Safe Crackers!


Darren Pecoraro's brood is at it again.

Sometimes a money saving idea can cost you more in the long run. The cost can be money, aggravation, stress, or in my case (as usual), all of the above. Occasionally, an idea looks better on paper, than it does at fruition. When you add a mischievous 7 year old to the equation the results can be worse than anticipated.


A few months ago, my wife and I decided to purchase a fireproof safe to keep in our closet for cash, jewelry, passports, etc. It was a reasonably priced, convenient option for what we needed, or so we thought.  After lugging the safe home, I proceeded to open the box and placed the instruction manual (which held the combination) on top of the safe. I explained to my son in the most serious way I could how important this manual was and that it was not to be touched. No sooner had I entered the kitchen and sat down at my computer that I heard a dreadful, loud metallic, “click”. Yes, just like the sound the door of a safe makes when locked. I rushed to the garage to find my son standing next to it with a satisfied, job-well-done look on his face. “What did you do?” I asked.  “Daddy, you said this paper was extremely important, so what better place than inside the safe?” Feeling the back of me neck heating up, my anger was quickly diffused when I considered the logic from his, (a 7 year olds) point of view. Important things belong in the safe - a simplistic, but accurate assessment of the situation.

After carefully writing down the model and serial number, I found the website which directed me to an 800 number used to retrieve lost combinations. Naturally I was put on hold as a pleasant female voice explained how they were experiencing “higher than normal call volume”.  About 30 minutes later, (no exaggeration) I was made aware of the procedure which included a notarized form, (thank you C.R.), and of course $$$. After following the procedure to the letter, I noticed I hadn’t received the combination via-email like I had requested.

Back to the 800 number for some more pleasantries. “Your call is extremely important to us, please stay on the line as we are experiencing higher than normal call volume”. This call took place less than 10 minutes after the call center opened. How high can the volume be at that early hour? Apparently their entire clientele consists of morons who have lost, forgotten, or locked their combinations inside the safe (myself among the latter!). Literally 50 minutes later, FIFTY! An operator apologized profusely and expedited the email to me post-haste. I was relieved in that finally after the hassle, and impatience by me, I would finally open, and get to use the safe properly.  43 LEFT, check, 76 RIGHT, check, 39 LEFT ugh. The safe refused to open. I tried 12-15 more times, each time more careful than the last, turning the dial with the gentile dexterity of a surgeon, each time to no avail.

My older son noticed my frustration and upon explanation, he said perhaps I should turn the dial the opposite way each time. I scoffed at his suggestion, saying “safe companies don’t give out wrong combinations but thanks” as I dismissed him with extreme incredulity. Back to the phones we go. “Your call is extremely important to us, please stay on the line as we are experiencing higher than nor………” you get the picture. After a relatively short time on hold (34 minutes), an overly-apologetic operator realized the mistake which had been made. She said that the combination was reversed. I should be turning RIGHT-LEFT-RIGHT, and not LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT as the original email had instructed. Et Voila, the safe opened and I thanked her, partly for her help, but mostly because I would no longer need to experience any type of call volume.

After I hung up the phone, it dawned on me that the perspective of both of my young sons is something I never considered during this ordeal. If I had the view my 7 year old son had, I probably would never have left the manual within his reach. More importantly, my older son offered a simplistic solution, a solution I quickly dismissed which just happened to be the correct one. One should always consider all possibilities when solving any problem, always beginning with the easiest one (Thank you Christian). There are two important lessons I learned. Look at a problem from every angle for a solution, and the next safe I buy will have a damn key!

Darren Pecoraro is a 46 year old retired stay-at-home dad from Englishtown NJ. He enjoys all sports, especially golf, music, and writing. His greatest love is his wife, Adele, and their two boys, Christian, and Andrew.