Hooray, hooray! I can still read!

I got my new bifocals yesterday; so far, so good. I took my reading lesson, and so far, it hasn’t been too difficult for me to adapt. I even drove with the new glasses on last night and survived the experience.

The drywall guys (Brian Thompson Drywall in San Jose) finished yesterday as promised; it looks like they did a good job, but I won’t really know until we have a chance to paint the ceilings (to be more accurate: until we get the ceilings painted). They were on-time and courteous and clean, and that’s a pretty good recommendation right there.

There’s nothing like shopping at Fry’s…guaranteed!

One of the Bay Area’s assets is Fry’s Electronics, where you can find almost anything that a nerd would want, from potato chips to memory chips, with a wonderful 30-day return policy. What it doesn’t have is fast, friendly, competent service.

I decided I wanted a GPS receiver tonight so I’d know where I was going tomorrow, and the only place I had time to go was Fry’s. Parking was, as usual, a problem, but I persevered. I found the GPS section quickly; not too surprisingly, the units were locked up. My mission, should I choose to accept it, was to find a salesperson who could unlock the case so I could buy a receiver.

If you’ve ever shopped at Fry’s, you know what comes next. Of course there was no one in the immediate area. So I found someone in the next aisle (telephones) who was stacking things and asked him. Naturally, he couldn’t help me, but he suggested I ask the people two aisles over in components.

That’s where they sell hard disks and RAM; it’s always crowded with wanna-be customers waiting for salespeople. Tonight was no exception — and it seemed very unlikely that even Fry’s would overtax those always-busy salespeople with stuff outside of their immediate area.

So I went back to the store entrance and got the “Person in Charge”. Who, of course, wasn’t actually in charge; but, amazingly, he knew enough to ask someone else what was going on, and that person knew where the keeper of the GPS case keys was — in the component cage behind the cash registers. So the competent person (well, by Fry’s standards) told the newbie to go with me back to the GPS aisle and see what he could do for me.

Back to GPS-land. Nope, nobody there. So we return to the hard disk aisle, and my helper actually got the attention of one of the salespeople and found out that the person with the GPS keys was…you guessed it…in the component cage behind the cash registers. On the second try, my helper figured out that maybe he had to find the person with the keys — unfortunately, I couldn’t go with him to the cage.

But, much to my surprise, he reappeared two minutes later with the original competent person from customer service, who was carrying the keys. Back to the GPS cage. I knew not to expect technical help, but at least now I was able to examine the boxes and pick out one that hadn’t been used and returned (the liberal return policy has a downside). And another customer who hadn’t been quite as desparate as I was glommed onto the case and picked out a GPS and map software as long as it was available.

Now, I had the box in my hand…but, of course, I couldn’t just take it to the register. Instead, the guy from customer service had to print out a price quote for me to bring to the register; he told me to finish my shopping and pick up the GPS at Will Call. I told him I was done and I’d walk with him to the register — I’ve been a Fry’s shopper much too long to be fooled by such simple tactics.

Off we went, and the rest of the transaction proceeded quickly — there wasn’t even a line at the cash registers or the exit search.

So now I’m the proud owner of a Garmin eMap GPS unit; it will tell Microsoft Streets and Trips where I am, but it won’t accept a routing from Streets and Trips — for that, I have to buy the Garmin mapping software. I’m not sure that’s necessary, at least not yet…and I certainly wasn’t going to go back to Fry’s tonight!

Shabbat Shalom!