I was on a mission: Find a replacement lid for a friend’s Pyrex tray. Any color is fine, she said. I even knew which outlet store carried Pyrex products, and I knew that I had seen replacement lids there. All I had to do was find the right one, using the exact dimensions my friend had given me, as well as the item number. Seemed easy enough.
Well, my first mistake was going to another glasswares outlet, hoping to find any kind of Pyrex product, until I realized that they were competitors. Oops. Then when I found the right place and saw replacement lids galore, I felt pretty good about my prospects. That is, until the salesperson swooped in to help me.
I thought to myself, well, how hard can this be, with all of the information I have to help me?
Famous last words.
Famous last words.
I explained that I was looking for a replacement lid for a tray that was 7.9 inches by 4.5. An oblong tray. Order number 7214. So far, it doesn’t sound all that hard, right?
The middle-aged saleswoman, Sandy, led me to the wall of trays and lids, all sizes, shapes and colors.
“Which size do you need?” she asked.
Looking at my phone to find the message from my friend, “It’s a 7.9 by 4.5 lid, oblong.”
She pulled a lid off of the shelf. “This one?” she asked.
“Uh, no, that’s square. It’s oblong.”
“Oh, this?” she asked, holding an oval lid in front of me.
“No, oblong, not oval.”
She started looking at lids, clearly much larger than the size I mentioned. Then she moved to the trays with lids attached. “This is 11 by 9” she said, hoping to be helpful.
I stared at the tray for a moment, wondering if I was missing something in what she just said that would make it at all sensible.
“Uh, no. It has to be 7.9 by 4.5. Exactly.”
“Well, is it like this?” she asked, holding another tray with a lid.
“I don’t know, let me read the dimensions.” As I tried to read the dimensions, she pulled the tray back to read it for herself, and told me the measurement for how much food it would hold. At this point, I began to fantasize about her tripping over a display and having to leave me alone so she can sweep up mountains of glass.
After several more frustrating attempts, I mentioned over and over that I needed the exact size my friend asked for, because she already had the tray and it had to fit that exact tray, or there was no sense in getting one. I said thanks, and that I would continue to look.
For some deranged reason, she did not understand that I was asking her, in a nice way, to leave me alone to read the dimensions for myself, rather than be lead around by someone who clearly hadn’t grasped the challenging world of shapes and measurements. Each time she offered me something that had nothing to do with what I really needed, I was reminded about stories about the USSR, when people would stand on line for hours, days, to get inferior food and products. I was starting to think that I was in the USSR, trying to buy sized 9 boots, but would be made to buy size 6’s, and like it.
“What about looking for the item number. It’s 7214. Maybe that’s on the price sticker?”
“Oh no, that’s the [term I didn’t recognize or remember afterwards] number that brings it up on the register.” She seemed quite sure that they could not be one and the same. I was starting to envision banging her over the head with a lovely casserole dish and being allowed to blissfully shop alone.
“It’s okay, I will just keep looking. Thank you.” I said, with as dismissive a tone as I dared.
“MARYANNE. SHE’S LOOKING FOR A LID TO A TRAY, WHAT SIZE AGAIN?” Saleswoman Daffy was screaming to the Manager putting stock on shelf down the aisle, and didn’t manage to modify her decibel level while turning to me to ask, AGAIN, the size of the lid.
Deafened, I looked beseechingly towards Maryanne, hoping that she would save me from the Russian boot distributor who was persistent in her incompetence. Maryanne came over and quickly sorted out what I was asking for, searched in a logical fashion and quickly and apologetically came to the conclusion that they no longer stocked that style, but gave me suggestions about where I might be able to find a replacement. As she spoke, a halo began forming around her head, and I got the urge to kneel and bring her offerings of incense and fruit.
I ended up leaving without the lid I came for, but due to Saint Maryanne, I ended up not blowing mine.