Copy Write 12/8/2004 © Updated 2/13/2006
To truly appreciate this adventure.
You must understand what came before!
King Neptune has a brother. Just in case you didn't know.
King Neptune's brother is a frequent guest at my house.
You may know him.
Murphy is his name!
The mortgage company has been nice enough about letting us stay at our house for many years. Over these years as with any older house things happen and either you fix them yourself or hire someone else to deal with it. A few months before Hurricane Ivan our house got hit by lightening for the first time serious enough to do some damage. I don't know if it was a direct hit or a "near miss" either way it made no difference. All the plug in surge protectors were fried, some even had melted areas. There were three VCR's hooked up to different televisions all were damaged. The VCR's took the electrical surge the attached televisions left unharmed. The air handler unit for the air conditioner was damaged so the air conditioner would not cycle on or off. Murphy was kind to us as the damage left the air conditioner stuck in the "on" setting. Summer time in Florida is a bit on the warm side, it was several days later we realized the air conditioner was not cycling properly. Gulf Power was most appreciative of the higher bill. Better left on than off so we did not fuss too much. Some other electrical stuff scattered around the house. Just by shear luck my daughter unplugged the computer during the storm that generated the lightening strike.
We bought one VCR and decided it was time to make the switch to DVD's. Bringing home our first DVD player we discover the unexpected. Of all the televisions in the house not one was set up to hook a DVD player directly. They all needed a RF adaptor. A friend showed us how to hook up the DVD player thru the VCR player on one TV. As with anything else best intentions never seem to get done. I never got around to buying new surge protectors, RF adaptors or additional DVD players.
End of story or so I thought.
With all the rushing around before the trip to the hurricane shelter we forgot to unplug the TV's from both cable and electricity along with a host of other electrical appliances. I am of the delusion King Neptune wanted to watch some TV after tearing apart my carport. With the electrical power shut down due to the storm, the house filled with gas fumes from the damaged natural gas line that services the house, the running water from the broken water pipes along with the rain coming in from holes in the roof. It must have been too much for the ole King.
In a fit of rage the televisions that survived the previous lightening strike were fried.
The DVD player and VCR survived. The television they were attached to initially did not want to program then about a month later changed its mind and started working.
The other TV's weren't so lucky.
A few weeks later power is restored to the neighborhood the trashed TV's discovered and the replacement process begins.
Yours truly, makes the dangerous journey into the clutches of the evil Wal-Mart Empire hunting for similar televisions sometime early October 2004. The warning signs of change were already up and the sounds of Christmas music in the air. Yes I was successful locating "like kind and quality" close to what I had spent originally a few years before. Most of our TV's were not that old. After completing my contents claim form and submitting it to my insurance company it was time for the big wait. Over three week's worth of waiting. The insurance company didn't have a problem paying the claim; just that there were so many claims and the "system" created a lot of delays.
Eventually the check did come in the mail. Happily once again I returned to the land of super low prices and smile faces. The warning signs were there on my previous visit, I just failed to read and interpret them. At the electronics section the awful truth was self evident.
Between the time of my initial visit and my return money in hand, the stuff for sale had been changed out from normal cable ready DVD compatible televisions to "new and improved" flat screen technology at a much higher price.
After completing a strategic planning meeting with my wife Lela, the "After New Years Day" operation was launched. Many times the Empire lowers prices come January.
I think a Wal-Mart greeter was hiding under the window of our rental house as Lela and I decided what to do. When Wal-Mart launched their "After Thanksgiving" sales they nailed me big time. Low end DVD players less than $30, the televisions still not where I wanted them.
Now I had a dilemma, two DVD players, one RF adaptor and one VCR. Do I hold firm to my resolve wait until January 2005 or just bite the bullet? Be careful of your thoughts for the Empire can read your mind as well as your pocket book. The Wal-Mart down the street had lowered the price of a 27" regular TV with two ports for additional input including the "S video" ports. The price just a bit more than the cost of the television needing replacement, but less than a few weeks before.
