I’ve owned the same alarm clock for over a decade. I bought it because, at the time, it seemed fancy-shmancy. The main attraction was that the alarm clock could wake you up to a CD, something I thought was just unbelievably cool. Not only that, but you could set up to three different alarms! Wow! I trusted the Sony brand name, and I purchased the clock radio without reservation.
Jump ahead approximately a dozen years, and I’m still trying to figure out how this damn clock works. I know, I know, this story inevitably paints me as a moron – either as a moron who can’t figure out an alarm clock after something like 4,000 nights of sleep or as a moron who has put up with a crappy alarm clock for over 10 years rather than purchasing a replacement. Well, be that as it may, this little alarm clock boggles my mind. Whether I want to turn the sounding alarm off or just press snooze, it’s like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube, blindfolded and with one hand. Now, I know everyone stumbles and fumbles when trying to deal with an alarm. Spending 2.5 seconds groping for the alarm and feeling your way to the snooze button is nothing new. But what I’m talking about is far, far worse than that. On this particular alarm clock, as with many other alarm clocks, the snooze bar is the most prominent button on the device. Unlike any other alarm clock I’ve ever dealt with, however, this snooze bar has to be pushed repeatedly before it actually responds. Put simply, it makes you beg before it will do anything. I honestly believe there are only a few select places along the snooze bar that can be pushed to any effect. As you can imagine, this is terrible. The best strategy is to just start rat-a-tat-tapping all over the top of the alarm clock, as if you’re typing in a PIN. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the code right and the alarm will be silenced. Of course, you the run the risk of double- or even triple-activating the snooze, which on this alarm clock adds 10 additional minutes to your snooze time for each push. You might want a 10-minute snooze and end up with 30. If you actually have to get somewhere, that’s bad news. And yes, it’s happened to me more than once.
I know what you’re thinking. Why not just turn the alarm clock off and forget the snooze? In other words, quit complaining and get out of bed already! Unfortunately, turning off the alarm might be even more difficult than pushing snooze. Unlike the alarm clocks of yore, this alarm clock does not feature a switch that turns the alarm off and that must be switched back into place in order for the alarm to be set for the next morning. Such quaint functionality would make silencing the alarm a breeze. But on this contraption, you simply press a button that silences the alarm and leaves it ready for the next day. There are obvious advantages to this. And perhaps there are obvious reasons for making the “off” button somewhat difficult to find, such as that you are less likely to turn off the alarm and then slip back into slumber. But this particular “off” button resides as a slight bump on the face of an alarm clock that itself is rather bubbly-shaped. The result is that it’s nigh unto impossible to distinguish the “off” button from any other contour of the alarm clock, including the myriad other buttons very near to the “off” button, at least one of which, if mistakenly pushed, will set the radio blaring. If the goal is to wake you up, I suppose this is fairly effective. But it’s also highly frustrating.
I suppose in this day and age I should be using the alarm clock on my cell phone, or at least upgrading to an alarm clock that can play mp3s and automatically update my Facebook status to let my friends know when I’ve gotten out of bed. Yeah, I probably should. But as you can tell, I tend to keep things old school around here. And what’s more old school than sticking with what you’ve got and relentlessly complaining about it?