Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A College Freshman's Dream

 A College Freshman’s Dream

I was in my second semester of college at Queens College in New York. 

I received a phone call from my high school buddy who had gone to Florida State University.

He told me that his girlfriend, who was on the Florida State Drill Team would be coming to New York the next week with her drill team to be on a TV show called Hullabaloo.  He requested I get take care of her and her 14 teammates.  He wanted me to show them around the city and make sure they had a good time.  He gave me her name, the name of the hotel the team was staying at, and the date and approximate time they would be arriving.

Of course I agreed. Visions of tall, beautiful, southern belles filled my head.

My next problem was arranging for 14 other guys to go with me.

I had joined a House Plan at Queens; it was like a fraternity but without the rules and affiliations.  There were plenty of candidates for the Drill Team dates.

That Monday, I went to school and got a group of guys together for the expected date that Saturday night.  Needless to say, I was very popular that week and somewhat of a hero in the House Plan.

On Thursday, the girls arrived in New York City.  I called the hotel and was put through to my friend’s girlfriend.  She was expecting my call.  

She had told her teammates about me and they had agreed to go out with my friends on Saturday night after the TV show.  I told them I would arrange to pick them up at 10PM at their hotel in Manhattan.  We would have 5 or 6 cars so they would have to break up into groups.

I prepped my group. We consisted of freshmen like me on up to seniors. We made tactical plans of who would go with who based on who had cars and where we lived.

Saturday night came. We assembled at a rallying point and proceeded to Manhattan.  We parked the cars and went into the hotel.  We went up to the floor where the girls were and knocked on the door of the room my friend’s girlfriend was in.

She opened the door and was exactly what I expected.  Her friends were the same.

We piled into the room, and after some short small talk, divided up and went down to the cars.

The group I was with, went to Greenwich Village and into a popular coffee house where we saw a show and had some drinks (they only served soft drinks because they didn’t have a liquor license) and French fries.  We went to Chinatown next and then Little Italy for dessert.  We had a good time, they were fun to be with, and seemed to enjoy being shown around Manhattan.  We brought them back to the hotel around 4AM and went home.

Various groups did different things and I never did get the whole story about what happened, but all my friends were very happy on Monday and I remained popular if not a legend (perhaps in my own mind only) on campus.

I spoke with my friend at Florida State and he told me the girls had a good time and his reputation benefited from the “fix up” he had arranged.

I often wondered what these girls thought of us. 

Queens College was mostly Jewish, and all the guys I took with me were Jewish.  I was sure the girls were not.  I have no idea if they even knew we were Jewish or what that meant (I was sure there were no Jews at Florida State).

Maybe this was my small contribution to bridging the religious gap in the South. 

Or maybe I give myself too much credit.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The iPad Dessert

                                                            The IPad Dessert

When IPads first came out, I thought they were a waste of money.  After all, I had a computer and a smart phone, so what did I need the IPad for?

 Over time, I came to view them with avarice and wanting.

As I got older I can read my emails and go to web pages with greater and greater difficulty on my iPhone.  The images and fonts are too small and I “don’t need” glasses.  Therefore the answer is a larger screen, hence the conversion to seeking an IPad or tablet.

This past holiday season, I began looking at the IPads and the Android Tablets to see if I really wanted one and how much were they going to cost.

I watched the ads, went to the stores and was still undecided by the time Chanukah came around.

My wife watched me go over these things and sweetly decided she would get me one.

She and my daughter-in-law went to Brandsmart (an electronics and appliance store) to purchase tablets for me and our daughter-in-law’s parents.

Since they didn’t know very much about the tablets, they asked a salesgirl for advice. Unfortunately, the salesgirl either didn’t know anything or was told to sell a particular tablet to neophytes.  This particular tablet is an off, off brand, but it is inexpensive.

Based on the salesgirl’s advice, they bought two 10” tablets.

A few days later, my wife presented me with the tablet.

I set it up and tried it out.  It was horrible.  It could get emails but didn’t have the memory to run the web browser or do much of anything.  In addition it had a battery life of 2 hours! 

Over the next few days I played with it to see if I could get it to work better.  It didn’t.

I packed it up and brought it back to Brandsmart where I was told I only had 5 days to  return it and this was the 6th day.  I had never heard of this policy at this store and had a spirited conversation with the return manager.  The outcome was they refused to take it back and directed me to the manufacturer for relief.

I tried contacting the manufacturer.  As per their web page I tried to email them using their form.  It refused to take my complaint.  I called the 800 number and was told I had to email them or fax them to file a complaint or ask a question.  The 800 number was strictly for sales.

I faxed them my questions about improving the performance of the tablet as per their instructions and lo and behold they have never answered.  A wonderful company to be sure.  In case you are wondering it is called Tivax.

I resigned myself to just using it for emails when I was away from my home or country.

I recently went to visit my daughter out of state.  My wife and I told her of our difficulties with the tablet.  She immediately determined I needed an IPad like her husband and son had.  She proceeded to investigate pricing and specs on the various models.

Now, Apple doesn’t allow discounting on its various models, a practice I think is illegal based on the Sherman Anti Trust Act, but what do I know.  However, some stores have “open box” units available (units used for demos) and also refurbished units, as does Apple on its website.

I suggested we try BestBuy as a source of “open box” units since I had bought an IMac that way there.

We went to her local BestBuy and spoke with a salesperson.  He assured us he had “open box” units and even units that were about to “expire” which was better for us since we could get a 15% discount on a combination of open box and “expiring”.  Expiring meant that the unit had been in the store too long and was about to cost the store interest.

I agreed to take one of these units and the salesman went to get one.

After a short period of time, he returned with two units which were open box, but not what I wanted and more expensive than we had agreed on.  He said he didn’t have any others and never had any expired units, despite having assured us he had plenty.

We left the store and tried another BestBuy, a Target, a Walmart, and an Office Depot.

We returned home without an IPad.

We then went to the Apple site to see what they were offering. 

My daughter found a refurbished unit with more memory for a discounted price.  I bought it and had it shipped to her house since that’s where we were.

A few days later, the unit showed up.

I set it up and went to get a drink.  By the time I got back, the unit was gone. 

My wife had taken it; and she and my grandson were busy downloading games.

Even as I am writing this, she is playing various games and downloading others.  The tablet is now called: “Barbie’s” and Siri directs her comments to my wife.

It occurs to me that this is our “dessert” thing all over again.

She doesn’t want one (dessert or tablet), but once I have one, she takes at least half, or in this case whole.

I’m going to have to keep my reading glasses with me.