Fee Installation

This was my Saturday:

12:00 p.m.: I decide I cannot live another minute without a CD player in my car. Honestly, how can you even expect me to?

12:15 p.m.: I arrive at RC Willey, which I chose because it is the last place in the country where my credit is still good.

12:25 p.m.: I locate the specific stereo I wish to purchase and am informed by the salesman that I might just as well throw my money in the bushes as buy THAT model, for heaven’s sake. He tells me some of the better models come with remote controls, which will come in handy all those times that I drive my car while sitting in the backseat.

12:30 p.m.: I settle on my new first choice in stereos, which costs $50 more than the one I used to think was my first choice.

12:32 p.m.: I am told that since RC Willey offers free installation, the installation will only cost $45. (There are charges for various parts.) Apparently, the installation is called “free” because there are no slaves involved. All of the laborers are freemen, being paid wages for their work. It makes me happy to know I am not supporting a sweatshop.

12:33 p.m.: I realize I should have known the free installation would cost money, because the sign in the showroom says, “Free installation: Ask salesperson for details.” If the free installation were actually free, there would be no details to ask for. You’d say, “Tell me more about this free installation,” and he would say, “Well, we install it, and it’s free.”

12:40 p.m.: Having purchased the stereo, I drive around to the installation part of the RC Willey compound. The installer is friendly, and he friendlily explains that they don’t have in stock the rectangular bracket or “fit kit” for my particular car. He suggests I drive over to Circuit City to buy one, then bring it back and they’ll install it. I am perplexed at the notion of having to run errands for the stereo installers, but I figure it’s a small price to pay when you’re getting free installation.

12:50 p.m.: I’m back from Circuit City, fit kit in hand. The installer tells me it will take about two hours, which is slightly more than the 45 minutes the salesman told me it would probably take. Slightly perturbed by the delay and realizing I am at RC Willey on a Saturday, I vow to eat my weight in free hot dogs as an act of revenge.

1:05 p.m.: I eat two hot dogs. This does not equal my weight, but it does equal all the hot dogs I can eat. Much later, in discussing the matter with friends, we realize it would be impossible to eat your weight in hot dogs because the more hot dogs you ate, the more you would weigh, and you would never be able to catch up.

1:15 p.m.: I leave RC Willey and wander around. I pass Toys R Us, which has a large banner outside saying, “Huge Baby Sale.” Either they’re selling huge babies, or they’re selling regular-sized babies at a huge discount. Either way, long story short, they’re selling babies.

1:17 p.m.: I stop in at Pier 1 Imports to say hi to a friend who works there and to comment once again that if you are looking for something really, really uncomfortable to sit on, I recommend wicker.

1:45 p.m.: I get a phone call from the installer. There is a problem. I hurry back.

1:48 p.m.: Huge babies! Where do they get them? From huge mothers?

1:50 p.m.: I’m back at RC Willey. Turns out the fit kit I bought at Circuit City does not fit properly. I point out the irony of a “fit kit” not fitting, and another installer says haughtily, “OUR fit kits always fit.” And I say, “Yeah, well, you didn’t HAVE any of your fit kits.” I mean, it was a stupid thing for him to say, right? It’s not like they had a bunch of them in stock and I forced them to use an outside one anyway. They were OUT of them; we had no choice. “OUR fit kits fit.” Yeah, they’ll fit right up your — anyway.

1:51 p.m.: We figure out how to make it work. It will take another 20 minutes, so I decide to eat some more hot dogs.

1:56 p.m.: My weight has now increased by two additional hot dogs, thus making my goal of eating my weight ever-more unattainable. I wander around the showroom.

2:00 p.m.: I realize I should not be allowed in RC Willey unsupervised, because all I want to do is buy stuff. Like a treadmill. If I had a treadmill in my house, I could cancel my gym membership, and I would run EVERY NIGHT while I’m watching TV! Which of course I wouldn’t actually do. I would use the treadmill to hang jackets on.

2:15 p.m.: The job is done. The non-fitting Circuit City fit kit cost me $19, and now RC Willey wants an additional $5 “miscellaneous parts” fee and a $20 “modification” charge. Total cost for the free installation: $44. That’s one dollar less than I was quoted, so I came out ahead.

The entries at 1:17 and 2:00 were removed for publication because the column was way too long.

RC Willey is a Utah-based chain of home furnishing stores. They sell pretty much anything you could want inside your home, and apparently car stereos, too. It's where I bought all the furniture for my condo in 2001, plus my fake dog Junko.