<![if !vml]><![endif]>Some people, when Christmas and New
Year's fall on the right days, parlay some of their hard
earned paid vacation into an extended holiday. Some go to work and
take advantage of the quiet to close out the year. Others use the
time to reflect on last year's events and plan for the coming year.
Last year, a guy calls me up because he's contracted
a virus. His internet takes him everywhere except where he wants to
go, his Start Menu programs have all disappeared, and his My
Documents folder is now empty. This is his business' only computer
and the only copy of years and years of important data. This is a
very big problem and can I fix it first thing tomorrow morning.
Yes, I can.
He was up and running before noon. He wasn't even
there, everything was fixed while he attended meetings. Nobody even
need know that all their data had gone missing. Four hours start to
finish. Long story short I gave up more than 4 billable hours that
day to come to the rescue. Yet somehow, the bill was too much.
Two weeks later, same guy, different virus, takes it
to Squeak Squad. One week later, after being without his business'
only computer, the one with all his client and financial data on
it, he gets a call from Squeak Squad. It's not fixed, but they did
their best, and he should buy a new computer anyway, and come pick
it up, and pay at the register.
Squeak Squad may be teens and college kids on
break earning minimum wage, but don't be fooled, you'll be billed
$150 an hour. $100 an hour for sales calls. You pay the parent
Booz Allen & Hamilton bills $150 for their
squeaky new kids too, but they have Master's Degrees, and Squeak
Squad is not Booz Allen & Hamilton.
You can take your computer to Squeak Squad and for
$200 they will do a list of things to it that may or may not
resolve the problem and " Provide you with an estimated
cost for hardware repair(s) or upgrade(s) needed to provide a
complete solution.". $200, about 3 days work for a Squeak
Squader at minimum wage, to get an estimate.
For $300 you can have one come right to your office.
Be sure to get plenty of Cool Ranch Doritos, Spicy Hot Cheetos, and
Mountain Dew ahead of time so you don't have to go on snack runs.
Maybe they'll stay the full three days, in which case you'll have
to order pizzas, but don't count on it.
Most importantly, cancel everything that has anyone
coming to your office whose opinion of you is important. Because
while you know how much you're paying, the casual visitor isn't
thinking anything more than minimum wage, and if you don't value
your business you must not value theirs.
Maybe you're not in business, don't have an office,
don't have client data or an image to protect, and don't think you
need a professional. Maybe you'd rather drop off your PC and shop a
few Flavor Flav CDs or a microwave oven while you're out since you
can't shop online.
A friend of the family in her 80's needs computer
help from time to time. We spend the day together, take a break for
soup and sandwiches, walk the dog, fix what's wrong, and talk about
computers. She gets a case of the guilt's (told me so), and the
next time her PC goes on the fritz she takes it to Squeak Squad.
She said; "I thought it would be about $50.".
Yes, they kept her PC for over a week. No, they did
not fix her problem. Yes, they charged her anyway. Yes, they talked
her into buying a new PC and paying them to install it in her home.
Instead of being without a computer for a week only
to buy a new one anyway, text your sister and see if she can swing
by with your nephew after she picks him up from school, feed him
Doritos and Mountain Dew, talk with your sister for a few hours,
and go buy a new computer.
Stock up on Doritos and Mountain Dew, and text your
sister (it'll make Mom happy), or not, but that's your call, and
that's Cocktail Talk.