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Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm Not a Happy Camper Report:

A few years ago, I used to frequent my local San Antonio version of Craig's List in the Rants and Raves section. The idea was, you could Rant or Rave about whatever, and it was a great release. I recall writing a long entry about a visit to a McDonald's and all of the characters I encountered while attempting to obtain a simple breakfast. It was very well received by the participants of R&R at the time, but not quite a Best Of. Interestingly enough, there is only one person from San Antonio to ever make CL's Best Of list, and that honor belongs to a friend of mine. I shan't provide a link, but you could probably find it if you looked.

Anyway, this isn't about Craig's List. In fact, I stopped frequenting the place because the San Antonio R&R turned into a racist, homophobic, anti-W, anti-Republican, anti-Black, anti-Mexican, anti-White, anti-Conservative, anti-Obama or Hillary or McCain, and anti-Mature forum for what amounted to a bunch of internet hooligans, or in my mind, the equivalent of taggers, but with less creativity.

But I do need to rant for just a moment and I hope you won't mind me taking a jaunt from my usual discussions of neighborhood watch meetings and restaurant reviews to just tell you a few things about my day.

San Antonio is a furnace this time of year, and it hasn't even gotten hot yet. Seriously, talk to me in August if you think a June day of 98 degrees makes you sweat in places you didn't know you could sweat from. If you aren't used to this, you may want to wear diapers.
So my mother-in-law lives in an older home without central A/C. She has roughly 5 or 6 window units placed strategically throughout her home to allow the place to be habitable. The most important one, the one in the kitchen that serves the dining room as well, simply went Tango Uniform which resulted in a call to my office today. Need to obtain new unit and install ASAP!

I suggested that my wife run to the Home Depot near our house and grab a new unit, then I'd come home from work, change clothes and we would extract the old one, and insert the new one. My wife grabbed her Mom's Visa, went to the Home Depot and found that the particular unit advertised in the flyer, a 15,000 BTU, 110V unit was not available. No problem says the expert working the area where the A/C's are located. Take this 18,000 BTU 208/230V unit. The one with the funny plug.

My wife is no stranger to appliances or electricity and she asked Mr. H. Depot if the 18,000 BTU unit would run on a 110 circuit. Sure it will, he reported, just purchase this new electrical outlet with the horizontal look, and you can plug it right in. So my wife asked him again if he was sure. And, he was genuinely sure.

So, we both get home about the same time, me switching into my shorts and my wife pulling into the driveway with an A/C unit ready for a window with a 220V plug, in the back of her truck and I say, "What dumbass told you this would work?" And she pointed to the guy at Home Depot.

So in the back of my mind, I'm thinking this is an honest mistake. Maybe the guy misunderstood her electrical requirements, the question about the funny plug and the difference between 110 and 220.

We go back to Home Depot, get credit on my mother-in-law's Visa for over $300 dollars, then proceed to the A/C section. My wife points out the dumbass manning the position, providing insight to customers such as, "To check for electricity in your sockets, insert a butter knife into the holes."

Wait, that's what I told my kids when they were little. (Happy Father's day).

My wife begins to verbally abuse this guy for being a total retard and he commences to tell her that, all you have to do is swap out the outlet, and it will work. Yea, part of it may work, dumbass.

Look, I'm not an electrician and I didn't stay at Holiday Inn Express last night, but I have done a little wiring in my time. Hell, just yesterday, I replaced the triple A battery on the igniter switch to my gas grill. I'm sure that Home Depot sent this genius to a few classes in order to sell boxes full of A/C units to unsuspecting people that didn't make it beyond the Electrical Engineering Merit Badge in Cub Scouts, without having Grandma singe the curtains on her new window unit. Neither of us are experts, but I am pretty confident that Bob Vila would have simply called in Norm Abrahm on this deal, and the two of them would have bitched slapped A/C boy into next week.

I on the other hand, asked him to explain to me how he could extract the required 220 from the 110 wire, simply by changing the outlet receptacle. He then explained in great detail that I simply needed to have the proper gauge wire. And I could check the wire gauge by connecting a voltage meter to it. WTF?

