Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Dear Sir And/Or Madame

Dear Sir and/or Madame:

I am forced to contact you regarding your Electric Can Opener, model number 763802022938

I would like to preface my request by stating for the record that I, contrary to popular opinion, am not the most mechanically challenged person on the planet. With all due modesty, I can merely hope to one day aspire to reach the top 100, if I'm lucky. Until then, in my defense I would like to point out that I have, over the years: gapped the spark plugs on a Mustang convertible, changed the brakes on my car, assembled furniture from Ikea, eskimo rolled a kayak, sailed a boat, driven a motorcycle, sewn fully jointed teddy bears from scratch, snapped the grommets on a very cold british roadster soft top, changed 6 tires, and refinished 3 pieces of furniture and 4 wood floors. All without dying or mishap worth mentioning. And no, you may not fact check that with my ex. Suffice it to say, in my estimation, I am proven to be moderately capable of most... okay, some things.


I grew up in the Bay Area. A place where unnecessary use of electricity is frowned upon with the cold fury only a mob of liberals, or a Republican faced with paying for something out of their own pocket, can foment. Also, and essential to this story, the assumption was that all cooking be done with completely homemade ingredients. I once made ketchup. From scratch. With tomatoes grown by me. Organically. No, it was not fiscally wise. But morally, we stood proud. In short, we did not need to own one of your fine Electric Can Openers, because we did not use canned goods.

So you can see why it is only now, at the cusp of the second half of the first decade of the twenty first century, that I have become acquainted with the Electric Can Opener and the use thereof.

I have a small dog who will only eat enough of her dry food to keep flesh on her bones if I mix a small amount of wet food into her kibble. After my 3rd manual can opener in six months became too dull or distorted to cut through wet waxed paper, my boyfriend began to campaign for an Electric Can Opener. As he's originally from Arizona, you will understand that in his experience any and all unnecessary arm movement between April and October causes instant death from heat exhaustion.

Given my background, you can also understand why, at the advanced age of 40-something (without a subpoena, that's all you're getting), actually owning an Electric Can Opener had never crossed my mind. But he's a good man, and I like to make him happy. Especially since, unlike my ex, it doesn't involve adultery, 80 proof, and the phrase, "Beer me, &#@!".

So I tossed off my prejudices and I went out and comparison shopped. I was intrigued to find your sleek, black plastic model with the handy bottle opener built right into the back. A sound addition to the functionality of your fine product, I concede. That must have been some marketing meeting.

But I would like to suggest one small improvement, if I may. It is visually difficult to line up the middle of the can with the exact "sweet spot" that will allow the mechanism to puncture the can and subsequently rotate. I may be wrong, but the sweet spot on your model 763802022938... Well, it moves. I can't prove it, but - with my apologies to Galileo Galilei - "And yet it moves". Every can I open takes five or six tries, and ends up topped with festive paper streamers where the label used to be. It looks like I hired Edward Scissorhands to feed the dogs. I normally wouldn't mind, but it has gotten so bad, even the Shi Tzu is embarrassed for me.

If you could maybe put a small indicator on your can openers, with which I could line up my can. Or, if it's not too much trouble, some removable can guidance bumpers. I think this may assist in my remedial can-opener training sessions.

Thank you.


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