Recently I received an email article (maybe you did too) naming all the things that will disappear from our lives during the next ten years (books, landlines, newspapers, etc.). I think I’ve found another item that might soon be gone: the electric can opener.
My twenty-year-old model gave out around Christmas and since then I have been making do with a manual twist-a-lot type. But with my age and a dab of arthritis and a smidgen of carpel tunnel syndrome, this is becoming more difficult. So, I took myself to Wal-mart in search of a new electric can opener, hopefully with a knife sharpener attachment.
I strolled up and down the aisles of small appliances: crock pots, rice cookers, pasta makers, microwaves, blenders, popcorn poppers, toasters, toaster ovens and coffee makers of every size and type. But nowhere among the shelves of various gadgets did I spot the can openers.
On the end of one counter was a display of the manual type I already owned, but none that would give the ease of attaching a can and pushing a button to remove the lid.
I spotted a young lady straightening stock. Her name tag indicated she was an employee, so I asked where I might find what I was looking for.
I’ll digress here a bit to say that the employees (called “associates”) in this Wal-mart are excellently trained for customer service. Whenever I have asked one for help they have stopped what they were doing and helped!
The associate confidently led me around to the next aisle and stopped short.
“Oh, they were right here. I guess they’ve been moved. They might be on the Clearance shelves.”
Are they being phased out? I know some food companies are moving to the pull tops on their cans, but don’t get me started on that. The tab breaks halfway through the process and since the top lip is too deep for a traditional can opener and the bottom is rounded, there is no way to finish opening the can without using a hammer and chisel.
Well, thankfully, the electric can openers were not in the clearance section and, after enlisting help from a couple of other associates, my young lady found them. On a lower shelf under about 150 blenders.
Three. That’s right three (3) electric can-openers (with built-in knife sharpener and bottle opener) for me to choose from. I quickly grabbed one before they became completely obsolete.
It’s hard to believe that in Wal-Mart, where you can choose from dozens of tablets, hundreds of shirts, shelves of pain relievers, a fleet of bicycles, and a garden center full of plants, the electric can opener may be going the way of the VCR.