It Burns

11-19-10-PostI love this picture. So soothing and festive. Do you want the recipe for this beautiful meringue? Well, too bad. Maybe some other time because this, my friend, an unapologetic rant. A non-soothing, utterly un-festive, Grinchy, grouchy, rage-filled rant.

I was looking for a portable electric burner today. In the past, when I’ve uttered the phrase “portable electric burner” at hardware or all-purpose stores like Home Depot, Target, Lowes, Sears, etc. I am met with strange facial contortions, puzzled silence, and the inevitable, “What do you want that for?” (P.S. Why do you care?)

Even though I’ve had trouble obtaining said portable burners in the past, I figured it was because I’d been shopping in New York City where the constrained real estate proportions of stores doesn’t allow for as much merchandise, as, say, Framingham, MA.

I was wrong. This is what I suffered through today.

***All conversations start with me sweetly saying, “Excuse me, sir, do you carry portable electric burners?”

Guy #1, Target: I approach him while passing the hair product aisle. He turns on his heel, takes a few steps, and turns down the first aid aisle. I’m thinking he’s looking for a colleague who might know where the burners are. Alas, he is looking for the burner in the first aid section. (OOHHHH! I just got it! I said “burner” and he thought, “Burner…Fire… Wounds… First Aid!”)
He says, “Hmm, I don’t think we have those.”
I reply, “Hmm, I think this is more of a small appliance or camping gear kind of thing.”

It is approximately 11:45am. My stomach is starting to rumble and I feel my blood sugar levels falling dangerously low. This means I only have 20 or so minutes before I begin to see spots and become speech-impaired. I zip over to Lowes.

Guy #2, Lowes:
“Can I help you, ma’am?”
Me: “Probably not, but what the heck. Do you have portable burners? You know… small, they have an electrical coil like the one on your stovetop, you plug it in, and you can cook on it?”
Guy #2: 15 seconds of silence.

Guy #3, Lowes: “Yeah! We have those! Just walk to that aisle over there and you’ll see a few different options.”

Me: Giddy! Finally, someone who knows what I’m talking about! WRONG. I’m staring at a wall of replacement coils for an electric stovetop. I guess they’re portable because they’re not connected to a stove???  Semantics.

Guy #4, Lowes: “Uhh, those are a fire hazard…What do you want them for anyway?”
Me: Glare.