Open the Pod Bay Doors, Pal

“I’m sorry, Leslie. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”


Writing my blog is easy. Using a computer is not. Sometimes I long for my old Smith-Corona electric typewriter.

I recently opened my laptop, and after making frightening whirring and groaning noises, it hocked a big, fat error loogie onto the middle of the display.

I knew from experience that anything I did to try to fix it would make it worse. So, I packed up my computer and headed to Best Buy to speak to a Geek.

After 20 minutes of frantically inserting disks into my computer and typing faster on my keyboard than an airline clerk, the Geek slowly looked up from my keyboard and said, “I’m sorry. I did everything I could.”

Best Buy could place the computer’s data onto an external hard-drive, and re-install Windows 7, but it was already being backed-up 24/7 buy Carbonite, a magical company headquartered somewhere over the rainbow in a fluffy cloud in the sky, so I declined.

The next morning I called and spoke to a magical Carbonite lady who explained she didn’t possess the powers to crack the error message code on my computer screen, but assured me all of my data was safe in the cloud floating on a magic carpet.

She told me to call Microsoft, who told me to call tech support of my computer’s maker. I won’t divulge the real name of the company, and will instead use discretion and refer to it as Caca & Co. (is it technically libel if it’s true?)


Best Buy calls its tech-support the “Geek Squad,” Apple calls its Mensa- membered staff “Geniuses.” I think Dingleberries is a polite name for the tech-supportlessness people at Caca & Co.

I was assured by the Dingleberry I spoke with at Caca & Co. that he could definitely fix my problem. Finally!

I was offered three different plans:

1. A one-time fix with a three-day guarantee for $99.99;

2. A 15-time fix for a year for $199.99;

3. A multi-device two-year plan that would fix any and all devices in the house for $299.99. Yes!

I did everything the Dingleberry asked of me, none of which worked. I told the Dingleberry I decided against their two-year plan after they couldn’t deliver on their current promise. He put me on hold while he spoke with the Supervisor of all Dingleberries (SAD.)

The SAD picked up the phone and informed me I’d be notified within several business days if I qualified for a partial refund.

Um, no.

I politely told him he couldn’t fix my problem as promised and I expected a refund. I also said I wouldn’t be satisfied within the next three days, either. End of discussion.

I dialed American Express, pronto, only to discover Caca & Co. had already charged my account. But American Express has great customer service. The charge will be disputed, especially because I told Caca & Co. that I changed my mind during the exact same phone call. (Good to know. Write that down!)


My computer guru, Matt, will re-align the planets, as always. I bought a Mac, which I was planning to do anyway because my computer is old, and once it’s fixed, I’ll use it for storage. Macs are supposedly “idiot-proof,” and with Apple’s “one to one” customer service, I can hang out at the Apple Store all day. But not all night. I was asked to put my sleeping bag back in my car.

Here are a few suggestions in case you ever find yourself needing tech-support:

1. Never assume the gender of the person helping you. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish exactly what IT is. No, I don’t want to talk about it.

2. We’re old. Your salesclerk won’t understand your reference to the Rock Opera “Tommy” when you say you’re hearing impaired while searching for your reading glasses.

3. Don’t make references to nouns only people our age will understand. The Genius at Apple didn’t laugh when I said, “Porsche. There is no substitute,” ala “Risky Business” upon spotting an accessory made by Porsche. One look in his eyes revealed only a news-ticker of algorithms.

4. Get your Geeks and Geniuses straight. You wouldn’t order a Big Mac at Burger King, or a Whopper at McDonald’s, so remember this: Best Buy has a “Geek Squad”; Apple has “Geniuses.”

If that’s all you take away from this blog, I will feel I have done a public service.