Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2002-08-13 Entry: "Evil Circuit City People Don't Want My Money"

Saturday (the 3rd of August for those who aren't following quite how far behind I've gotten) was supposed to be the day I moved in, and the day I bought all the obvious stuff that my new apartment would need.

Suffice it to say plans lasted until the action started. The apartment, when I arrived, wasn't ready - they were supposed to have cleaned the carpets, and on closer inspection, found that they'd actually have to replace the carpets. So moving in was pushed up to Monday, which could have been a major headache what with the packers bringing all my stuff that day. They were also going to replace the carpet then, and the cable guy was going to come to hook me up... that wasn't going to be chaos, oh no!

Failing to actually have an apartment, I still went and attempted to purchase a bed. Now, I know absolutely nothing about bed-buying. Actually, I know next to nothing about buying furniture in general, but the bed was top of the list.

Trying very hard not to go too far, I spotted a place just across from the aparment, and thought they'd be worth a first look just to see what I was getting myself into.

Well, the nice lady let me lay on half a dozen mattresses before I settled on one I liked - nice and firm. There was a really good offer on a bed from England, $5000 reduced to $800 because no American would buy it. It was however excrutiatingly soft and hideous looking, so they got to keep that one, however good a deal it was.

After picking the hard one and getting a price, I declared I'd like to think about it and tried to leave the shop, at which point they knocked a load more off the price. Deciding I really didn't know what I was doing and a bed was a bed at the end of the day, I took it, and then had to mess around trying to get the price up over five hundred dollars to get free shipping (the bed was only 460, and shipping was 40 if I'd had to pay). Fortunately, a frame put paid to the shortfall in the cost, so at some point I'm able to attach a headboard and footer to the bed... maybe when I've got some more money and know what look I'm going for?

Blowing out any further furniture purchases (hey, the bed is the only one that the apartment actually needs) I decided to go and look at the next most important item on my list - televisions.

I'd previously dug up a Circuit City address and made a beeline to it, missing it by one exit and having to turn around (twice) and go back... it was only accessible from one side of the road... how inconsiderate is that?

Well, I got there eventually and started looking at stupidly expensive televisions. I only had one criteria - it must be widescreen. But Americans are apparently clueless in this regard, as they hardly sell any widescreen televisions. Those they do sell are therefore more expensive. The smallest (at 43") was fifteen hundred dollars. Well, not having a credit card in the US as yet, and not being a hundred percent certain how I'd pay off the UK one, I was pretty much left with cheque or lease purchase.

Okay, so we'll apply for lease purchase - but I don't have a credit rating in the USofA. I also don't have a home telephone (presumably so the marketeers can call me and sell me more stuff I don't need) - all I have is my mobile. Apparently this isn't enough to even make the attempt, so the TV goes out of the window.

But I can still get the amplifier. Hook my speakers up and watch on the PC monitor? It's not ideal but it'll do in a pinch. The PC even has an NTSC tv tuner, so I should be okay. The amplifier (the model up from the one I had in the UK - it's not fantastic, but it does what I need it to do perfectly adequately) is only two hundred dollars. I'll just write a cheque... okay cheque written, but they won't accept it - they don't take temporary cheques and that's all I've got.

Needless to say by the time I leave I'm fuming... I have money, I'm just unable to spend any of it...

I do manage to get directions to a PC place though where I can get a new power supply for that. I manage to refuse their pointless warranty upgrade price guarantee thingy and leave with my shiny new overpowered power supply. This thing is good enough to power a small homestead in Eastern Europe, why would I need to guarantee the upgrade price on it if I decide I need something even more powerful?! It'll do for my out-of-date PC perfectly well.

I then manage to get lost trying to get back to where I came from - somehow I end up on a road to Houston, which I'm sure is wrong. Somehow the main road split and I missed which bit I was supposed to be aiming for. Not that there was a signpost or anything (of course, it might have helped if I could remember what road number I was supposed to be using but even that wasn't clearly signed - where's the sign that says "Dallas this way, Fort Worth over there somewhere, Houston this here exit right where you're trying to turn").

Having called it a night, I retired to the bar. Not feeling too great, I planned to call it a night early on, but after getting talking to people, I got dragged to Humperdinks to watch people play pool. Hey, I'm not going to play - I've got more chance of ripping the beize than actually hitting the white ball, let alone whatever other ball I aim at - pool really isn't my game.

Humperdinks have a really high bar - the bar itself had four shelves of spirits (with a ladder to aid staff), but then there was a balcony with another four shelves above this. If I could have told you what was up there I might have been tempted (and drunk enough) to order one of them, but my eyesight isn't quite that good!

Instead of pool I got dragged into the adjacent dining area where people were attempting karaoke - something I avoid doing like the plague. I do tend to peruse the list of songs though, and usually (although I wouldn't admit to the majority) I know a reasonable chunk of the songs. This time however, I hadn't even heard of half of them, let alone have any idea how they go. I did manage to pick out a Foreigner song that I thought I knew the words to, and after being persuaded that making a fool of myself in front of all these people I barely knew wasn't at all harmful, I ended up singing it. I did however play on the accent slightly and give myself a couple of lines introduction, before breaking into a slightly flat first verse of "I Want To Know What Love Is."

With that and the other song I eventually sang (President's of the USA's "Lump") it took me nearly a verse to hit the right key, but I was, at least according to observers, fairly reasonable.

However, my ride home did get passed around rather - the guy who brought me had to leave, so made sure I was alright with a lift, then that guy was leaving so made sure I was alright with the two girls still there. Fortunately I was, so we retired to theirs for some popcorn, before I had to find my way out of the building and back to my own apartment.

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