A Technological Ignoramus

Thursday, October 3, 2013

There was this guy who took his Weed Eater back to the home-and-garden store to get it fixed. He was asked if he wanted to wait until the job was done.

"How long will it take?" he asked.

The clerk answered, "A day or two."

That made me think about my own experience.

Last Thursday I took a pair of men's short pants back to a department store to get a refund.

The pants wouldn't fit my son.

The associate behind the counter asked for my receipt.

As usual, I fumbled through my purse, trying to find the receipt.

She waited patiently while I looked.

"Well, could you just give me credit?" I finally asked.

She began punching information into her computer register while I waited.

"Wait," I said. "I just found the receipt."

She took the receipt and began putting new info into the computer.

Then, she stopped, tried again. The computer had balked when the new information was punched in.

She motioned to another associate to come help her out.

The second associate turned her key into the side of the computer, then started punching in her own set of numbers.

She frowned, looked puzzled. The computer didn't respond.

"That's the same thing that happened to me," the first associate said, in a whisper.

Then the second associate called on her phone for another associate to come to the register.

The third associate had no luck either. I waited, now starting to look at my watch.

The third associate began talking on her phone. A man standing in line behind me, snickered. "Lost your receipt, huh?" he said.

A fourth associate showed up to remedy the computer problem. Now there were four.

She punched in a bunch of numbers, or whatever, then swiped her card through the small checkout machine.

Presto! The register opened, smiles all around.

Fifteen minutes and four associates later, I had my $7 refund.

Actually, I'm not too swift on how some of these electronics work.

Some of them seem too technical to be worth the effort.

Earlier this month, a friend from Louisiana called me. She said she and her husband were in Mountain View and wanted to drop by and see me on their return trip to Louisiana.

I said, "Come ahead."

She said she would call when she got outside Piggott and I could give her directions to my house.

"Don't you have one of those GPS (global positioning system) thingys?" I asked.

She laughed. "Yes," she answered. "It's stuffed in a drawer somewhere."

Now this lady was driving a huge motor home all over the country but she wasn't using a GPS to get from point A to point B without having to stop and ask strangers for directions.

I can identify. No, I don't have such a system in my own vehicle but I've seen it work while traveling with family members.

I listened while a soft-spoken no nonsense woman gave directions from the GPS mounted on top the dashboard. I think her name was Jennifer.

"In a quarter of a mile, turn right....in 25 yards, turn right........the voice said. "Turn left, then right again. Take the second left."

By that time, I knew I'd never get anywhere with a GPS.

Just give me an old fashioned Rand McNally roadmap.

When my friend reached Piggott, she phoned and I gave directions to my house.

In five minutes she pulled her mammoth motor home into my driveway. I waved to her from my front porch and intoned,

"You have reached your destination."

I never claimed to be a Steve Jobs.

I've never owned an Iphone or Ipad.

I didn't stand in line to buy the newest Smart phone on the market.

I still read books the old fashioned way. I do have a cell phone from the stone age. It's so old it has a rabbit antenna.

I don't text anyone or phone talk while driving.

I need to concentrate on the road signs and the traffic.

I did buy a new car all by myself a few years back.

But I confess I had the car for two months before I figured out how to unlock the trunk, without using the key or the remote.

I have a Skyscan atomic wall clock that I just love. It gives me the day of the week, the date, the indoor temperature, the moon phase, and outdoor temperature. But sometimes it gets out of sinc and the outdoor temperature setting won't display. I get out the instruction booklet and begin the resetting process. After two days I get everything displayed except the outside temperature

I finally turned the clock over to my son, the expert, and told him to fix it. He did, but he told me he had to take the clock down the gravel road in his pickup before the outside temperature would display. Right now, it's working fine, but I dare not touch it.

Neither does the closed captioning on my television work.

I follow the menu which leads me down several paths until I find the yes or no function.

I press yes, then go back to the television program.

No captioning.

When I find the time, I'm going to reset the clock on my VCR.

But right now I have to attend to my answering machine.

The power blinked and all my recorded messages vanished and so did my OGM.

A woman's work is never done.