I had intended to post a very moving and reflective post about what a gigantic pile of useless junk 2011 was. But as much as whiny self indulgence is the flavour of choice for the mystery stew that is Cum Tacent Clament, it’s probably easier in the end to point to my handily tabulated list of objectives for the year and note that anything that isn’t theatrical or … buying a phone has been a comprehensive non event. I could have given you two, maybe three good (well…) paragraphs all about the awesome things I failed to do last year, but instead I thought I’d tell you all a story which encapsulates nicely the spiritual, psychological and indeed sociological journey of the year that was.
Our story begins on Boxing Day, when my valiant laptop, veteran of an honours thesis, a trip to Spain and more hours of online gaming than I care to think about, crashed three times in succession while attempting to play the Doctor Who Christmas special. The constant freezing and inability to run anything more complex than iTunes I can live with, but start messing with the Doctor and you’re on borrowed time. I made the reluctant decision to find a new one in the post Christmas sales.
Wednesday lunch time saw me spending my lunch break in an electrical goods store. I probably don’t need to name the specific store, but it's one that would be regarded as hardly normal. It’s not an easy place to get any service, but I find the best strategy is to stand next to something expensive and try to look gullible. A passing sales assistant swooped in like a magpie and soon had me comparing prices, hardware specs and brand names. I told him I’d go check my bank balances and get back to him.
By Thursday lunch time I’d made up my mind about which model I wanted and come to terms with the extent to which I couldn’t afford it. I resolved to buy it anyway and headed back out to the shop. I found the same salesman who had been so helpful the day before and told him which one I wanted. We spent a good twenty five minutes filling out forms and entering contact details into every known database on the planet and then came the killer question:
Salesman: How are you wanting to pay for that?
Gw2Rs: Credit card for now.
Salesman: Yeah, sorry. Our eftpos system is down.
There is something quietly satisfying about being sold a computer by an organisation with chronic IT problems Apparently it hadn’t occurred to him to tell me he had no way of taking my money before spending half an hour trying to sell me something. Or perhaps he assumed I was carrying enough on me to pay for a mid-range laptop computer in cash. He asked if I would be able to hang around the shop for half an hour while they tried to fix the system. I had to get back to work, but I told him I would try to get back after work before the shop shut. Unfortunately all our remote branches at work decided that Thursday would be a good day to implode, so I didn’t make it back until Friday lunch time.
After helping the sales staff settle an argument about credit card payments (operations supervisor to the rescue!), I finally got my hands on my new computer. As always, time was against me and I had to leave it in the car and head straight back to work.
Once again, my attempts to leave the building by five were thwarted by the dastardly powers of general incompetence, but I did make it home by twenty past and took my new toy out of the box. I was shocked and greatly annoyed to discover that the computer I had received seemed in no way to resemble the computer I thought I had purchased. That all the labels had the wrong thing on them was my first clue. I had ten minutes to spare before the shop shut and it would take me about fifteen to get there, so I called ahead to see if someone could hang around and help me exchange the computer.
At this point I started writing this post, full of righteous fury at the shop, at 2011 in general and at Karma. Having spent the last three evenings staying late at work to fix other peoples mistakes, the unwillingness of the shop to stay for five minutes to fix their own screw up seemed to me to be just a little unjust. They thought they could push me around like some inconsequential consumer; little did they know I’m a world famous blogger with no less than eight online followers. Oh boy were they ever going to be sorry. However, their imminent downfall was delayed by one evening, as I got an invitation to go have a swim and watch Doctor Who with my friends (It was a delightful evening), so I saved my post to finish later.
Saturday rolled around, as it usually does. At last I was able to confront these villains, these two-bit hacks of the computer retail community. I marched in with all the sense of moment I could muster (it wasn’t much, but I was proud of it) and demanded satisfaction.
It turns out I’m a complete knob who can’t recognise his own computer when he’s looking straight at it. They hadn’t given me the wrong machine at all, just one with unexpected stickers on it. It was the correct laptop all along. I politely thanked them for their time and got the hell out of there.
The moral of the story? I have a new laptop, and 2011 can go and die alone in a dark hole somewhere.
Happy New Year
Garry with 2 Rs