Crabby Old Lady and Dodgy Aging Claims

Crabby Old Lady's New Brain Game

It is late Sunday afternoon, every brain cell has leaked out of Crabby Old Lady's head and she is incapable of useful thought to write a real blog post.

She just wants a few words on the screen so TGB readers have their usual path to the link to today's Elder Storytelling Place story at the bottom, and Crabby wouldn't argue if you think it's better worth your while to just scroll down now and click over to that website.

In retrospect, it probably wasn't a good idea to get a new cell phone and computer printer on the same day but Crabby didn't plan it that way; they arrived on their own.

Undoubtedly, you've been in this kind of tech hell yourself. For both pieces of equipment, she needed to find a bunch of necessary passwords including the one for her wireless network that is 7,482 digits long. None of the entry boxes allow Crabby to see what she's typing and it's hard not to screw up such a gargantuan password which, of course, she did. Many times.

And blah, blah, blah. Glitches at every step of the setup, each one of which takes at least an hour to figure out. A big part of the problem (as you have surely run into) is that illiterates write the setup instructions and user manuals.

And this time, not even translators from Japanese could be blamed (which sometimes provides moments of hilarity). But this was all native English that Crabby's sixth grade teacher would have flunked her for.

(Do you think this speaks the lower U.S. educational standards social scientists, politicians and test administrators keep telling us about?)

Remember the good old days before cell phones when there was just a telephone on a table in a room. No setup, no decisions, no possible way for anything to go wrong. It rang. You spoke. That's at least one excellent reason for old folks to lament the good old days.

But aside from that lengthy password, getting the cell phone in working order was almost easy-peasy. After transferring the apps Crabby wanted to keep and filling in way too many other but shorter passwords, it was just a matter of learning a few new proprietary methods of doing the same old things on a different brand of phone.

The real problem was the new printer – hardly the high-end type that makes your morning coffee and feeds the cat too. And the setup went fine until the moment to test it with a printed page.

It kept telling Crabby, “Open the output tray.” The output tray WAS open. Crabby opened and closed it many times. She re-installed the software. She plugged and unplugged the power cable crawling under the desk to do that two or three times. The message never changed and it refused to print

So on Sunday afternoon, already frazzled, Crabby spent one hour and 20-odd minutes on the phone to India during which time she crawled under the desk to plug and unplug the printer two more times. She pushed buttons again and again as instructed. She gave the representative reams of numbers, information and answered the same questions more than once.

Then she got switched to another person who put her through the same routine a second time. Damned good thing she got the phone working first.

In the end, Crabby was told the solution would take two weeks - she would need to return the BRAND NEW printer and they would send her a USED REFURBISHED printer. What kind of scam is this.

The customer service supervisor was immovable - refurbished replacement only. You can probably guess that no one at that end of telephone call needs any clarification about Crabby Old Lady's point of view.

Although Crabby is exhausted from it all, she has had a revelation: Who needs brain games? Just buy new tech equipment – two or more at once is advisable for this purpose - and every cell you've got up there will get a heavy workout.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Karen Zaun Kennedy: I am From


My heart goes out to YOu. Have recently gone similar with my cable..........got my phone techs from the Caribbean & when I demanded an American, got the problem solved post haste. The whole thing was repeated a few days later, but I was fortunate enough to get a nice young all American-boy-next-door type who spoke proper English (where did he come from?)at my door who solved the problem without even coming into my home.........the cable co. had "accidentally" disconnected my line when my neighbor moved!!!!!! I hate the e-world some days.
Honestly, I don't know how you keep up with it all.......I admire you very much for your tenacity.....& you're smart, too. :) Dee

I've been there done that with both a new printer and a new cell phone in the past few months. It's exhausting trying to make old brain cells thinking in "techie" terms. It's times like that that I really wish I had a few grandkids living near by who are obligated to help old grandmother out.

Love your post...who, in our earlier years would thought you had to speak to someone in India, to ask directions....and now the first words when you answer your cell phone are, " Where are you ?"

My current nemesis is the modem/router/airave complex that assures internet and telephone reception in our RV along the Rio Grande. Sprint can't reach us here so we had to buy a booster. As soon as that is introduced via much spaghetti cords and color codes, life gets complicated. It's great when it's working. Not working now and I'm procrastinating dealing with it. Your tale of woe doesn't help with motivation, either.

I would certainly never buy another product from the company that made that printer or the one who sold it.

Basic consumer protection laws should guarantee that you get a new replacement computer if it's less than 30 days old - It's crazy how we've let "customer service" deteriorate.

Crabby is way past demanding a new replacement for the printer. She's canceled the order - of course, the next battle is the refund. Oh joy.

Crabby is not mentioning the printer company's name because it's a big one and she's a little blogger and doesn't want an argument she couldn't win.

However, twice in the last 18 months, Crabby has had reason to speak to the company that manufactured her television set and her laptop.

They are fantastic: customer service reps are knowledgeable, pleasant and patient.

When her laptop, six months after purchase, refused to turn on one morning, the techie on the phone efficiently walked Crabby through possible solutions and when nothing worked, arranged to have a shipping box delivered by the next morning.

In four days, maybe five (old woman memory at work here), she had a brand new laptop. No questions asked.

