Normal Matters

Our "normal life" matters

When Even Do-Overs Don’t Work


Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard

Keyboards. We all use them. Since I have found the “split” ergonomic keyboard the most comfortable, I ordered Microsoft’s new Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard and set it up, skimming through the quick start guide as I went. This was going to be good. Beautifully compact, yet full size. A separate numeric keypad so the mouse could be even closer to the keyboard.

I was ready. Except the USB dongle was missing.

Where is it?
Normally the USB dongle is packed in a separate compartment, but in this case only the keyboard and numeric keypad were in the box. I rechecked. And just in case the recheck was faulty, I rechecked the recheck. Nothing. My heart fell. Anticipation sank.

I searched the web. No go. The USB was simply assumed. Not even a note about where the it could be found in the box containing the keyboard.

Although I suspected dongles were not sold stand-alone, I went to Best Buy to find out. They weren’t. The salesperson said it should be included and might be taped to the box.

I checked the box when I got home; there was nothing taped to it. Just to be complete I checked the shipping container. Absolutely nothing.

I contemplated doing an exchange, hoping all the parts would be included with the replacement keyboard.

A Crazy Thought
A thought struck me. I didn’t like it; it struck me again. “Get the entire desktop,” said the thought. “The USB dongle might be in there.”

“But it shouldn’t be that way,” I argued.

“No,” the thought agreed, “but if it is then maybe you’ll see where it might be hidden on the one you purchased from Amazon. Then you can just return the desktop.” Seemed logical. Okay. I would try that.

At Staples the words on the ergonomic desktop box stated the USB was required. The tech said it was in the box. On the up-side, the desktop was on sale for 30% off. So I purchased the on-sale desktop.

Another Fail
Blast! Unpacking it at home I saw the USB hadn’t been included with the desktop package either! This was crazy. The tech at Staples was going to have to see this. Then he’d see what I was talking about.

“See?” I told the thought. “It didn’t work.” This time the thought didn’t respond. Sometimes thoughts don’t like to admit they’re wrong.

Back to square one?
I don’t give up easily. Even though the “do-over” hadn’t worked I again unpacked the keyboard I had received from Amazon. Not only was there no dongle, there was not even a hiding place for one. In fact the only place that opened up was the magnetic battery compartment, and all it had were the two double A batteries. I knew that but, still, I opened it again. Other than the batteries there was only the black magnet for the cover. For kicks I decided to pull on it to see how tightly it was attached and it slid smoothly all the way out, revealing itself to be the USB dongle!

Stupidly Happy
I felt both stupid and overjoyed at the same time. I’d found it! But why, oh why had they not called out the location in the instructions? Or on the cover of the box? “Not very user friendly,” I told myself, “that’s for sure.”

Cleaning up I glanced at the quick start guide again and saw where they called out the battery protective tab in the battery compartment. Yes, and there was the up arrow next to it. The next block showed plugging in the USB. Oh, and the black item to be pulled up had the USB symbol next to it.

The thought came back, happily it seemed, to strike me again. “See? How dense can you be! You, a technically challenged ‘professional’ who doesn’t read instructions.”

“But I did read them!” I replied. “Honest!”

Once again the thought didn’t reply. But then, it didn’t have to. Sometimes thoughts can be rather smug when they know they’re right.

About Wade Flaming

Wade is a both a writer and simulation software engineer. He grew up on a farm in the central United States and works as a contractor for a company writing aircraft simulation software. He enjoys writing software as well as observations of day-to-day normal life matters.

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