I had to buy a new TV.

Now, for those of you electronically challenged like me who have trouble finding the right end of an extension cord to plug into the wall, buying a new TV ranks right up there with a visit to the dentist’s office, even if he’s a great guy who always hides the fourteen-inch needle behind his back until you close your eyes.

Our old TV upstairs went out sometime back. I replaced it with a small thirteen-inch we had in the closet. Young eyes could have handled the small TV, but a pair of eyes over seventy years old found it awfully tiring.

So we went shopping at one of the new places in Mid-County.

I discovered two or three fascinating, but puzzling curiosities in our search for TVs. First, all that’s out there are the flat screens. We didn’t want a flat screen. We just wanted a plain, old box-type TV with a built-in VCR for my wife’s vast collection of tapes.

Good luck.

When I mentioned that to one sales person—well, he didn’t sneer, but his laugh was as close to a sneer as you can get without sneering.

The second thing I learned is that when you just want to look, sales people descend upon you like a flock of buzzards hovering over carrion, but when you’re ready to buy, the nearest one is telling jokes to his friend on the top of Mount Everest.

The third thing I learned was that there was no way I could ever hope to hook the thing up.

You see, flat screens don’t have VCRs built into them, so that meant I had to buy a VCR recorder. No, no, make that a VCR/DVD recorder because we were stunned to learn that VCR tapes were just about a thing of the past. So that meant, my dear wife would have to convert an unbelievable plethora of VCRs to DVDs, another task that we’ll probably put off as long as we can.

Now, let me get back to lesson number two, the secret of the missing sales person.

The company must have thought very highly of the gentleman in the Electronic Department for he was the only one present. There were five or six of us looking a TVs and only one salesperson. He was demonstrating a large flat screen to another gentleman. Ten minutes later, he was still demonstrating to the customer, while the rest of us glanced at each and rolled our eyes.

I looked around and noticed four or five salespeople (you can tell because of the little red vests they wore) laughing around a cash register several aisles away.

So I went over and grabbed one to help us.

Despite the fact I had to solicit his help, he did a good job answering our questions and explaining how to set it up. At least, I assume he knew what he was talking about.

You couldn’t prove it by me for after the first sentence of his explanation, I had no idea what he was talking about. Such frustration is becoming more and more frequent especially when I have to call about troubleshooting something with the TV or the VCR/DVD recorder.

The troubleshooting technicians’ explanations are even more confusing than the young sales clerk’s, but at least the sales clerk spoke English.

I had a problem with the VCR. I read the manual. That didn’t help, so I called for help.

My troubleshooter was in Malaysia. Now, I’m a tad hard of hearing. You combine that with a heavy Malaysian accent, and you’re going nowhere, which obviously is where I went. Finally, I hung up, then called back. My next trouble-shooter, David, was from India. He spoke clearly and believe it or not, we got the machine to work.

I’ve come to the conclusion the newest marketing strategy implemented by every global company is to fill their complaint departments with people on the opposite side of the earth.

Malaysians handle problems for Americans; Hispanics for the Japanese: Swedes for the French: Nigerians for the Eskimos; Hillary for Republicans; and so on.

My new flat screen TV? Well, I failed to mention that both of my son-in-laws are the electronic equivalents of the old Whiz Kids. (if you’re under sixty, you won’t understand this last comment)
Jason had me in business within minutes.