I believe in a free market economy, I do. I believe (among other things) that over the long run, the better, smarter, more efficient businesses are rewarded, and the ones that stink inevitably slide into oblivion. However, that's more of a macro truth, and it doesn't always apply in the individual case. Sort of like statistics. Statistically, red light cameras reduce side-impact accidents, while increasing rear-end accidents. This doesn't ameliorate one bit the time we got t-boned at an intersection with cameras.
I'm mentioning this because today I totally got the raw end of free market randomness. First, Max's glasses broke. He didn't BREAK his glasses, they just broke. But that's okay! Because, I, brilliant woman that I am, bought the extended protection plan! I am CERTAIN of this, because at the time I walked away feeling like a chump. I never buy the extended protection plan. They could have thugs waiting at the door with clubs, and offer me "thug protection" and I'd be all, "hmm, no, I think I'd rather try to duck." But somehow this day I fell for it, even though I was not at all sure it was a good idea. They kept saying it would replace his glasses, NO MATTER WHAT he did to them. But Max is pretty careful with his glasses, and what are the odds they would just...break randomly? Right?
Well, here we are, with randomly broken glasses, and I was all HUZZAH! I WIN COMMERCE! And Clay toddled off to get the glasses replaced! With no worries! Because the name of the plan is "1 Year Eyewear Protection - Worry Free Youth Package." Worry free!
But apparently, it's only the worry that comes free, because now they are claiming that the Eyewear Protection plan only covers lenses.
I'm not even sure what you'd have to do to damage the lightweight plastic lenses with heavy duty scratch coating. But I'm pretty dang sure I wouldn't purchase a warranty that cost 50% of what new lenses cost. That seems just...dumb.
But they insist, and I can't make head nor tails of the paperwork. Okay, I can't find the right paperwork. This is strange, because Clay is totally rigid about his filing system. Well, then again, I do have to deliver the paperwork to him before we he can file it. I think we can all see where the weak link is here. So I snarled at Clay when he called to tell me the news, "DO NOT BUY ANYTHING THERE. THEY GET NONE OF OUR MONEY."
Instead the plan was to go to another optometrist, get his prescription, and buy glasses from Zenni. Because new frames? Not so much in the budget for this month. New bubble gum? Maybe. But new frames? Lawsy.
So this time it was my turn to toddle off to the optometrist's office with Max, with Raphi and Sophia along. While I was filling out the clipboard info, Sophia had a milestone of sorts. First potty training accident in a doctor's waiting room. She peed all the heck over that floor. And if you're now perking up and saying OH, SOPHIA IS POTTY TRAINING? - well, I have to inform you that what Sophia is doing is insisting that she intends to use the potty, and instead peeing on a variety of floors in the Denver Metro area. Nice. Max mopped up the pee whilst I hauled her off to the bathroom for lots of soothing-voiced cleanup. Max totally wins "best son" for the day.
But fine, we got the eye exam, and I boldly informed them that I needed the prescription to buy glasses online. The smiled and handed it over, and we were off.
At home I discovered that they had left out a measurement needed to order the glasses. So I called, all pleasant voiced charm, and requested said measurement.
"Oh, I can't give that to you. It's a liability issue."
"Annd...how? Would that be a liability issue?"
"Well, if you ordered the glasses and they didn't work, then you could sue."
"But if I don't have this measurement and I order the glasses, then they're GUARANTEED not to work. Which seems...less than helpful."
"If you want to buy some glasses, come in buy them here and we will make sure they fit."
"So this prescription cannot actually help me get glasses? Why, exactly, then, did I pay you?"
I ended the conversation. Crisply. Actually, I violated my own rule, about never getting angry at the phone person, and said something COMPLETELY rude and uncalled for like, "WELL. I would say 'thank you' but I think it would be a bit silly at this point. Good bye!" I am cringing-ly embarrassed about my behavior.
But the day wasn't over, because Monday is Tre's birthday (16!), and I needed to go get his present before Monday actually arrived, so I headed off to the...cell phone store.
Yeah. Well planned. At least I had the crew along; Max, who provided the sullen grouchiness and resentment that HE wasn't getting a phone, Raphi, who provided the general rambunctiousness that is ALWAYS appreciated in any place of business, and Sophia, who provided the anxiety about the state of her pants and dryness therein. And some people think my life's not exciting, can you believe it?
We straggled our way into the store, and I stood before a row of phones, puzzling out the features and prices and options. A sales associate sauntered over to see if I could help, and well. Maybe I was still a little grumpy, but I said to him, "Why do they always have to play this rebate game? Why can't they just charge me the for-reals price and not make me mail anything?"
Sales associate guy stuck his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels a bit. He couldn't have demonstrated his lack of concern more without little trained squirrels, spelling out "I DON'T CARE" in semaphore at his feet.
"I dunno," he said, "the free market?"
Because YES. THIS is the behavior the free market is CLAMORING FOR, YOU ASS.
And then my head exploded. The end.