My companion and I, after 7 months of living together television-less, finally decided to purchase such a machine so that we could dust off our video game consoles (and watch Gordon Ramsay yell at people on a bigger scale). Like everything else we do, we managed to make it happen in the most ridiculous way possible.
First, the deal: My companion is an obsessive deal-getter and he hates to purchase anything if it isn't on sale (even if it's something we would never purchase otherwise, or the deal is objectively terrible--IT'S STILL A DEAL, DAMN IT). The past few days, he trolled the Internets for sales, then finally found an unbelievable one: a giant, man-with-a-small-penis brand of TV for almost $250 off its Walmart
price (let alone its regular price). He is more electronically concerned than I am and so I left the TV decision in his hands. The aforementioned deal is what he decided we were going to get.
The store: Some hole in the wall near Dundas Square. We called them, they confirmed that they had such a TV at such a low price--FIRST COME FIRST SERVED--and we immediately embarked on our journey.
The logistics: We don't have a car. But my parents do. They live in Toronto's West End, and we live in Toronto's East End (for the record, that is quite a distance apart).STEP ONE:
At 1:35 PM we leave for my parents' house. We take the subway, arriving there at about 2:40. After consulting with my mother for a while and figuring out the plan for the car's return, we take her car and drive downtown. STEP TWO:
The operation is smooth until we get to Yonge street, where we enter the typical nightmare that is downtown-Toronto-by-car: stupid drivers, back-ups at lights, construction, congestion, and reckless pedestrians. It gets worse when we reach the store at around 3:30 and attempt to find a parking spot. Street parking near Yonge and Dundas? At 3:30 in the afternoon? Who would be so presumptuous?
Finally, we settle for a spot about 4 blocks away from the store. As (true to my gender stereotype) I am pretty bad at carrying big, heavy things, I begin to get nervous.STEP THREE:
We enter the sketchiest store known to man. It is a convenience store SLASH tourist souvenir place SLASH discount electronics shop. We walk in and look around, confused, at the line of people buying sodas and smokes, then walk down the aisle to the back to discover a sea of TV boxes, microwaves, Blackberries, and other such things. Big yellow pieces of paper with exploding prices printed on them are taped to each box. We locate a little mustachioed salesperson and inquire if he has any monster 42" flatscreen TVs at a ridiculously low price? Yes, he says, and pulls out a big box from one of the shelves. The box is in rough shape, and the top has been taped shut.
"Uh," we say. "Okay. Great." He and my companion carry the box to the front, me trailing behind, and we get in line between someone buying a pack of Belmonts and someone with 4 Pepsis. They type in a code on our big yellow price paper, we pay for the thing, then look at each other, shrug, pick up the box and lug it outside to the sidewalk.STEP FOUR:
Get TV to car.
Here we are with a giant box. It's something like two-and-a-half feet tall, three-and-a-half feet long, and one foot wide. Fortunately, the TV being a flatscreen, it's not too heavy--maybe 50 pounds. The two of us, with a few hitches, are able to lug it a few blocks through downtown Toronto with little trouble--though we do get a lot of stares, and whoever is stuck carrying in front tends to be hit in the back of the legs with the box by the other, no matter which of us does which. Eventually, however, we get a rhythm down, and aside from some achy wrists things seem to be going well when we arrive at my mother's car.STEP FIVE:
Get TV in car.
We put the box down next to my mom's little Chrysler and quickly realize the problem.
We can forget about the trunk--much too small for this box. Instead, we attempt the back seat. The box will not go. It is about 2 centimetres too tall to fit through the door. One person on either side, we attempt to maneuver it in every possible way, but it will not go.
Next plan. We try folding down the back seats so that we can push the box, on its side, into the trunk and have it poking into the back area. (It takes us a while to figure out how to fold down those seats--finally, I call my mother, and she says "pull on the fabric loop." Oh.)
While we were doing this, some asshole parking a white van decides to pull up as close to our back end as possible, despite there being no one behind him. Doing our best not to smash one of his lights with an errant corner of our gigantic TV box, we attempt to stick the thing in the trunk. And it gets stuck. It is too big, so it gets wedged in halfway and we are unable to push it through despite having folded down the seat. In the process of pulling it out, I narrowly escape tripping over the hood of the white van, but we come out unscathed.
We are becoming increasingly panicked, because it is getting close to 4:30 PM and the monster that is Toronto Rush Hour is quickly bearing down upon us. My companion starts responding to our predicament in the way that he most likely got from his father, who does the same thing in any tough situation--free-for-all cursing. Amidst streams of "shit fucking cock sucker mother fucker," we attempt to squeeze the box through the car's back door one more time. We shove it in almost halfway, and then it sticks. Progress is impossible. It takes some intense shoving and wiggling to un-stick it and get it back out on the sidewalk.
