Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Then My Head Exploded

Taylor (17) recently informed me that he was in need of some tech support for his PC. After rolling his eyes at my proclamation that my fee had risen to $47.50 for the first hour and $12 for each half-hour thereafter, he said, “Well, when you have time…and can you give me a ride over to Jack’s?”

Evidently, that was that.

However, when he called and said he’d be eating dinner with Jack and could also bum a ride home...thereby freeing me to tend to his technical woes, I decided to call upon my alter-geek-ego, “Henrietta” and give it a whirl.

There was only one issue to address:

  • He was having trouble installing my copy of Microsoft Office

I inserted the spanky-clean CD into the drive and waited for my prompt.

Tay’s HP Computer said: “Ready to install Microsoft Office Trial. Do you wish to proceed?”

I said: “Huh? Noooo…I don’t wanna install the trial…I wanna install the whole version.”

My options were either “Okay” or “Cancel”. I clicked “Okay”.

There was much whirring and clicking and buzzing and processing.

HP: “Okay. I’m done installing your trial-version….only…enjoy it quick. It’s about to expire!”

K: “But….I don’t want the trial version. I gave you the disk and everything…..”

HP: “Click here to close. You have no other option, so you may as well just do it.”

I dutifully clicked “close” and then immediately re-opened Microsoft Word. It had a rather large pop-up blocking the blank document.

HP: “We’re sorry. Your trial period for this product has ended. You may convert to the full version now, or you can do it later. Either way, you’re not getting past this screen, so hold that thought. (Pun intended.) Do you want to convert now?”

K: “Yes.”

HP: “Do you have the super-secret-embossed-with-our-logo-rainbow-colored-holographically-imprinted-impossible-to-replicate 25-letter Office Product Key?”

K: (Muttering) “I’ll give you a product key…..YES.”

HP: “Enter it here. Don’t screw it up, or we’ll lock you out. No pressure.”

Kathryn enters the code s-l-o-w-l-y, methodically. Triple-checks it, even.

HP: “Code accepted. Installing Microsoft Office Trial.”

K: “What? That can’t be right.”

When it finished installing, I had the oddest sense of déjà vu when I saw “We’re sorry. Your trial period for this product has ended……”

After several attempts at un-installing and re-installing, I found Bill Gates’ home phone number.

K: “Bill? This CD is a piece of CRAP. There’s an hour and fifteen minutes that I’ll never get back…trial version, my arse! I’m reporting this to the Better Business Bureau! I want a full refund!”

BG: “Who is this?”

Actually, I reached a lovely guy by the name of Shashir S. Bharadwaj, who evidently did not buy my explanation of the aforementioned events. He asked permission to “take over my computer” and I said “bring it on”.

I sat at Taylor’s desk, watching the curser fly this way and that…all the while, I’m saying to my buddy Shashir “I tried that already….yup, I did that too….you’re wasting your time, my friend.” In the end, he wound up as baffled as I….caught in an endless, hellish, Microsoft-deja-vu-loop.

After conferencing in another department, a mere hour and 20 minutes into our phone call…we discovered the crux of the problem:

I mistook a “B” for an “8” in the product key.

We all had a good laugh and after promising to stay in touch at Christmas and via the occasional tweet on Twitter, we said our good-byes. Shashir had relinquished his hold on Taylor’s computer and I was happy to do the same.

I figure he owes me around $95.50. I'll just add it to his tab.

Kathy said...

An appropriately named blog title if ever there was one. I guess you don't want to hear that I memorized the product keys for both Office 2003 and 2007 then? But only because I installed it for my clients maybe a thousand times. Or that I was handed a free copy of Office 2007 at BlogHer. Thought so.

Kathryn said...

...and you just annnounced this publicly???ARE YOU INSANE???

(She's kidding, Bill....really.)

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