I Went Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer, God Help Me

My first mistake, I went shopping for an electric car buffer. Allow me to explain. I have washed and waxed my own cars all my life, I enjoy taking care of my stuff, and it extends the life of the vehicles. However, I’m no longer young (read elderly). There’s also the shoulder surgery a few years back. Therefore, the wax on/wax off thing, rubbing in a circular motion, causes no end of problems and pain. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

Last time I waxed on and off on our current SUV, my shoulder pain turned on and I thought my arm was going to fall off. Not being one to age gracefully, and somewhat stubborn by nature (as my wife is fond of pointing out), I planned to wax through the pain and continue washing and waxing my cars as always. However, my wife gently suggested that I might be being a bit unreasonable (read an idiot) and perhaps I should go to Plan B. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

Here was my second mistake. My wife’s Plan B included hiring someone else to wash, wax and detail our cars. My Plan B turned out to be a little different. I decided to continue washing and waxing myself, but to buy an electric car buffer to avoid the wax on/wax off circular motion thing. After 46 years of marriage, my wife, to her credit, did not try to talk me out of this awesome (read not great) plan. She just smiled, shook her head, laughed and pointed out the obvious, “That 20-year-old in your elderly head is going to kill you one of these days.” I remained undeterred. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

Then the fun started. After two-and-a-half years of Covid, I’m used to buying pretty much everything on Amazon. I would like to make it clear that the following has nothing to do with shopping on Amazon, or Amazon itself. It’s great to be able to shop online and have the thing delivered to my doorstep in a day or two, and Amazon makes shopping as easy as possible. The problem has to do with the global nature of goods manufactured and sold today, the lack of any standardization and the insane number of options to choose from. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

Just as an example, I remember going on a business trip back when I worked as a pharmaceutical consultant. While staying at a Marriott in Houston, Texas, I discovered I was out of toothpaste. I walked to a nearby grocery store to buy some standard no-frills Crest. When I found the section containing toothpaste, it turned out to encompass an entire aisle of the store, consisting of a virtual sea of toothpaste. This included over twenty different brands, including a couple of tubes with the brand written in what I’m pretty sure was Chinese. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

And, within each brand I found many, many different formulations; peppermint flavored, spearmint flavored, cinnamon flavored, banana flavored, chocolate flavored, potato flavored…you get the picture. Then, there was toothpaste with vitamins for bone health, toothpaste containing fish oil for high cholesterol, toothpaste with a laxative for those with IBS, toothpaste with tuna for brushing your cat’s teeth…everything but a tube of good old original Crest. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

I’m embarrassed to admit that I became immobilized from the chaos and left the store without purchasing anything. Then I got back to the Marriott and told the nice young woman at the front desk of my plight. She reached under the counter and handed me…you guessed it…a complementary small tube of basic toothpaste, no flavors or additives included. Go figure. But I digress. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

 Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes, the car wax on/wax off dilemma. It was time to shop for an electric car buffer, and I figured I should be able to knock this out in about ten minutes, in plenty of time for lunch. I signed into our Amazon account and typed electric car buffer into the search line. The Amazon elf (is there such a thing?) dutifully brought up a long list of products. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

There were over 20 brands, some corded, some cordless, some with a single handle, others with a circular handle configuration so you could get a better grip, some with a single speed, some with enough speeds to buff your car out of existence, 9” buffing wheels, 10” buffing wheels, wool pads, microfiber pads, cotton pads, 0.5 HP motors, 1 HP motors, 268 HP motors (no, sorry, that’s my Subaru WRX), potato-flavored…no, that was the toothpaste, sorry again. Anyhow, you get the idea. Lots of choices. Way too freaking many choices. An insane number of choices. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

A half-hour later, I settled on a cordless one with a 10” buffing wheel, a single speed and only enough HP to buff off the wax (I didn’t plan on removing the paint). I placed the product in my cart, and then went on to look for an extra battery to purchase. It would be too frustrating if I got halfway through waxing my SUV and the portable battery died, so I wanted to be prepared with an extra charged one, just in case. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

While searching for an extra battery, I discovered that the photo of the electric car buffer that I had placed in my cart showed a cord attached to the unit, neatly coiled up and tied with a zip tie. Well, this didn’t bode well. So, I did some more reading, and discovered that I had erred, and somehow managed to pick out a corded device. I was discouraged, but already an hour into the project, so I went back to square one. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

