Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Real Missing Piece

Two days after Christmas I sat down with a bunch of family members to play a game that my son had received for Christmas. We had a great time! Then we started cleaning up and I notice that one bag of game chips seemed less full than the others. I looked under the game board, in the box, and under the coffee table. No chips. I counted the contents of each bag. Sure enough, there were 50 blue chips, 50 green, and only 35 red. How did that happen?

My sister and I searched everywhere for the 15 missing red chips. Since her youngest had been fascinated by the “chip game” (we were actually playing Sequence), Kristy checked his pockets, toy bag, and even an empty M&M Mini container from his Christmas stocking. No chips. Finally, we gave up decided that the manufacturers had messed up and gyped us out of 15 chips. We made up all kinds of scenarios about how such a mistake could be possible. Mom decided it was disgruntled employee who was mad because she’d been laid off. I suggested that the counter on the chip machine had been off.

The next day my husband and I dropped by Toys R Us to exchange the game.

“This box is missing piece,” I explained, showing the girl at Customer Service the skimpy bag of red chips.

Unfortunately, there were no more Sequence games on the shelf. Since Nathan loved his new game and we seemed to care more about the missing chips than he did, I took the game home and made a mental note to find 15 red buttons or something.
Then I had a reason to reread the instructions and stumbled upon the heading “Game Contents.”
We were only supposed to have 35 red chips! Nothing was missing! We all laughed our heads off over the mistake, especially the part where I tried to exchange the game. Had it ever occurred to me to double-check the game contents right away? After all, it was a brand new game! Instead I scrambled around searching for something that was never gone in the first place.
How often do we do this? We panic over a problem that doesn’t exist, freak out before we know all the facts, or search frantically for an item that is right under our noses? Later we see that if we’d only taken the time to stop and think, we would have save a lot of time, energy, and frustration. The experience with the “chip game” reminded me to stop before I assume the worst.
It also got me wondering how many Sequence games have been returned unnecessarily. And why not just make all the bags even. I mean, seriously?

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