When My Computer Didn’t Work, I Found Help


Getting good service is almost unheard of these days. Thus, when my computer more or less decided I needed to upgrade, I felt deep despair. I once was young; and that was before there were many computers. I learned how to use them, but they have become increasingly complex over the years. Of course, they all claim that they simplify things, but my first computer program, Appleworks, was 250 kilobytes, and that served as word processor, database and spreadsheet. Now, any one of those programs is 100 times as large, particularly because they can do billions of things I no longer need.

When I bought my old computer a decade ago, I thought having 40 gigabytes in a hard drive was crazy. Of course, I had thought that five megabytes was crazy 30 years ago. But there was limited space, and Microsoft, that most gentle of computer giants, had already announced it would stop providing service for XP machines, a form of computer euthanasia. So I upgraded to a far more powerful but, unfortunately, cursed (pronounced in two syllables for emphasis: curs-ED) model.

Learning from past frustration, I decided to actually go to people who understood the latest doohickeys. Years ago, setting up a new computer required saving a few CDs of data and then moving a few programs. Putting the computer together just required plugging in different types of plugs and wires.

But I am currently part of a home wireless network required both for my wife’s laptop for work and my Kindle. Some elements are wireless; others are not. Transferring 25 gigs of material takes a huge amount of time and more precision than I have. And we no longer can simply transfer programs from one machine to another using backup disks. So I turned to the charming guys at Fix My PC Store on Okeechobee Blvd., just west of State Road 7.

I got the kind of service we now only dream about. Remember movies in the old days when, at gas stations, attendants ran over, checked your oil, washed your windows and checked your tires while they filled your gas tank (for about as much money as a single gallon costs today) and did it with a grin? Well, I needed that kind of service and happily got it.

I brought the new machine to them one Wednesday (the day after I bought it) along with my old machine. “It’s easier to do the copying here,” Brian, one of the owners, told me. And he was at my house within two minutes of the appointed time the next day. It took him less than an hour to check everything out, making certain that everything worked, giving good advice.

That was fine, but three hours later, I walked back into my office and found that the screen on the new, very large monitor would not light, and I could not find a switch. The computer itself was on, but I could see nothing. A half-hour later, Chris, one of the workers, drove to my house, agreed with me that there were no switches, and together we found out that under the screen on the right side there was a small infrared sensor that you had to flick your finger under to get the screen lit. He had taken time to drive to my home and back but refused to charge, saying, “It’s part of the service.”

After that, I discovered that the new surge protector I had bought had a side on-off switch that I had accidentally pushed when I vacuumed under the desk, turning the machine off. Brian, who drove over after my panicky call, thought it was amusing and again refused to charge. When I called up in a panic because my illuminated keyboard would not light, Andrew calmly had me check the box it had come in (never get rid of boxes for computers quickly!), and I found a cable that had to be used to recharge it. Then my printer refused to work, and Mario, who manned the desk at the store, gave me suggestions. I went home, called him when those suggestions did not work, and we discovered that upgrading to the new Windows meant I needed new software to clean off the printer head. And we took care of it together.

So far, just about every piece of the computer has had something go wrong with it, mostly confirming my incompetence, and the guys at the store keep providing service. And at no charge beyond the initial installation. Too bad we can’t get service like that for everything we buy. But if you have computer problems, who ya gonna call? Fix My PC Store. Call them at (561) 439-5224 or visit www.fixmypcstore.com.