A Weird Dude, an iPod, and a battery walk into a shop…

Weird Guy walks into the shop.

“Hi, can we help you?” My co-worker says.

“No.” Weird guy just looks out the shop windows, ear buds in.

“Well if we can be of any help just let us know.” My co-worker says.

I come around from the tech area to lounge casually on a counter in the corner to observe, always about the shoplifting.

A few other customers come in, buy stuff, leave, and I’m helping out with the human interaction. after looking expectantly at my coworker, with a little sag of his shoulders that my male co-worker looks busy at the till computer typing, Weird Guy approaches me.

“Can you guys replace iPod batteries? Nobody in town will replace my iPod battery! I have the battery…” Weird Guy has a backpack and he reaches in to produce a consumer item in plastic packaging.

“Why will nobody else in town replace your iPod battery?” I go right to the chase.

He holds out a piece of paper with $45.99 written on it. “That Apple store around the corner wants to charge me that much!”

“That’s our minimum fee as well.” I feel a very very strange sense of cognitive dissonance while I back up an Apple policy.

“In fact, it might end up being closer to $90 due to the labour, those things are very hard to work on and I can’t guarantee it will only take half an hour to do the job.”

I kinda don’t want to work on an iPod, and I know my co-worker hates hates hates working on them, so I’m not doing much selling at this point.

I ask if he’s tried at a popular phone repair store in town due to the miniaturization of parts.

“No!” He yells. “I’m not going there!”

“Well if you aren’t willing to pay for the service of a trained technician to do it for you, have you considered looking it up on YouTube? There will be tons of tutorials.”

“But I don’t want to do that!” His tone has gone sulky now.

I raise my hands and shrug my shoulders.

Weird Dude finally leaves the shop.

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Women in tech: nail polish ftw.

Old man needs a tutoring session.

I sit down with him and his laptop. He needs instructions on how to delete a Facebook account. He doesn’t remember his password or the email address associated with the account.

He uses two email addresses, he tells me, with the same password, he says proudly, so he doesn’t forget it.

I try to get him to log into his email accounts but now he can’t remember his password for that. I begin to explain how he needs access to the email account associated with the Facebook account, so he can reset his Facebook password so he can delete the account.

All the while I’ve been typing a few things as notes for him on his laptop.

He begins to tell me he likes my nail polish. How he used to have a girlfriend with similar nail polish. How it was nice when he had a girlfriend…

Seeing he’s completely fucked regarding his Facebook account, I tell him to go home and see if he’s written down his email password anywhere. That he needs that first.

He looks confused. Then resigned. I walk him over to the front till computer where my co-worker is sitting and hand him over to pay for my tutoring.

Old man, entitled computer.

Old man walks into the shop carrying a desktop computer under his arm. My male co-worker and I are at the sales computer out front already.

“Hi, what can we help you with?” I use my standard opening line.

“It won’t turn on.” Old man says after looking between me and my co-worker and now looking confused.

My male co-worker starts to book in his desktop. “So you said it won’t turn on?”

“No, it won’t go into Windows.”

“Ok, so that’s different than not turning on.” I say.

Old man looks at me with a creased brow. Is he frowning at me or just wrinkly?

“Ok, well we can take a look at it…” My co-worker says diplomatically.

“Now?”

“No we have a bench full of computers, so we’d add it to the queue.” I say.

“Well how long will that take?” Old man sounds indignant.

“We get most diagnostics done in a day or two.”

“I can’t wait two days for you to look at my computer!”

“It doesn’t take two days to look at it…” I explain about how it takes time to test components.

“Yeah but it takes two days?” Old man has just made my kill-wish-list.

At this point I tell my co-worker I’ll be finishing up that Dell and head back into the tech area. I can hear the old man complain again and again about how it’s terrible to take two days to look at a computer. My co-worker tirelessly and patiently repeats that I didn’t say that.

Old man huffs, signs the service sheet, leaves his computer and walks out.

Dude doesn’t speak woman.

Dude my age walks into the shop looking easy going. I approach.

“Hey, what can I help you with?”

“Uh, I need a USB for the internet.”

My mind races as I try my best to translate tech-dumb speech. I come to a quick conclusion that he’s using a laptop with no ethernet port and wants a USB adapter to receive ethernet to his laptop.

“Do you mean you need a USB adapter to connect ethernet to your laptop?” I think I’m right, but wanted to check.

“No.”

“What do you need?” My male co-worker chimes in from the sales computer.

The dude turns to him and repeats what he said to me.

“I need a USB for the internet.”

“Oh, an adapter?” My co-worker asks.

“Yeah.”

My co-worker grabs one from stock, dude pays and leaves.

Now in the back tech area again, I confront my co-worker.

“Did you hear what I said to him? It was basically the same as what you told him.”

“Yeah, I noticed.” He shakes his head.

