Let me be the first to admit (before you take the time to point it out) that I am not the smartest person on planet Earth. But I still think that in a fairly administered IQ test, I could hold my own against your above average hedgehog. Let me further admit that there are certain warning labels whose meaning or intent I simply do not comprehend.
Let me offer you an example.
I had decided that the walls of my office were looking a little dingy and so I decided to wash them down. This was a few days ago. Because I try to act in an environmentally friendly way, I was using a product manufactured by The Clorox Company called “Green Works” whose contents are supposed to be completely bio-degradable.
I hadn’t started with a full bottle of the stuff (it comes in one of those spray top containers) and mid-way through the project I ran out. As I was tired, I decided that I would finish the next day after going to the store and buying a new supply.
So the following morning I went to my supermarket and there was a nice supply of Green Works on the shelf. But it was all in those spray bottles and I didn’t see a refill size available. I asked customer service if they carried a refill quantity of this product. They looked it up in their computer and said that was the only size in which they carried the product.
So I thought, “Surely Clorox must offer this product in a larger quantity. After all, it is supposed to be an environmentally-friendly product – and offering a larger size would reduce the amount of plastic waste.”
I went home and called the 800 number on my original bottle and spoke with a friendly young lady at Clorox. I explained my quest for their product and wondered if she could tell me if there were a larger, refill size available.
She put me on hold for a few minutes and said, “I’ve checked. We do make a gallon-size in Green Works.”
I asked if she would be able to direct me to a store that carried it.
She responded, “Well, Lowe’s and Home Depot carry it from time to time (she also mentioned several other retailers which were unfamiliar to me), but I couldn’t tell you if they currently have it in stock. You’ll have to check with the stores.”
Well, I had accomplished something. I at least knew the product existed. So I thanked her and ended the call.
I went both to the Lowe’s and Home Depot web sites and typed Green Works in the query box. Neither store carried the specific Clorox product (in any size) but they both offered a similar product called “Simple Green” which had like attributes and was also environmentally-friendly. And it was available in a gallon-sized quantity for $9.99 as opposed to my original spray bottle which contained a quart and was priced at $4.69. This was a terrific savings if you know that there are four quarts to a gallon. (Well, actually it’s a terrific savings even if you don’t).
It did occur to me briefly that pouring Simple Green into a bottle which once contained Green Works might, in certain parts of the country, be construed as miscegenation. But other than sharing this with my readers I am not going to tell anyone and I have total confidence that you will keep this between us.
So this morning after the dog park, Gracie and I headed over to Lowe’s to track down the Simple Green gallon jug. I didn’t anticipate any problems because the web site said this particular store had 18 of them in stock. I put on Gracie’s lead and she leaped from the station wagon in anticipation of going on a new adventure.
When it comes to grocery shopping, I am very efficient. I don’t overly enjoy the experience and I try to make it as brief as possible. I know the layout of all the different stores at which I purchase groceries and I organize my list in such a way as to take the shortest path to complete my shopping based on the store’s configuration. Not so with Lowe’s – at which I shop only infrequently.
I have learned from past experience that rather than wander around the store trying to find a particular item, it is more efficient to stop at customer service on the way in and ask where I might find something. This is especially true if I have Gracie with me because she likes to browse and explore. And while she is well-behaved, I sometimes give in to her impulses to shop ‘till she drops (or I do).
So customer service directed me to Aisle 12 where they said I would find my Simple Green refill. Gracie and I started in that direction but en route, several Lowe’s employees stopped to admire and pet her (which she appreciates) and ask the usual question, “What kind of dog is she?”
I used to respond to that question with the one word answer, “Big.” But I thought that was a tad impolite. So now, I simply say, “You know I’m not completely sure. I found her as a puppy in front of a Lane Bryant store. I think she had gone there to buy a new ensemble.”
For some reason people seem to think that answers the question.
Gracie and I arrived at Aisle 12. It was indeed the aisle where cleaning products of all sorts and descriptions were sitting on the shelves. I thought, “Oh, good. This will be easy.” But it wasn’t. We walked up and down the aisle but nowhere did I see a one gallon-sized Simple Green refill jug.
After three tours of Aisle 12 I threw in the towel. I wanted to be absolutely certain that the product wasn’t there before I went back to customer service and inquired whether they had it in the store or had run out of stock.
So there we were, back at customer service. I had brought a one quart spray bottle of Simple Green with me to show them the product I was seeking. Meanwhile, I could tell that Gracie was getting a little bored as she had already seen what there was to see on the main store aisle all the way to Aisle 12.
The helpful young lady came from behind the desk and walked us back to Aisle 12. Much to my relief, she also had trouble finding the product. But then she spied it. The container itself wasn’t visible but in the very back of a seemingly empty space on the bottom shelf there was one gallon jug left. She got down on her hands and knees to retrieve it for me, for which I thanked her. And the best news was that it was on sale for only $8.99. Such a deal.
She left us to return to her post and I was preparing to pay for the Simple Green and leave – but Gracie had other ideas. Rather than allowing me to return to the front of the store she must have realized that there was a lot of unexplored territory in this Lowe’s and she wanted to do a bit of browsing. And as I will often humor her, I allowed her to take me on a little jaunt.
I’m not quite sure why but we ended up in the aisle that sells stepladders. She seemed to feel that these were exceptionally interesting. I don’t know the reason that she was fascinated with them as I have two at home and she’s never seemed overly interested in socializing with either.
But as I was standing watching her gaze at these metal contraptions I couldn’t help see the warning label which had been attached on their sides. It said, “Danger. Do not stand on the top step of this ladder.” As I recall, the two ladders that I have at home also contained that warning, but I removed them.
So here’s where my confusion comes in and if any of my readers can help me out, I would truly appreciate it.
If it’s dangerous to stand on the top step of a step ladder, then why do they build a top step on the darn things in the first place? I think we can fix this problem simply by removing the top step – and then we don’t have to worry about putting those little stickers on the ladders.
But wait – I missed something. If we remove the top step, the second highest step would become the top step. So we’d have to remove that as well. And then the next and the next until there would be no steps at all – just a metal frame.
True, the step ladder would no longer have any usefulness – but at least we’d be safe.
I think it’s a plan. The only people who I think might object work for OSHA. But I hear they’re working on a new sticker for screwdrivers which says, “Danger. Ramming the pointed end of this screwdriver into your eye might result in blindness or death.”