Friday, December 19, 2008

Customer disservice

To say that we have had problems with Ethan's bedtime is like saying Israel has had problems with Palestine. For almost 10 months we have struggled nightly, sometimes for hours, to get him to fall asleep. The problem seems to center around his ability to turn on his light and play. He will do it 20 seconds after we close the door, and he'll do it 100 times. We tried duct taping the light off, but he learned to peel it off.

After last night's marathon session, I told Matt that we HAD to fix this. I decided to go buy one of those clear plastic holders that hand on walls that are meant to hold file folders or papers. If we mounted that around his light switch, we could reach in from above to turn on the light, but he couldn't reach it. So this evening I headed off to Office Depot, where I proceeded to have a very unproductive conversation with a (male) employee that went as follows:

Him: Can I help you?

Me: Well, this is kind of strange, but I'm actually looking for one of those wall-mounted file holders to put over my son's light switch. We can't get him to stay in bed at night, but it's really dark in his room so if he can't turn on the light I think he'll stay in bed.

Him: Oh, I know what you need then.

Me: What?? (Thinking that maybe there is an even smarter solution)

Him: A timer.

Me: Huh?

Him: You can get them at Wal Mart for like three bucks, and you can set the light to go on and off at set points all day. I use them on my Christmas tree.

Me: But we never know when we'll want the light on during the day--only that we want it to stay off and out of his reach at night.

Him: Well, you can adjust the timers if you wanted to turn it on when it wasn't scheduled.

Me: Are the controls on a remote?

Him: No.

Me: Then couldn't he just use the controls to make his light go on?

Him: I don't know.

Me: (Backing away quickly) Okay then, thanks!

Him: You know, my son was the exact same way, and I finally found a great solution--a plug in night-light that was motion sensored!

Me: Um.

Yeah. Brilliance at work, right there. I managed to find what I was looking for, and Matt has installed it. Ethan was none too pleased when he discovered it. I could almost see his little mind working, trying to figure out how to overcome this annoying obstacle. Just like me in Office Depot.


Melanie said...

With a few exceptions, I think the service industry has an ever-smaller pool of competent people to choose from! I've noticed lately that rarely do people even count back your change to you (much less count it back to you the correct way like they used to teach you i sound old and curmudgeony now?). I've learned you just have to tell them what you want, and not confuse them with explanations about why you want something or what you're going to do with it! :)

Sarah said...

Wow. Because a motion-sensored nightlight would totally solve the problem.

Jeff usually cringes when we encounter people like this -- afraid that I may finally reach my limit someday and tell one of them what an idiot they are. So far, so good. I save my ranting for the car ride home. Or my blog - which is where rants like this belong anyway, right?

Cori said...

That is really funny! He never turned the light on the last time we were there! He did get up and play, but it was in the dark... What a kid :o)

I hope you guys have a GREAT Christmas!