Living, Learning, and Lenovo
You Win Some, and You Lose Some

One would think that at 72 that I would have learned about as much as a normal person would learn in their long lifetime. If my longevity was not enough, I learned a great deal after dancing with death a couple of times in the past handful of years. I truly mastered the learning of my finiteness as the result of both dances. That learning motivated me more than anything in my long life has.

Additionally, I spent a month in Myanmar, which is a military dictatorship in Southeast Asia. For a person who has spent a total of over two years overseas studying, conducting tours, and traveling, my experience in Myanmar was the best trip of all. The reason was that I saw the light while at a protest rally near Sule Pagoda. I had been invited by Min Ko Nang to the rally, which was held on the independence day in Myanmar.

One would have thought that by this time, I really should have managed to get closer to being in the league with Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking. Unfortunately, I have not been invited into that limited society yet.

Several months ago while riding my bike around the neighborhood to stay in good cardiovascular shape, I was attacked by a dragon, which seized my nose. We did battle for a few minutes, which resulted in my slaying the dragon.

I had a creative moment as I drove to the hospital to get several dozen stitches on my nose and face. My insight was that problems like unfriendly dragons have some benefits. It proved my machismo. Additionally, it caused me to think even further outside the box than I normally do.

My latest opportunity to learn came when I had to get a new computer. There were several reasons for the new desktop. I use at least two monitors and usually three. My old computer was not designed for three and had several smaller problems like my 1-Tb hard drive was nearing its capacity. I asked some people about which brand that I should get. With their suggestions, I went to various websites of their recommendations.

Confession #1. I found a ThinkCentre by Lenovo, which could handle three monitors plus it had Windows 7. I have tried Windows 8, which was an abysmal nightmare. Therefore, I bought the Lenovo. I spent time and money getting the files transferred, tweaking various options, and began working again at writing and teaching.

Confession #2. There were a couple little problems that I was having with my new computer. However, I was in the situation of having to put off calling Lenovo due to my scheduling issues. I felt that I could put off addressing the problems until I had time to make the call. The problems were not major like when I would click on YouTube, it took fifteen or more seconds to begin watching the video. Sometimes, it did not download anything.

Additionally, the other problem occurred when I turned on the computer. Several times, I would get a black screen with a warning that I was missing an operating system. Being a computer geek, I would merely turn off the computer, wait a couple minutes, and try again. That worked every time until a Saturday morning a couple weeks ago. The computer did not find the operating system. I turned off the computer, and my techy technique did not work this time.

Confession #3. I called the toll-free number for Lenovo's home office. The recorded message gave me three choices, none of which mentioned repairs. That should have been a warning for me. The only one that was close to repairs was sales. Therefore, I pressed number one on my phone. I told the person my problem, which he repeated word for word, to which I agreed. Then he asked how he could help me. That was the second warning. I repeated my problem again. Finally, I realized that I needed to talk to someone who could help me; merely repeating what I said was not going to find my missing operating system.

Confession #4. I redialed Lenovo and pushed one again for repairs. I again told the person what my problem was. This person said she needed the serial number, which I gave her. She repeated the wrong number. I said that it was not correct. I repeated it again very slowly. Finally, she said that was not the correct serial number. I repeated the number and said that I am reading it on the side of my Lenovo ThinkCentre desktop. She said that she does not deal with ThinkCentre computers and was transferred again.

Confession #5. This time a man said that he would resolve my problem. He had me turn off and on the computer routine with several added techy tricks of his, which was to no avail. I told him that I needed to resolve this due to teaching online. He understood but would have to have a tech come to my house and address the problem. It was scheduled for Monday, and I thanked him.

He then added that the tech person would email me about the time on Monday that he would arrive. Apparently, he thought that a computer with a black screen with a missing operating system could receive emails. I told the online tech that all that my computer was able to do was to tell me the hard drive was missing. He said that they would call instead. While I am not a computer geek, I do know that a completely dysfunctional computer probably is not going to receive emails and figured that someone at Lenovo would have known that much.

Confession #6. Monday morning arrived without a call from Lenovo. Seizing the opportunity, I called the company. I spoke with a person about the tech not showing up. Her response was that no tech was scheduled. My retort was that I was told that another online tech scheduled it. She called another department, and then two people argued about whether one was and was not scheduled. Finally, I was transferred to another person and retold my story to that party. Her response was that they would send a new hard drive to me right away. I replied that I was not sure that I needed a new one, but I did need a tech person to determine whether I needed a new hard drive. She transferred again, and the person said, "How can I help you?"

Finally, I got my machismo together and said, "How do I return an item that isn't working?" In a very pleasant voice, the woman said, "I can help you with that."

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She said to take my computer to a UPS store and return it. However, a couple hours later, I get a UPS package with the new hard drive. That also was returned. I expect that within the next week or ten days to receive a call from the tech to confirm when he will come to my house to check my computer.

After my chaotic experience with Lenovo, I learned a couple of things. It was like when I killed the dragon. When things go wrong, pause a moment and figure out how you can benefit from the bad experience. These are my learnings.

  1. Do not buy Lenovo products.
  2. Be move decisive. I tend to be reserved when dealing with problems. I allow people to respond inappropriately and go along with their modus operandi. I have found that going with the flow sends a message to that person, which reinforces their behavior.
  3. Therefore, I will clearly state my concerns in the future. Tell the person clearly and firmly what the problem that I was having. If the response is not what I need, I end the discussion and act. In the case of a defective product, I will return it rather than waste time negotiating. Act.