Changing The World One Pansy At A Time!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

“Please Excuse Charlie’s Absence, he had a Virus!”

Oh My God! Were you worried that you hadn’t heard from me in over 3 weeks? Thanks for all the calls & letters! Here’s the story:

A few weeks back I started to get all these “Danger! Will Robinson” messages from McAfee that I had received some scary email that I must have inadvertently opened. Now, I thought that McAfee was supposed to keep this sort of thing at bay, but no matter. I tried to clear it up. I bought new Anti-virus software but this bugger wasn’t going down without a fight. I was able to discover that this virus affects the Windows registry rendering the use of Windows impossible. I cry “Uncle!”
I then take my computer to BEST BUY’s resident geniuses, THE GEEK SQUAD. Wait in line for 25 minutes, then explain to one of the “Blues-Brothers-Attired” staff what my problem is. (My computer problem that is) “Oh yea, don’t worry, we fix this sort of thing all the time!” “For $200 (!!) we’ll run a ‘Diagnostic & Repair’ & we’ll have your computer back to you within 3-5 days.” The young man with a crew cut then places some small wand in the back of the tower and grimacing says, “that’s strange but I can’t access Windows” Feeling a sickeningly diminished confidence; I ask if this could possibly be due to, as I just explained, I had a virus that compromises Windows??? “No worries, we’ll figure it out!”

Three, four, five days pass & not a single phone call. It’s like I’m dating The Geek Squad & we’ve just had sex & I’m feeling very vulnerable! I call & speak to a young Geek woman. I explain that its been more than six days &I’ve not heard anything. She assures me that the work is completed & that they would be “restoring” my computer that very evening. She calls back to inform me that e“oh, by the way, we charge $100 to give you the disc back with all the information that we retrieved from your computer!”  Well, by this point I feel like the Italian Government when one of their citizens is taken hostage in a foreign country…I’ll pay any price to have my computer back along with my personal information (some of which is, not surprisingly, of a sensitive nature, shall we say?) The list of Geek terms continues, “We’ll also need your system start-up cds & drivers to restore it ” I run them over immediately. I call back the same afternoon & am told that “There’s a problem with reloading Windows, so we’re going in another way!” (QUOTE) “We’ll call you” As they have yet to call me once in six days, I’m a bit dubious, so I decide to give them 24 more hours.

It is now “DAY 8 MY COMPUTER HELD HOSTAGE!” I return to the The Geek Lair. Thinking that because I have not heard from them, this is surely a good sign. It is not. I inquire at the desk & a young man greets me & says, “We have a problem.” “You have a ROACH” I ask (truly) if he can explain that in “laymen’s terms”? This question doesn’t translate. “No dude! You have a roach infestation in your computer!” “And it is our policy to cease working on systems that have a roach infestation!” “Armand” then gestures toward the room behind the counter where my poor tower is sitting forlornly on the floor, separated from all the other little computers & wrapped haphazardly in Saran Wrap. I want to cry. Some pertinent points: 
1) Apparently when “Diagnosing” an ailing computer The Geek Squad feels it is only necessary to actually “open” the computer in case of emergency. 2) There is quite obviously some hideously rampant infection of roaches inhabiting computers, particularly those being repaired at BEST BUY, enough so that the company has had to formulate an official policy! 3) This particular BEST BUY, sits between a BEN & JERRY’s & a STARBUCKS. Draw your own conclusions. 4) I have a live-in exterminator properly known as “MAX THE CAT” and in 12 years of living in this house have never seen so much as a water bug. 5) Moreover; ONE roach does NOT an Infestation make!

I call over a manager who kindly waves the Quarantine Policy & Armand swears that they will now be able to fix it. Upon my return the following evening (DAY 9 but who’s counting?) I’m greeted by the young woman who had previously assured me on the phone (my call) that the problem was fixed. A very unpleasant young lady; she then begins to recite BEST BUY’s ANTI-VERMIN MANIFESTO & points again to my sad little tower still wrapped in its home-made, see through, sheath; sitting in the same exact spot as it was 24 hours prior. I mention the manager’s name & ask for her to call him. The lady explained that that gentleman really had no power to decide anything & that the SQUAD had decided my problem was unfixable (was there some sort of conference, I wonder, where these cruel people deemed my little guy unworthy of life support?) and the fact that they cannot upload Windows has nothing whatever to do with my having a Windows specific virus.(!!??)

I insist on seeing the manager. She grunts (really) makes a face, & walks away. Now in her defense, the customary GEEK SQUAD uniform does consist of a white shirt & black pants & a gentleman’s black skinny tie, none of which is very flattering, even on a man. Her vain attempt at accessorizing with a metal studded leather belt was an utter failure. And sadly, she was bravely enduring some extensive & hopefully temporary out-break of cold sores & it WAS Friday night, so perhaps she just wasn’t at her best. In any event, the manager did come over & again promised they would fix it & contact me a.s.a.p.

Viola! Saturday night, “Javier” called me. (He called me, he called me!) He apologized & said he had only just begun to work on it but he would leave a note for the “night guy” (night geek?) to keep working & keep me informed.

No calls Sunday or all day Monday. Still, Javier had called & they were “working on it” So with a song in my heart I return to Geekdom on Monday evening (Day 11) I hand over my shockingly slim file considering all of my notes of the past week (s) to “Julius”. The song in my heart becomes a scream in my head as Julius tells me my computer is not fixed, will not be fixed, cannot be fixed. “Any explanation why?” I inquire. “Ummm, well I didn’t work on it personally.” Which at this point means he is the only one who hasn’t. “That guy over there can probably tell you what’s wrong with it!” “He’ll be with you as soon as he’s finished with that customer!”  Nope! Count me Out Geek! I’m done! 

I ask Julius to return my computer & my handsomely ransomed disc of personal information. He unwraps my tower from it’s shroud & hands me a cd. He had the grace to be ashamed & not look me in the eye once. But he kept fumbling around looking for something. “Is there anything else, Julius?” I ask. “Oh, I’m looking for a pen, you need to sign something!” I think, “a PEN??…a pen??? don’t geeks keep about a dozen pens in a pocket protector in their shirts?? “What am I signing?” I say instead. “Just a standard form that your computer was returned to you.” I sign the form & then look at the small print to see that it says something akin to my computer being repaired & returned to me & I am satisfied. Let’s just say I made some edits & amendments to that form. My only triumph that evening was on the way home I realized I had taken Julius’ hard-won PEN!

Happy to report that I am now inoculated with the only vaccine that stands a chance against computer viruses…A MAC!

As for BEST BUY & THE GEEK SQUAD…I’m OVER them. But I was so gratfied to tune into The TODAY show on Friday to see a young woman & her attorney announcing her $54 Million Dollar lawsuit against BEST BUY. Seems The Geeks lost (lost!!!) her computer with her tax returns, photos & numerous personal files. I hope she wins. And I’m sure she has earned every dollar by now. And has learned the hardest Geek lesson of all: at the BEST BUY Hotel, computers check in, but they don’t check out!

Again, please excuse my absence, I had a virus & a ROACH ate my homework.

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