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I'm from the foothills of the North Georgia mountains. I was a woodworker for about 12 years. Well, up until I had the rug pulled out from under my feet, and I was laid off. I got back into photography in 2008 and decided to give that a try professionally, but haven't made any money so far because rednecks, white trash, and hicks are cheap. So, I'm working in a local grocery store where some days I hear and see the craziest stuff. I tend to complain a lot about things, but I'm too poor to afford a good therapist. So, I decided to make a blog and complain online to all of you instead. But I digress. I really just wanted to do the blog to share ideas and stories with the interwebz. =D
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tech Support as a Christmas Gift?

Okay, I know it doesn't sound all that grand, but she said that all she wanted was an under-the-cabinet mounted can opener. She told me this a week before Christmas. I've been to 38 stores in 3 cities in two separate states. I've called about a dozen more. Even the Black & Decker outlet store doesn't have them. What am I to do? I hate giving gift cards. To me, giving someone a gift card is like saying, "Hey. Merry Christmas and all that. Here's how much you're worth to me." If the gift isn't called for or expected, then a gift card will suffice. I don't think you should give your mom a gift card as a primary gift for Christmas. If you disagree, then that's fine. I just don't feel like it's something I could do.

In my case, she's the  type of person that will see something, want it for a week, then go out and buy it. At the end of November, she came to me asking about a Roku box. I had never even heard of them. She left the printout from the website at my house and I thought that this was it. This was what she wanted for Christmas. I kept the paper, bookmarked the Roku website, and made a note to go back and get one for her. Well, a few days later, she calls me about her computer (as usual), and asked if I could come over and take a look at it. "Oh, and I got that Netflix box thing..." she said.

Great. Now what was I supposed to get her? Since I have been a working adult I've always been somewhat keen on what people ask for throughout the year. I'm the one that will end up giving too much sometimes. But this year has been rough financially for me. Photography hasn't been what I had hoped, and there aren't many opportunities for decent employment around. Oh, and then there's that whole broken leg and not working since September thing... So this year, Christmas is going to be sort of low budget. My wife and I agreed that we weren't going to do anything overboard this year. We set a spending limit, and I've actually stayed under it - and not because I wanted to either. I had to.

So anyway, my mom's computer has been in a disabled state for weeks now. It's still under warranty, and so the first thing we did was call Staples. The local store referred us to a corporate number. We were on hold there for about 25 minutes only to be passed on the the HP help line where we were on hold for at least a half hour. (The whole point here is to keep a tab on the time...)

Once the tech got on the phone. I was more than pleased to hear a southern twang in his voice. My mom began to explain her computer's plight in "that thing came up said whatever.. something... something... and I just clicked on it" terms. All I could do was shake my head and hold out my hand for the phone. I think the tech was kind of relieved too. (She put about 3 minutes in there...)

I was on the phone with him for well over 2 hours that day. We ran through all sorts of stuff, and I ended up trying to restore the computer back to it's factory settings overnight (which didn't work). I wound up waiting on a call back the next day for about 3 hours. Once I got the call back, I reported the error code and they had the send us factory restore discs, which tonight I'm using. I've got two hours in already tonight while I'm writing this post, and that's just reloading the system files. Now it's got to install them, which Windows just said might take up to 3 hours! After that, I'll have to update everything, which will likely take a couple of hours. Lastly, I've got to reinstall any downloaded software she had before, and then replace her photos and music from the backup USB drive she has.

So, with all this time invested in fixing her computer, I figure that I've at least saved her a few hundred bucks. So there, Mom. Your working computer is your Christmas present from me. If you don't like it, I can always get you a gift card so you can order yourself a can opener.



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