Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cause for Alarm

Dear First Alert,

I understand from several independent consumer reporting agencies that you are the manufacturer of the best all around smoke alarm. I must respectfully disagree. This is to inform you that you will soon be receiving a package from me via express courier.

My wife and I have lived in the same house for 9 years now, and your smoke alarms were already installed when we moved in. The low battery alarms have always gone off at seemingly the most inopportune times, but last night was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

First, let me bring up a point. There is no need for the low battery beep to be as loud and piercing as the beep that occurs when your house is in flames. There’s just no reason for it. A nice, soft reminder beep would serve the same purpose. Now, last night’s debacle.

At approximately 3:22am, I was awakened by the incessant chirp of the alarm outside our bedroom door. Well, by that and by my ShihTzu wrapping himself around my face like a cartoon. Apparently the frequency you chose for your beep is one that makes small animals tremble violently and lose clumps of hair. Way to go.

After deciding that the chirping wasn’t going to stop, I got up and dug around in our junk drawer in the kitchen to find a replacement 9-volt battery (seriously, 9-volt? It’s the 8-track tape of the battery world. I’m just saying.).

After stumbling through the dark house, stubbing my toe on the ottoman, and nearly severing my finger on the knife that I forgot was in the junk drawer, I found the battery and made my way back to the still-beeping alarm. By the way, Gizmo, the aforementioned ShihTzu, was at my feet the entire time, still trembling.

I don’t know why I never noticed this before, but your installers chose to place the unit at ceiling level—10 feet in this case. I realized I was going to need a stepladder. I opened the garage door to retrieve said stepladder, setting off the house alarm, an eardrum-bursting 150-decibels. Gizmo began climbing my leg as I entered the code on the keypad to turn off the alarm.

I peeled him off, stepped out into the garage, grabbed the stepladder, took one step back in the house and slipped in the puddle of urine that Gizmo had just created, dropping the stepladder squarely on my face. As I lay there in a warm puddle of fresh dog urine on the cold tile floor, the alarm chirped again.

In the package you will find one pair of urine-stained pajamas, the bashed remnants of your stupid alarm, and enough dog hair to make a wig. Enjoy.