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Computers, Complaints & A Creep

August 16, 2009

Sorry for the long period of silence, I was waiting around for Inspiration to strike so I could deliver an essay that succinctly expounds on Singapore, the vibrant political horizon and the burst of patriotism that we all tacitly and unanimously experience around the 2nd week of August every year.

Unfortunately, I fell asleep while watching the National Day Rally Annoyance in the form of a creep in a Lenovo Add-On shop in Funan struck first. So, in the vein of being completely Singaporean, I shall blog my complaints.

The story starts around end June, I brought my laptop back to this stall for an installation of some anti-virus because my previous one expired. Some really nice guy called David spent hours installing it for free and I brought it home after that. But after a while it started showing some problems because the I guessed that its firewall was too active. It started blocking youtube and stuff which were totally legit.

Today I brought it back and this new guy tried fixing it (David left). It was actually a very simple manoveur. Just clicking on the firewall and lowering its status from high to medium. He was really nice throughout, asking me to sit on a chair because I looked tired. So I took it as service quality improving in IT stalls. When he said that I was good to go, he asked me to sign a form and after I did, he casually quipped, “By the way, there’s a $20 charge, hope you don’t mind.”

I was kind of stunned because the past 3 or 4 times I had been to the store, I had servicemen fixing up my computer for free. Plus, my laptop is under a 3 year warranty. Furthermore, he didn’t even tell us beforehand that there was supposed to be a charge. Moreover, he just clicked medium on my firewall and expects me to pay $20?

I think money is the smallest issue when it comes to such service issues. It boils down to integrity and it deeply perturbs me about the service quality in Singapore. There is a severe lack of it (think Asian Kitchen @ Citilink: good food, lack of integrity – no customer retention). Well, I was feeling a bit uncomfortable having to pay $20 (which is alot for a cash-strapped college kid) for some twiddling on my firewall that involved a few clicks when he never informed me beforehand of the charges, but I was not about to launch into a tirade in a shop.

But what made me even more insulted was when, upon sensing my reluctance, the technician snidely commented, “If you don’t think I deserve the money, you can go ahead and walk out now. I won’t say anything. But the camera is facing me. It can see me working on your computer. If the camera weren’t facing me, then maybe I will let this go.”

WTHOMGGBBQ?!

Seriously?!

My mum captured this moment the best by saying, “What camera?”
To which the technician pointed at some random security camera fixed to the wall behind the counter which we never even noticed. I was really annoyed. What kind of a lame, limp, flaccid threat was that?! So what if the camera was filming? My laptop was under warranty and he didn’t tell us about the “required charges” till the end. And when questioned about “Where does the money go (my mum and I suspected it was some sideline money for him), to you or the company?”, he got really defensive and gave the ultimately jialat shifty answer “I work for the the company.” PLUS, he kept egging me on, “Go la, go la, if you really don’t think I deserve the money!”

Writing this, I see that this could be the ultimate opportune moment that I could have told him off cooly, “Yeah, you don’t deserve the money, you cheating fiend.” and stalked out of the shop, with Hong Kong period drama-like wind blowing my (imaginary) coattails and everyone staring agape and in awe at my stupendously splendid coolness.

But, no. It was really, really, really awkward. I was just shrugging and trying to make my case over this technician who kept trying to speak threatening nonsense over me unsmilingly and glowering at me with his eyes and tone. It was kind of scary how someone who was so nice to you could morph into such a creep.

Thankfully, my awkward attempts at politically-correct smiles attracted the attention of his senior who told him off after finding out about the issue. We left the shop hastily under a cloud of tensed silence, my impression of the store completely shattered by this cheating, lying n0obcake of a technician.

Never going back there again.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2009 5:43 pm

    My dear, this is an issue swiftly avoided with knowledge that comes from watching 4 seasons of Prison Break. Because lesson #1, you will learn, is that whomsoever “works for the company” must be the devil incarnate…

  2. Augustin permalink
    August 23, 2009 8:50 am

    cheryl.. There are like thousands of geek friends whom you can turn to for free advice about such troubleshooting issues. I’m sure karan could help out as well.

  3. September 1, 2009 6:55 am

    um yea. why not just ask one of us. lol

  4. September 1, 2009 5:36 pm

    I did! I actually called my compsci friend and he couldn’t figure out what’s wrong.
    So, here’s the epilogue: After I brought it to this creepy computer guy at funan, the problem started up again – cos obviously he didn’t solve it. So in the end i bought a new anti-virus, uninstalled my old one and installed this new one. (:

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