Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Adventures in iLand: Cops, Computers and Breaking Bad

Now, about getting the new computer. My old iMac was slowing down, aging like your's truly. I was getting that pinwheel a lot and it was spinning there for an exorbitant period of time. Then the internet would freeze up. I had updated the machine many times since purchased, had installed Snow Leopard not so long ago and now wished to upgrade to Lion. Everything I read of Lion mentioned wireless mouse. I use to be very techno, but have been out of the loop a decade now and I wondered could I download the upgrade and still use my little plug in mouse with its skinny white tail? 
So Earlier last week, I went to the Apple Store, three doors down the mall from us. I had been waiting in the hall for one of our managers to arrive with the key. It was a little before nine. I was eyeing the gapping entrance of iLand. The Apple Store always flung wide it's doors by 8:00 AM, often to a long line of already waiting people. A few months ago it had begun hiring State Police to guard it in the mornings. I don't know if this was from mayhem or their. Probably both. One day I arrived at the mall just after the last iPad or iPhone or iPopular-beyond-all-reason Device came out and there were four State Trooper cars across the entrance. I was half afraid to go inside. Was it terrorist? Had the roof caved in? Were gunmen running up and down the corridors? No, Apple addicts were lining those halls waiting to snag the lasted upgrade from the Great Gadget God Steven Jobs.
It's been pretty much that way like that ever since. Apple announces another iThingee and the lemmings come scurrying to wait in line all night if necessary. I think they have more clerks in Apple to handle these hoards than we have customers in our (oh wait, I'm not an our anymore) store in a month, maybe a month of Sundays. For a long period these lines were made up of Asian-Americans. These were people obviously long accustomed to waiting in lines. They came equipped with tiny chairs and stool on which they could squat for hours. It mystified me where they were coming from because I didn't believe we had that many Asian-Americans in our little state. It was explained to me they were car pooling down from New York to escape the high New York sales tax. For what they saved in sales tax they could buy a few extra of these iDevices.
Anyway, on this particular Monday morn I ambled down to the Apple Store. There were no lines that day. It must have been a lull in product announcements. There was a State Trooper however, standing stiffly just inside the doors. Beyond this sentinel were wall-to-wall Blue Shirts apparently assisting customers. I asked the officer if the store was open.
"It's open to people having appointments," he said authoritatively in that clipped way cops and military sergeants speak. "The store opens at 10:00. Can you come back at 10:00?"
"Yeah, I can come back later. I just had a question I wanted to ask."
"Is it a simple question, sir?"
"If it is a simple question, go ahead in. Ask those three guys sitting there." He pointed to three Blue Shirts at a center table.
Simple question? I am sure those three Blue Shirts considered it a stupid question, but I asked anyway and was told that I could indeed use my plug-in old mouse.

So when I got home that evening, I went on the old iMac to download Lion. I am not totally bereft of good sense yet, so first I clicked on "system requirements". 

  • Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor.   Okay, got that.
  • OS X v10.6.6 or later (v10.6.8 recommended).  Yeah, I;m fine there.
  • 7GB of available space.   Sure, no problem.
  • 2GB of memory.  Dum-de-dum-dum! Problem. My iMac only had 1.8GB of memory.
I guess I'll live with my Snow Leopard. I didn't have enough memory to change its spots.

So I go to work on Thursday and I look at next week's schedule pinned to the board and I have no days after my name. Hmm, I had seen a schedule lying on the office desk on Wednesday that had me on for Monday, Thursday and Friday. What happened? 

So I asked.

My Manager said, "I need to talk to you about that" and I knew what that meant and if you read my last post, so do you. 

It wasn't a complete surprise or a shock or anything, but you still feel a bit discombobulated when such a thing is dropped upon you. There was a lot of work to do, too, and I knew it would take an effort to do all I would normally do to make everything tidy and neat, shiny and bright; more effort than my last two days would allow and more effort than perhaps I was psychologically prepared to deal with at that moment. But I tried. I really wanted to leave them with as properly stocked back room as I could.

But the sudden change to my life weighed on me and that computer situation nagged at me. I didn't want to go into the great unknown with a computer that might be wearing out. I really began considering buying anew iMac, if I could get credit to do it. I decided I would go to the Apple Store after work and check it out.

I didn't get off until 4:00. Four o'clock was the beginning of the rush hour, a miserable time to be chugging back up good old I-95 from their location. There was hope I could avoid that. I had a 15 minute break allotted to me, in fact, it was supposed to be mandatory: "All employees will take a fifteen minute break under penalty of death or termination because we care. So you better take it."

