Reno, Nevada – Two visits, three hours, and four shop assistants later: Lissy gets company

Arriving in Reno we stock up on food, but especially on diesel and beer. In California everything is expensive. We decided not to replace our broken speedometer shaft for the moment; the spare part procurement will take too long anyway. Alternatively we want to buy a second GPS navigation system that should have a poster-like speed indicator and be mounted in the driver’s field of vision. When buying another brand than the Tomtom named Lissy that we already own, we may have the advantage to get different maps than what we have for remote areas.

We try our luck at a consumer electronics retailer. It will take us two visits and three hours to buy a new device. In the same time we wear out four shop assistants. Admitted: They smile much nicer than at home in Europe, but their competence level seems to be in the same range. Questions that go beyond “How much is that?” or “Which colour is prettier?” are mostly answered with a smile and result in the sales clerk’s disappearance without trace. The question “Can I run this gadget only with twelve volt or with 24 V as well?” is considered an unreasonable demand and I am being scanned by the shop assistant regarding my state of mind. 24 V – where does this exist, on the moon? The helpful answer goes: “Yes, it runs on 12 V.” My request to open a box and to see the plug wherefrom one can usually gather the voltage the device works with is friendly ignored.

After asking which maps are available for the Garmin Device I am told, the USA are included. My insisting makes assistant no. 3 (type: young hectic computer freak) surf strewn around on the internet to notice a world map. Before I learn details the page is already closed. After repeated pleading I get to know: “Yes, you can download maps from the internet.” Really? I wouldn’t have thought so! No, you guys won’t wind me up. I can smile as well and repeat my question five times. Where is assistant no. 4?

Here she comes, and we are finally lucky. She is from another department and has no idea at all what’s a real advantage. She’s willing to check the internet for the world map and she even opens a box to allow us a glance on one of the plugs. Of course the thing works with 24 V as well. There’s just some confusion when emerging that the device with some fringe benefits was not available in the shelf, but is locked somewhere (to not find it?). But who cares to walk back from the cashier to the sales assistant (no. 4) and back to the cashier. It only costs me a smile…

The evening gets really funny. Chas and his wife Vanessa invited us into a local restaurant. Chas has discovered our website months ago and we’ve been in contact since then. He drives his Unimog 1250 Doka from 1991 into the restaurant’s parking lot. Together we cause double as much attention as usual. An old Mercedes S class comes into the parking lot. A very stout but likeable and bright man alights from the car. “What’s going on here?” he wants to know. “Is that a secret Mercedes meeting?” Yes, it’s becoming a funny evening.

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