Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Probably no one else in North America has returned both a Wi Playstation, and a TIVO. I have! I hate gadgets! How can something that is supposed to improve the quality of your life be so complicated that it takes endless hours to assemble and learn, and then either malfunctions or falls apart in your hands? WHAT AN ENORMOUS WASTE OF TIME!

My family and friends have learned the hard way that I have this character deficiency. Take the receipt scanner. On the surface it appears to be an amazing device for keeping track of your receipts. Some friends of ours got me one for Christmas. After endless hours of getting it set up and learning how to use it, I was finally ready to get organized. About a quarter of the way into a pile of invoices, it quite working! Horrified with the initial result my friends sent it back to the manufacturer. The manufacturers response? The operator (me) must have set it down too hard on the desk and jarred the scanner! They would be happy to sell us a new one! Who wants to spend more the time to potentially have the same result? I organized my receipts the old fashioned way - BY HAND!

There is a Steammatic BBQ Grill cleaner on the shelves of my garage if anyone wants it. My wife gave it to me. The theory is that you fill it with water and the heat of the grill provides steam to help you clean the surface. A friend of mine had one and he said it leaked like a sieve! My Steammatic most probably won't make it off the shelf!

When it became apparent that I needed to expose the hypocrisy of gadgets I hate, I asked my friends for some of their favorites. The one on my right may be the best I have come across - an electric bug zapper that you swing at the bug, hoping to fry it on the face of the racket! How many windows, lampshades and priceless heirlooms has this thing taken out? Did someone outlaw the old plastic bug swatter that was stuck on the end of something that looks like a coat hanger? Is capitalism so pervasive that we need to invent new way to kill a bug so we can make a buck?

What about a Roomba Robotic Vacuum Cleaner? Theoretically you turn this on before you go to the movies. When you come back the Roomba has completely vacuumed your home and parked itself back in it's charger station. My friend has had his dry docked in his office for the last two years - it constantly gets stuck under furniture with the brushes full of dust and lint, AND BURNS ITSELF OUT! Remember the blog on "Planned Obsolesence?"

How can you possibly dry your clothes without "dryer balls?" Forget the fact that not too many years ago even the dryer was considered a "gadget." You remember of course that our forefathers used to wash and scrub down by the river using rocks to help with the really tough stains. But a clothes line with clothes pins was all the dryer they used to have! How did we survive?

What's a "Slap Chop?" Was my life so incredibly difficult that chopping vegetables with a knife and cutting board absolutely beckoned someone to make a Slap Chop? If I order it on TV, for a limited time only they will send me not one, but two Slap Chops for the low, low price of $19.95!! Heart be still!

With two Slap Chops imagine the humongous amount of vegetables and fruits I can get chopped before that thing breaks! Most probably I will need to have a place to put all of the production of the Slap Chops so surely that will require the "EZ Sealer." Problem is, it's rumored to melt the plastic as opposed to sealing it, and it sometimes will catch the plastic on fire! Please sign me up for that wonderful convenience!

Those that have both the EZ Sealer  and the Wiz Toaster Bags just have a death wish! Let me make sure I understand - we are going to take the cheese and veggies we chopped in the Slap Chop (leaving the remainder to be sealed in the EZ Sealer), stick it between two pieces of bread, ease the whole ensemble into one of those Wiz Toaster Bags, and toast it all? Provided we don't burn the entire house down, that actually sounds good! Is life really this complicated or does it just seem that way?

What a mess! Never fear though - when you have cut your fingers on the Slap Chop; burned yourself on the EZ Seal; and charred your Kitchen with Wiz Toaster Bags, throw it all away in the motion activated trash receptical! That's right, now you don't have to physically lift the lid, or fool around trying to find the foot pedal - just wave your bloody, burned fingers over the top of this baby, and voila - trash is immediately dispensed! WOW - imagine what can break with this new toy!

And for me that is "kinda" the issue. That great, wise old proponent of the family, Insight for Living founder James Dobson said it this way, "...the more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to fix!" I've never forgotten that! So when one of our clients who could have anything he wanted, listened politely to a dazzling presentation about low voltage lighting that was being suggested for his home, he opted for a regular old panel switch with dimmers. His reasoning? "...more reliable, breaks less!" AMEN! I get that...

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