Friday, February 1, 2013

This better be a good baby shower.

Apparently I don't blog anymore. Probably because all I do is read textbooks and write papers. Occasionally I edit something and throw a meal on the table.

But today . . . today was different. Today I went to Walmart (contain your excitement). I was in search of a baby shower gift for young lady who is due not nearly soon enough to suit her. She is registered at Walmart and one other place that is farther from my home, so I decided I would take the easy route and go to the close one. I also needed to get Zicam for my sick husband and microfiber cleaning towels so I can make reusable mop heads for my Clorox ReadyMop, but that's another story.

Anyway, I parked near Lawn and Garden so I could get a spot closer to the door, and after wrestling two carts apart, I went inside. I got my Zicam, got my microfiber cleaning towels, and headed for the customer service desk so I could print the gift registry. After pressing a bunch of buttons on the computer and getting no response, I stepped up to the desk where two ever-helpful customer service representatives looked at me blankly while mouth-breathing. I smiled and asked if I could print a gift registry.

They looked (still blankly) at each other, then looked back at me and one of them said, "You have to use the computer in electronics. Theirs works."

I thanked them and headed for the back of the store, hopeful. When I got to electronics, I didn't see anything marked registries, so I stood in line. One young lady was ringing up a customer, and the other had gone to help a customer find a particular product. Just about the time #1 was finished with her sale, #2 came back with the found product and her customer. #1 looked at me and asked if I needed something. I repeated my request to print a registry and, just like the two at customer service, #1 and #2 looked at each other blankly. Only this time, #2 said, "You have to use that computer right there." The only one I could see was on the counter in front of me, but it was positioned so the people behind the counter could use it.

I said, "This one?" pointing to the machine. Again, #1 and #2 exchanged a look, and #1 tried to grab the keys from #2 (apparently this computer needs to be started with a key), except that the key ring was firmly attached to a finger on #2's hand, so that #2 was yanked off her feet by that finger.

At this point, I was wondering if a baby gift was worth bodily harm, but I persevered.

The key ring was removed from #2's finger, and #1 started the computer up and spun it around so it was facing me. There was no mouse, only a trackball that was part of the keyboard. None of the keys other than the letters were marked. #1 said, "Just click where it says registry."

Let me first say that whoever set up that trackball had way too much caffeine that morning. The pointer moved at the speed of light. One rotation of the trackball and I was pointing at Pluto. When I finally got the pointer on "registry," I looked down at the keyboard. There was no indication whatsoever of what key I was supposed to push to be the equivalent of a left-click on a mouse. So I asked #1 which key to push, and rather than show me which one so I would be able to navigate the dinosaur in front of me, she reached over and pressed a key, I knew not which one.

This got me to the page where I typed in the mother-to-be's first and last names. I took a chance and clicked the key I thought might be "enter." It worked! This took me to a page of about 200 mothers-to-be with the same last name. God help me, I had to scroll again and the speed of it was giving me vertigo.

Finally, I found the right name and clicked. Mercifully, the registry came up. I asked #1 how to print it. She came over with a huff and spun the computer part-way back toward her. She said, "Just click on "help."

Of course. Because print = help.

I let her handle the rest of it and tried to will my blood pressure back down. She stood at the printer waiting.


Nothing. She clicked "help" again. Still nothing. Finally she said, "The printer's not working." I thanked her and left for the other store and its (hopefully) working gift registry.

(Funny side note: When I got to the car, I turned the radio on and the very first words I heard were from that song that says, "Don't let it get the best of you-u-u-u-u-u!" HA!)

Drove to Other Store and went straight to the baby department, which is in the very back of the store. There on a desk, as pretty as you please, was a real, twenty-first-century computer (with a mouse!) and a sign that said "Self-Help Registry Computer." I sat down with a happy sigh. I shook the mouse to wake the computer up and was greeted with a box that said "You must enter a username and password."

I looked around for a posted username and password. Nothing. I looked for an employee to help. Nothing. Walked all the way back up to the front of the store to ask a guy at the register if he could send someone to the baby department with a USERNAME AND PASSWORD. (I might have looked a little crazed.)

Walked all the way back to the baby department (at least I'm getting exercise, right?), where I sat at the desk trying not to have a nervous breakdown. Finally the nicest store employee I have ever met in my entire life came running up, apologizing before I even opened my mouth. He assured me everybody hates this system, but you just have to X out of that screen and I'm so very sorry and it will keep popping up randomly and just keep X-ing out of it and I'm so so very sorry we all hate this thing and I wish they would fix it and I'm really so so sorry.

I almost had to beg him to stop apologizing. I printed the registry, and as I was standing there looking it over, the second-nicest store employee I have ever met in my entire life came over and asked if she could help me in any way. Did I need help finding anything? Because she knew where everything was and would be more than happy to help me find the perfect gift, and oh, it's a girl, isn't that sweet? Shopping for girls is just so much fun, there are so many cute things for them and if she had one, she would just spend all her money buying cute little dresses and hair bows!

I backed away assuring her I would be fine and thanking her for her help. When I decided on the item I wanted to buy, I walked up and down every aisle and still couldn't find it. I resigned myself to the fact that I was, indeed, going to need help, and — what luck! —the second-nicest store employee appeared that very moment! It took an industrial-sized ladder on wheels to retrieve the item I wanted, and she chatted merrily about the joys of motherhood (especially to baby girls with all their cute clothes) the entire time it took her to slowly climb one step at a time and make sure the brake was on so it wouldn't slip while she was up there, and reposition a few things on that top shelf before finding the box I wanted.

I was never so relieved to get back to my car and drive home. Who knew shopping could be that traumatic?

I hope it's a good baby shower.

Be thankful ~

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