Weak Scrod and Parachute Pants

There are some things in life that while being theoretically possible, their pursuit often seems to be an exercise in futility. You can only pursue them and hope for the best. The three best examples are: planning the next Buffalo Bills Super Bowl Party, explaining the plot of “Eyes Wide Shut”, and getting a benefit from a warranty or insurance claim. I am going to explore the last of these items.

In April of 2008, I purchase a computer bundle which included the computer tower, a monitor, and a printer. In addition, I purchased an extended warranty. I purchased the extended warranty because, like the parachute pants I bought in 1984, it seemed like a great idea at the time. After all, this warranty was being backed by a reputable company which had gained a reputation for its customer service. In an effort to practice good taste, I will not mention the company by name. Let’s put it this way, if you are in a seafood store, you don’t want to get the weak scrod. In other businesses, it is probably best not to buy services from an agency that happens to rhyme with weak scrod.

We enjoyed our computer system greatly over the course of the coming months. Suddenly, without warning, the monitor gave up the ghost. It just stopped working. My wife called the company servicing our extending warranty. They told my wife that our monitor was covered under warranty until April 2010. That was really good news because it was the day before Thanksgiving. April 2010 gave us plenty of wiggle room to get our monitor repaired or replaced free of charge. My wife took the monitor to the store to return it. The man behind the counter then informed her that the monitor was not covered. Doing her best to maintain a cool head, my wife demanded to speak to the manager. The nice man (whose breath reeked of weak scrod) told my wife that when we purchased the warranty, it only covered the computer tower. Neither the monitor nor the printer was covered. My wife explained this to me on the telephone. I looked down and was sure that, for a minute there, I was wearing the parachute pants I bought in 1984. In the end, they wound up recycling our monitor and giving us a $10 gift card.

I shouldn’t be surprised about this. Such things have happened many times throughout history. Scholars uncovered a record of an insurance claim. It appears that a man was looking to receive a benefit from Galilee Mutual Insurance. The man’s claim asserted that while feeding his pigs, he dropped bag of pearls he was holding. The pigs began to eat the pearls and spit them out. The man was then severely hog cut. In addition, a wind storm blew in and destroyed the cages holding his sacrificial turtledoves. The turtledoves flew out and the man’s dog ate them. Sadly, Galilee Mutual Insurance did not cover the man’s claim. Galilee Mutual cited an exclusion in the policy: Matthew 7:6 – “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” They also stated that the cages for the turtledoves would not be replaced as the windstorm fell under the Acts of God exclusion.

Another historical account tells of a man in 1588 that purchased a sextant. The sextant came with a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee. The man filed a claim to get money back to return the sextant and repair damages to his ship. However, the warranty clearly stated that the sextant (a Vespucci 1600 model) was best used in conjunction with a map and a compass. The man used the Vespucci 1600 by itself and misinterpreted the readings. His ship wound up sailing right in the middle of the Spanish Armada fleet. This accidental placement in battle caused severe damage to his ship. The warranty also stipulated that the sextant is ineffective in British territory. The reason for this is that a sextant is designed to be used at night and the sun never sets on the British Empire.

As anyone can see, history clearly stakes the deck against a successful claim. All we can do is to get everything and writing and read the fine print as they say (whoever THEY are). Otherwise, you may be caught with your parachute pants hanging down and smelling of weak scrod.

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