Monday, January 04, 2016

My Extremely Good Deed

Since this blog is generally in arrears, it should not be a surprise that the computer I lately said I could not afford (while saving as much money as possible) is now in hand (now that I am no longer saving as much money as possible). It spent several weeks in a box in the closet because I’ve been busy helping a friend find housing using a Veterans Administration voucher, which has been an education. It’s a long process, demanding a lot of patience.

When I finally unboxed the new computer, I marveled at the simplicity and beauty of the device (an iMac) and its packaging. I turned it on, and saw graphics indicating that I should turn the wireless keyboard and mouse on, and did both, but saw that the icon representing the mouse cursor was stuck in a corner of the display, and also that the power light for the keyboard came on, but then turned off in a few seconds. Meanwhile, the two graphics kept flashing repeatedly.

I called Apple and was on hold for 20 minutes or so and then spoke with a very pleasant and obviously extremely inexperienced tech support person, a woman with a faint Southern accent. We went around and around as she advised me that I needed to charge up my keyboard and mouse before using them or to make sure to plug my keyboard into the computer—obviously not the case, since these items don’t have any means of connecting a wire. I had to tell her several times that we were talking about wireless items.

Early on, just to confirm, I asked as mildly as possible, “Are you tech support?” and she said proudly, “Yes, ma’am, I am.” Not much later, I was so fed up—remember, I am the person who goes berserk with rage nearly every time I have to talk to AT&T—that I was on the verge of saying, “Could you please transfer me to someone who can actually assist?”, or, a bit more politely but not very much so, “Perhaps I’ll call back and speak with someone else,” or, better yet, “Perhaps I’ll tackle this another time. Thank you for your help.”

But then I realized that she was basically me 16 or 17 years ago, and I said, “Take your time. I have faith in you. We’ll figure this out,” and that seemed to make her feel more relaxed.

Eventually I concluded it must simply be a case of dead batteries in the mouse and went online on my old computer to check how to change them. The hardest part, as always, was getting the battery cover open. Fortunately, the new mouse uses AA batteries, and I put in new batteries, and all was well. (As for the keyboard, the light is supposed to go off after a few seconds.)

Before I changed the batteries in the mouse, to encourage my support person’s troubleshooting skills, I told her, “When I turn on the keyboard, I see the power indicator come on, but when I turn the mouse on, I don’t see the light come on. That makes me think this could just be a matter of dead batteries,” but that didn’t seem to catch her attention.

Before we got off the phone (probably an hour after our conversation began), I said to her, “You know, I work in tech support myself, in a way, and when I started 17 years ago, I was constantly having to ask someone else, ‘How do you do this? How do you do that?’ But we learn new stuff every day, and one of these days, people will be coming to you and asking, ‘How do you do this? How do you do that?’

“What I think is crucial for a support person is to be pleasant and to remain relatively unflustered, and you are wonderful in both of these areas. If I get a chance to evaluate you, I will say you did an excellent job.” And we both hung up relieved and happy, and that was my very good deed.

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