Sunday, May 17, 2009

The CFL Hoax

Well the CFL experiment isn't going too well. You may recall that we put CFL lamps in our kitchen, replacing 3 75 Watt lamps with 3 23 watt ones.

The theory was that I could save enough money get the US out of our national debt simply by changing out terrible, wasteful incandescent lamps with eco-friendly but very expensive CFLs.

Two of the three died already. They were supposed to last 8000 hours and they lasted all of 9 months I spent $18 on 2 bad light bulbs. No, we did not save the receipt, that was August after all.

So, it was back to the Home Depot to try and salvage the situation. It was a Hail Mary at best but I figured it was worth a shot. It may have been more cost effective to take a twenty out of my pocket and light it on fire then to go what I've gone through with these CFLs.

Sunday at the Home Depot. The line to return items is 10 deep with a single register open. A second register opens and the "next person in line" is called to the newly opened register. As that person is being helped, Joe Bagofdonuts, two people in front of me and three away from the head of the line, decides he is going break ranks and goes for the new register. Yes, Joe is holding a bag of cement, (I am not making this up, he literally had a bag of cement), but whose problem is that? Bring a cart, Joe.

Now the guy ahead of me that was between Joe and I steps in.

"Where do you think you are going? What about all these people ahead of you? Get back in line". He's like the Batman of our line.

Joe sheepishly gets back in line. Ironically, he ends up at the newly opened counter anyway in about 10 minutes, returns his bag of cement and heads out.

Now it's my turn at new counter since Batman got called to the "old" counter. In a complete disregard of return line protocol, I head over to the new line without being called.

Now they decide to switch attendants. The new counter has been open for all of 10 minutes. The old attendant at the "new" register takes her little cash drawer and heads off and what has to be a former Cafeteria lady I knew in High School takes her place. She now has to log in.

Erico Fermi, she is not.

Logging in takes approximately 15 minutes.

She fat fingers the passcode. She fat fingered the id. She fat fingers the passcode again.

She even went as far as to put the passcode in as the ID in the clear. If I weren't crazed by being at retail frustration def-con 2 I would have written it down and posted it.

Finally the lunch lady logs in. I explain my sad story and am promptly told there is nothing she can do. I need the receipt AND THE ORIGINAL PACKAGING.

Are you kidding me? These are nine months old. First of all if I kept all the packaging from every item I bought in the hopes that I might return it in 9 months, I would have no need for a trash pick up. Because once the item is out of the package that is exactly what it becomes - trash.

So, no I don't have every package from everything I bought over Labor Day weekend. If I did I would keep it in my shopping cart that I push around town like all the other crazy homeless people.

We throw trash out. Call me crazy.

Secondly, I'm lucky to have W-2 come tax time and the only reason I do is because the minute it comes in I'm off to the accountant. If anything gets set down in my home, it is swept off to a magical island in south pacific where it is all placed in a gigantic pile THAT I WILL NEVER SEE AGAIN. Its just like the TV show Lost. All my receipts go into some alternative universe or back in time. That is where I file them - in 1977.

A receipt from Home Depot from Labor Day? Are you kidding me?

Let's say by some miracle I did have original package and receipt. You just know the lunch lady was going to tell me that it was past 90 days or some such non-sense.

Exactly how am I supposed to return light bulbs that were meant to last until we elect our first gay Eskimo as President?

The answer of course is "I'm Not".

Suddenly after turning away from the Lunch ladies kiosk, I had a new purpose, a new sense of direction. I had a cause.

We were getting the hell out of Home Depot. Now.

I went searching for my wife and, of course, I can't find her in the 357 aisles of the big box store. I call her cell.

Some technologies depend on one another in a kind of a symbiotic relationship. An example of this is the sub-micron photo process and the silicon chip. We wouldn't have been able to make teeny tiny silicon chips without the process to make pictures that small so we could etch the silicon chip and so the silicon chip depends on the tecnology to make teeny tiny photos.

I am now understanding that cell phones and these big box stores are this way. The only way that we are able to survive in big box stores is by the communications technology that allows us to find our loved ones or find help to find a way out otherwise aisle 267 would be filled with rotting corpses of the lost.

After some effort I locate my wife. She is aisle 309 - window treatments. I head over and tell her we are leaving. Now. We now are at Def con 1. After my search and rescue mission and lunch lady experience - I've had enough.

She has an arm full of things she has gathered. I am speaking in half sentences. CFL. No Receipt. Lunch Lady. Go Now.

She dumps the items and we head out the door.

We drive the 1.5 miles to the Lowes. We spend another 40 minutes finding the exact same items that my wife had already gathered. Luckily they were cheaper at Lowes.

See? Spite pays.

Tomorrow I shall call Feit Electric and tell them that thier BPESL23T/DM dimmable CFL is a hoax. The reason I am so angry is not because of the Home Depot or the Lunch Lady. I am pissed off because I knew better. A dimmable CFL is like a Microwave you can put aluminum foil into.

It doesn't exist. And yet knowing this I spent 18 bucks on the fictitious items.

I went back home, found the 3 75 watt light bulbs I replaced in September (they were on top of the giant pile on the magical island) (actually I had given them to oldest son and he had just returned them from Freshman year) and put them back in. Now I am happy and I can see.


Sandberg said...

BUT have you tested the watt usage of the CFLs? my husband bought several thinking we were saving. bought him a watt meter for christmas and the cfls are using the same watt as our old bulbs. he is so worked up, not sure he'll be able to sleep til we get to the bottom of this! ;(

Anonymous said...

U need to check how many amps it's drawing not watts hunny

suburbanstories said...

1. Only people that comment in the first year of a post get to call me "hunny".

2. Watts is equal to Voltage times Current and therefore Watts and Amps are proportional. Yes, even in AC circuits where you also take into account a power factor of about 70%.