wrong again

I have just received the second replacement for the weather “station” I ordered two years ago. Every year, when it’s time to change the batteries, the dang thing simply refuses to continue to work.

What it’s supposed to do is to tell me what the indoor and outdoor temperatures are. The pretty (relatively speaking) part of it sits on the mantelpiece. The sensor for the outdoors, is out by the front door. At some point, the batteries get discouraged and then it should be a simple matter of replacing them, to get back on track. But no. Wrong again.

No, once you take those initial batteries out, you are doomed to never again know what the temperature is. Unless you run downstairs and check the outdoor thermometer that’s generally on one of the windows in my studio. Unless it has fallen on the ground again in a fit of pique. And then you have to go to the thermostat in the living room, remembering to bring a flashlight because the little light in the thermostat doesn’t always go on, to read the indoor temp. That the thermostat is more elaborate than anyone could ever want is not our fault. To replace it–to get a normal thermostat–would cost about $400. And thus we figure we can tote a flashlight to it, when we need to.

So I admit to being a weather-ite. A weather geek. A weather type. Mostly I like to know what the outdoor temp is when I am indoors because I do.

When I was a teen, I got roped into a state-wide research project that had lots of us (suckers) take the temp a few times daily, and measure any precipitation. Which I did pretty faithfully. After I started college, the guy conducting the research got some one else to do it, but it turned out that my dad had been as addicted to the process as I. So he got himself the gauges for precep and started recording the highs and lows, and amount of moisture every day until he was into his 80s. There is just something fine about knowing this sort of thing.

Since then, I had been waiting for a gadget that would do what the “weather station” does, which is JUST TELL ME the temperatures. In and out. So you can imagine how tickled I was to find one. And how irritated when it refused to get reset after the yearly battery change.

I called up the company I got it from –L.L. Bean. Now we can all agree there is a good way and a bad way to handle customer inquiries and telling someone she probably did something really wrong, is not a good way. Customer service told me first to follow the instructions which came with the station, which I had already done. And then it emailed me additional instructions which said absolutely the opposite of what the original instructions said to do.

So I returned the station and offered them their choice: refund my money or send me another. The second station came and worked fine for a year. Then no matter what I did, nothing. This time, having learned my lesson, I didn’t ask for help. I just returned the thing. And today the replacement for the replacement came.

I wonder now if this is something I will be doing for the rest of my life. Sending in the old one and –after a month or so–getting a new one. Because although I try to be reasonable, I do think that the initial station should have lasted through several years and battery changes. And thus I don’t feel bad, asking for an exchange. How long is reasonable? ¬†Perhaps I will decide after 8 more of these, that 10 years is long enough for the original to have lasted, and stop this little exchange. ¬†Perhaps not. I am still smarting from the initial snotty response I got when I first called.

However right now I know what both the indoor and outdoor temperatures are, and I am content.