Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Geek, Four Blue Polos, and An Elusive Cable

This story is almost appropro of nothing, but I'll tie it to my world of triathlon by saying that it was affecting my ability to charge up my Garmin GPS watch, my Nano, and my SwiMP3 player. Which could introduce an entire other conversation about me and my adherence to gadgetry, but we won't go there. If you have better things to do than read this post, I encourage you to go do them, as you will be no more improved by reading it.

So I have a million things hanging off of my Mac, from video cameras to watches to iPods to printers to scanners to audio stuff to backup drives, whatever. Lots and lots of stuff. And because the computer itself only has so many ports to plug all that stuff in, I had little knobs and adapters everywhere, attached to other knobs and adapters, so that some parts of my computer look like how Clark Griswald had all his Christmas lights plugged into the wall. Anyway, it was starting to affect how some of my things worked, so I took everything apart last night to try and reorganize.

Along the way, I decided that it would really help if I had some Firewire 800 cables. No matter what those are specifically, just a certain kind of cable. They aren't as common as other cables, but nor are they some kind of obscure technology that nobody's ever heard of.

So, I run to a certain store that houses many teenagers wearing blue polo shirts and khakis. Lest I offend anybody who works there, or has cousins who work there, or who own stock in the joint, let's change the name of the store to something like, oh. I dunno. Jest Guy. Jest Guy is a typically useless kind of store in my life, where they seem to employ people who don't know a damn thing, and when one is forced to seek them for assistance, the kind they offer involves reading the little pricetag thing in front of the product, same as I did before I was forced to seek assistance. I knew this going in, I've experienced it a thousand times, and it speaks to my inability to find Zen in the world that it still pisses me off.

So I'm standing directly in front of the cables section at Jest Guy and this polite young woman comes up to me and asks if I need any help. I don't want to bore anybody with geekiness here, but bear with me.

"Can I help you?"
"Firewire 800." I've found my humor drips out of me the longer I spend in the store, and so yes, I didn't even offer this young woman a simple hello. Not very nice, that. She says, "right here," and grabs a cable right in front of me.

For a moment I'm elated and a bit embarrassed to have missed something so directly in front of me, until I look at what she's holding.

"No, that's USB." To confuse USB and Firewire 800 is like going into a bike store and asking to look at their wheels, and they hand you a bunch of tires. To not know the difference, at a technology store, is friggin' absurd.

"Oh!" she giggles, then puts it away as she flits around the rest of the cables. Which are right in front of me. And which I have already been perusing. Again, this is their patented kind of help - let me tread the ground you already have, for I know nothing more than you. Sigh.

"You know what, let me ask somebody over here. It may be in home theatre."
"No, it won't be in home theatre." Firewire 800 has nothing to do with home theatre. Like how you won't find the aero bars in the mountain bike section.

She ignores that remark from me, which is appropriate for the tone I took, and I wait for awhile. I should have just left, because clearly they didn't have my Firewire 800 cable, and I should just move on with my life. But I don't.

Another lovely young woman approaches, she apparently In The Know, and says, "What are you looking for?"

"Firewire 800."

She cocks her head, confused. "Like, the series?"

I don't even understand what that means - the 800 represents how much data can transfer over the cable, and also its unique shape. I don't know what kind of "series" exist in the land of Firewire cables. It's like asking to see the Continental Road Tires and they asking, "like, the series?"

I cock my head in response and say, "What does that mean?"

She ignores me and - because clearly I must be incapable, as must have been the last blue polo shirt girl - begins perusing the wall o' cables like I just had. And she just had. Thank you for mowing the lawn after the two of us already have. Very helpful.

"You know, hold on one second." She leaves to seek reinforcement, and I have now spent 15 minutes that I'll never get back. It's okay, I have nobody to blame but myself. I knew going in the potential for fun.

Finally a third young woman approaches and she says, "Sir? Yeeeeah (this was said like that guy in Office Space). We don't have Firewire 800 cables in the store, but we can order them for you?"

Who orders things from stores anymore? If I wanted to wait 3 days, wouldn't I just go the hell online? I mean, I get that that's the appropriate response - sorry we can't help you in this way, but can I offer my help in that way - but that's just dumb. "No thanks," says I, "I'll just have a look around somewhere else."

So do I go running out of the store like I should? Of course not, because I'm a moron. Instead I lolligag around the computers and start to play with one with the new Microsoft operating system. Again, please do forgive me for geekiness. I intended just to spend a minute, maybe two, having a look. Then I'm approached by Nice Young Man in a blue polo.

"Can I help you with anything?"
"No thanks, I'm just having a look at Vista."
"Pretty cool, huh?"
I bite my tongue. "Sure is different for Microsoft."
"Nothing else you're looking for today?"
"No, you didn't have what I needed, so I'm just heading out." Why did I say that? Maybe I wanted him to know that I didn't have a truly useful experience here at Jest Guy, but what was the point of telling him that? It's like when the person at the checkout asks, "did you find everything today?" What are they really going to do if you say, "No. You guys suck."
"Oh, what were you looking for."
Crap. "Just Firewire 800 cables."
"Yeah. We don't carry those in the store. We can order them though."
"Right. So I've heard."
Then, "What do you need Firewire 800 for?" I suppose this is also an appropriate tactic. If he can assess my needs, maybe he can offer an alternative. And maybe for somebody less...geeky than me, that's just the thing. For me, it felt invasive, and a further waste of my time. What do you care what I need it for? So I can hang flower pots from my ceiling. I just do. He must see my annoyance and follows up, "You have a Mac?"
"Yeah." Let's leave it at that. Firewire 800 is more common on the Mac.
"You doing video?" I seriously want to Ninja kick this dude. What, you want the story of my life! The walls in my office are painted blue, too, is that relevant to you!? I was born in Colorado Springs, there what does that mean for you in it!? YOU STILL DON'T HAVE MY DAMN CABLE, so leave me alone! But instead I actually start telling him what I need it for. I actually start detailing that this peripheral is doing this, and that is doing that, so I thought I'd do this and move that over there and why the hell am I talking to you about this?????
"That's pretty cool," he finishes, and finally I just turn the hell around before subjecting myself to anything more in this department, head over to the DVDs and buy Donnie Brasco ("fuhgeddaboutit") and head to checkout.

And when the nice young woman says, "Did you find everything okay today?" I pause for only a moment before saying, "Yes I did."


Triteacher said...

Ha Ha! At least you learned by the end of the post. Now though, how many trips to "Jest Buy" still lie in your future??

Robin said...

LOL, your trip to Jest Guy sounds disturbingly similar to product support phone calls I've had ("Yes, the computer is plugged in. Yes, the mouse is working, but what I really need is to get the proper file to update the BIOS...what? Yes, my monitor is connected....but about that BIOS....") Hope you find your proper cables!

Steve S. said...

Best Buy doesn't understand anything that hooks up to a Mac. Jerks. Great story!

13akbal said...

HA! Firewire 800, what series? I'm laughing my a** off! I love going into Jest Guy and asking for stuff for my MacBook running Windows.. really messes with em.. Will this run on Windows on my Mac..hehe.

Thanks for the laugh.