My laptop and I have a complicated history. I think we both share the same admirable, if somewhat unrealistic, sense of autonomy and independence. We realize this about each other, and respect each other for it, but it sometimes causes clashes. And when that happens, instead of trying to work it out like an adult, I run to mommy. Which, in this case, happens to be the Lenovo Technical center in Atlanta, Georgia. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprise if I were somewhat of a legend, or held a record for the most number of meaningless calls.
For example, I once called because the internet wasn’t working, and afraid that it had something to do with my computer I instantly tattled my problem to a nice man who should have earned a medal for his fake pleasant tone of voice as he told me that the Wi-fi server was probably faulty. Which it was.
But my perspective on these technical centers, and how they work, has somewhat changed since my frequent interaction with them. I used to think that the call-center people had these two huge manuals at their desk, one labeled ‘WARRANTY’ and the other labeled ‘NO WARRANTY’. The manual that they used per case would depend on which category the customer fell under. If the unfortunate being didn’t have a warranty, they were thrown into a vortex of confusing technical terms, a frenzied increase in severity of said technological problem, and hours on end waiting on hold to talk to a bunch of people who didn’t speak English except to very clearly tell you that you were about to spend a small fortune on a problem you still weren’t sure about, and there was no way out of it ‘sorry for your inconvenience thank you for your patience i must put you back on hold now’. On the other hand, the individual who avoided that nightmarish path by proudly claiming their warranty instead were referred to the much smaller manual, which consisted of the simplest, quickest, and cheapest solutions, whether or not they were really that effective.
My numerous encounters with these centers, however, consistently have appeared to defy both scenarios. The particular phrase that tipped me off during one of the many moments i’ve shared with the good people of Atlanta, Georgia was ‘well, i searched Google for a solution to your problem…’
good to know the people i’m trusting with my computer have the technical skills of a kindergartener. But somehow, they still have the arrogance and self-proclaimed intelligence of any stereotypical law school graduate. this was proved to me in my latest run-in with the Lenovo technical center in Atlanta, Georgia.I recently replaced my computer’s hard drive (correction: my dad replaced it. i took it out of the package with an excited ‘oh, SHINY!’). My computer and I have since had a pretty steady relationship, besides the few times I tattled to Lenovo-mommy, only to be reprimanded and reassured things were going to work out just fine. But one morning I turned on my computer, and it instantly stuck out its tongue and said ‘hey, let’s play hide-and-seek! oops, looks like i lost the hard drive. i’m not gonna turn on until you find it!’ of course, my instant reaction was ‘I’M TELLING MOMMY.’ and then proceeded to make a call, once again, to Lenovo. The man I was connected to didn’t seem terribly excited that I was interrupting his Friday morning coffee. Things still started out pleasant enough, but once we started talking it was clear we were communicating on entirely separate levels. I might as well have actually been a four-year old who broke her toy and ran to mommy. I also probably had ADD, and some type of developmental disorder. I don’t remember his name, so I’ll just call him Mommy.
Mommy: “can you take out and replace the hard drive for me?”
(translation: can you do all these technical things that require the use of tools and other things?)
me: “uhm, er, uuh, I wouldn’t give myself that kind of credit. I had my father put in the new hard drive for me…”
(translation: ohh hi mommy I don’t know things I have no comprehension understanding YAAAAY PRETTY THINGS computer??)
Mommy: oh. Okay. Well, we’ll see what we can do with our other options.
(translation: oh, great. 9 o’clock Friday morning and I already have to deal with an incompetent child.”)
then, he started explaining what he wanted me to do.
What he could have said:
“all you gotta do is take the cover off the hard drive and push it into the computer a little.”
really. but instead, how it actually went down:
“okay, hold the power button down until the machine shuts down completely.”
(translation: here we go, stupid.)
“all right, that I can do.”
(translation: YAY not having to use tools and other things YAAAAY COMPUTER)
“now find the F1 button and press that down, then while it’s pressed down push the power button again so the computer turns on. It should lead you to the BIOS screen.”
(translation: I could think of so many better ways to spend my Friday morning)
(translation: this takes a lot of skill I AM SO PROUD YAAY)
After going through a few screens and pressing the Enter button a couple times (a harrowing task indeed), he confirmed that my hard drive was slightly dislocated. So we continued.
“okay. Now at the bottom right corner of your laptop keyboard, you should see a ThinkPad logo.”
“put your finger on that logo and flip the computer over so that it’s upside down.”
(translation: seriously? I’m not THAT stupid.)
“now on that side of the computer you should see a cover for your hard drive”
(translation: yeah. you are.)
“Actually, my dad lost the cover when he put the hard drive back together so instead it’s covered with zebra duct tape.”
(translation: I LIKE PRETTY THINGS YAAAAY)
“Right. Well, go ahead and remove the duct tape.”
“But it’s so pretty….”
“Do you see the hard drive?”
(translation: I’m going to pretend that didn’t happen. )
“Go ahead and remove it.”
the problem with that was, there was a screw going through my computer that was right in front of the hard drive, so I couldn’t take it out. And I wasn’t about to run around the house yelling for a screwdriver with this guy on the phone.
“Uh, I can’t. There’s a screw there that I’d have to remove first, and I don’t have a screwdriver around. If you tell me what to do, I’ll just write it down?”
(translation: too many technical things and other things requiring the use of tools and other things I do not have this understanding you speak of but I have zebra duct tape YAAAY PRETTY THINGS)
“Is there something you can use to push the hard drive? Your finger won’t fit into the slot?”
apparently ‘take the hard drive out’ meant ‘push the hard drive back into the computer’. But that little part was lost in translation, so of course I just sounded even more incompetent.
“oh. Yeah. Uh, ohhh. Right. Yep, it’s in there.”
(translation: oooooh, my finger can fit into the opening thingy! I CAN PUSH IT WITH MY FINGER YAAAY)
“okay, now push down the power button to turn the computer back on.”
(translation: if this doesn’t work, I’m jumping out of a window.)
“…..hmmm, okay. Oh! Uhm, yep, looks like we’re good.”
(translation: OH DEAR GOD THANK YOU)
afterward, feeling a bit silly, i turned on my computer and stuck out my tongue with a ‘HA! found your stupid hard drive. MOMMY HELPED ME, so THERE. and he didn’t even have to use Google.’