Comparing Computers to Cars?

Last week, my 3-year-old+ MacBook Pro decided it needed a break from almost constant use.  It made a horrific noise, overheated, and in the morning made a feeble beep and refused to turn on.  The closest Apple Store is about an hour drive.  I had no plans to head in that direction, and I didn’t have time, so I thought I’d try a local, authorized Mac service and resale shop.  The young man with whom I left my poor, over-tired computer seemed sincere when he told me that they would diagnose the problem in 3 days, because there were one or two computers to be serviced ahead of mine.

Losing my computer was more traumatic than I could have imagined a week before.  My life was on that machine, including all of my calendar, contact information, resumes, photos, music, videos, spreadsheets tracking “Yarn House” construction information, expenses and costs, databases of books, patterns, fabric and yarn, and access to the internet which I depend on to pay bills, research knitting patterns, yarn, and techniques, and which is essential for filling online orders that provide me with a meager added income.  I’ve also begun the process of starting to look for a “real” job again, and renting the little house that I’ve vacated recently.  This laptop is my only computer, so I was left without a tool that I use everyday.

As I wrote above, I’d been told that someone at the shop would call me when the computer’s problem had been diagnosed (3 days after I dropped it off on Wednesday, October 27).  When I didn’t hear from anyone by the end of the day on Friday, I decided to include the shop in my walk downtown on Saturday.  At that time, I was told that they only do service Monday through Friday, and that it was 2nd in line, so they would get to it on Monday and call me.  When I didn’t hear from them by the end of the day on Monday, I called them in a bit of a “snit,” and again I was told that it was 2nd in line and they would call me on Tuesday.  And again, I didn’t hear from them on Tuesday.  So, on Wednesday (1 week since I dropped off my poor computer), I called and after the person on the other end of the line said that it was 2nd in line, I told them that I would come to pick it up.

Along the way, I did ask why they kept telling me the same thing and was given a number of excuses.  (I don’t suffer excuses well, especially if they seem insincere.)  One time I was told that computers were like cars – that problems can’t be diagnosed in an instant.  After hearing that, I wish I’d had the presence of mind to reply that I’ve never left my car at a shop for 5 days just to have a problem diagnosed!

Twice, I heard the rationale that they only work on service during the week.  It was certainly reasonable to tell me that on Saturday, since I was a little premature in checking then.  I admit to being antsy about knowing what was going on with the computer, and whether it was fixable, or if I needed to start shopping for a new computer.  The second time they told me about only do service during the work week, was on Wednesday, November 3 – after the computer had been there for a week (OR for 5 full working days).  And then they told me that if I wanted to pay for expedited service they would get to it sooner.  Okay, so I pay to get them to even look at my computer and then I pay for them to tell me that the computer is shot and then I have to pay for a new computer?!  Sounds a bit like a racket!

When I was waiting in the shop to pick-up the computer, I stood in line behind several other people, and initially, there was no one behind the counter…  Several guys did emerge – one to help one customer at the counter and the other addressed the next person in line and I heard him start comparing computers to cars.  At this point, I was pretty tired of the analogy, which was presented as if none of us know anything about computers OR cars.

After being away for a week, and being neglected by its temporary caretakers, my computer had a well-deserved rest.  When we got back home, much to my surprise it started up – albeit begrudgingly.  I had thought that I’d fried the motherboard, but I guess not quite yet, and the week of rest did do enough good that it was willing and able to turn on for me.  (Note: This computer has been slowing down and is on its second battery, which doesn’t hold a charge at all, and it sometimes shuts down with no warning, so I do believe the computer is on its last legs.) I decided that this would be a great time to do a complete backup.

I’m quite sure the young men at the shop have no idea what it’s like for a single person with only one computer (or car) to be without that computer (or car) for more than a day or 3, especially when using the computer (or car) is a major part of that person’s livelihood.  Needless to say, I was not impressed with the lack of respect for me as a customer, and won’t be taking my computer back to this particular local store for service in the future.


~ by Lynn on November 10, 2010.

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