I am fortunate to live a relatively clutter free of remotes for my electronic devices. It only takes me two remotes to operate my television and cable box. I have tried several times to combine the two to no avail. So, I suffer with the modern consequences of two remotes.
I lose one or both of my remotes on a regular basis. The couch eats them. The covers hide them. The papers fold them away. My clothes wind up over them. Or, worse of all, Alfalfa hides them. Ok, I’ll admit that many of the times that Alfalfa hides the remote, it is me kicking it under the couch. But still, he doesn’t have to chew on the darn thing, does he? I’ve have lost two remotes to his teeth. The television remote was not a big deal; I simply bought a new one from the store. However the cable remote wound up being a big deal…
I got home one day from school and saw my cable box remote in the middle of the floor. Actually, I saw what with was left of that remote. Looking close, I saw that he had done a job on the buttons. “Oh, Alfalfa,” is all I could say to my guinea pig and he ran under the bed. I grabbed the remote and examined it closer. He had done a job on the body of the remote too. There were small teeth marks all over the edge of it. “Dude,” I said turning to the bed, “What?”
I asked, “Did you get hungry? You have like a whole bale of hay sitting out there for you… Why the remote?” I hung up my school bag, took off my coat, and went to sit down. I grabbed the television remote from the couch and sat at my desk.
Without even thinking, I turned on the television with its remote and went to turn on the cable box with its remote. I paused when I couldn’t find the power button. Looking down, I remember that Alfalfa had successfully removed it…with his teeth. Confronted with the lack of a button, I grabbed a pencil to use as the ‘button’. Using the gummy eraser I successfully managed to turn on the cable box. Felling smart, I used the same technique to change the channels. I didn’t need a new remote…I could handle this…This wasn’t a problem…Then my mom came to visit…
“Get a new remote!” my mom yelled.
“Why?” I yelled back, “I can change the channels!”
“No one wants to use a pencil to change channels or turn on your cable box!” She yelled back.
“Fine,” I conceded. “I’ll get one soon.”
“Today,” she demanded.
“Ok… But you are taking me out to lunch after…” I said grabbing my coat, “The diner is next door…” With that my mom and I left the apartment for the cable company’s office…
I pulled up to the cable company’s store, “Stay here…” I ordered my mom, “I’ll be back soon…” I walked into the lobby and was confronted with a small lobby with an unbelievably long queue line of ropes. “Whaaa?” was all I could say. There was no way that this company could get that busy to justify a line this long. There was no one in line. I looked to duck under the ropes to get to the windows but saw the sign: “Please use proper etiquette and follow our line. Do not jump or duck under the ropes.” “Really?” was all I could say before setting out on a journey of epic proportions in the lobby of the cable building…I walked back and forth and back and forth for what seemed like miles. Finally, I got the “WAIT HERE” at the end of the line. I let out another, “Really?”
There were three people working behind the glass barrier. It looked like a visiting booth at a prison… It was complete with speakers and for the ‘customers’ and microphones for the ‘employees’. ‘What the hell did these people do to piss people off?’ was all I could think. “Next!” a tinny voice came from the bank. I looked up and could not determine who had said it. So, like an idiot, I stood there and waited to be called again. The lady all the way on the right yelled through the speaker, “NEXT!” I walked over to the ‘visiting booth’ and said, “Hi.”
“What can I help you with?” the cable lady asked. I felt like I was in a prison visiting area and this lady was on the guards that you do not mess with.
“Yes,” I said mustering up as much courage as possible. “I need a new remote…”
“Why?” the cable lady asked.
“Uhmm,” I said feeling like an interrogation had started, “the buttons are damaged…”
“Let me see,” the lady demanded through the tinny speaker. I held up the remote. “I can’t see that,” she said, “hold it up to the glass…” I placed the remote against the glass at her eye level. She had no reaction. “Dog damaged remotes cost $25 to replace…go put it in the drop box and I’ll tag it for replacement…” She pointed to her left and at the sign that said “Drop Box”. I walked over to it and the drawer opened. It was similar to a bank deposit drawer used in a drive through. Again, the thought crossed my mind, ‘What the hell did these people do to piss people off?’ The cable lady walked over to the drawer and withdrew my damaged remote. She walked back over to her station and examined the remote. I mirrored her progress back to my waiting area.
“Not the worse dog damage I’ve seen,” she looked up at me and asked, “You got one of those small breed dogs, I see?”
“Ahhh, no,” I replied. “My guinea pig did that…” I bowed my head in shame of what my guinea pig had done.
“I’ve never heard of that breed,” the lady remarked.
I raised my head, “Breed? No, it’s a guinea pig…” I dug in my purse for my phone. I head the lady tapping on the keyboard. After several moments, I found a good picture of Alfalfa. “Here,” I said pasting the phone to the glass, “here is a picture of him.”
The lady looked up from her typing and remarked, “That’s an ugly dog…” She went back to typing.
“He’s not a dog,” I said pulling down the phone and swiping the screen looking for another picture. “Here,” I said with a bit more urgency holding up the phone to the glass again. “He’s a guinea pig…”
“Yea,” the cable lady said not looking up, “he’s a cute dog…”
“It’s a guinea pig!” I said a bit too loudly.
The lady looked up at me and gave me a nasty look. After a several second stare down, she asked, “You want your remote?”
“Yes,” I said a bit apologetically.
“Then stand behind the yellow line, please…” came from the speaker. The cable lady stood up and put her hands on her hips.
All of security suddenly made sense…I was the one that was pissed off! I took two steps to make sure I was behind the yellow line. The cable lady sat down and continued to type on her keyboard. Actually, she was pounding on her keyboard.
“That will be $50 charged to your cable account…” she finally said.
“$50?!” I yelled stepping over the yellow line and back up to the glass. “You said $25.”
“I was wrong…guinea dog damage is not covered by your policy.” She turned off her microphone, got up, and walked down the box with my new remote. She put it in the box and sent it through to the other side. I walked down to the box and grabbed the new remote.
“I’m going to call and complain about you…” I said holding the remote up in what I considered a threating fashion. The lady pointed at her ear and shook her head back and forth… She could not hear me. “Crap,” is all I could say as I stormed out of the office.
I got back in the car and was greeted by, “What took you so long?” from my mom.
“I don’t want to talk about it…” I replied in anger. “I need a drink…and a well behaved guinea pig… ”
“It’s only 10:00 am…” my mom said.
“Yeah, it’s 5:00 pm somewhere,” I retorted. “Let’s go…”
Sure enough, the $50 charge appeared on my cable bill the next month. I call the headquarters and profusely complained about the ‘miscellaneous’ charge. The lady explained that replacement remotes were of no charge and credited me the fee. She did sympathize with me and my story about Alfalfa eating the buttons off. She was a guinea pig owner and had four guinea pigs of her own. She called them “The Herd of Ladies”. Only a true guinea pig lover or owner could sympathize with my story. Thank goodness they are out there or I’d be out another $50 thanks to Alfalfa.