Saturday, January 24, 2015

Geekdom Disabled

We're not very high-tech folks, so when computer glitches or complex updates baffle us it's nice to be able to let experts deal with the problems. We buy a Geek Squad service package for that purpose, and it has served us well.

The Geek Squad has an outpost about 20 miles from our home in a Best Buy store.  We journeyed there yesterday with a desk-top puter that had developed several small, but irritating, problems. We also wanted professional installation of a new program similar to one that had been difficult to get running properly in the past.

Help available electronically only.
The resident geek eyeballed us, the tower I had carried in, and a brief want list we handed to him. "Sorry," he said, "our system is down and we can't log in any work. Looks like you have a virus, for one thing. You can call our 800 number and someone will talk you through fixing that."

"But we come here for service because we don't like doing walk-through fixes on the phone. Can't we just leave it here as usual?"

"You can't leave it, we can't sign in any new work until our system is up."

Amazed, I asked if I was failing to understand something. The geek assured me I was not.

Apparently geeks are now so high-tech they are unable to write on a piece of (oh, horrors) paper, the name of a customer, the date puter hardware was left for service, and what was needed. In our case, we even provided the piece of paper with the "what's needed" part already written. A duplicating machine nearby was working perfectly, so an old-fashioned  writer would have been able to hand a copy of a note to us in a matter of seconds.

I've noticed some young clerks have great difficulty doing basic arithmetic when no machine is available to make calculations for them. But this was my first encounter with an apparently fully functional adult who couldn't or wouldn't create a simple hand-written note. How ridiculous is our supposedly sophisticated cyber world becoming?


PiedType said...

Having driven 20 miles to get there, I'd have been sorely temped to leave that computer firmly lodged in the geek's ... um ... throat. Increasingly it seems businesses "don't do customer service" anymore. When I find one that still does, I reward it with as much business as I can muster.

Dick Klade said...

Exactly the urge I had, Pied. But to my credit (and the fact he was about 40 years younger) I held back.

Anonymous said...

"some young clerks have great difficulty doing basic arithmetic"

My wife picked up a few items at a pharmacy, handed them to the girl behind the counter and gave her the correct total amount of cash.

"How did you do that?" asked the girl, with an astonished look on her face.

Anonymous said...

The gap between the generations is growing wider and wider. I am running to stay in place. We must sound like fossilized freaks to many of them. David had his very heavy desk top computer into the shop near us this week, brought it home and then promptly erased everything the young man had done.
When he took it back the youngster became very angry and said you erased everything I did. David retuned the anger, then calmly asked the kid to fix it please. David came home very upset, and said, he treated me like an 86-year old man.

Aging is difficult in more ways than one....

Alan G said...

Given the fact that the current generation is so tech savvy I don't think it is much of a stretch to predict that in the not so distant future tech devices will be doing everything and humans will be relieved of ever having to even think anymore. Math issues began with the advent of the electronic calculator, writing is being dropped from school's educational criteria and cars will soon be manufactured that drive themselves.

joared said...

Oh, you hit a sore spot for me! Recently went to local library on spur of moment when heading home from L.A. Zoo to get there before they closed. We had just enough time to choose some books for my grandson, but I didn't have my library card. They repeatedly insisted they couldn't let me check out any books without my card and couldn't check their computer system for my number because it was "down for an upgrade." They even refused a financial guarantee in case I didn't return the books, but
I won't go into how I ultimately coerced them into finally allowing me to check out the book.

Recall a restaurant unable to accept check payments, or get cash drawer open when system down. Yes, the grocery store cashiers sometimes can't count count cash back or are bewildered if I give them change so I'll get no pennies back, or a dollar bill.

Kay said...

My mother was just warning us that this sort of thing would happen if we became too dependent on technology. This is pretty spooky!

Jhawk23 said...

A great story, Dick. Haven't had that particular experience yet, but have certainly been refused services or products because "the computer is down." I have, however found SOME businesses prepared to operate by using paper.

As for making change, in our area we have lots of immigrants manning cash registers. Educated elsewhere, they almost invariably seem able to make change correctly, or to understand why, on a charge of (say) $11.31, a customer might hand them a 20, a one, and 31 cents.