable has a lifetime warranty, for that price my great grand children ought to be able to use that cable when they’re old and foolish like me. I cried when I was presented the final bill, and the receipt alone was at least 3’ long.
When we entered the store I told the sales clerk that we wanted to buy a set and watch a movie that night, he suppressed a guffaw and said, “You think so huh.” I should have paid attention to that red flag. Since it was an “out of box” purchase, we were responsible for transporting this huge, awkward, heavy, precious as gold object home. We were told by at least 4 people that what ever you do don’t tilt it more that 45 degrees to one side or the other because it will destroy the screen in seconds or break off the base. The store promised to wrap it in protective coverings to help with the transport. That meant that it had four layers of thin Saran Wrap. As we got it outside the store to put it in the back of the Explorer it started to rain. Boy was I glad for that protective Saran Wrap. Guess what??? It didn’t fit in the Explorer, but we got it in far enough that we couldn’t push it in, pull it out, or lay it down and it continued to rain on my Mega Buck big screen. Then I got motivate like a protective parent and finally laid it down in the back. The store said it should be OK since we’re only going a couple of miles, but don’t go over any speed bumps. It must have took 5 minutes to clear the parking lot to avoid the bumps and we drove slowly home. Happy day, it stopped raining the whole way home and only started again once we were parked in front of the house. Gently cradling this 150” monster Dave and I carried it to it’s somewhat final resting place in the family room.
Now let’s make that sales clerk eat his words and watch a movie. Not so fast buddy boy. We have to set up the unit first. Dave is a genius as he flashed through screen after screen of System Set Up, System Applications, System Updates, System User Guide, System Defaults, System Billing information, System System (that last one is an exaggeration). All my personal information got fed into the magic PS III box and after 90 minutes we were ready to finally watch our movie. By that time it was 11 pm, but we were going to watch a movie it didn't matter who fell asleep. Already the TV is bring peace and relaxation into our home. Well, we did watch an incredible visual feast the very same night we bought the TV. Ohhh I feel so technical, because I know how to use a credit card (thank goodness for Dave for the technical part). Funny thing….there really isn’t an on or off switch on the whole thing. Where is my 13” black and white set, at least it has a power button?


Tracy Barrand said...

Yah, this is funny. What a way to spend that rebate check....and several others. i am blessed to be married to you.

b-ryce said...

So all you bought for food storage was a bag of chips, 2 cans of oranges, and a container of oats?

I'm glad you didn't move the Jesus picture :)

Great post dad! I wish I could watch the olympics with you guys!

Aqualung said...

Actually one of the cans of oranges was already in the pantry.
The TV is almost big enough for you to see it from Utah. Thanks for your comments.

Celeste said...

Good thing your daughters married technical men!

Brad said...

you guys are crazy insane! good luck with all those tv-loving, moving-watching, ps-III-rocking times ahead of you!

Mikidees said...

You are hilarious dad. Hats off to your credit card's hard work!