First World Problems

Adel Gabot



I am so struck by how different our lives are, between a first-world developed country like the United States and ours, a third-world backwater republic called the Philippines.

I regularly monitor the tech beat, you know, just to keep up with what’s new in the world, and I am often amazed by the kind of world-crushing problems Americans regularly complain about. Like what internet-connected automated locks they should pick for their front door, or what dishwasher with the best all-around features they should buy, while we here worry about simple things like how to put the next meal on the table.

So I am very, very amused to happen upon this sad sack story about a First World Problem on an American website called Apartment Therapy. The post is entitled “Getting a Roomba For The Holidays? Learn From This Family’s Poopocalypse.”

In short, this family’s Roomba was set to automatically clean the house at 1:30AM every night. Little did they know that sometime during one night, their dog had pooped on the rug in their living room. As a result, their Roomba had run over the fresh poop and then went on its merry way cleaning the whole house in the night while they family was asleep. And spreading the shit all over.

To quote Jessie, the hapless home owner:

It will be on your floorboards. It will be on your furniture legs. It will be on your carpets. It will be on your rugs. It will be on your kids’ toy boxes. If it’s near the floor, it will have poop on it. Those awesome wheels, which have a checkered surface for better traction, left 25-foot poop trails all over the house. Our lovable Roomba, who gets a careful cleaning every night, looked like it had been mudding. Yes, mudding – like what you do with a Jeep on a pipeline road. But in poop.

Then, when your four-year-old gets up at 3am to crawl into your bed, you’ll wonder why he smells like dog poop. And you’ll walk into the living room. And you’ll wonder why the floor feels slightly gritty. And you’ll see a brown-encrusted, vaguely Roomba-shaped thing sitting in the middle of the floor with a glowing green light, like everything’s okay. Like it’s proud of itself. You were still half-asleep until this point, but now you wake up pretty damn quickly.

And then the horror. Oh the horror.

So, first you clean the child. You scrub the poop off his feet and put him back in bed. But you don’t bother cleaning your own feet, because you know what’s coming. It’s inevitable, and it’s coming at you like a freight train. Some folks would shrug their shoulders and get back in bed to deal with it in the morning. But you’re not one of those people – you can’t go to sleep with that war zone of poop in the living room.

So you clean the Roomba. You toss it in the bathtub to let it soak. You pull it apart, piece-by-piece, wondering at what point you became an adult and assumed responsibility for 3:30am-Roomba-disassembly-poop-cleanups. By this point, the poop isn’t just on your hands – it’s smeared up to your elbows. You already heard the Roomba make that “whirlllllllllllllllll-boop-hisssssssss” noise that sounds like electronics dying, and you realize you forgot to pull the battery before getting it wet. More on that later.

Oh, and you’re not just using profanity – you’re inventing new types of profanity. You’re saying things that would make Satan shudder in revulsion. You hope your kid stayed in bed, because if he hears you talking like this, there’s no way he’s not ending up in prison.

Then you get out the carpet shampooer. When you push it up to the rug – the rug that started it all – the shampooer just laughs at you. Because that rug is going in the trash, folks. But you shampoo it anyway, because your wife loved that damn rug, and you know she’ll ask if you tried to clean it first.

Then you get out the paper towel rolls, idly wondering if you should invest in paper towel stock, and you blow through three or four rolls wiping up poop. Then you get the spray bottle with bleach water and hose down the floor boards to let them soak, because the poop has already dried. Then out comes the steam mop, and you take care of those 25-ft poop trails.

And then, because it’s 6am, you go to bed. Let’s finish this tomorrow, right?

The next day, you finish taking the Roomba apart, scraping out all the tiny flecks of poop, and after watching a few Youtube instructional videos, you remove the motherboard to wash it with a toothbrush. Then you bake it in the oven to dry. You put it all back together, and of course it doesn’t work. Because you heard the “whirlllllllllllllll-boop-hissssssss” noise when it died its poopy death in the bathtub. But you hoped that maybe the Roomba gods would have mercy on you.

Wow. Wow. But serves you right, you coddled, spoiled first-worlders with your fancy Roombas!

More about this hilarity from Jessie’s Facebook Page.

One Response to “First World Problems”

  • Mylinda Says:

    Maybe, just don’t get a Roomba if you have pets.Or don’t get a pet, if you’ve got a Roomba. Not sure which disclaimer would fit better on the manufacturer’s website. It’s hilarious though I found myself no longer wanting to read about the poop after a few paragraphs

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