A case study of a geek’s sense of time
Am I offbase in being annoyed about this? When I dropped my computer off, the guy at the desk said it would be ready in a week. That was eight days ago, so I thought I could reasonably expect it to be finished today. I called to see when I could pick it up.
1) “Um… I’m having trouble finding it, can I call you back?”
I was silent for a moment and he said, “Don’t be scared when we say things like that. It usually means that it’s on a technician’s desk. I just need to spot it.”
Sure. That’s fine.
2) He calls back. “It should be ready later this week. We’re short-staffed because one of our technicians went on vacation to Spain.”
I said, “So when will it be ready? I was told that it would be five days when I called in and a week when I dropped it off.”
“I don’t know. I mean, if you could see what it’s like here. We’re really short-staffed.” He sounded nervous, like he was a geek totally out of his element. Which was probably true. “We’ve only got two techs on the floor. A third one comes in at three. Your computer is about ten down in the queue.”
“That’s good to know, but what does that mean in terms of when it will be ready?”
“I don’t know.” It sounds like he’s having to grip the phone harder to keep it from sliding out of his sweating palms. “I’m not a technician; I build systems.”
“Well, what I’m trying to decide is if I should come down and pull it out of the queue.”
“I wouldn’t recommend that. There’s no guarantee that you could find someone who would have it done faster than four days and then it would just be back at the end of our queue.”
“Four days?” I stuggled not to shout at him. “Look. This wasn’t an urgent repair, but it was my only window of time to have it done. This is my primary computer. I have a gig coming in on Thursday; I need it back.”
“If you could see what it was like at our end, you would understand why it’s not ready. One of our techs is in Spain and we’ve been working our regular hours.”
The effort to not shout became harder; I’ve run shops before. “I have been on your end. A vacation to Spain doesn’t spontaneously arise; that should have been part of the planning with your scheduling. I was told a week. I’m annoyed because I was given inaccurate information.”
“He was already in Spain when your computer came.”
I didn’t respond to that, because clearly, that did not improve his case at all. “I need the computer back by Thursday. So I’ll call at five o’clock on Wednesday to see if it is ready and if it isn’t then I’ll just come pick it up.”
“Oh that should be plenty of time. I know it’ll be ready in a couple of days.”
“Wednesday is tomorrow.”
“Today is Tuesday.”
“Oh. Man. Well, I’ll tell them you need it back. But we’re really backed up right now.”
At this point, I was finished with the conversation because I wasn’t going to get anything useful out of the boy. “Thank you for your time. I’ll check in tomorrow.”
So, my mental note from this is that computer geeks have no sense of time at all. I’m sure this will come in handy on a story sometime.