Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Ultimate in First-World Problems

Today I faced a giant First World Problem.  Have you heard of those?  They're things like "I hate it when the wireless router doesn't reach all the way to the couch in my dorm" or "It's the WORST THING when Starbucks is out of my favorite breakfast sandwich".  A First World Problem doesn't hurt us- it's just annoying and inconveinient.  In the grand scheme of the universe, it's pretty small potatoes.  A FWP is the sort of thing that I think my paramedic big brother could kick some sense into me about.  

So for a few months, I'd been saving my pennies to purchase a fitness monitor.  You know those.  They are the little devices people wear which tell them if they are doing enough exercise.  Quite frankly, it will keep me honest.  My default mechanism is to do, say, two pushups, "OOOOONE!  TWOOOOOO!  Oh, wow, good workout.  Man, I'm beat now."  So a little robot drill sergeant living on my wrist sounds like a good idea to me. 

I opted to buy the Shine.  Every monitor had good points and bad points, so it came down to what I thought was the prettiest.  I'm a girl, and might have some crow genes.  SPARKLES!! PRETTY!  That was the Shine, far and away.  All that remained was to pick the color. 

This is where the FWP kicked in.  

Target had Shines, and their website showed a pretty color called Wine.  PRETTY SPARKLE DEEP RED!  Ooooooo!!  I ran down to the nearest Target on my lunch hour, where they had Shines but not Wine color.  Boooooooo.  The nice clean employee told me that the Target in Seven Corners had two Shines in the Wine color.  So I went back to work, answered email and phone calls, and debated out loud (to the amusement of my coworkers) whether I should go to Seven Corners (wasting gas and energy and time) to get what is essentially a toy. 

Remember SPARKLES and PRETTY?  It's been a while since I had enough money for discretionary SPARKLE PRETTY purchases.  

It might be a toy, but it was a toy I was very excited about and dammit, I want my toy today!  The reality was that the toy was available in other colors, but I wanted the exact color I wanted.  I do admit that this causes me guilt, as I'm used to selecting what's available from the on-sale bin, so buying brand new, exactly what I want, does not come naturally to me.  

So, already feeling a little guilty and slight ridiculous, off I went to Seven Corners, where two grimy employees stood before me, scanning yet another wrong-color Shine box with their laser Target gun.  They then start this (now that it's several hours later I think it's hilarious) exchange in which they ask me repeatedly for the "DCPI" number.  I think this is a number that Target uses to track their items.  I have no idea where to find it, and if it's not online, I don't know it. They kept telling me that the DCPI number was necessary and since they didn't have it, they couldn't look for the item I wanted.  I may or may not at one point have said, "This is actually not very helpful. I don't know what a DCPI number is.  That's why I'm asking you!"  Their reply?  "Oh.  Right.  Well, we need that DCPI number.  Maybe you can guess it?"   

Around then, I opted for the option of leaving in a huff and going to Best Buy, which I usually avoid because it freaks me out.  According to the internet, Best Buy had Shines and I could order my number 2 color choice and have it delivered next week.  

By this point I was both in a huff and feeling really quite ridiculous.  I'd driven 15 minutes through rush hour both ways, I had a sermon and other work still waiting to be written, and I hadn't gotten my damn toy!  (Plus I was hungry and wanted my sermon-writing coffee.)  

This is where I got a little Overprivileged White Chick.  I mentally composed a sternly worded email to both store managers, complaining that employee number one sent me on a wild goose chase and that employees #2 were grimy and incapable of fixing a simple problem driving me to their competitor.  I'm sure by the time the mental composition was complete, the complaint letter was Dickensonian.  

By then, I pulled into Best Buy.  I went in... and lo and behold, even though the web service said that my #2 color had to be special ordered, they had FOUR of them on the shelf, AND they were on sale!  So I got exactly what I wanted, AND for $20 less, AND TODAY!  It's a BRAND NEW TOY!  HURRAY! 

And then I went to the coffee shop, where I worked for a few hours on my sermon (idea still gelling and I hope I can get the draft going today!) and considered what a ridiculous thing it would be to send my sternly worded Dickensonian complaint to either Target manager.  

First off, my toy ended up costing me $84, plus gas and aggravation.  Aggravation is my own problem and choice, no one else's.  Though, as a Portuguese girl, no one can do aggravated like me.  Was $84 for a toy really worth potentially getting those employees into some hot water?  At the end of the day, I got what I wanted.  It's time to let it go.  

I still feel a wee bit silly and guilty over the whole thing, though.  

I make such a huge production out of the simple task of buying myself a toy.  Seriously, the guilt is Old School Catholic, and I'm not Catholic!  

I'd waste energy being mad at the evil souless corporation that is Target, even though a complaint would not change a damn thing.  (Knowing your power, baby!)

There's real problems in the world out there.  Israel bombing non-combatants in Gaza.  Refugee children being sent away from their families to beg asylum on the borders of our country.  Me having to say "no" to every single request for emergency aid today because I had so many desperate people to help this month that I'm clean out of aid (and yes, I don't know how many are actually legit).  These are the days I really miss the ED at the hospital for its cold dose of actual problems in the real world.  

Getting my knickers in a twist for something as FWP as my fun new toy?  Let's just say that I'm grateful to live in a peaceful enough area that I can reflect long enough to realize the silliness for what it is.  What do you say we focus on helping fix the big problems in our world, being as healthy as possible in our own little microcosms, and let it be for all the little stuff so we have the right energy at the right time for the big stuff?    

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