With two kids, there's a lot of laundry to do around here. Thankfully for me, Amy does about 99 percent of it. So when our dryer finally pooped out, I knew it was in my self-interest to get it replaced ASAP. We decided to swap out our washer, too; in hindsight, both could've been replaced long ago, under the school of thought that you can reduce your environmental impact and financial costs by upgrading to a more energy-efficient model, and get your old pair in the hands of someone who could use it more than you could. But these were the last two appliances in our house that we had not bought ourselves, so I didn't really have them on a schedule from a replacement standpoint.

And so we were stuck scrambling to find a washer and dryer that could be delivered reasonably quick. I went online, of course, found the cheapest energy-saving models I could, and rung them up. Only there was a glitch in the website that prevented me from completing the transaction and necessitating a 800 call. The woman on the other line told me their site was having difficulties, located my items, informed me the washer was available at the location nearest my house, and connected me to that site. From there, I was able to order the washer and find a suitable replacement choice for the dryer that was actually on site. Later this morning, we'll get a call to schedule a delivery for later today.

Why do I bore you with this mundane transaction? I don't want to forget how unfathomably rich we are in America. Think about all of the luxuries that went into this quick purchase process:

* I have a washer and dryer inside my house.

* I have enough money to afford buying a replacement when they break down.

* I have a fast Internet connection.

* I pulled up product and price information on countless choices from a handful of stores.

* When I wasn't able to complete the transaction online, I picked up a phone, got a dial tone immediately, and placed a free call.

* The operator was aware of her company's Internet problems and had total access to her company's products, prices, and availabilities.

* The local representative was also aware of the products, prices, and availabilities at his particular location.

* The cashier that rung me up was able to complete the transaction over the phone.

* I paid with a credit card.

* I will have enough money at the end of the month to pay that credit card.

That's ten bullets above, if you're counting. I would venture to say that for each of them, somewhere between 70 and 99 percent of the world does not have that luxury. Which makes me unfathomably rich, and hopefully never ungrateful.
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