Monday, June 23, 2008

The paradox of technology

Ok... I don't usually carp (on here) about how poor our so-called "service economy" has become (although I have lots of experience with fast food places) but this really wins the prize. About 7 weeks ago my personal laptop computer's hard drive gave up the ghost. Mind you, I bought it new in October. That makes it... let's see: 7 months old! And now it was dead. I had all the warranty stuff - and the extra service protection plans - so I was assured by my techno buddies at the Geek Squad that "you should have this back in less than 2 weeks better than new."

Now I am generally a trusting man - I see the glass as half full - but something about this assurance didn't pass the smell test for me. So, thinking of President Reagan's axiom, "trust but verify," I handed my baby computer over to the wizards and told them, "I will call back at the end of the week just to stay on top of things." Good thing I did because when I spoke to my computer experts on the phone 7 days later I was told (and this is an exact quote): "Oh... uh let me see how to put this... we had a little problem. Some how this was sent out as a PC so it went back to the shop and now they've sent it back to us because... um, uh... it isn't a PC but a lap top." To which I replied (another exact quote): "Help me understand how such a mistake is possible, isn't your department called the "Geek Squad" because you are the COMPUTER EXPERTS?"

For about 20 seconds there was dead air on the phone - and then the young voice says, "Sorry, man, I don't know what happened." I wanted to say, "We already KNOW what happened - you totally f****d things up; what I want to know now is what you are going to do about it!" But, instead, I said, "What do you think our next move should be?" Ummmmm..... well I guess we can send it out again today EXPEDITED, ok? Sure. Fine. Whatever. I'll call you in a week.

That was FIVE - count them - 5 - weeks ago and when I spoke to the manager today, after some checking he assured me that, "Yes, your computer is here and ready to be picked up. Somebody called you on June 3rd..." Now, friends, that never happened - and I told him so - but being happy that my old computer friend had been restored to better than new I drove over to visit with the Geek Squad again. As we were entering the store, my wife looked at me in earnest and said, "You aren't going to have attitude are you?" Moi..?!!? No hun... unless it is necessary.

And then for the next 30 minutes two Geek Squad professionals searched and searched and searched some more for my computer only to have to tell me: "Well, man, it IS here but... it never got shipped out. Somehow - and I don't know how this happened, man - but some how somebody put it in the received pile instead of the ship out pile... and so it hasn't had the hard drive replaced." I have been known to be ruthless - even cruel despite my calling as clergy in similar situations - but for some reason all I could do was ask, "So how are you going to fix this problem of... some body's?"
After a little more running around and frantic data entry into some cosmic keyboard, the chief Geek Squad guy said, "I am going to replace that hard drive right here and upgrade you by about 100 GB, ok?" "When might this miracle take place," I asked quietly? To which he told me: tomorrow by 4 pm. As we left my wife said, "You were a good boy and what did we learn from all this? That when you are nice... people are nice back to you." (Such a saint.)
Well, my friends, we shall see. The paradox of all this technology is simply that I bought this damned computer because it promised to be the fastest one around - with the best service plan - and now almost two months later for some reason it can't get its ass out of the shop.
Simon and Garfunkle were right, after all: slow down you're moving too fast...


Di said...

From the Wife: I'm not a saint--I just work in retail. I know how far attitude gets you...!

Black Pete said...


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