Thursday, December 10, 2009

Computer Stores and Hunters

The past two days have been nothing short of down and dirty awful. Here’s why. As most of you know my other laptop was destroyed by water dripping through the roof. I had to replace it. This time I vowed not to buy my computer from one of the big box stores for several reasons and those being: First, I did not want all of that pre-loaded crap that computer manufacturers feel compelled to put on new machines. Second, I was sick of the quasi-service you get. My experience has been that even the Best Buy “Geek Squad” is going to charge you at least half of a C-note to tell you they can’t fix it and the computer needs to go to the manufacturer for repair. Or, if they can fix it (after the first poke at your checkbook) it is going to take days, no matter how simple the job. So, I went to a local store front retailer, “Computer World” in Fargo to be specific. I bought a Sony Vaio and one of the store owners promised me that because I bought the computer from his store they would take care of me. Okay, good sales pitch. So, here I am six weeks later. I’m doing some work with African Expedition Magazine and trying to finish putting together my own little literary journal for outdoor writers. (The Pines Review, anyone who wants to get it, I send it out as a pdf attachment to email, need only let me know.) Suddenly my screen went bonkers. My computer was doing something weird with all of my files. I tried everything I could think of but nothing worked although I did finally get it to shut down. Next day, I’m off to Fargo. Two hours later the report is, “I don’t know how you did that, but I’ve fixed it, just don’t ever do that again.”

He might as well tell the bear what not to do in the woods.

Yesterday, I was back to work on African Expedition Magazine and the computer did the same thing. Today I was back in the store and this time we worked together on the problem and finally isolated it as being connected to Windows 7™ and the program I was trying to use that is online is not compatible with Windows 7. The main thing for me was that they were able to put everything back like I had it. Total time the crew at Fargo’s Computer World had invested in me now stood at about five hours. When I asked the person who had sold me the computer what the bill was he said, “I told you, you buy a computer from me, I’ll take care of you.”

Warranties and all other considerations aside, I felt pretty good because they had stood behind the computer. It would have been far easier for them to tell me that it was all my fault. Instead, they looked for an answer. I’m telling you this as a warm and fuzzy. There are still good people in this world. And, oh, coincidently—they are hunters and we’ve had some good conversations about hunting. Interesting, isn’t it, that so many of the people who keep their word are hunters and so many who don’t keep it think we’re barbarians?

As for Microsoft--once again there is a compatibility curve--fix the problem.

Now, with all that out of the way, the snow is perfect, December is cold and Cookie is chomping to get out of here. This weekend we’re going bird hunting. Besides, it’s too cold to work on the roof.

PS I've got a couple of book reviews in this issue of African Expedition Magazine so check them out if you get the chance. Go to There are some great stories in this issue, including another report on the Zim Border Walk adventure.

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