The 501 by Hanaba Munn Welch

Trials of online uke buying

Sing along with me:

“My dog has fleas.”

If you know the little four-word ditty, you’ve probably tuned a ukulele – or at least tried.

My mother taught me the tune – G,C,E, A — when I got my first (and last) ukulele. “My dog has fleas” is forever imbedded in the music lobe of my brain. Thank you, Mother.

Granddaughter Emily, age 4, is too young to get a ukulele for Christmas. Grandad and I know that. We’re giving her one anyway.

A recent cellphone video shows her robustly strumming her older cousin’s uke. She needs her own. She has a future. Maybe I can teach her “My dog has fleas.” Maybe not.

We placed an online order for a ukulele.

Pandemic online shopping gives new meaning to delivery dates. Don’t be surprised if things you order don’t arrive as soon as promised. You might not even get what you ordered. If nothing else, are we not all learning to be less demanding, less choosy, less exacting?

If you’ve ordered groceries, have you not learned to be content with whatever kind of mustard or mayonnaise is available? Some goes for toilet paper. Now’s a time to forget brand loyalty. If you don’t want to be disappointed, lower your expectations. If you’ve never lived by that axiom, now’s the time to try.

Except when it comes to ukuleles. Accept no substitutes.

Grandad and I were taken aback when Emily’s pink “ukulele” arrived (just one day late) and turned out to be a plastic wannabe guitar. The top was nicely embellished with the images of three girls of the Disney Channel variety and the name of an iconic doll that will go unmentioned because I’m going to say bad things about the so-called guitar.

Emily would probably be perfectly happy with it. That’s what counts. Right?

Wrong.

If Grandad and I can’t tune it, she’s not getting it. No way. So there.

RESEARCH PAUSE.

Even though the “guitar” wasn’t what we ordered, I searched online to see how it is described. First paragraph verbatim:

“Be Awesome! Strum those riffs and chords with this Barbie 21” Guitar. Easy to use nylon strings are gentle to use for Barbie fans with little hands. Real tuning gears and a traditional body ensures it plays authentic guitar sound. While the lightweight and durable design make it easy to carry it around.”

They got the length right.

Some closing thoughts:

If the price is too low to believe, it might not be a real ukulele or guitar. Caveat emptor.

If the product description includes an ill-advised sentence fragment, missing hyphens and subject-verb non-agreement, beware.

But if you eventually find the perfect ukulele, the factory may be suffering a COVID shutdown. The instrument may be out of stock around the world.

Good news:

Ukulele bestowal postponement can give a child time to grow into someone who might actually want to learn a few ukulele chords – or at least how to sing “My dog has fleas.”

It’s hard to wait.

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