Can somebody please contact the Home and Garden TV police? I seriously nearly burst a vessel. Am I on crack or is not the gauge of the wire pretty much the thickness? Yes, you need a thicker gauge of wire to handle 220 versus 110, but don't you need some more voltage or amps or something coming into the outlet in question, along with the thicker wire?

Okay, so we left the 1604 and Culebra Home Depot and went to the one closer to my mother-in-law's house by 151 and Loop 410. We go in, grab the 15,000 BTU unit and head to the check-out. My wife swipes her mother's Visa and the alarm sounds and the lady at the register asks for her ID. My wife then explains that the card is her mother's and presents the receipt from the other Home Depot and asks why they never asked for any ID at the one by our house? The lady didn't have an answer, but to her credit (no pun intended), she would not accept the card.
I busted out my card, bought the A/C and am happy to let my wife and her mom figure out the details.

Okay: So I love Home Depot, but seriously - this was not a banner day for the one by my house. Oh, turns out they are building a Lowes, just across the street in Alamo Ranch. Think about it.

Okay, I don't mean to be a whiner here, but on the way home, we decided to stop at the KFC by my house. We get into line in the drive-thru behind this guy in a car that seriously would make Al Gore film a movie. The car was blowing out white smoke like like it was the opening to a Foghat concert or something.
So we wait in line behind this eco-terrorist (or maybe, anti-eco-terrorist, who knows?) and the people at KFC simply never take our order, and the line ain't moving. After more than five minutes, I finally told my wife I had a hankering for Bill Millers, and we exited the drive-thru line.

Minutes later, we pull into my neighborhood, and sure enough, the white-cloud producing car is only a few car lengths in front of us and turns out he lives only a street or two over from us. Nice. No wonder my yard is turning brown.

So there you have it. I'm all Ranted out. What pissed you off today? Tell me about it.


Anonymous said...

Eva Says..

Well just think of it this way .... You do have the coolest mother in law in town :).Now I can sleep better tonight knowing that her house isn't hot and I am sure you scored brownie points for that great deed:). Like you needed more.

KeithAlanK said...

That asshat knew just enough technical sounding terms to be dangerous.
A different plug or outlet design doesn't make 220v suddenly appear out of thin air or a 120v line. If it did I would be able to start my car from a AA battery after 5 minutes with a soldering gun.
What an idiot.
His manager needs to know that Mr. Stupid is going to get a customer killed trying to take his advice--if they don't know he's wrong, they can't be expected to know enough to flip the circuit breaker off before tearing into lethal house wiring.

Karen said...

If there are a lot of house fires in our area due to recently faulty wiring, I guess we could blame Mr. H. Depot. Keith is right...Management needs to know about that idiot before someone gets seriously hurt or killed by their combined ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Crash course:

Electrical power is comprised of voltage (potential) and current (flow).

Power (in watts) = current (in amps) X voltage (in volts)

The wire gauge determines how much current can flow through the wire (think plumbing: pipe size and water flow).

You received what could have been disastrous advice from that guy at Home Depot. FYI, he clearly violated company policy regarding advising customers.

Report the incident to that store's manager.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

Wow... what an idiot. I wish I had something entertaining to rant about, but things here have been good. :-)

Anonymous said...

quit trying to outscore brownie points from your outlaw ..brother in law....naw..stoner ...so long as the mother in law keeps COLD beers in stock...there is nothing to rant or rave about...unless june beats us to the fridge..then we can b....laters....mando..by the way...when is the next project at sweat-camp...

Dave said...

Crash course:

Thanks. We can all use a refresher - especially the guy who they put in front of the A/C displays.

Maybe he was from the accounting department or something and asked for a day in the "trenches".

Maureen said...

I think the Homer is also posting on C-D regarding fuel stabilizers and running your vehicle on water and such. I'm going to pull up to my hose tomorrow morning and give that a look-see! Heck, that's practically free.

Dave said...

Yep - I saw that. Dumbass.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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