With glazed eyes and sweaty palms, the television of my desire is on display but not on the shelf. A quick conference with the store clerk and a phone call to another Wal-Mart. They don't have any!
Lela and I had lunch plans, another Wal-Mart not too far from her work. I can stop by before lunch to check. Yes they have the television with my name on it. One thing leads to another and it is 6:30 pm before I start over the hill and thru the dale to Wally World I go. Hwy 29 or Pensacola Blvd. going north out of Pensacola is always a pain to drive during rush hour tonight is no exception! Stop and go, stop and go eventually I at least make it to the parking lot. Finding a parking space even in the "way out there section" is not easy. Fighting my way thru the narrow isles once again I am surrounded by televisions. A few items in the buggy and it is time to get a store clerk to load the television onto a cart. After purchase the clerk that is supposed to escort me out the store and help load the television is way laid three times by folks needing help. I push on ahead meet him at the entrance get thru security and back out into the free world.
My pickup truck tail gate is jammed and doesn't lower. We get the 27" TV loaded anyway. The clerk goes on his merry Wal-Mart way. I purchased a few additional items including another RF adaptor. I notice the RF adaptor is not in the bag with the other stuff purchased.
It is dark; I am alone in a Wal-Mart parking lot with a 27" television in a big box in the back of a pickup truck which the tail gate does not lower. The item I paid for and need is somewhere back in there. Ohh man what to do?
Being a man of action, I decide to remove the TV from the box, load it into the passenger side of the truck cab. It should fit.
Getting it out of the box and out of the truck bed was bad enough. Man handling it into the cab with out dropping even worse.
Returning thru the doors into the holiday madness that is Wal-Mart the store clerk at the check out counter remembers me and sure enough the RF Adaptor is still in the bag at the check out stand.
Back at the entrance the shoplifter alarm goes off. Someone screams "Stop Thief" a SWAT team quickly seals off the exit to my freedom and the off duty law officer that guards the door draws his gun and takes aim. I stand trembling in the spot light awaiting my fate. Is tonight my night to get gunned down at Wal-Mart? Will my wife and daughter ever learn the truth, that it was just an honest mistake? Or will my obituary include shot dead at Wal-Mart trying to shoplift?
The lady at the security booth glares at me and commands come here!
I show her my receipt with the yellow mark down the middle (indicating it was checked previously) quickly explaining about the TV and the missing item. Recognition floods her eyes, I relax a bit. She remembers me and scans my RF adaptor to shut down the security chip. Notifies the SWAT team to stand down, and the off duty law officer to holster his weapon. The guy in the car that drives around with the yellow flashing light follows me out to my truck and escorts me from the parking lot. I guess he is still unsure about my intentions.
With all that, I am still not home free, I still have to drive home, get this thing out of the truck into the house and hooked up. I should have known something wasn't right, the process of getting the TV into the house and hooked up went too smooth.
Congratulating myself on a job well done the "button" is pushed and light floods the living room as the television powers up.
There they are the talking heads of the entertainment world doing what they always do.
Only one question?
Why is the upper left hand side of the screen that funny looking green color?
At no time did I drop the TV.
What ever is causing the sickly green glob on the upper left hand corner of the screen
was not of my doing.
Now I gotta pack this thing back up and take it back!
We did load the TV into Lela's van return to Wal-Mart, successfully picked a number at the Service Desk and got a refund.
There were some flat screen 27' bells and whistles TV's in the center isle (not in the electronics section or on display) for the same price as the regular TV that was returned.
Let's do the math. Three trips to a Wal-Mart that was not the one down the street with gas hovering near $2 a gallon.
You get the idea.
At this time I have one 27" hooked direct into the DVD player, another 25" thru a RF adaptor to a DVD player. An extra RF adaptor (from that night) awaiting a 19" TV getting checked. Of course we have not decided if we should purchase another DVD player to go with the 19" TV. If we buy another DVD player what about the VCR? I guess I we could buy an "AB switch" and hook the DVD and VCR up to one TV. Now that I have one of the new fancy home theaters capable 27" TV do I need to buy a home theater system? Somewhere in all this mess I hear voices in my head chanting Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart.