The strange Ebullience of a Shop-keeper

The everlasting troubles of Computing.

If you think the world is simple, try and get a computer that works without failure or send you ripe for the asylum.

Remember how we are used to the switching on and off of lights or getting water from a tap. We rely that all those conveniences work. My latest with a new computer almost ended in murder, so, if you are a fan of Birger Larsen’s crime stories keep reading. As most of you probably know, the world of commerse is basically a suction hose in the your wallet, often without being aware of it. It’s sucking money out of you even during the night when you are sound asleep. Especially if you have activated automatic payment ‘solutions’ such as your phone, gas and electricity accounts.

My two months old HP 3in 1 desk top kept giving me strange messages and refused to ‘import’ photos. I thought, no worries, just give HP a tingle and they’ll give me succinct info and it will be cleared up. Two hours later and going from menu to menu with press this and press that I miraculously got a real person on the phone. I was very hungry by then, suffering dizzy spells. The ‘real person’ on the phone said, ‘by your description and the ‘error message’ it sounds a soft- ware issue. ‘No, it’s not,’ I quickly replied, smelling a HP avoidence tactic. ‘The screen has unusual patterns and lots of vertical and horizontal lines’, I accompanied this by an authoritive deep cough.

‘Oh, I see, the real person stated. ‘ ‘ Why then not take it back to the shop.?’ I did that but the salegirl who was so ebullient when I was buying the $850.- three in one, clamped her mouth shut and resolutely avoided eye contact.

“Look here, Gerard, give her a good “code” but go on-line first and we will try and sort the problem from this end”, the real HP person chortled back! ” It sounds as if you have ‘a sound-card’ problem.” Giving the shop girl at Dick Smith a ‘code’ was almost as good as what I felt like giving when she clamped shut and told me to get out of the shop with my computer (3in1) under my arm.

Eh, what? “But the screen is also funny and the error message is there regardless of what I do. It has a mind of its own”, I answered. I can’t go on-line, my computer is funny.” ” OK, I understand your problem. Stay on this phone line and we will give you a code number.”

With the code number cluched in one had and the computer in a checked refugee bag in the other I struggled back to Dick Smith shop and the girl with the clamped mouth. She had not changed and perhaps, spotting my refugee bag, she thought I was going to ask for asylum and bed down behind the counter.

She disappeared to the back of the shop where all the TVs were on, all showing the same program. It is always a weird feeling seeing the announcer’s head interspersed with advertisemenst all in perfect unison on dozens of TVs, all in manic sync and total agreement. Why can’t we all behave like that?

The girl was wiping the back of the TVs and after I caught her let her have a good full ‘code number’. We both walked solemnly back to where the counter was with my refugee bag holding the HP Computer. She typed the code into a machine and out came my copy of a repair notice. We will let you know when it is fixed she said, unclamping her mouth.

She spotted a customer entering the shop. “Oh, hello”, she smarmed up to him and smiled. ” Can I help you ?” She became ebullient again. Was she really a Chameleon in disguise?


13 Responses to “The strange Ebullience of a Shop-keeper”

  1. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I think that the people that work in those stores are a breed apart.

    The ‘best’ advice that I ever received from a sales person when buying a laptop was this – ‘Pay for the 3 year guarantee and then, when you are bored of your computer or want a new one, make a cup of strong, black coffee, add 10 teaspoons of sugar to it and then ‘accidentally’ spill it over your computer’ – He then added, with some authority, ‘Bring it back to the shop and we will exchange it for a new one’

    Oh that life with computers was that easy! 🙂


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I now have three computers all functioning but being replaced by incurable messages that cannot be erased or strange codes from Microsoft that I have to ‘import’ or worse, asks me to form ‘relationships’ with default programmes. I am a married man and way past any hanky panky with memory sticks or USB ports.
      I haven’t yet spilled any coffee over my machine but will think about it.


  2. petspeopleandlife Says:

    This post made me laugh as I can sort of identify with your problems. I wrote about it back in the spring but did not make it funny. Probably could not if I tried. Shop people help those who are on their agenda. Had you been a young dude she probably would have been dancing at your feet. 🙂 Hope your computer problem is fixed.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am taking a sabbatical from my problems and do deep breathing exercises to try and un-stress. Perhaps a cup of jasmine tea. The horrors of getting used to Windows8 is too much. Which fiend designed that program? I was so happy with Windows7.


  3. Office Diva Says:

    So does this mean that you are driving a rental car, I mean computer, in the meantime, or are you already all fixed up again?

