When you’re traveling, a smartphone comes in handy for finding information. All that intelligence comes with a cost and a need, however. The need is for some juice to keep it all powered. We're not talking carbs here, either. That's what keeps me, the diabetic, juiced and traveling well.
Nope, we're talking cellphone power cords. Charge the phone up at the hotel/condo each night and you're good to go, right? Normally, yes, but not on one particular day of the vacation trip Sherill and I took to Florida. My cellphone was not staying charged. It was giving me an image of a battery on my screen that I had never seen before. The phone would not turn on no matter what I did.
So why not stop into a retail outlet and get some help? We stopped at a Wal-Mart and walked back to the Electronics department. I found a kid who was about 20. He didn't have a clue about much, as far as I could tell. He did know one thing for sure, though. Looking at my phone, he said they didn't have any batteries for it. He told me to try Best Buy. It was a few miles north from there, in a different town. He pointed in the direction we were headed, which was due south. Big shock there.
I checked the hundred-and-teens-something Greeter on our way out the door to see if he knew where Best Buy was.
"What?" he hollered at me.
Best Buy. The electronics store. Do you know where it is?
"Buyers?" he asked, again at a loud volume.
No. Best Buy. It's an electronics place. Big store.
"Naw, I've never heard of it. I've only been here a couple weeks," he proclaimed.
Okay then. Two weeks, eh? Well, something tells you could very well be the manager by the middle of April.
The next try was at a Best Buy further down the road in a different town, not even close to what the kid in Electronics told me. This time I found another young kid named Spencer. Spencer was also pretty sure they didn't have any batteries. He based that on the US Cellular emblem on my phone.
"We don't carry those," he proclaimed.
He walked away. His service had been provided to its maximum.
I checked through the battery supply and found they had nothing.
The next stop was a Radio Shack. There were several very large gentlemen in the store, who spoke to one another using their outside voices. Oddly enough, they were in the place to get a bullhorn, which they had brought to the counter. They were going over the features of it among themselves as the clerk anxiously awaited their decision. The clerk saw that I'd maybe give him a chance to get away from the counter, so he readily came over to chat.
They did have Samsung batteries! They didn't have the right one, though. His suggestion was priceless.
"I'd go online and get it. Amazon probably has them."
Yep, I'll grant you that one. They probably do. Of course, seeing as how I'll be on the road for a few days and have no idea for the next few nights where my final destination will be, my delivery will probably show up about the time I'm ready to leave for the airport to go home.
I thanked him and mentioned that part about being 1,500 miles from home. Then I decided to leave before it was time for a demo of the bullhorn by the other crew of customers. They'll probably use it for lullaby time with their children, or as a baby monitor. All I could think of was Eddie Murphy in the "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood" sketch as he answered the door: "WHO IS IT?!"
As we made our way further south, we ended up in Fort Pierce. That's where we saw a Verizon store. Yeah, I'm not a customer, but maybe they'd have a battery for me. I took in just the battery and left the phone so as to divert any attention from my carrier choices.
Two salesmen were in the store, both very professionally dressed. I held up my battery and asked if they had one like it. They went to their supply and found several that were close, but not exact matches. I thanked them kindly and turned around to leave. Then I decided to toss out a question to see what kind of response it might elicit.
Where's the best place for seafood around here?
C'mon, these guys were wearing TIES! That makes them fairly trustworthy, in my book.
"The 12A Buoy," said the older of the two. “If you wait a half hour, we'll be there right behind you!"
Well then. Not only was it a suggestion; it's one he believes in himself.
As we headed for our new destination, Sherill said that she had looked at my battery and discovered that one of three tiny little bars of plastic where my battery touches the contact points of my phone was out of position. She moved it back and told me to put the battery back in and try it. The phone turned on with the usual fanfare and I was back in the 21st century!
Once we got to the 12A Buoy, the menu had so many tempting items on it that it was hard to make a choice. Right below the name at the top of the menu was the following tidbit: "It's a teeny tiny kitchen, so relax and have a drink. You'll get your food…eventually."
With a functional phone that was now charging in the car, my attitude had changed dramatically, so I was ready to relax and enjoy the attitude of the place.
I went with Thai Chive Rock Shrimp to start. They came out with what looked to be a ceramic rattan chair. This was presentation at a level I hadn't seen before!
The shrimp were exceptional and the whole meal only got better from there. My entree was Blackened Scallops, which was described as "Blackened Large Sushi Grade Scallops Pan Seared Med Rare and Finished with a Lobster Ginger Cream Sauce." It was spectacular.
I should probably send a note of thanks to the various electronics associates who led me to The 12A Buoy. One tiny piece of plastic a millimeter or so out of position led me to what was, easily, one of the top five meals I’ve ever had in my life.
One of my former vets always used to joke about "people who screw up and, instead of falling on their butt, they always seem to land in butter." Guess I just landed in melted butter with a cushion of Lobster Ginger Cream Sauce over a bed of rice pilaf to break my fall, that's all.
Guy No. 2