Customer Service

Sometimes it's hard to follow directions.  (Monte Dutton)
Sometimes it’s hard to follow directions. (Monte Dutton)

Today I hope to unify my novel.

No, I’m not going to compare elements of two manuscripts and somehow integrate them. It’s just that I have thirty-eight chapters of the Forgive Us Our Trespasses manuscript in the sinews of a laptop presently located at the Best Buy in Spartanburg and chapters, well, here. I bought this fancy little transformer (tablet and laptop, all in one, unless they’re … separate!) to do most of my writing, and the repaired (I think) one is where everything is going to be stored for as long as bears run wild in the forests and waterfalls cascade from the mountains.

Or, more likely, the trusty Vaio eventually dies a sudden and inexplicable death. Putting that off was the reason to drop it off at Best Buy.

The new one is so new that the portable printer won’t work on it (it is not adaptable to “this operating system”), and the relatively new printer has some glitch in it than I’ve been failing to fix on and off for several months, meaning that I will probably have to lug that unwieldy apparatus to Best Buy when I pick up the laptop that may or may not be ready.

See, I got an email – those Geek Squad guys send several a day – last Thursday saying that the laptop was ready. The Best Buy is thirty-five miles away, so I waited until Saturday because I was going through Spartanburg on the way to Gaffney. I asked for my laptop, and a friendly fellow said he’d be right back. When he was gone for ten minutes, I started thinking something is terribly wrong, and I was right. He said it wasn’t ready. I said I had an email saying it was. He said those emails went out automatically. I asked if they were generally automatically wrong. He said that was all in the hands of the guys in the back. They were the ones who really worked on the laptops.

It’s funny how adept “associates” are at passing the buck. You’d think they didn’t make a lot of money.

“So, you’re really not a geek at all then,” I said.

“You could say that if you wanted to,” he replied.

“I think that’s what I’ll do,” I said.

Then I asked if, perhaps, since my printer wouldn’t print with my newfangled transformer, could he perchance print out a parking pass for me, being as how I was headed to a ballgame, and so I could park before I picked up my press pass – and I didn’t think they’d let me drive right up to the ticket office at the stadium, or, even, park some distance away – I needed that pass printed out?

He said that was strictly against the rules. I said, “Well, seeing as how there must be a hundred printers on display right over there, why not allow me a little demonstration?”

He said I could take that up with the sales department. I did, and after trying three different methods, the last of which involved my iPhone, I got my parking pass. Then I went to an outlet mall and bought a new pair of sneakers, even though I was, by then, in such a hurry that I just found the exact same model I was wearing and quickly purchased them. Predictably, the little toe on my left foot is now sore in much the same way it was when the previous pair were brand-new, more than a year earlier.

Late that night, I got home, and the answering machine was beeping.

Best Buy wanted to inform me that my laptop was now ready for pickup.

I think I’m going to have to call and try to speak to a human being, no matter how long on hold I have to dangle. I’m not going to Spartanburg on a wing and a prayer again.

I’ll finish the latest short story, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” as soon as Writing Central is fully functional again. If you’d like to read my reflections on other topics, such as sports and other things non-fictional, check out I’d also be honored if you’d read my novels, The Audacity of Dope and The Intangibles ( Kindle versions are available, too, from



10 thoughts on “Customer Service

  1. bobi

    The local Best Buy charged my Mom for fixing her PC, but didn’t resolve the issue. When she tried to speak with management, the associates refused to divulge the manager’s name, refused to put phone calls through to a manager and repeatedly disconnected her phone calls. When she finally had enough, she called BB CEO, Hubert Joly; though she didn’t get past his secretary, she did get a full refund!

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