    I always enjoy your wonderful observations of human behavior. I have to sympathize just a little bit with She of the Clamped Mouth; it’s much more fun exciting making a sale and participating in a customer’s retail therapy than to see that once-happy customer come back with a challenging Customer Service issue. (droop!) I think this stems from a job I once had at a customer service desk, trying to placate furious customers who were rightly displeased with a poor product and shoddy service (some other departments’ constant screw-ups). I had a crocodile-sized smile back then and was so used to being yelled at that my hair stuck out from the back of my head from the constant blast. Needless to say, I didn’t stick around long for that barrel of monkeys.

    I have to agree that Customer Service isn’t what it used to be. The young ones don’t understand the selflessness and enthusiasm required to really be of help to another human being. It involves being in the moment and really participating in the issue. A lot of folks these days are very disconnected. No wonder our technical beasties don’t work!

    Very fun read…….and I hope your computer gets well soon!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My computer developed a crack and keeps telling me about an ‘error’. I am so stressed about it I get up in the hollow of the night and try resolve ‘issues’ by drinking milk with wattle honey to assuage the constant murderous image of me strangling the computer with my pyjama cord. Thank you for your kind words. I feel so much better.


  4. Andrew Says:

    Most sales assistants are morons. Fact. Assistant is a misnomer. Never buy extended warranties. Rip off. I used to have an electrical retailer as a client. The brown and white goods were a loss leader for flogging insurance. Some spotty little Herbert bullied my elderly mother into buying an extended warranty for her fridge. He argued that it was unreasonable to expect anything to last more than a year or two. Hmmmm. So why did my Hotpoint washing machine last 20 years. He cancelled it after I intervened. Computers are outrageous. With no other product would we accept such crap but if it has an apple on it, it must be ok. B**locks.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I have been despairing .I had such a nice windows 7 time for many years. Windows8 is designed by an Al-Qaida terrorist, I am sure. What a crock of silly wizardry. I can’t switch on or off. No buttons, just miles and acres of mind-bogglingly stupid apps.
      I can’t email photos anymore and keep getting incomprehensible codes from Micro-soft. It is all hopeless, hopeless.


  5. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I’m shipping you the new printer/scanner/fax machine I just bought and can’t figure out how to use. My old one was perfect and served me well for many years, but “was not compatible” with my computer which had had a system restore. I somehow found how to print from e-mail, but so far nothing else.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Oh, don’t get me going. I am the Jeremiah of the IT retailer. They hide when they see me coming or quickly run outside. I cannot email my photos anymore with the tortuous Windows 8*. It is asking me to form an ‘association’ with a default program. Do I have to get engaged or put a ring in the usb port. Don’t you just love the lingo; ‘form an association’, a bit like all those face-book friends asking me to be friends as well.
      I have reached the stage I sulk and fear the worst each time I switch on my computer. What horror lurks today, again?


  6. berlioz1935 Says:

    Oh dear. Gerard you have hit the mythical wall of commercialism which contains, at its centre, an IT black hole.The genius who understands it all has not been born or if he has, he is locked up as a danger to the sucking of money from the people.

    I have a 3 in 1 HP printer and almost exactly after a year of happy ownership it greets me with machine gun like rapid, very loud noise every time I want to print something. Of course they programmed it that way so I will get the message to buy a new printer. It still works but I have to plug my ears.


  7. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    The solution – which I hope is available to you locally – is to go into an Apple shop and buy an iMac. They will transfer all your data, teach you how to use your new new machine, talk your language whatever that my be. If you buy their One-to-One you can go back any time to learn about anything Mac related. If you pay the insurance they will sort you out, on the phone, without hassling you or expecting you to speak IT. Someone has REALLY trained them. No, I don’t work for them. I used Macs most of my working life (PCs for a miserable 2 years). My husband crossed the floor four years ago and has never looked back. Good luck whatever you do, fighting machines is not good for the brain.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Hilary , you are so right. You know my son said exactly the same and…I nearly did, bought a Mini Mac, but then relented and reversed. Mea culpa maxima.
      So close and now so far. This Windows 8 has a Metro screen. That’s right they call it a Metro. I now have another computer and Acer but the same Window8, full of apps and Clouds, and no buttons. Where is my ‘start’ button? To switch it off I have to point the mouse outside the screen towards where my wife Helvi is sitting next to the window. ( a different window)
      I could go on but I have been firmly told by her to take a grip on myself and make another coffee.
      Your husband is a wise man and I just a dithering fool.


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