By this point, my companion has reached the point where his frustration makes him incapable of real action. He continues to swear while I come to the conclusion that we need to unpack the box. I say this, and he swears more. Taking this as consent, I start ripping tape off the box and open it up.
The box is 70% air inside. Figures. We pull out the TV and put it in the back seat, then toss the plastic bag of instruction manuals and accessories in the trunk, along with the bits of packing Styrofoam. Finally, I flatten the box on the sidewalk, and we toss that in the trunk as well. Hooray!STEP SIX:
Get TV home.
The TV safely stored in the car, my companion quickly calms back down to rational levels, and we set about driving home. It is about 4:40 PM. We weave through the thickening city traffic nervously, beating around streetcars and fearless bikers and jay-walking old men. We live on Queen street, one of the busier streets in Toronto, even at the far east end where we are. Our only option is street parking, and it's generally packed. However, when we arrive home, we see the unthinkable, an oasis in a car-filled desert: A spot right in front of our door. We are beside ourselves with glee and we pull into the spot at 5:00 sharp, the starting gun of real Toronto Rush Hour.STEP SEVEN:
Get TV upstairs.
I have decided in the car that the best thing will be to wait out rush hour and return my mother's car afterward, especially since our route back to Etobicoke is the traffic nightmare that is Gardiner Expressway. We purchase parking until 7 PM and begin unloading the car. It's a quick operation and finally we can be happy about our purchase.
"Look at it," my companion crows. "It's huge!"
It is huge. It is huger than we would or ever will need. It was a hassle to get home and it was probably stolen off the back of a truck somewhere. But it was a DEAL, god damn it, and it is OURS.
Our giant black cat seems wary that we have brought home something more black and giant than he is. Still, nothing can dampen our spirits. We have a TV! As I call my mother to negotiate the returning of her vehicle (home-bound until we return at dinnertime, she requests lettuce and mushrooms as ransom), my companion carefully perfects the angle of the television on our dusty TV stand and starts connecting our various other machines to it. And then he stops.
"Where the hell is the power cord?" he says.
We just stare at each other, because we opened the box on the street and took everything out and we both know for certain right then and there that there was no fucking power cord in that box. It's too much, and we both sit down and laugh.STEP EIGHT:
What good is a TV that you can't plug in?
German-bred pessimist, I immediately assume that they have ripped us off and will never give us the cord. "It's still a great deal," I say. "There's no way the power cord can cost $250, right?" But my companion, Canadian-bred optimist and deal-seeker, begins calling the store to demand an explanation. No one answers. While I pop out to the grocery store to pick up my mothers' requests, he continues to call with no answer. Finally, they answer, and they invite us to return to the convenience-tourist-electronics mart to rectify this issue.STEP NINE:
Get back to store.
6:40 PM. We get back in the car, turn it on, and it peeps at us that it's running low on gas. No problem--there's a gas station down the street. "I will pay for the gas," I say confidently, and then I realize that my wallet left my bag for the grocery trip and never returned.
Turning around on Queen street is a nightmare, even at this hour. My companion pulls into a parking lot and I run the two and a half blocks back to our house, grab my wallet from the kitchen counter, and run back, feeling like an idiot.
Okay. No big deal. We fill up the car. We head back downtown. Despite getting lost for a second where Gerrard splits, we eventually make it back to the store, circle again, and park four blocks away in a different direction this time. We enter the store, seek out our mustachioed salesman from earlier, and explain the situation.
"Okay, no problem," he says. He splits open another poorly-taped box, takes out that TV's power cord, and hands it to us with a smile.STEP TEN:
7:45 PM. We fight our way through downtown Toronto trying to find the on-ramp to the Gardiner. It's smooth driving once we finally do find it, and we get home around 8:15 PM, minutes before my father, who is getting home from work. We return the car and deliver the vegetables to my appreciative mother, who makes us all a big paella and a big salad.STEP ELEVEN:
We spent a long time at the dinner table with my parents, and we catch a bus at 10:18 PM. When we get home, it's a few minutes past 11. WHAT A DAY! We plug in our TV with the pilfered cord and turn it on with much excitement. It works! After experimenting with it by turning on my Gamecube and loading up Mario Party 7, marveling at how Toadsworth appears to be bigger than my fist, we shut it off and call it a night.
That was yesterday. Today, we are still not used to it, and we feel a little surprised every time we walk into the room and see the giant thing in the corner. "It's so big," we keep saying to each other. It is. It's way too big. But--GOD DAMN IT--we earned it.