I’ve had my clickers for three years, and I use them almost every day, and they’re starting to show their age. This year’s crowd also seems to be dropping them a whole lot more (“Ten cents!“), and I still haven’t replaced any of the batteries, so I guess it’s sort of a miracle they’re working at all.

With the constant dropping, the batteries have been shaking loose more often, and that means I have to hear the plaintive,

“My cliiiiiiicker doesn’t wooooooooork.”

“Sounds like operator error to me. Bring it here…”

And I have to use my little jeweler’s screwdriver to take off the battery cover, and adjust the batteries back into place. Over the past few months, the threads have been stripping on some of the battery covers, making the battery problem worse, and thus there have been more clicker “issues” and more whining. So I called EInstruction and asked if they could just send me some battery covers and screws. I could have my servants service all the injured clickers, and we’d be back in business for minimal cost.

The service rep put me on hold for a few minutes. When she returned, she tells me that those clickers have a lifetime warranty.

“We’ll just send you new ones. How many do you need?”

“Wha? Really? I only really need the battery covers.”

“No, we’ll just send you new ones. How many do you think you need?”

“Well, the whole set is getting to be pretty tattered, and…maybe a whole set (32)?”

“OK. Can I get your info?”

“Do I have to send the old ones back?”

“Oh no. Sometimes people let their shop and tech classes take them apart and whatnot. We’ll send you a new set right away. Anything else?”

OMG. Customer service doesn’t get any better than that. A whole lot better than our IST department.

So they arrived a couple days ago. New bag and everything. And they’re ALL the newer white IR (infrared) model. No more #20 specialness. Everybody is special now.  Many of the kids whoa-ed and gazed and savored that first look like it was a new cell phone.

“We’re all special now.” Someone actually said it.

“Yes you are.”

But the even better part was that EInstruction sent me a new receiver as well. Instead of  one “window” on the front for seeing the kids’ clickers, this one ( in groovy iWhite like the new clickers) has windows on three sides. The kids can click from anywhere in the room, and not have to actually point at the target. They’re working almost as well as the even groovier RF (radio frequency) models we test drove last year. They can pretty much point anywhere and still have it register. Which is huge. With all the shoot-em-up video games they play, you’d think their aim would be better.

Of course when I tell them I tested the new clickers from all over room, they have to start testing too.

“I just pointed it at your head. And it worked!”

“I pointed it at the Popple! And it worked!”

Fast forward through three minutes of arm-waving, kung-fu clicking (“It doesn’t change whether your answer is correct or not.” “I don’t care.”) and jabbering — you’d think I had a class full of, well… you get the picture. Through it all, the clickers were solid. But in seventh grade, there’s always at least one…

“I tried pointing it in my mouth. It didn’t work.”

(collective ewwwwww)

“I didn’t test them there.”

(The RF models would have worked. They even worked when one kid put it in his pocket.)