Range Control Safety Officer
Fort Bragg, N.C.
Who doesn’t like a good bargain? I’m sure most of us have perused a local flea market or street-side vendor, searching for a knockoff that provides the same functions as a more expensive item but at a significantly lower price. Finding a good deal makes us feel wise and savvy, two valuable characteristics of the avid consumer. When searching for these values, however, one must remember to weigh the proposed savings against the potential risk. I found this out first hand.
Upon arrival at a temporary duty station, I decided to explore the local area. While out, I figured I would pick up a few things that would add a bit of convenience to my hotel room, my new home away from home. I came across a street vendor who had what appeared to be some amazing values. As I browsed the trinkets and inexpensive items that lay spread across the 40-foot span of parking lot, I found one useful tool or novelty after another. Once I had narrowed my selection down to several items, I approached the vendor to begin bargaining. After about two minutes of offers and counter offers, I left with my newly purchased treasures, feeling quite confident that my wisdom and shopping savvy had prevailed.
Back at my hotel, I looked over my purchases, intent on getting as much use out of them as possible. I was particularly excited by what I thought was an extraordinary find — a surge protector. I excitedly unplugged some of my most cherished possessions from the wall outlets and plugged them into my new discounted electrical safeguard. Immediately afterward, I suffered a significant emotional event. When I plugged the surge protector into the wall outlet and turned it on, I received an electrical shock and suffered minor burns. I also blew a circuit in the room. Stunned and injured, I sat there in the dark. Thankfully, I was not severely injured, but I certainly could have been.
In retrospect, I realize electrical safety and the safeguards that support it are far more important and worth the added expense. In the future, I will continue to seek out bargains, but I will be sure to weigh the potential risks to my safety against the rewards of saving a few dollars.