For the past few days I have had my car in the shop. My Honda Civic is mostly repaired, but they are still waiting for a small part to come in.
Each day I give them a call to find out whether it is ready.
Yesterday, as I was waiting for them to check on the status of my car, I could hear the keyboard ticking away in the background. I was also working on a computer, and I guess my keyboard was just as audible.
“Sounds like you are using a computer too,” the mechanic said.
“Ya. That’s what I do all day, I’m a roving computer guy.”
He then gave me the information about my car. I said thanks and was going to hangup when he said, “Do you mind if I ask you a professional question?”
“Not at all.”
He then proceeded to ask me a question which I have already forgotten.
He wasn’t asking me to walk him through how to fix the problem, he just wondered whether it was something he should have fixed.
I have used this same mechanic since I was married almost 11 years ago. They have always been great. I am not a car expert. There are a few things that I know how to check, but if a car drives nice and there aren’t any noises or difficulties in the way it drives, I have no idea what to check for. That is why I pay a mechanic to work on my car.
As I waited in line to drop my car off, my wait was longer than it should have been because the guy in front of me was trying to explain to the mechanic exactly what was wrong with his car. The person behind me whispered what I was already thinking in my head, “If you know so much about the problem, why don’t you fix it yourself?”
Some people are ashamed to admit that they don’t know how to fix a problem, especially us men. They are afraid that they will be taken advantage of, or that the experts will think of them as idiots. No one should feel this way.
As I handed my keys to the mechanic, I told him what the symptoms were and left.
Computers and cars are not that different in the sense that sometimes you have to call in an expert. No one needs to apologize or feel guilty for not understanding the complexities of a computer problem. In all honesty most, if not all, computer guys do not like fixing computers, especially big problems. They want to get the problem fixed and get on to the next one.
The best part of my job as a computer guy is helping people, not playing with computers. I love being able to get someone out of a bind using my talents. I think that good mechanics are the same way. Computer problems are like car problems, there is a lot of job security.
I think that a lot of people are afraid of being ripped off. While there are some computer guys and mechanics that do charge way too much and/or rip off the customer. It is in far better interest of anyone in such a business to work quickly and efficiently so that the customer calls again when they have another problem.
My new customers often say something like, “I used to use __________________, but they were so expensive and took so long, and I still have problems.” To be fair, there are some problems that require a lot of trial and error repairs, but a good repair guy needs a sense of what is unfair to the customer.
The purpose of this post in not to toot my own horn. Technology is as essential to daily life today as plumbing, heating, cars and washing machines. However, computers are far more complex. No one should feel guilty for calling in an expert. Like all repairs, it is usually best to call someone early on before a little problem becomes a chrisis.