Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hi-tech Training

My folks purchased our first microwave oven when I was in high school.  Microwave ovens were the newest fangled thing there was.  So, the appliance store that sold the unit to my parents held an hour-long training session for customers who'd bought one.  I went with my mom to this training session, and I still remember a few things.

But first, this aside...

When ATMs first came around, I was afraid to use them much in the way I am still uncomfortable using my credit card to shop online.  But, the restaurant where I worked at the time had one installed in their lobby, and they encouraged employees to use it to deposit our paychecks.  I don't know what benefits an ATM host gets, but this restaurant wanted us so badly to use their machine that they paid a woman to stand by the machine for a whole day to show everyone how to use it.  Any restaurant employee who used the machine that day got five dollars deposited to their bank account.  Five bucks.
You bet I took my paycheck to that machine.  And today, I don't know how I'd live without ATMs.  The same goes for microwave ovens.
So, how come no one offers to train me on all this new stuff coming out?  Really, maybe I'd buy more of the gadgets if a company offered me a free one-hour training session along with my purchase.
I don't have an iPod, iPhone, Kindle, or a phone that does anything but make phone calls.
But, if I wasn't abandoned to figure it out on my own, maybe I'd be more likely to try them.  Put someone out there to help me use it the first time.  You don't even have to pay me five bucks to try it.

Okay.  Back to the microwave training...

The first thing we were told was that you could cook/bake anything in a microwave oven.  But what Mom and I learned right away is that nothing browns in a microwave.  If you want brown meat or brown bread, you have to also purchase this handy-dandy browning tray (for 29.95 plus tax).  There sure are a lot of extra thingys you need in order for your microwave to actually cook/bake everything.

My favorite part of the evening was when the training lady boasted how food will heat quickly in your microwave but not the container in which it is heating.  To prove it, she filled a two-cup glass measuring cup with water and set it in the microwave to boil.  As it heated, she told us some other stuff and pretty much ignored the water.  When the timer pinged, she was still explaining something else, so the appliance sales manager walked over and pulled out the water.
"YOW!" he dropped the container, tucked his hand under his arm and hopped away howling.
"What happened?" the trainer called after him.
"I stuck my hand in the water to see if it was hot!" he shouted back.
Everyone chuckled and figured that's what you get when you don't pay attention.
Mom and I called bullspit.  We didn't say anything at the time, but on the way home we both admitted we'd seen the guy grab the measuring cup.  He didn't stick his finger in the water.  The sides of the glass container burned him.  The same glass container the woman had told us wasn't going to be hot.
And the sales manager was so afraid of losing a sale that he lied about it.  Thought about it that quick.  Came up with a believable deception that fast.  Microwave quick, you might say.

That was impressive.

I don't know if Mom and Dad bought anything else from that appliance store, but Mom and I never went to another of their training sessions.


leeann said...

Our first microwave was the size of a Buick. Mom was terrified of it. For some reason, she couldn't bring herself to push the buttons. Put the food in, take the food out, she was fine with that. But she'd have to call one of us kids to push the buttons. She finally confessed she was afraid of the radiation and thought since we were little, we had less surface area to "attract" it.
I love my mom, but she never did take to science.

Andy said...

Roses, my family was in the appliance business in those days, and I was a young salesmen when microwave ovens were "new."

I remember those cooking schools well. We would have them about twice a month, and "The Amana Lady" would come to the store to demonstrate. Good memories. Girl, the funny stories I could tell about "first-timers." Thanks for reminding me of all that.

Roses said...

Andy: Let me know when you post those stories!

Andy said...

Will do!

Anonymous said...

Ah, fond memories of our first microwave! Our upstairs neighbor had gotten one and while she was gone for a weekend, she gave us her apartment key so that we could use it in her absence. We had company that weekend and used her microwave to make bacon...
And as soon as our guests left on Sunday, we went right to the appliace store and bought one of our own. The bacon was that good and that mess-free. I still have my original bacon rack (19.95 plus tax) and use it regularly.

Thumper said...

I think we got our firs microwave in ' one told us how to use it, but that was all right because I only wanted it to make popcorn...

Roses said...

Thumper: They also had these things in the '80s called popcorn poppers.