Friday, February 6, 2015

Dealing In Hazardous Materials

These past couple weeks I have been painting the various main living areas of our house and we have been doing general deep cleanings of the rooms once they've been painting. We sort through our belongings, ditching some, rearranging others and replacing other things. One of the rooms I first got painted was our living room and we did the deep cleaning but haven't yet finished the other things.

For many years, we've had a prefab armoire that housed our television, stereo, kids game system, cable box, etc., etc. It has served us well and fit nicely in our old home where the living room was quite a bit bigger than in our current house. Our current house has about the same sized living room but a basement stairwell eats up quite a bit of it leaving it functionally smaller. Also the orientation of the living room and the addition of sliding door leading out to the deck (they weren't in the living room of our previous house) means that things are tighter.

After getting the painting done, we started looking at things and coming up with solutions to fix this problem. Because our living room didn't have a ceiling light at all when we moved in, we use two torch lights in the corners where we have switched outlets. Though not big, they do take up room. We plan to replace them with wall sconces which I will wire into the switched part of the outlets below them. This will free up some space. Eventually I will replace the armoire with a lower and much narrower entertainment center that they market for flat screen televisions these days. I am planning on custom building that to our specifications so that part needs to wait for warmer weather. The television itself is already a flatscreen but I am going to buy a mounting kit and mount it directly to the wall and fish the wires in the wall cavity so for all practical purposes it will look just like a framed picture. This will free up the top of the entertainment center for setting more useful things such as plants or butts when entertaining and give the illusion of a lot more space from your knees up.

Finally, as part of this renovation, my wife wanted me to get rid of my stereo speakers. I've had them forever, probably since shortly after I got my first real paycheck post college and they have served their purpose. They are still good speakers but being about 16 inches wide by 12 inches deep by 30 inches tall, they eat up a lot of floor space and they kind of stand out visually. This was the idea back when I was younger but these days I am more content to just hear them and not really see them, especially since the size of the speaker no longer really aligns with the quality of them. So to free up that space, I invested in a pair of compact bookshelf speakers that will fit inside the future entertainment system I will build and be hidden from view.

After much research, I ordered some from Amazon. While all the compact bookshelf speakers were sold in pairs, the one I selected wasn't and I didn't realize that. So when only one speaker arrived, I realized my mistake and ordered another one. It arrived a few days later and when I started opening up the package, I noticed right off that the packaging was completely different that the first one I received. When I set it beside the other, I noticed that they were very different speakers made by the same manufacturer. So after doing some investigation, I realized that they had sent me the wrong speaker though charged me the correct price and had the right speaker listed on the order form. The wrong speaker was also about 50% larger and since this is all about freeing up space, I want to get the correct smaller speaker.

Since it is a third party selling on Amazon and they listed no returns on the order, I had to call up Amazon's customer support. Within seconds I was speaking with a real human being, something that shocked me, and within a couple minutes of answering their questions, they refunded me the full cost of the speaker. I was surprised that I didn't have to provide any proof but then, I'm a loyal shopper from Amazon and this is the first time I think I have ever called them about anything. The real kicker to all this is that the speaker is considered hazardous materials which is why it was listed as no returns available and can't be shipped back to the manufacturer, despite the fact it was shipped to me. They just told me to give the wrong speaker to charity or dispose of it in an environmental fashion since it is considered hazardous. I'm guessing they are referring to the magnet inside that drives everything. For now, I am putting it with my other hazardous materials... I mean speakers that are in the garage sale pile down in the basement. I'm not sure anyone will want a single speaker anyway so it may well have to go to Goodwill assuming they accept hazardous materials. If it comes to that, I may phrase it to leave out the hazardous material part and just say speaker.


Leigh said...

I had to laugh about the speakers. Dan has three sets of speakers that he refuses to part with. Anytime I approach the subject he responds, "But they're Cerwin Vegas." I confess that means nothing to me, but it means a lot to him so the speakers stay.

Ed said...

Leigh - It's a guy think. I would have a hard time parting with Cerwin Vegas too but mine are just KLH speakers so it is much easier to do!