Shopping should not be difficult. I'm not a huge fan of shopping. That's because for me, shopping is difficult. My brother saw first-hand why I should not go out into the world of retail.
He needed a desk chair. Since I bought one for Eddie a few years back and put it together, my brother figured I had mastered the art of chair shopping and assembly, so I could help. I was also under this delusional assumption, so I went along with him to Staples. We sat in chairs. We found a green ergonomic chair for $500. He settled on a plain black non-leather chair because the faux leather chair I got Eddie has started to wear already.
We brought the chair to the register and there we found Morty. Now I don't know if Morty was actually the name of the cashier, but it's the name I give guys like him. First, he looked like a Morty. Second, he also looked like he should be sipping a virgin margarita at Del Boca Vista. I'm pretty sure Morty isn't on call for Black Friday because Morty took about an hour to ring up the chair. There was a lot of scanning and button pushing. There was a lot of peering over glasses at screens. There was a lot of slow arm movement. The store was basically empty, yet the entire experience took as long as it would as if there were 100 in front of us on line. I know I'm impatient sometimes, but Morty could've met me halfway.
Chair in trunk, we drove over to another shopping center in Queens where there's pay-parking if you stay longer than an hour. Hopefully, Morty would not be working here because then we'd have to pay.
Incidentally, I became an expert at these particular pay-parking booths when I was in DC with Eddie because they were everywhere and I was constantly putting tickets and credit cards in machines to get our car out of the garages.
What I was not an expert in was stupid parking garage signs that have arrows pointing to nowhere and ramps that lead to possible death. My brother weaved his way around the ground level and I pointed at signs that said Best Buy, but we couldn't get to the up ramp. We got to the exit. So I instructed him to basically drive on the wrong side of the garage-road to go around again, and he listened because otherwise we'd run into a wall.
I should probably mention that the two of us both have Master's degrees and the two of us mold young minds. This is not to say we are bad teachers. This is to say that the world is run by idiots who just got by in school and decided not to apply anything they learned from teachers like us.
Somehow, we found the up ramp and then the same thing happened. We got off at a level and went in a circle, not understanding any of the signs. We did find the Best Buy though, and in my head, all I could hear was the music to Serial so I kept looking for a pay phone.
We got into the Best Buy. We found the television section. We bought a television. It was a much simpler exchange than the one I had at the Best Buy a few years ago when Eddie and I went to buy a computer and instead witnessed a rubber band fight. Different Best Buy. (Seriously, I feel like I'm channeling Sarah Koenig). It was also a much quicker checkout than the Morty experience at Staples.
Then we had to get out of the parking lot. I put my pay-parking skillz to work to use the machine to get the card to release us from the garage. We got in the car. So far so good. Then we had to figure out how to get on the exit ramp to get out. This was a challenge because:
1. There were no signs for stop or yield, so cars were flying up the ramp at the average speed of a NASCAR race.
2. We were parked right next to the opening to get onto the ramp, so cars were swerving our way.
3. We had to go up the ramp to go back down. This we figured out as my brother edged his way out of the parking space and into the oncoming traffic as I made sense of all the arrows and exits signs that pointed in all different directions.
We made it back to his place after navigating our way out of the garage of possible death. Then I put my chair assembly skillz to work. These are my chair assembly skillz:
1. Reading directions.
2. Identifying parts and tools.
3. The ability to repeat motherfucker over and over when the chair does not come together.
When we opened the box, we saw that it was not the chair that was next to the box in the store. My brother was not taking back the chair, so he settled for this faux-leather chair that may wear quickly. (I've found that most guys I know do not return things to the store ever. They either deal with what they've got or go out and buy something additionally).
We put the wheels on first, which is what the directions say to do. Because the technical writers of this product did not take my Tech Writing class OR they failed my Tech Writing class OR they chose to ignore everything they learned in my Tech Writing class because in my Tech Writing class, when I teach them about assembly manuals, one of the main lessons is Do not make the product ROLL while the consumer is PUTTING IT TOGETHER.
After we put the wheels on, we put the seat part on. Then we put the back part on. Then we attempted the sides. This is when the chair started rolling. This is when Chair Assembly Skill #3 came into play.
After about 20 minutes, my brother had a chair. We decided he should sit in it first. It did not fall apart.
Years of higher education put to good use.