Saturday, November 3, 2012

Broken Promises

Lately, with alarming and increasing regularity, my computer has been yelling at me. Things like, “What did you just try to do?” Sorry, but there is insufficient internal memory for things like that. Put on your big boy pants, if you have any, and come back when you grow a pair."

With the huge photo file sizes that today’s digital cameras are capable of producing, and at 12 frames a second no less, the strain on the present computer was becoming more than the old boy could handle. Clearly, it was time for an upgrade. But how much computer horsepower did I really need? How much RAM? What kind of graphics card? A consult with number one son, an expert in the field, was in order. We hook up on the phone and do some virtual on-line shopping together at Best Buy, a store that I’ve had some problems with in the past.

We decided on a Dell. It was like Christmas coming early. I want one of those and one of those and oh, throw in an extra hard drive while you’re at it. Before long, my cart was full and Best Buy was grinning. The icing on the cake, the toy in the stocking, the stairway to heaven, was something called a 256 gigabyte solid state hard drive. This in addition to the run-of-the-mill old fashioned, tried and true, hard drive. The son explains that this little 256GB dynamo will add amazing speed to the processing system, allowing me to power up in something like ten seconds. Ooooohhh. That sounded really, really good. With the present model, I can hit reboot, take a nap, and still catch the last of the icons lighting up.

I click Checkout, do a double gulp at the price, but went ahead and clicked Continue. Within seconds, I was looking at a rather speedy delivery, only 5 days away. Hoo Boy!

I spend the first four days backing up the present data on an external drive. On the fifth day, I’m in the street watching for Big Brown, the UPS truck. But the driver doesn’t stop, passes by with barely a wave of the hand.  Back inside, I find a message from Best Buy.

“Your order has been cancelled per your request. Thank you for shopping Best Buy.”

WHAT? I can’t dial the 888 number fast enough.

“What do you guys mean, cancelled per my request? I didn’t cancel anything!”

“Hmm,” the man says. “Let me check into that.” Click. The carpet grew soggy with tears before he returned to the phone. “I’m very sorry, Sir, but the model with those options has been discontinued and is no longer available.” Oh no! I call the son.

“I’ll look at some other brands and get back to you.”

Hours pass. Not being of the patient sort, I get on the Dell website. Sure nuff, right there under desktops, is the exact model denied to be in existence by Best Buy. Obviously, I need to talk to the folks at Dell. However, and as you may know, I am as deaf as a fencepost. Even with the aid of a closed caption telephone converting voice to text, my communication with the hearing world is pathetic at best. It’s a big problem at times like this. Around the house, with the Missus, not so much. Then I see a button for Chat. Aha. I can’t hear, but I can type.

The Chat Lady says her name is Hazel. I immediately think of that commercial about a customer support department featuring a scruffy bearded guy in a shack claiming to be “Peggy.” Might be the same guy. No matter. I explain the situation to Hazel. Hazel is more than happy to configure my new system but without the crown jewel, the 256GB Solid State kick-Photoshop’s-ass hard drive. I tell Hazel I’ll have to think about it. She’ll call me she says.

Frantically, I try to reach the son for advice. Do I settle for less? What can I live without?  But the kid with the online-all-the-time latest in portable devices, is like the elusive hard drive, unavailable. I don’t know why. I must admit, there are times when I forget that there are still people out there that work and have actual lives to live and do not have the luxury of excessive spare time that I seem to be blessed with these days.

An hour later and still uninformed, I get a call from Dell, but it's not Hazel. This time it’s Abdul or Ahab, or Ahmadinejad, something like that. Not only can I not hear him, I can’t begin to understand the strong accent. I try to explain that I’m not quite ready to place my order and once again inquire about the model that is “no longer available.” Ahmed states, “This is true. No have.” At least I think that’s what he said. The caption phone reads “speaker unintelligible.”

It’s late afternoon before the son who can’t seem to get his priorities straight, gets a moment away from his job and calls me. I replay the latest from Hazel and Akram. The son sums it up succinctly.


“But they keep saying..”

“Bullshit. Hang on. Let me get to a computer.” Moments later: “I’m on the Dell site. I have the model we want in my Cart" he says. “All I have to do is hit Buy.”

“Hold that place,” I say. “I’ll meet you at the checkout line.”

On my own creaky computer, I duplicate the keystrokes and soon, I too am looking at the new beauty, gleaming in the light, bulging with the coveted solid state hard drive, waiting to have its button pushed. Hmm. Could it be true? Or is it an allusion? I hit the Chat button. This time I get Ariston (a co-worker of Hazel and Ahmadinejad I presume).

“Ariston, darlin’,” I type (not caring if Ariston is male or female at this point). I am looking at my cart on your website. It has a computer in it with the features I require. Do you or do you not have the capability of sending me that bad boy so equipped?"

 “I do,” she types in reply.

“Sweet Baby Jesus! Write it up, Ariston, while I pour myself a spooker. It’s been a long and trying day.” Ariston sends me a smiley face.

Once again, I resume my vigil, quietly waiting on a lonely street for the return of Big Brown. I wish they would hurry. It’s getting a bit chilly out there at night.


  1. does resemble my UPS guy at all

  2. You don't need a computer - you are just ordering stuff to get the UPS girl to show up at your door.

    Your blog was a mirror image of my life - aging slow computer, ordered a new one with a second solid state hard drive, and I am not fond of shopping at Best Buy. My computer is still sitting in the box - I want your son to come and help me set it up. It would only be about a 15 hour drive for him, he could do it in a weekend no problem. amb

  3. You shoulda' bought a MAC PRO!!! But I hope you are happy - - at least until that UPS driver (she does have a driver's license?) gets to the end of the street.


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