For Father's Day I got my Dad a 3 month gift subscription to Blockbuster's Total Access. I thought it was a pretty great gift, since every time I call my parents my Mom reports that my Dad is busy watching TV. In regards to the televisionary arts I am my Father's daughter, so I totally respect and understand the dedication he has to TV and movies.
I thought that even though there was a little bit of technology involved with this present he could probably handle it. After all, he only needed to master his TV, DVD player, one website, and his mailbox. All things that should already be well in hand. Should. 'Should' was the word I should have paid more attention to.
When I gifted him I walked him through how to add movies to his queue and how the whole service worked. We were on target until he called me about a week later and said, "Hi sweetie! I've got a problem. I got the DVD, but my DVD player won't work."
"Oh no! Are you sure? Did you turn the power on?" I asked him. This might sound condescending, but believe me, it's happened before. And when it happens I can always tell because he'll say "Oh, nevermind, I fixed it. Bye!" and hang up. Tricky, Pop, very tricky.
"Yeah, but it's still not working."
"Hmm. Well, you know, there's this cord that comes out of the back of the DVD player. It's probably black. Follow that cord and make sure its plugged into the wall." I said, not sure what level of tech support I could offer from 3000 miles away, but wanting to start with the basics.
He called me a smart-alek and said he'd do some more poking around. And that was the last I thought about it.
Today he called and said, "Do you have your tissues handy? Are you ready for a sad story?"
"Sure," I said, "what happened?"
"So remember how I couldn't get my DVD player to work? Well I called Justin, or Dustin, or something at Best Buy and he said he could help me but it would cost $100. I told him I needed to think about it. When I called back they said Justin/Dustin wasn't there, and that I really needed to talk to the Geek Squad. When I told the Geek Squad what the problem was they said that what I really needed was a Home Theater System with a thingamajiggy and a whizbob and that it was going to cost $200. I told them to kiss a pig.
"So, I'm sorry to tell you this, sweetie, but you spent all of that money on my nice present and I only got one DVD. And I wasn't even able to watch it! Now the subscription is expiring. Sorry!"
"Oh, that sucks! But don't worry about it. I'm just sorry that you didn't get to use your present" I said.
"Hey, since I didn't get to use it, doesn't that mean that I get another one?" he asked.
"Uhhhh. No. And, as a matter of fact, I'm not giving you another present until you use the one you have."
"That's not fair! I'm an old man. Do you know that I'm turning 70 this year? You should show me more respect" he pouted.
"I'll put that on my To Do list for 2009 right away! ... TO DO: Respect Dad."
"You're a bad daughter. You know what you can get me for my next present? See's makes some really good candies."
"Pop, See's really good candies will pull your 70 year old teeth out of your head" I pointed out, and he reluctantly agreed.
Silly Dad. But this was a good lesson for me. Next time I'm not getting him anything that was invented after the Industrial Revolution. I'm sure he'll feel right at home with his See's candy and wooden dentures.