I may have mentioned, on occasion, that Corb's mother can be a little challenging. In fact, there are times when she makes Mommie Dearest seem like Mother Theresa.
Take...well, yesterday, for example. Although I'm not a big fan of Black Friday shopping (I think it's all a big gimmick, frankly), Corb and I did end up doing some shopping this afternoon. Just as we were buying some really cool Doctor Who Christmas bulbs, he received a call on his phone from Mumsy.
"She wants to know if I can do some research for her, because she's got it in her head that she wants to buy an Android tablet," he explained, after his long, drawn out discussion with her. "I've been trying to convince her to buy an iPad, because I think it's really designed to be like tablets for dummies, but Scott spoke to her at dinner last night and told her that she should get an Android tablet, because she has an Android phone and she doesn't need to learn another technology."
"But she doesn't know how to use the Android phone she has," I replied, amused.
"Exactly! So she hasn't learned one technology, to begin with. But you know Scott, Mr. Computer...look, I have an Android and I love it, but I don't see my mom looking to customize a bunch of things...she needs it simple and stupid."
"He's just looking at what he would like," I said. "Typically technology geek. He's not looking at what the actual end user needs, he can only see things from his eyes."
"Anyway, so she wants me to do some research for her. And you know what that means, with my mom."
I chuckled. "She wants it NOW. But Corb, we're kind of shopping."
Corb's blue eyes grew big and they grew wide. "I know! That's what I told her. I also said she might want to check out Best Buy and see how much they are charging, and then go online and see if she can do better than that."
Makes sense. But twenty minutes later, as we were having lunch in a food court swarming with pimply teens, I said to him, "Why don't we just drive to Best Buy and check out what they have? We can just price a few things for her and then give her a call and let her know what they have."
Corb looked skeptical. "I don't know, Ted. With my mom, you do realize by now that no good deed goes unpunished. Right?"
Well, I suppose I do know that now, after eight years of being with the Corbster and his mum. Still, I tend to be an optimistic (some would say naive) sort, which is perhaps how I was able to persuade him against his better judgement to drop by Best Buy to price things out. We came across a well-polished older looking salesman in the computer section who convinced us that the 10 inch Droid tablet was the best item to consider at $299. "But it's Black Friday, and I only have five left," he warned.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Typical pushy salesman. We left the store and called her in the parking lot to report our progress.
"Oh," she replied, and paused. "Could you do me a favor and buy it for me? I can pay you back, soon. I promise!"
Well, here's the thing. Although Corb DID have the money, since he was paid on Friday (I don't, until I get paid next Thursday), after paying all his usual bills, his brakes are starting to go on his car and he really needs new brake pads, which he was planning to pay for this week-end. That really needed to get done, and knowing his mother, there's really no guarantee she would pay him back this week-end. Or, he'd end up having to travel some ridiculous distance to meet up with her, and then she'd keep him tied up for a few hours.
So, with that in mind, Corb said he couldn't, but looked online and suggested that she try the two Best Buys near her.
Twenty minutes later, she called back. "I visited the Best Buy near me, and they were all out. I called the second one and they said they didn't have it in stock, either. I don't know why Ted won't allow you to buy the tablet for me. After all I've done for you, I think it's the least you can do.
"Mom, I really don't have the money. I've got the brakes to pay for! I'm sorry, but I really can't help you out, right now," Corb explained, quite patiently, I thought. "Besides, we have to go to Josie's house to get lunch for the kids. Bye!"
"WHAT? How did I get involved in this?" I asked, after he hung up the phone and told me what she said.
"I'm not exactly sure, Ted..."
" I was the one who persuaded you to price things out!"
"You know my mother," Corb replied. "Besides, Jim's in the background, shouting out things every time I speak with her. You would think that maybe he could help her out, since she told me he has a million dollars in the bank, but apparently I have all this money and can afford it more than he can..."
After buying lunch and visiting with the kids a bit, we went back to his car, to discover that both our our cell phones had three missed calls apiece from his mother. "I'm not going to call her back," Corb said. "There's no use..."
SECOND BIG MISTAKE ON MY PART: "Oh, just give her a call, Corb," I said. "It must be important, if she's calling so much."
So, Corb called back. And what he received was a rant about how selfish he was, about how she's done so much for him and he's so ungrateful, and that he owed her at least $300, and if he wasn't going to buy the Android for her, she was just going to demand that money back, right away. All this while her boyfriend Jim is screaming stuff in the background. Then, she hung up.
Corb threw his phone into the back seat. "That's it, I'm done with her! She won't hear any more from me for the rest of the week-end."
And then, as we are wont to do, we reassembled his cell phone, took a deep breath, and decided to forego the brakes for a few days and try to pick up the Android, since it was SO FREAKING IMPORTANT TO HER.
Same Best Buy. Same dapper older man. "Any left?" We asked.
He smiled, almost as if he knew we'd be back. "Only one," he replied.
"We'll take it," we replied in unison.
Ah, the fish have taken the bait. "Okay, but you'll have to wait," he replied, smugly.
See, it's Black Friday. We're in the computer section. The man escorts us to the back of the shop, to a huge line filled with other people buying laptops, tablets...all the stuff that's fit to network. And there we stand, for the next thirty minutes.
We had tried to call her, to let her know, but since she was angry with us, she would not answer the phone. (I only called once. I was not going to try her trick of calling seventeen times.) But, as we were approaching the end of the line, Corb decided to call her, to let her know we had it. He stepped out of the line and left me waiting behind a cute Spanish guy.
Ten minutes later, just as I was about to go to the register, he ran back. "You're not going to believe this," he said. "She went to Verizon and has decided to buy a smaller Droid for $100."
"A hundred dollars?" I said. "That seems too good to be true."
"That's what the old salesman said when I told him!" Corb replied. "He said to watch out that it's not some kind of deal to get you to sign up for a plan. But Mom said that's what she wants."
"So, we're leaving?" I said, as the cashier called our name.
"We're leaving," he said.
Now, you think that would be the end of the story, right? But just as we reached our car, Corb decided to call his mom to let him know we were leaving Best Buy. And that's when he learned--
"She decided not to buy the one at Verizon," he informed me , ten minutes later. "Turns out the old man was right, and it came with a two year wifi fee of $50 a month. Mom doesn't want to pay that. She wants to know if we can go back into Best Buy."
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? But stupid us, we went back in (for the third time), met with the salesman (for the third time), and stood in line for another half an hour. Despite the fact that she had promised Corb on the phone she would pay him back tonight, when he called her back, she said she was too tired to meet him now, but if he woke up at eight in the morning, she would meet up with then. We'll see.
Well, there's three hours out of our life we'll never see again. Too make things even worse, I discovered that when he had thrown his phone around in the car, my iPad had been tossed around, too, and the bottom part of it had shattered. I moped about that for a bit, then started to try to find a way to tape it together.
As I was taping it together, starting chuckling. "If you want, I have an Android tablet you can borrow..."
That Corb, what a card. I'm making a mental note to be far away when he meets up with momma this morning.