Because we complain all the time, good service should not be overlooked. That company is Samsung.

I am so sorry. If I didn't have a techie husband in the house, I would be equally lost. He was raised in Pakistan so understands the voices on the telephone, and he actually likes the struggle of setting these things up.

Love your sense of humor and your wonderful way with words. Are you going to send the printer back?

Oh. What are you doing later on today? Mr. Bruce and I have to hook up a new printer, thought you might come by and advice.

All kidding aside, I've reached the point I either call whiz kid daughter or Geek squad.

Wasted a couple of hours--on Saturday reinstalling iTunes. Which wouldn't be so bad, except that songs on the first album I played, skipped. How the heck can that happen? I'm thinking of going back to CDs - so much easier.

I am confused by your comment about education. I know your piece wasn't about education, but I was struck by that comment. Your blog is always the second thing I look at in the morning and I love it. I am also a teacher and get a funny feeling in my stomach when I read something that I preceive as negative about education stuck in the middle of an unrelated topic. I understand your comment section is not the place to debate our educational system, but I would appreciate some clarification. Thanks

Crabby, this is why you have a blog, and a well-read one at that. It's time to throw your weight around and use that "Blog Power". Tell us the make and model of that printer so that we will never buy one. A refurbished one, they got a lot of nerve.

It's usually not so much the varietal English that gets me as the gap between tech language and ordinary speech. If I can just figure out what the tech language is for my problem, they can often solve it.

I found myself on the other end of one of these conundrums yesterday. An 85 year old friend wanted to know why his new camera sometimes displayed a whirling green thing for a few seconds on its screen. Was it something wrong? Would he ruin the picture if he moved it while the green thing was whirling? I fairly quickly decided that the green whirl was a visual indicator of "shutter lag." Of course, being a normal person, he'd never heard of "shutter lag". He is, however, the sort of person who reads the manual, so I sent him off to go look it up and I am pretty sure he found reassurance.

I guess we all have similar stories but it doesn't make it less frustrating. Their solution is a jaw dropper though!

Bruce Cooper...
Re your request for the name of the printer manufacturer, see my comment above addressed to Nan.

Now you know why "technical assistance" is the number #2 request in most Villages, second only to transportation.

Ronni, replacing a new item with used is fraudulent. I think you have a valid claim with your credit card company to refund the purchase. I know it's another call and you didn't ask for advice, but credit card companies have dispute resolution procedures to protect the consumer. And you probably know all this, but it sounds worth pursuing if the refund isn't prompt.

So sorry for your frustrations! I like Dee's suggestion to ask for an American when understanding the conversation is adding to the difficulty.

Fortunately I have a son who can and will do these things for me even though he rolls his eyes at me, a small price to pay for his knowledge.

To enter a long password into one of those boxes where you can't see what you're typing, first type the pw in a place where you can see what you're typing, like a word processing doc. Then copy and paste.

I'm sure that Ronni is well ahead of me on this; but, surely, Oregon has a consumer protection agency. If not, I'm positive that there is a federal agency.

I agree that it's important to let others (as well as the company) know when a company does good things. So much negative stuff is put out there; positive is better.

It didn't matter to me which company, just that you let us know that you weren't sitting still for that treatment.

When I read this (and totally related) I thought about discussions with my son, who is a tech, about the poor decision made by Steve Ballmer of Microsoft to wave a huge middle finger at anyone who is used to the operating systems we've had since Win95.

Lucky for us, lots of under 60's didn't appreciate having such a huge learning curve shoved down their throats either. Windows 8 is being compared to the "New Coke". They're backing off, and fortunately there are ways to get Windows 8 to behave more like what we are all used to.

I don't care what the brand name on the printer is. The response was totally unacceptable and I too would have returned it for a refund and bought a different brand. And yes, great customer service is the way to win and keep my loyalty, no matter what the product.

I've done my time with tech support I can't understand, not because it's too technical but because they speak lousy English, or tech support that's no longer free. Increasingly I rely on my techie son. It's a downward spiral, though. The more I rely on him, the less I know and learn for myself, so the more I rely on him, and the less I know.

Oh, so true... I've been having similar experiences these days, and yes, that sure does sound like a scam. As always, thanks for sharing.

I too jumped into the deep end of the pool: right around Christmas, I bought a new PC (eek! Windows 8) that's still got me altogether troubled, but does support voice-recognition. Now trying to network it with my old Linux/Windows PC and my very old Mac --- just to move my writing and music files to the new one.

I should have known better. I only gave myself a month to do it.

Thank you Lauren for the Win8 comments. I feel a little better!

yes, i certainly can relate to your "costumer service" call! what is worse is that they are using more and more robot responders who will not admit that they are robots and honestly it is sometimes hard to tell the diference...because real humans are starting to sound like robots! it did make me laugh though! it is better to laugh than to cry...

Crabby, your followers are crabby legions of us all bemoaning the good old days when a telephone was just that, and a printer just had to be plugged in. What I resent is the waste of time especially when I don't have time to waste. Or being made to feel like an idiot who can't speak English because the robots can't understand my old lady's voice. Thanks for speaking up for our generation.

All you need is an 11 or 12 year old friend who will have everything done ship shape int he blink of an eye :)

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