Dude literally not capable of remembering what I just said to him.

Dude walks into the shop minutes before we close. He’s carrying an HP desktop under his arm. I approach while my coworker is prepping to close.

Dialogue ensues. He explains he saw smoke coming out of the part of his computer that is venting for his power supply. I get his desktop on a counter and quickly open it, it’s an old build, 500 Watts. I rattle off the price for replacing that part, and recommend maybe a 650 Watt. $50 to make his computer work again was too much money for him, based on his tone of voice, facial expressions, and how he asked me if he could install it himself. He’s basically balking at *the* cheapest part to replace.

(Do you ask your car mechanic if you can change your own oil while standing right in front of them?)

“Sure, if you know what you’re doing.” I shrug. He asks me how hard it is. I explain briefly how each plug only goes in one hole. For the most part. Curse you, JFP1.

I show him to our shelf of power supplies, and he quickly complains that the grills on the power supply box picture don’t match his back of his computer. (And he wants to change it himself…) I quickly explain he’s seeing the part of the power supply that faces inside his case, how they are a fairly standard and interchangeable part. He repeats his complaint and I repeat my answer a second time, quickly paraphrasing.

Of course there’s the obligatory complaint about how his computer was slow anyway. He explains how he took the free windows 10 upgrade. (He only has 4 gigs ram, standard platter drive) I try to explain there are many reasons why a computer might be slow, but considering his hardware, a RAM upgrade and changing to a solid state drive would drastically improve the speed of his computer.

“Do you know what a solid state drive is?”

“No.”

I briefly explain how it’s up to ten times faster than a regular platter drive, and so accessing programs and loading is much faster. Boot time is much faster.

He begins to explain he wants to switch to a laptop. My coworker goes to work printing off a few specs for some brands he’s stubborn about sticking with. (HP and Dell) for his budget range. I guide him over to where my coworker is sitting at the till computer, to hand him his print outs.

“Because you know, it’s just so slow, and old, I think I just need a laptop.” He tells my coworker.

“Oh. Well for speeding up your machine, have you heard of solid state drives?” My coworker asks him.

“No.” He tells him.

TFW you realize he wasn’t even listening to you while you talked.

I always knew my cute phone voice would be useful some day…

Every phone call goes like this:

I pick up, standard hello, person tells me usually for minutes at a time their detailed computer problem, including a full back story, they inevitably need info like pricing or on-site scheduling which is all done through my male co-worker.

So I always need to pass the phone to him because I refuse to learn any money stuff and only he knows his schedule.

So they always start from the beginning as soon as co-worker takes over the call. Like my time and attention just aren’t a thing. I actually don’t know if it’s worth me interrupting my work to continue to answer the phone.

“Hey boss, can I stop answering the phone?” I explain how it’s a redundant operation.

“It’s not a problem at all.”

No I definitely can’t type…

“You’re wrong.” She tells me, over the phone, her tone of voice showing strain. I had been repeating myself for minutes to this woman who had a list of two most definitely true and accurate passwords she uses for absolutely *everything* (Uuuuuuugh) in her life. If it wasn’t one of those then it wasn’t a password she would have set!

(I want to laugh and cry because I will always have work)

“All of the passwords you’ve provided to me I’ve entered exactly as we’ve discussed.” I of course clarify upper and lower case, spaces or no, etc…

“Well you musn’t be doing it right then!”

“You don’t need to worry, we can work around this, we can crack it and…”

“NO! No! No, no no!”

Sometimes the level of paranoia makes my mind go to places of distant past and future all at once. Like right now, I’m six years old in my daddy’s lap playing Pole Position on his Atari, the joystick in my hand. Every time I don’t stay inside the lines, my car blows up in a pixelated fireball and he shakes me and I laugh. And I’m looking back on my life as an old woman, alone with many cats, musing on all those years spent studying psychology in university and how it took a decade to pay off that debt.

I mean just let me fix your computer…

One of my latest coping skills has been to put customers on speaker phone when they give me attitude so my coworker is witness to it and can talk to the customer. She was yelling at me still while I fumbled with the damned poorly designed phone to find the speaker phone button. I motion to my coworker and he comes over and puts it on speaker phone. I think I heard “You will do no such thing!” but I can’t be sure. I was really just focusing on where on the black square of plastic was the button for speaker phone while simultaneously cursing the company that designed it and how I failed my True Calling as an electronics interface designer.

TL;DR My coworker used his most manly most authoritarian tone of voice with her to explain how we took protecting our customer’s data seriously and keep all information, including passwords provided, confidential.

Stating the obvious worked. She was calm within minutes and had agreed to the cracking, and failing that the reinstall and data transfer.

“I feel like if I spent my energy placating neurotic people I’d sound like a Google Duplex voice or something.” I tell my coworker after we end the call.

He laughs.