Tuesday, January 21, 2014


 I spent the other day at Sears, and I unintentionally ended up making quite a few of the employees laugh.

The reason why I went there was because of a sale on vacuum cleaners. My own vacuum cleaner finally coughed its last cough after five years of sucking up fur balls the size of oranges. So when I saw the Sears flyer that showed a powerful vacuum cleaner that not only was specially made to tackle pet fur, but also was on sale for nearly $100 off, I hopped into my car and took off so fast, I left skid marks in the driveway.

I entered the store through the automotive department door and noticed a sign that said they did state inspections. It just so happened that my car needed to be inspected, so I asked the clerk if he might be able to squeeze it in.

“Sure!” he said. “Drive it right into the garage!”

I was happy to be able to get one of my least favorite tasks over and done with. Usually every January is spent with me making appointments for an inspection and then having to cancel them because of blizzards, ice storms or the Abominable Snowman blocking my driveway.

And the added bonus of this inspection was I could shop for my new vacuum cleaner while it was being done.

I drove my car into the garage and then asked one of the mechanics if while my car was up on the lift, he also could rotate my tires. I’d bought them at Sears back in June and the clerk had told me that in order to keep up my warranty, I should have them rotated every six months. So I figured it was just about time.

Then I was off to the vacuum-cleaner department. A smiling clerk assisted me, and I explained to him about my dog-fur problem and how my current vacuum of five years, a Sears Kenmore, just couldn’t fight the battle any more.

“I know what you mean,” he said. “My dog is shedding all over the house right now, too, which makes no sense at all in the middle of the winter, when you’d think he’d need it. I’ll bet you must spend a lot of time cleaning the filter in your vacuum cleaner.” 

“Filter?” I repeated.

His eyes grew wide. “You’ve had the vacuum cleaner for five years and never cleaned or replaced the filter?”

I shook my head. “No one ever told me about it!”

He laughed. “No wonder it’s not working any more!”

“Well, it must be a good brand if it kept running all these years with probably 20 pounds of fur clogging the filter,” I said.

So I bought a new vacuum cleaner. The clerk rang it up and said it would be at merchandise pick-up when I was ready to leave the store.

I still had some time to kill, so I browsed through the ladies’ clothing department, then ended up at the jewelry counter. Immediately, the case of sparkling diamond rings caught my eye.

“Can I help you find something?” a female clerk asked me.

I shook my head. “No thanks. I’m just drooling.”

She laughed. “Any one in particular you like?”

I pointed to a diamond ring that had so many sparkling carats, it could have been used in a lighthouse to signal ships.

“You have good taste,” she said. “That one is about $10,000.”

I ended up buying a ring on sale for $24 – a shiny silver-plated (over brass), glass-crystal stunner.

The automotive department called my cell phone about ten minutes later to tell me that my car was all set and had passed inspection, so I headed back over there.

“Did you rotate the tires, too?”  I asked, as I dug out my debit card.

The clerk chuckled. “Um, no. According to your odometer, since you bought the tires back in June, you’ve gone less than 500 miles. We recommend that you rotate them about every 5,000 miles.”

I not only was shocked, I was embarrassed. What kind of exciting life was I leading when I wasn’t even traveling 100 miles a month? At the rate I was going, I figured I wouldn’t need my tires rotated until about 2018.

I finally left the store and drove over to merchandise pick-up, which consisted of a small room and a machine, into which I scanned the bar code on my receipt. Within a few seconds, an employee wheeling a huge vacuum-cleaner box on a dolly, appeared.

As he followed me out to my car, I blurted out, without even pausing to think about what I was saying, “Gee, this is the first time I’ve ever bought something that I hope really sucks!”

The employee stared at me for a moment, then it dawned on him I’d bought a vacuum cleaner and he burst out laughing.

I left Sears with a newly inspected car, a new ring and a new vacuum cleaner. I considered it a productive day.

But I’m thinking that from now on whenever I decide to shop at Sears, I should go to the one in Bangor, Maine. Maybe then my mileage won’t look so pathetic.

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