I love to go Black Friday shopping. I find a great thrill in being among a mass of human beings, none of whom I know, yet we each share a camaraderie of braving the cold and the lines to get a deal on a TV or a cashmere sweater. Yes, it's foolish and crazy, but there is an element of competition and conquest that can't be found any other time.
This year, we crossed the foolish and crazy line. Kohl's had some awesome deals that I wanted & the doors opened at midnight. Back in my big city days, this would have meant you get a few hours of sleep, drive five minutes to your local store, and go home a hero. Now that I live in small town USA, there is no after dinner nap or local store. An hour and a half drive back from my sister's, then another hour's drive to D-- where the Kohl's was. Did I mention it was snowing? Not like Currier & Ives snow, this was like three-year-old shaking a snow globe blizzard.
By the time we got to the Kohl's parking lot I was worried we were going to have to trudge a mile in the howling fury, but by good fortune there was a spot open near the door. People were running through the slushy parking lot, hanging onto coats and each other, dashing to the store. Most of us were making horrified groans, "Awwhghgheityger, why... what are we doing? Whahahahharghfp, this is so stupid! Hurry up!" I don't think a single person complained about long lines, because at least we were inside and warm. Mom, Dad, and I took turns holding a spot in line while the other two dashed around and looked at deals. I have been considering buying a tablet for some time, and there was a deal on a Polaroid PTAB8000. I crossed my fingers and bought it, hoping this was a good model.
At 3am we went to the mall and had a delicious stromboli from Sbarro - the food court was more packed than I have ever seen it before. People everywhere, carrying six bags apiece, cramming around the coffee kiosk like ants on a candy bar, and everyone shouting. When we left, the snow was packed into our wheels and we had to kick it off and pry the doors open. The snow finally stopped, but the wind picked up, and it was making the stop signs shudder and sway. I began to fade at about 7 o'clock, and fell asleep with my head on my knees in the car... for future reference, this is a bad idea. My neck is still sore! However, at that point I could have slept standing up.
When we finally got home, I took just enough time to plug the tablet in to charge before I crashed into bed. I woke up five hours later, feeling like Loki must have felt after the Hulk tossed him around... my brain was rather fuzzy, everything ached, and the one bright spot to waking up was the fully charged tablet on my nightstand.
I was about to find out why you are not supposed to operate machinery while drowsy. Here is a glimpse into my thoughts at the time: Man, this is so exciting! I like the feel of this tablet, it doesn't feel cheap. Metal back. Nice. Ok, here's the power button. Hey, it's powering up! Wait... oh. Um, wow, the screen seems kinda grainy, no, more like a cross-stitch grid. Surely Polaroid can come up with a better screen quality. I mean, they're photographers, for goodness sake! Ok, just calm down, maybe it will get better. (An hour later) There is no way I can put up with this! It's making my eyes go crazy! I can barely read the screen, and it's giving me a major headache. I'm going to have to go all the way back and return it. I'll never find a deal like this again. But then again, for the money I spent, I expect some quality! Why can't anything ever be simple?!!
At this point I was irritated, a little sad, and still not thinking clearly. I took it to show Dad & his reaction was similar to mine. Right away he was on the support website, looking for a phone number and checking for updates. He figured this one must be defective & we'd need to get it exchanged, but for now we just need to wait until Monday to call. Then Dad says, "Hey, is this some kind of screen protector?" "Do you think...?" "No way..." If you looked in a picture dictionary under the word Thunderstruck, our faces would be there. I peeled back a corner of the plastic and looked. Beautiful. Crystal clear little apps danced under my fingertips, laughing at one of the biggest technical bloopers I have ever committed. I've never felt quite so stupid...
The Polaroid PTAB8000 is a very fine tablet.*
*12/6/12 Although the screen quality improved greatly after my "discovery", I did wind up returning it because of performance glitches and being unable to access the app store. Apparently, I was not the first, and the lack of support for the device made me reconsider. So, for now, I am saving up for a Google Nexus 7, which will hopefully be more to my liking. :)