At the Apple store, I wanted to see if my iPod could be made whole again. Alas, no. This wasn't unexpected, but it was disappointing. On the other hand, if I get a newer one (with a 10% discount by turning in the current one), my old microphone won't work but a much better mic is available. Since I use the iPod more for interviews than for listening to music, this is a plus, albeit an expensive one. Still, my tasks were 0 for 1.
What I really wanted from the Apple store was an iSight camera, the same one I attached to my mothers portable Mac, so we could all see each other over Skype. But, alas, Apple doesn't make the iSight anymore and the store doesn't sell it. All the new computers come with cameras built in. 0 for 2.
Next computer related thing to check: External terabyte hard drives for under $300. I've seen them cheap, and almost that cheap, but not quite. And the Apple Store came close but. 0 for 3.
On the way out, one of the ubiquitous smiling Apple salespeople stopped me and asked if I'd found everything. When I replied that I'd found nothing, he was disappointed, and collared one of the other smiling salespeople to find me a camera. There is another one, though moderately expensive, that they sell. On the other hand, said the salesguy, I could go to the GameStore and buy an XBox Vision and it would work great. Okay, I thanked him and upped them to 1 for 3. He was ecstatic, even though I didn't buy anything at the store.
However. At the GameStore, the shopkeeper didn't think the LiveVision camera would work with a Mac. He called to the upstairs store, and confirmed it. I'd trust a Mac Genius over a Microsoft/gamer store clerk anyday, but I couldn't even get them to find out what kind of connection it had. If it used FireWire or USB I would have taken my chances, but the clerk was pretty sure that camera only connected to an XBox, not a computer. This seemed dubious, but he wouldn't open the case and I wasn't going to spend the bucks on something I may not ever use. I reported back to the Apple store that they were 0 for 3, and really 0 for 4 at this point. The salesman who had recommended it wasn't there, so I didn't get more technical help.
Next mission: Find a battery for my watch, and have it put in. My watch ran out months and months ago, and I've been using alternates... or nothing... and even a place that had the battery didn't have the tool to open it. The Mall Info Desk directed me to the Swatch store. But they couldn't help. Fortunately, the clerk there directed me to the Dakota Watch Co (the kiosk I was looking for, which had moved) and... ta da! A very nice young lady sold me the batteries and installed them. At last, after much trudging... 1 for 5.
False confidence made me sure about my next mission: Lands' End. My brother and sister in law gave me a gift certificate, and I wasn't about to order clothes over the net, though their web site is good. Sears has a large Lands' End section. But... nothing. All their intermediate jackets just utterly didn't fit, and I don't mean the size. Whether the L, XL or XXL was the closest fit, they were too tight around the shoulders and too loose around the waist, with the wrong sleeve length. They didn't have any short sleeved shirts or pants in my size. Absolutely nothing I need, and damn little I could possibly use. I wandered over two floors and four departments, and short of buying a cuisinart from Lands' End Home (and I'm not sure the gift certificate covers that department), there was nothing for me to spend money on. 1 for 6.
At this point I'd been at one of the largest retail centers in the country for over two hours and spent just over $10. Sad, really. On the way out, some pan piper Andean muscians were playing, and playing very well. They were selling CDs. I almost bought one or two (for the reggae songs), but I have a bunch of Andean music and don't listen to them that much. So I left them my Shockwave Radio card and headed home.
Ah well. Plan A was always to wait until after Boxing Day for the sales.