Very occasional thoughts concentrating on the useful.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Life on the wrong end of a toilet seat

A few months ago I had a pretty disturbing experience at TAGS hardware in Cambridge.

I was in the plumbing aisle and there was a 8' x 7' huge display case of toilet seats. As you can see from the picture below, toilet seats were attached to the front of the case. If a seat fits your fancy then you just open up the seat to get one for-purchase seat behind it.

Well toilet seats don't usually bother me.

But a mother with a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old came walking through and in to the next aisle. The 7-year-old said "Mom, here are the toilet seats!" and started trying to pull down one of the display models hanging on the front of the case.

The mother was already in the next aisle and said "We don't need one, come here."

Well, the 7-year old left to go join his mother, leaving the 5-year-old behind. Well, he had seen his brother try to pull down a display model, and he wondered why it didn't come off. So the 5-year-old grabs one of the display-only seats and starts yanking to the point of pulling himself up. The mother wasn't around to see this.

That's when it became obvious that the whole god-damn display was unstable. It was starting to fall over and the kid was about to become a pancake.

I was about 5 feet away and it wasn't clear at all how heavy the thing was. Furthermore, I didn't know if anything heavy from the next ailse was leaning up against it and making it unstable. So I had about 0.2 seconds to decide whether to watch the kid get squashed or to run to jump in front of this unknown mass.

Well, I jumped under it. It was really heavy, but I managed to stop it with just some scrapes. Some of the seats fell out all over the floor and a box full of something came falling off of the top. It was too heavy for me to put back into place.

The hardware store employees came and two of them managed to put it back up. They replaced some of the seats and put the box back on top, and blocked the ailse.

The stupid display case was sitting on a shelf which was too small.

I was pretty POed, so I mailed cellphone-pictures to the owners of TAGS, to their parent company (ACE hardware), and to the manufacturer of "Color Direct Toilet Seats".

I was pretty shaken for about a day. I could just see the obituary: "Died on the wrong end of a toilet seat."


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