Monday, March 12, 2007

reduce re[fuse] recycle

corporate america = 0
alan sales & repair = 1

for the past four weeks i've been on a personal quest. not as epic as odysseus, but as exciting as you can get within the city limits of wichita.

last fall, my truck was broken into, and my cd player destroyed. after re-installing my stock cassette player, i relied heavily on my ipod car adapter to listen to music. everything was fine until the fuse burnt out. i thought to myself, no big deal, it's a fuse, how hard could it be to replace........the quest begins.

naturally, i went to auto zone, they have fuses. they did, but not mine. it was the same at o'reillys. i ventured into pep boys not expecting much and getting less. they did however point me in the direction of radio shack.

i walked in and found the whole staff looking like the staff of a radio shack (take that as you will). i showed the fuse to the 16 year old manager, and he scurried to a bin holding their hoard of fuses. after a few minutes of disbelief he couldn't find the right one, he informed me, (in sort of an "underground" way), of a place called lloyd's electronics's. great...another store to check out, i wasn't discouraged, at this point the whole thing was starting to become comical.

it's at this point the quest starts to slow down. it turns out, lloyd's electronics is only open until noon on saturday's. sadly, this doesn't exactly work with my schedule. thankfully a friend calling me at 11:00 a.m. last saturday woke me up in time to make it before lloyd locked the latch.

this place was underground. i walked into a store looking much like my grandfather's basement, the only difference being the parrot....yes, this place had a parrot. after looking through the fuses myself, to no avail, i showed the fuse to lloyd. after putting on his glasses and studying the object, he said, "i'm sorry sir, but i've got bad news." i said, "it's o.k. lloyd.....i'm ready to be heartbroken". he didn't get it. he then informed me that it was an "agx" fuse and he doesn't carry "agx" fuses. i of course said "oh...o.k." like i knew what in the world that meant. but hope wasn't lost, he directed me to "alan".
so i booked it over to alan's, almost betting that he doesn't even open on saturday's. as i rolled into the parking lot, the door said open. i walked in and immediately showed the fuse to alan. after looking at the numbers he went behind the counter and rummaged through a fishbox full of fuses. while he matched numbers, i looked around. this was in fact, an appliance repair store and behind the counter were the cords, knobs, and various other parts of every imaginable appliance one could think of. i was just about to get lost in thought about this store, when allan informed me he had the fuse. i bought two, for $1.75 and went on my way.

driving back to my apartment, with the sort of feeling i'm sure athletes get after winning a state championship, i started to think about this appliance repair store. there was one man behind the counter, and no one else in the store. it occurred to me, i can't remember the last time someone said in conversation, "oh, i'm getting my coffee pot back from the shop tuesday, you should come over", or "man i really need to take my dvd player in to get tuned". do people fix appliances anymore? are things so cheap that it's easier to buy something new? is the quality of objects today, so poor, they're not worth fixing? how does this guy stay in business? is his bottom line filled with people like me, people who are too cheap to by something new? as i pondered this thought, i was somewhat pleased that corporate america didn't have my fuse, a man named alan did. hooray for small business........hooray for the little guy.

i then went to walgreens to fill a prescription.........


Anonymous said...

fantastic alliteration! "...lloyd locked the latch..."

i also commend you on your quick witted observation of the perfect opportunity to use the phrase [lyric] "lloyd, i'm ready to be heart broken."


Helen E said...

Eric, things ARE so cheap that it's easier to buy something new. You and my grandparents should get together on this subject - the cost of convenience.

Unknown said...

I appreciate real life applications of pop culture, way to go on the Camera Obscura reference.

FastTrakStatus said...

damnit. i was beaten in applauding the camera obscura call-out. then again, what's stopping me from doing it anyway? so ... um,

eric, i applaud the camera obscura call-out.

furthermore, alan's overhead is probably comically small. i wonder if it would be worth it to show back up at alan's with a pack of lucky strikes and six pack of high life. i'll bet that guy's got some stories, son.