Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Saga of the GPS

A GPS has been on my wish list of toys for a long time. When I finally wrote down a list, it appeared just under the more practical essentials of computers and a car (none of which I’ve done justice to, but that’s another story). My interest in having a GPS increased after traveling to Florida with a coworker and doing some geocaching. My wife remained unconvinced, and without her blessing, I’d be hard pressed to justify the expense.

Still, the seed was planted, and the GPS had moved up on my list.

Finally, a week before our birthday, we went hiking with some friends in Logan. Before I went, my coworker looked up the location of some geocaches. I mentioned this to my friends, and they found a neighbor of theirs who had a GPS to go on the hike with us. Along the trail, we found two caches, and the world of geocaching had found six new converts. Among these was my wife.

Neither of us knew what to get the other for our birthday, so she (yes she) came up with the idea of us getting a GPS together. I was all for it (except that I feel bad about “sharing” something that I’ll probably have far more interest in). After shopping around for several days and picking a model, we went and ordered it from a dealer that we had heard good things about, who happened to have the lowest price on Froogle. I was upset that they only had one shipping option, which was 2nd day air at $15, but even with that, they beat the next best price (and had faster shipping, so bonus). Thursday, two days before our birthday, we placed the order.

The following Tuesday, after having heard nothing from them, not even an automated email response saying that they had received our order, I started checking into it. Their customer service line said that they would be out for a week on vacation, and their online order summary merely stated that our order was in a queue waiting to be processed. We cancelled that order, and went with the next vendor.

Now, a week after our birthday, our GPS is in a UPS facility on the outskirts of Chicago, presumably waiting for trucks to start moving again on Monday. If we’re lucky, we’ll have our unit on Thursday, two weeks after we placed our first order, and just days short of two weeks after our birthday. If we’re unlucky, the package will fall behind something and spend a couple days on an almost scenic tour of the Salt Lake valley, as some RAM I purchased once did.

Anyway, once it arrives, let us know and we’ll take you geocaching. It’s great.

Next week: An Entry that Doesn't Ramble as Badly, or Concise Advice

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