Although it’s now the 10th of January, Kim and I are still in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. We’re not as far south as we’d like, but we are nice and snug in the Palm Cove Marina; one of the ICW’s best-kept secrets. This full-service marina is clean, well organized, has an incredibly nice staff and is located within easy walking distance of all kinds of shopping. Ah, but I digress.
So, why are we still here? Well, it seems that the boat’s laptop requires a third pilgrimage to “Geek City,” that super-secret bastion of technical excellence where Best Buy’s Geeks restore electronic devices to “like new” levels of performance (Yeah, RIGHT!!) That “like new” thing must be why, after returning from Geek City just 25 days ago and having every possible component replaced, my laptop’s keyboard suddenly quit in mid e-mail. So, bright and early the next morning, it was off to the local Best Buy/Geek Squad field office with broken laptop in hand. There, we joined a small group of people waiting outside for the doors to open.
Now, I’ve always had a theory about how the Geek Squad transforms trainees into CIA’s; Counter Intelligence Agents; the nerds behind the counter. I believe that, during the brainwashing phase of their training, an altered version of the passage in the King James Bible, the one about inheriting the earth, is played repeatedly as they sleep. Eventually, they come to believe it’s the Geek, not the Meek, that does the inheriting, which makes anyone on the other side of the counter (you and me) a non-inheriting, lesser being. Rest assured, the staff at store #429 did nothing to dispel this theory.
When the doors open, I approach the Geek Squad service counter as if I were Kramer, waiting in line for soup from the Soup Nazi. For nearly 10 minutes, I stand patiently at the Geek Squad Counter of Knowledge, listening to the sounds of conversation and laughter emanating from behind the Geek Squad Mystic Curtain of Customer Exclusion. I finally venture behind the curtain and advise the two Geeks present that they have customers. Instead of being greeted with a smile, however, I’m promptly yelled at (Yes, yelled at) for entering an employee area, told that they’ll be out when they’ve finished getting ready (it’s 10 minutes after 10:00 am and they aren’t ready yet?) and instructed to go back and get in line behind the service counter.
Another 5 minutes passes and a third Agent, obviously late for work (fastening his badge to his belt and clipping on his pseudo-tie as he walks briskly into the Geek Squad arena) enters from stage right and beckons me to the counter. I venture forward and, on cue, demonstrate the obvious; the keyboard doesn’t function. Additionally, I present my paperwork from the laptop’s last three Geek City visits, but the CIA doesn’t even look at it or the laptop. Instead, he goes to the store computer, pulls up my customer history and enters into psychic communion with the data stored within.
Five or six more minutes pass without any acknowledgement from Agent Shaun that I even exist. I take a chance and ask His Geekness what he’s looking at in the computer and am told, “Your records.” I reiterate that I have hard copies of all of the laptop’s work orders in my file, but am rebuked by Agent Shaun as he states, “But I have the correct ones.” I can only infer that I must spend my idle time making fraudulent copies of Geek Squad work orders for fun and profit.
More time passes (it's now 10:27 am.) Suddenly, Agent Shaun comes out of his trance and tells me that, in his benevolent wisdom, he’s sending my laptop to the Emerald City for a fourth time and that he’s also requesting they replace my old computer with a new one (I’d have been happy if they’d fixed my computer correctly the first time, I like that laptop, but I must have low expectations.) I’m told that the repair or replacement will take between two and three weeks (the normal time, I’m told, for this type of issue) and can only be consumated at this store. I’m then given a receipt for my laptop, informed my audience with the CIA has ended and pointed toward the parking lot.
Upon returning to my car, I take a close look at the receipt and am astounded by what I see. I may not be the brightest bulb in the pack, but I’m bright enough to see that what’s written on the receipt and what I’ve been told don’t jive. You see, today is the 6th of January. Two weeks from today is the 20th and three weeks from today is the 27th. Clearly, however, the scheduled date of return that’s written on the receipt is the 14th. So, here we sit in limbo, waiting on a repaired or replacement computer, that may or may not come between the 14th and the 27th of the month, that may or may not need reprogramming with all of the software that was on the original computer and that may or may not work reliably. Personally, at this point, I think Kramer had it easier getting his soup!