I never took it. I hate those breaks. What am I suppose to do for fifteen minutes? Pace about looking at the clock being bored out of my mind. If you want a break, need a break, then you certainly should be allowed a break, but if you have no use for one, then get out of my way and let me work. They had another stupid must do, lunch. "If an employee worked five consecutive hours, they must clock out and take a half hour lunch." That isn't the state law or the federal law, that was just a company law. Now if I am working full time and sever or eight or more hours a day, yeah, I want the lunch break. Five or six hours, come on, I'd rather get done and go home. Why clock out and then have to be about the place an extra 30 minutes. And the corporate MBAs were very adamant about it, too. More Moronic, Boobish Activity to justify their getting a paycheck.

I never took those lunch hours either.

But now, under these conditions, that my career would end tomorrow at 3:00, why not take the break?

So I trotted out of the store sometime after 10:30 that morning. I wanted to tell the Manager I was taking my break, but she was on the phone, so I just left.

The Apple Store was a-bustle as usual. Blue Shirts everywhere and customers trying do-dads and gadgets right and left. I walked into the sea of humanity and was immediately greeted by a male Blue Shirt offering to help. I told him I was interested in buying an iMac if they had financing. He said they did, and whipped out his trusty iPad. Well, he didn't actually whip it out of a holster on his hip or anything. he simply picked it up from a nearby table, but you get the picture. Everything was done through that device. he was apparently fairly new to this and had to ask assistance from another Blue Shirt occasionally, but even so, in about five minutes I had my credit and was pointing out the iMac I wanted.

"It does have Lion?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said. "when they bring it out we can check. Some do and some don't. If it doesn't we will install it for you."

Someone toted the box out from a back room and plopped it at my feet. He asked about Lion and no, this one didn't. No biggie, they would install it. So we completed the transactions and he took me over to a Customer assist desk and introduced me to a young Blue Shirt who would handle the install.

"Shall I just leave it and pick it up later.'

They looked concerned. "Oh no, said the Customer Assist Blue Shirt. The customer must stay with the computer. It'll take about 45 minutes to install Lion."

"Okay," says I. "Just let me run down to my store and tell my manager where I am."

"I'm sorry, the customer must stay with their computer."

"Well, I wouldn't be away from my computer very long."

"Uh, where is your store?" he didn't say your store, he said the name of the store because that is what I had said instead of my store. You would have thought he would know. We were only three doors down the hall. But then again, why notice us. We had trickles of clients while the Apple Store had lines in the seemingly millions every day.

"It's three doors down," I say.

"Okay," says he, "but you (turning to the sales guy) go with them and carry his computer."

So there we go, out the door and down the hall and over the bridge and through the woods to my Manager, me and my shadow, the Blue Shirt lugging my computer being me. I tell my manager I will be at the Apple Store for 45 minutes and she says okay and me and the Blue Shirt Computer tender traipse back to the Customer Assist Blue Shirt in the Apple Store.

Now I know I was breaking bad. I was certainly at the Apple Store more than 45 minutes. It wasn't something I would ever do, had ever done, in my fifty-plus years of working. I felt and feel bad for my manager for my doing it, but you know what. That corporation tossed me aside in the discard heap because their upper management didn't know how to make a profit in the last five years. I had given them my all and my best and I had a year and a quarter accrued breaks, so overall, I don't care.

I spent some time being instructed by the Customer-Assist Blue Shirt guy and then was turned over to a Blue Shirt gal named Lauren until the install was completed. They had me do it, but they watched over me and paid me attention and helped get things just right. Over the years I have had many a MicroSoft filled PCs and all those times of purchase, I paid and they handed me the box, rather boxes and wires and manuals, shoved me out the door into the cold, cruel world of do-it-yourself techno install. Apple had people who treated me with respect and took the time to make certain my purchase was working and I understood enough to leave the nest. Unlike some companies, Apple seems to know what they are doing.

And Amber and I (the cat in my lap in the first picture) are very perfectly pleased with the new toy.


Anonymous said...

good story.

Ron said...

What is this? Larry Unleashed? Wow. What a story. I can tell the difference in your writing style since you were canned from your former place of employment. You don't seem so uptight and constricted. You are more free flowing. Free, free, FREE AT LAST! It shows Lar and it looks good!