Monthly Archives: August 2013

Computer Repair, the novel

Ring ring. “My name is Cindy Cowle…” “I remember you Cindy, how can I help”.  “Well I just picked up my computer and I can’t get it to work” I am hustling to get in front of a computer because I don’t remember her just being in.  Last name, report…  “Cindy it says you were in at the beginning of the month, like three weeks ago”.  “That might be it.”  “The reason I ask is because I want to know if this is a new problem, or if it worked for a while then stopped working”.  “This is the first time I’m using it, but I guess he has some trouble with it too.”  I don’t know who “he” is but I get the gist.

This is going to be like pulling teeth.  “So is this a desktop or a laptop?” “It’s a laptop”  “What is on the screen right now?” “It says it cannot connect”.  “Do you use wireless internet?”  “I always did but now when I turn it on and …”    I tune her out as there is absolutely no point in listening to her soliloquy on past computer problems. Customer like her teach me why Doctors never take phone calls in their offices and no service industry ever answers a phone anymore unless the meter is running.

“Okay close all that and look down by the clock.  Do you see the bars that show the wireless connction?”  “No, there is a little computer, do you want me to click on that?”  “No, but look on your laptop and tell me how many things are plugged into it.”  “There’s the yellow cable and the power cable”. “Where does the yellow cable go?” “Hmmm, it goes to the….   let me see, the browter, I think”.  “Do you want to use this computer on a wired or wireless internet?”  “It was always wireless”.  ” Well you don’t need to plug in a wire for a wireless connection, you can unplug it”.  Okay, now the computer went off.”  “It turned off??”  “The screen is all black”.  “why is that?’  “I don’t know”.

My customers are so proud of how little they know about computers.  A typical phone call: “Do you have plugs for a Dell computer?”  “That’s a little like calling an autoparts store and asking if they have bolts for a Ford.” Customer support is not my strong suit.  “I need a video card”.  “What makes you think you need a video card?” “The guy at Staples told me.”  “Ask him what kind of video card you need”.  “He didn’t know, he told me to call you”.  “Can you let me see it?”  “Well, how much does it cost?”  By then I am ready to climb onto the roof and howl at the moon.  How do people get through life with absolutely no idea how to do anything at all except call the guy someone else told them to call… “That is like asking me how much a bike costs.  Do you want new or used?  Do you want a mountain bike or a plastic tricycle, or a Harley Davidson?”

I like the work, and I can almost always help my customers but the customers don’t have the slightest idea what I do.  “Can you do it while I wait?” If you want to wait 24 to 48 hours, sure.  I’ll start on it within the hour, here’s a magazine.”  “Can’t you do it any quicker?”  “For $20 more I will start on it immediately, but it will be done in 23 to 47 hours.  Is that better?”.  Ring ring. “Compatible Computers, how can I help?” “My router says I need to change my password.  How do I change my password”.  “Router’s are accessed by an ip address that you type into a browser on a computer that is plugged into a LAN port.” “I know that, I’m not stupid.  But why does my router want me to change my password?”  “I don’t believe it does.  I am just trying to answer your question.”  “You are really rude you know.  Good bye.”

Ring Ring “Compatible Computers”. “Somebody told me I have a virus, but I have Norton Antivirus, how can I have a virus?”  “Who told you you had a virus?”  “My brother in laws nephew’s cousin”.  “Ask him”.