A Comedy of Errors

“Dragnet” Disclaimer

The story you’re about to read is true.  In order to spare the employees involved in this debacle the injury to their careers, I will use Pseudonyms for the companies involved, and not give locations in the unlikely event that someone can figure out the particulars.

Gun Safe

I needed a gun safe.  I had grandchildren coming, and long guns in locked cases, but my wife wanted them in a gun safe.  I did too, but I never thought she’d let me get away with buying one.  But she was all for it!

I live in City A, which has a…hmm… let’s call it Schmedlap’s Sporting Goods. They’re a national chain. They had a Field and Stream gun safe for sale. It was a nice 24 gun safe with an analog wheel (old style) combination lack. It was $449, marked down from $599. It was a heck of a deal. It would have been an outstanding deal but for the fact that here in City A they did not have any in stock, and wouldn’t have any in stock before the sale ended on August 5.

So, down the road about 60 miles is City B, which also sports a Schmedlap’s, and when called the helpful employees of the store in City B said that they not only had that 24 gun safe, but that they had four of them. Four! So that sounded good.

If I’d only known….

I own a pickup truck. This gun safe was much too big for the truck because of a cover we had put on the truck (one of the worst decisions I ever made). So, in order to buy and bring back the safe, I had to rent a U-Haul, drive it City B, pick up the safe, drive it back, and unload the safe.

“It’s awful big,” I told my wife.

“We can unload it,” she said, tipping it up easily with one hand.  “No worries.”

I shrugged. She’s a woman. She’s in tune with the universe. She’s keyed into that magical connection that transcends definition.

So I believed her.

“Rent a dolly with the U-Haul truck,” she said.

So, I did. I thought we could use a dolly, take it off the truck, get it in the house, and set it up. That’s what I thought.

More on that later.

Let’s fast forward to that moment when I walked in to that sporting goods store and sure enough they had 24 gun safes in stock. I handed the guy the sale sign, said “I want this safe,” and he said “I’ll bring it right out. Go up to the checkout, pay, and we’ll bring it up.”

So that’s what I did. When I got up there they asked me if it was supposed to be $699. I said “no, it’s on sale for $449.” So the gal checked by radio with the guy who gave her the UPC code. She said “Customer is saying it’s on sale for $449.” Apparently the guy confirmed what I’d said, so she said “Okay, I’ll change it.”

So I paid the money, took the receipt to the door, and two guys whom I’ll call Dumb and Dumber loaded the safe on the truck. They used a dolly. It looked easy. So I got in the truck, took it home, and then I unslung the dolly from the U-haul truck, and I am sure I must have looked like a Chihuahua trying to have sex with a Great Dane. During the next 15 minutes I nearly tore every ligament in my upper body. No matter what I did I could not get that damned safe up on the dolly. I tried. My wife tried. We tried together. No matter what we did, we could not get the safe balanced on the dolly.  And the idea of being crushed to death by a gun safe did not sound fun.

My wife fixed this by having the people who run a moving business, let’s call them Two dysfunctional males and a means of conveying Big Stuff (or 2DMMCBS), send over two guys to take the safe off the truck, cart it into the house, and unwrap it. They said they’d be there at 4, so I extended the truck rental to 5 (another $76 thanks).  I told them I had to have the truck back by 5.  So I relaxed that afternoon waiting for 4:00 p.m. and the unloading  of my safe.

Except at 4, we hadn’t heard anything.

“They’ll be here,” my wife said.

I wasn’t so sure. I assume you do not get confused with an Oxford scholar by working in a moving business. I assume you’re hired for your brawn, not your brains. So naturally, I called. Naturally, they weren’t coming.

They didn’t know anything about it. After I threatened to reach down the phone line and choke the living shit out of the woman on the other end, she put me on hold, called my wife, and, talking to someone who was rational at that point, worked out the details to send two men to our house, perhaps in the hope of undoing my promise to track her down and give her a piece of my mind.

The men they sent were terrific. I tipped them well. They pulled the safe off the truck, unboxed it, and much to my surprise, it was not a 24 gun safe.


It was a 24 + 4 gun safe, a safe that actually was $699, not the $599 marked down to $449 that the company had on sale. At this point, and having unboxed it, pitched the wrapping, and paid off the knuckleheads at the moving company and U-Haul, and almost destroyed my lumbar vertebrae, there was no way I was calling them and offering to bring it back. I figure this is their error, they own it, and I am not about to do anything to call it to their attention.

I did consider it, however.

I thought about calling, revealing the error, and offering to pay half the difference. But I realized that doing that would probably get Dumb and Dumber fired, and they looked like the kind of guys that might really need their jobs. So, being kind to them, and figuring to stick it to the corporate oligarchs, I said nothing.

But at this point, if they figure it out, they’re going to have to deliver a 24 gun safe before they can come take the 24+4 gun safe back. And I’m not lifting a finger to help them.

So, all told, I spent $350 getting the safe delivered.

Schmedlaps would have delivered it for $320.

Some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.

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