On my last visit to the dentist, my hygienist recommended a particular brand of electric toothbrush, so last week I went to a store in town, and was delighted that not only was the item on sale with my 20% off holiday coupon, but that the manufacturer of the item was also offering a $35 rebate—all you had to do was fill out a form, attach the store receipt and the bar code from the box, and mail it in. Okay, I did all that as soon as I got home, even as the $200 electric toothbrush was charging itself for 24 hours prior to initial use.
So, 24 hours later, I finally tried to use this wonderful gadget. I didn’t mind the toothpaste flying up toward the ceiling when I turned on the toothbrush; I didn’t mind drooling like I haven’t drooled since I was a babe in swaddling clothes; I didn’t mind the terrible grinding sound whenever I hit my teeth with the plastic part of the toothbrush; but I was alarmed when my gums started to bleed. Perhaps I wasn’t doing it right, so I tried brushing in different positions, including lying on my back so I would drool inward, not outward and downward, but all with the same bloody result.
Finally, today, I gave up, and brought the item in its original box back to the store. The clerk asked me what was wrong with the product, and I related my experience. I also told her that I had already mailed in the $35 rebate, and asked what I should do about that. The store manager happened to be standing nearby, overheard the whole thing, and said I would not only get a full refund from the store, but that I could also keep the $35 rebate from the manufacturer if and when it arrives.
The sales clerk looked truly surprised by this information and said under her breath, “So why don’t we all just buy things, send in for rebates, then return the items?” Bristling through clenched teeth and bloody gums, I asked her if she really thought that I would consider doing something like that.
The store manager was mortified, apologized profusely for the clerk, and took over the rest of the transaction. Tonight, before going to bed, I’ll brush my teeth the old fashioned way, manually, still bristling after all these years.