After another half hour of researching, I chose a different model, this time making sure that it was a cordless, complete with portable battery. It had a single speed, 10” buffer wheel and a reasonable amount of power in the motor. Once again, I placed the device in my cart, and went in search of a spare battery. I’m now an hour-and-a-half into the project, hungry since lunchtime has passed, and determined to order this thing same day. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

Going back to the trusty search bar, I typed in spare battery and specified the model of electric car buffer in my cart. To my despair, the Amazon elf provided me with over 20 different brands, apparently all knockoffs with the correct 20 amps of power required for this specific product. There were red ones, and green ones, and pink ones, and yellow ones, and square ones, and round ones, and rectangular ones, and potato-flavored (no, that’s that damned toothpaste again)…well, they all said they’d work with this electric car buffer. However, I’ve been here before, and it’s been my experience that this approach often results in frustration. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

So, I decided to try to find the exact match to the battery that came with the cordless electric car buffer that I had placed in my cart. An hour later, after I finally stumbled onto the magical wording required to type into the search bar, I found the exact same battery, made by the same manufacturer as the cordless electric car buffer I had in my cart. And, the good news, it only cost twice as much as the knockoffs. I threw it in my cart. I thought, “Hot damn, I’m gonna make it by dinner time.” Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

Now, all I needed was some extra pads for the buffer wheel to replace the ones that came with the device as they wore out. So, I went to the search bar and typed in extra buffer pads for electric car buffers. There were 9”, 10”, wool, cotton, microfiber, sandpaper, cheese-flavored (no, that’s Doritos), thick, thin, medium, and on and on. It required some online research to figure out which pads to use to apply the wax, which ones to remove the wax, and which ones to use to wipe the sweat out of my eyes. An hour later, I had it all figured out and threw a package of mixed pads in my cart. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

You’d think this would be over by now, wouldn’t you? Well, not so much. As I always do before hitting the place order button, I went back and read the more detailed information on the product to make sure it was exactly what I needed. We’re closing in on dinner time, and I’m sad to report that this did not go well. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

I had correctly chosen a cordless unit, single speed, correct horsepower motor and correct battery, but then I found the detailed directions and read them. This particular electric car buffer had a single handle and was designed to be used with one hand. And, you guessed it, the directions stipulated that you were to move this electric car buffer in a circular motion when buffing the wax. So, over five hours in, and I discovered that I hadn’t solved the wax on/wax off problem and my shoulder at all. I was sad…very sad. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

My wife came searching for me to call me to dinner, and she found me sitting slumped over my laptop. To my credit I did not cry, but that was mainly because I didn’t want to short out my laptop with my tears. Then, God help me, I would have to order another one. I explained my dilemma to my wife, and to her credit, she was sympathetic. She actually offered to go online to Amazon and order an electric car buffer for me. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

Now, I must admit that my wife is the one who usually buys the groceries and orders stuff that we need on Amazon, but this was an electric car buffer…a man’s tool, if you will. I thought in my head that there was no way she’d be able to order the right thing, and if she did it would take her days. But I was desperate and terminally frustrated, so I described to her exactly what I was looking for. No way…just no way. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

We ate dinner, watched a little TV and then she took out her laptop and signed onto Amazon. I was close to suffering from PTSD from my over five-hour shopping debacle, so I left her to it and took a nap. Half-hour later she woke me up and called me into the living room. She had ordered me an electric car buffer, and it was supposed to arrive in two days. It is an understatement and a half to say that I was skeptical. So, she showed me what she had ordered on Amazon. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

According to the order, in two days a cordless electric car buffer with extra battery, extra pads, and a round handle would arrive at our door. She showed me the directions, which indicated that that this model had a circular handle and the user held on with both hands and moved the device back and forth and up and down. The buffer carried out the circular motion on its own, which would save my shoulder from a great deal of stress. Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

I’m ashamed to say that I spent over an hour looking over her order, trying to find something wrong. This was just not possible. It took her a half hour to accomplish what I had tried to do in six hours and failed miserably. I thanked her for taking the time to help me out with my dilemma. Then I just couldn’t resist. I said, “I really appreciate your help. But didn’t they have any with buffer pads that smelled like peppermint?” Shopping for an Electric Car Buffer

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