Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pointless Popcorn Spiel

[Note: This post was originally published on The Mrs on April 14, 2012. This popper remains in use.]

I’ll be the first to admit we’re a little behind the times in the Lannis household. Santa finally brought us our first gaming system this past Christmas, and we don’t have cable or satellite TV.

I also don’t have a data plan on my smart phone, but that’s a whole other post for another day.

Last week, though, we opted to upgrade. A little. Like, how most of you probably did in the 1980s (or perhaps earlier)...

We went from popping popcorn on the stovetop (yes, the old shake-the-pot method), (dun dun DUN!) to an air popper.

It all started when Mr Lannis read somewhere that it was healthier to air pop popcorn (duh). Of course I knew this, but aside from a short stint of microwaving popcorn when I was in university, I’ve stovetop-popped popcorn all my life.

“It’s easier,” Mr Lannis said. “It’ll be better for the boys when they’re older--they’ll be able to pop popcorn themselves with less supervision.”

The latter, I highly doubt. Probably because I micromanage the kitchen in general (except for Mr Lannis’ eccentric eating habits--another whole post for another day).

And so the hunt began. I went online. I researched. I frugally found our $10 reward card for Sears, and scrolled through what they had to offer.

Warning: ranting semi-digression ahead.

Handy time-saving tip: Sears is overpriced. Holy moly, are they ever.

And I knew this, but I was that girl who grew up leafing through the phonebook-thick Sears catalogue--and not just the Christmas Wishbook, but the other seasonal catalogues, too, just as thick.

I was trained from childhood that Sears is the go-to. And I’ve shopped there plenty, taking advantage of their catalogue store pickups to keep from having to travel all the way into the nearest department store location for the item of choice.

Overall, it’s always been a decent experience. Basically the free-shipping-little-travel sold it for me. So I figured my $10 reward card would compensate for the air popper’s overpricing, and I would be able to pick it up in my town at the catalogue pickup location.

The air popper I chose was $19.99...

Yes, you could argue I could wait until garage sale season and find sixteen being sold within walking distance of my house for $2.

But Mr Lannis wanted it NOW!

Okay, so, maybe he just mentioned it twice and I took the opportunity to shop because, let’s be frank, I’ll take any excuse to do so--I’m far worse when it comes to books, trust.

My point here is that by the time I had that $20 air popper in my online shopping cart, it was $28 after taxes and shipping.


Whoa, whoa, WHOA.

Excuse me, Sears. This is new to me. It was always free to have items sent to the pickup locations... now you’re charging $3.95?! And applying tax to that?!

And it seems to me I’m still using my gas to drive to your location to get it?!


Off to WalMart (no, it wasn’t a special trip--I had a whole list). For $14.88 plus taxes I got a simple Rival air popper. A similar popper from Sears would have been $18 after I’d applied that $10 reward card!

Yes, basically the same price, but I still have my reward card.


Digression over.

So I brought home the popper, to decidedly less fanfare than I had anticipated, but whatever.

Mr Lannis, God bless him, read the instruction manual cover to cover. All eight pages, including warranty information.

Uh... it’s an air popper.

Recklessly, I poured in the kernels and plugged in that bad boy.

Actually, it wasn’t my first time manning an air popper. Once upon a time I worked for a local museum, and part of our education programming was teaching school classes about Native Canadians and their relationship to farming. They grew corn, and they were brilliant folks.

They used to toss it with maple syrup.


Point being, I’d manned an air popper a time or two at the museum...

But Mr Lannis hadn’t. So I get it. But as I’m setting in to watch Game of Thrones on DVD, he’s got kernels flying willy-nilly, into and out of the bowl set to catch them, as he leafs through the manual.

And then he speaks, “Uh, hon. It says here that kids and pets are supposed to be kept forty inches away.”

“Hm. That’ll be tricky,” I reply. He catches my eye. “Are they recommending we tie them, or staple them to the floor?”

He may or may not have thrown the manual at me.

I may or may not have deserved it.

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