Unfortunate tech repairs - a blog, in 1000 Words or Less
I’ve been dealing with a tech issue; small and entirely my fault, at least initially, it has somehow robbed me of my computer for almost three weeks…
…the battery in my MacBook gave up the ghost.
For a long time now, it has been draining quickly and re-charging slowly and getting worse every month. Naturally, I ignored it. Why be proactive and fix something that is only partially broken, right? I still had the use of the computer when it was plugged into the wall…sort of...so I didn’t want to give it up for what I suspected would be a long and frustrating process, based on previous tech repair experiences. You know what I mean if you’ve ever done something as (supposedly) simple as switching from Telus to Shaw. Tech repair only gets worse from there.
Anyway, I had no choice but to buy a new battery. Ensuring I had all the relevant data close at hand (model, serial number, etcetera), I called a local Authorized Service Provider to place the order. I was told they wouldn’t order the battery until I brought the computer in for analysis. The rest of the conversation went like this:
“What do you need to analyze? The battery doesn’t work.”
“That’s how we do it. Unfortunately, we need the computer for analysis.”
“How long does the analysis take?”
“Three to four business days.”
“We can probably do it in an hour.”
“I’ll give it to you for an hour. You’ll see it’s the battery. Order a new one and I’ll bring my computer back when it arrives. That way, I can still use my machine, at least to a limited degree, while we wait.”
“Unfortunately, we have to keep the computer.”
“That’s the process. Something else could happen to it while we wait."
"Doubtful, but okay. Either way, I'm still going to need a new battery."
"I'm sorry, sir. Unfortunately, that’s the way we do it.”
By this point, I thought my head would explode. Does anyone else hate it as much as I do, when a business of any kind starts a sentence with, “Unfortunately.” When I hear that word used in that context, I immediately know I’m going to get the shaft in several new and interesting ways I never before imagined.
To the company’s credit, the analysis only took two days. Surprise, surprise, the battery was no good. They agreed to order a new one. This was Friday. I was told I’d have my machine back by the following Thursday.
I called seven days later and was told the battery was still in Tennessee…because of the bad weather.
I waited another week, called again and was told the battery was still in Tennessee…because of the bad weather and also because of Covid, everybody’s favourite excuse these days.
Today is Thursday. I’m still waiting.
I’ve heard people say how much they enjoy getting off the grid when they go camping, or some such thing that takes them away from the internet and their electronic devices. They say it is liberating to leave the online world behind. I have no reason to doubt them however, I’m skeptical and I’m definitely not one of them. I travel with work and that means there’s a great deal of down time in airports, on ferries and on airplanes. In this Covid day and age, down time is magnified because of lockdowns and restrictions. I’m stuck killing far more time than I’d like in hotels, rather than having the ability to get outdoors and explore, and when I’m stuck in a hotel room, I want to be connected. I get things done during those times and if I don’t feel like doing something productive, there’s always Amazon Prime.
In the two and a half weeks (so far) I’ve waited for my computer, I was on the road nine days without it. That was frustrating. I begrudge the lost time that could have been used productively. Ultimately, I waited as long as I was willing to wait. I bought a new computer. Thankfully, I’m back online. When I eventually get my old computer back, I’ll sell it. With a new battery, it will be a perfectly good machine and useful to someone else.
Tech used to be fun. Who doesn’t remember buying a new iPod, cell phone, tablet or computer and feeling a certain amount of anticipation when it came time to open the box? Steve Jobs turned packaging into an art. He believed opening the box was a valuable part of buying a new product. He believed unpacking the device was a great way to introduce the technology to the consumer. Appreciating the beauty of a freshly designed device, powering it on the first time, admiring the updated graphics, playing with the new features…the entire experience was incredibly visceral and for a long time, as enjoyable as Jobs and his ilk meant it to be.
I’m past all that. Nowadays, I just want it to work.
Today, electronic devices are too expensive to replace routinely, but when they’re built with planned obsolescence in mind, what choice do we have? That fact alone takes a great deal of enjoyment out of the purchase. Throw in the cost of a new case, an adapter as with my MacBook, possibly a new charging system as with the iPhone 12…it’s maddeningly expensive and made worse because the products move closer to disposable with every subsequent software update.
Unfortunately, when it comes to tech, popping in a new Duracell is never that simple. Unfortunately, there are often real complications (the inability to buy a new battery at London Drugs), and unfortunately, there are always fake complications (companies that want to keep your computer for unspecified reasons). Unfortunately, the process is always more expensive than a person expects and unfortunately it always takes longer than it reasonably should, so unfortunately, I guess brought this frustration on myself…
...even a child knows he can’t ignore a dead battery. Unfortunately, sooner or later it has to be replaced.