email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Difficult Errand

I have a watch that is 50 years old this month.  It was a gift in 1966 when I was 16.  It is the only wristwatch I have ever owned.  It was one of the earliest cheap digital watches.  I love it! 

It doesn't do anything but tell time.  Well, I mean it shows the day with a line over a row of letters and there is a smaller number for the date.  And if I press an awkward button, the date goes away and shows seconds.  And another push shows m/d/y (12 8 16).  But that's all.  No timer, no weather, no footstep count, no anything else. 

I have to have the battery replaced about once a year.  Any jeweler will do it for about $10.  It requires  weird tool to get the back off or I would do it myself.

So I went to me usual place to have the battery repaired.  There was no jewelar there.  There was no building.  The spot had been scraped clean.  Wow!

So I went to a new place I had found called "Bulbs & Batteries".  Their watchpin removal tool was broken.  Well, I needed to buy some groceries and I knew there was a jeweler nearby, so I did my shopping and stopped there. 

Oh boy, was I surprised!  They wouldn't replace a digital watch battery.  "You need to return it to the manufacturer", the store manager declared!  "Otherwise, the circuits will get shorted out".  I pointed out that the watch was 50 years old and the batteries had been replaced many many times with no ill effects.  He replied that "That's why the battery only lasts a year, it gets shorted - a battery should last 5 years".   It was a high-end jeweler (Jared's) and he looked down his nose at me (and my watch) as if I had walked into his cocktail party wearing dirty gardening clothes.

Well, Exxxcccccuuuuuuujse Meeee!

So I stopped at the last place to replace my battery.  It had only lasted 6 months, so I was doubtful about the freshness of their batteries, but a working watch is worth a few dollars.  They were closed.

At home, I looked up the manufacturer of the watch (Phasar).  They are long since out of business anyway.

The next day I went back to the place that was closed.  They were happy to replace the battery.  By good fortune, they had a new employee, so the main person was explaining about changing watch batteries.   I couldn't have asked for a better refutation of the Jared guy's claim...

She explained the watch back removal tool to the newbie and demonstrated how it worked.  She explained how to insert the new battery without shorting it or the circuits, she showed  a small insulating collar to prevent that.  She mentioned "these old digitals are long-lasting" (so she recognized it's age).  She even mentioned that batteries in new watches last several years, but after some years of corrosion and dust; last only a year.  So much for that snooty Jared's guy's claim...

But upon replacing the battery, the display was pale.  She said they could try cleaning it, failing that, finding a replacement circuit insert.  But I would have to leave it and they would call with an estimate.  She showed me the watches they sold, but they were all analog.  And they were all a bit too fancy and "jewelry".

I don't wear a single piece of jewelry.  I'm not a metal kind of guy.  Even my watchband is velcro...

So I left it with them went home, and looked at cheap digital watches on Amazon.  They all displayed Too Much Information at once.  And that means ALL the info is small.  I don't want to have to put on my reading glasses just to see what time it is!

So I was sad.  First, the watch means a lot to me personally.  I am a dedicated watch-wearer.  It has gone everywhere I have for 50 years.  It has been through below-zero Winter camping, it has gone into Canadian lake water when a friend tipped the canoe over, it has gotten me to countless meetings on time over my career, and it has reminded me when to stop working outside and go inside to feed the cats.  It has reminded me when to turn on the TV for Specials I wanted to see.

How much more can you ask of a watch? 

So 2 days later, when the jeweler called (VM message) and said I could pick up the watch, I was worried.  I assumed they could get the part to fix it.  But I had a pleasant surprise when I arrived.  The watch was suddenly just fine.  The display was strong.  No reason, it just was. 

Hurray.  But gosh, that sure was a lot of effort to find a place that would replace the battery!

BTW, seeing what the watch back removal tool looked like, I went to Amazon to see what one costs.  The jeweler charged $15 to replay the battery.   The battery itself costs $3.  Guess what, the watch back removal tool costs $3 at Amazon. 

I think I'll buy one. 

And I'll NEVER shop at Jared's...

1 comment:

Megan said...

Aha! Now you have the means of being more self-sufficient.

It's always disappointing to be on the receiving of poor customer service. But when they're snooty and they're just plain wrong, it's absolutely infuriating!

Sydney, Australia