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Has anyone else ever been the neighborhood "computer guy"

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by jmcook79, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. jmcook79

    jmcook79 Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    I used to be but I got burned out. It all started with me offering to fix a co-workers computer 15 years ago. I was a computer geek and everything I knew was self-taught. Before long it spread throughout my workplace like wildfire as well as outside of work. I was fixing a software or hardware problem sometimes as much as once a week. At first I just did it to be nice, but after a while I started charging but not that much. Besides these people were all co-workers and friends right? A few years ago I decided that I was burned out and I would try charging them what I really thought my time was worth. A few people got upset and don't talk to me anymore, but most people understood.

    After this I decided to just stop completely. Regardless of how much people will pay (which still isn't much compared to taking it to a repair shop) I just started saying no. Everyone who matters didn't care. The rest were just using me anyway.

    There is one person who has persistently pestered me though. She's a co-worker whom I've known for 12 years but not a true friend. A few weeks ago she came to me at work and said "I know you don't work on computers anymore but can you check mine out one last time, it won't boot?" I politely said no I'm sorry try the recovery disks I made you and if they don't work take it to a shop. She walked away sulking. A few days later I get a call when I'm watching TV with my wife. It's the same person and she wants me to walk her through how to use the recovery disks. I called her back and walked her through it but then told her that I also no longer do technical support either. She laughed and seemed to get the point.

    Fast forward another 2 weeks. This time, I'm walking to my car TALKING ON MY PHONE and she stops to interrupt me and ask if I could download a patch to cheat on farmville. I kid you not. I told her no I don't have the time and kept on walking. However, it's not over yet. Several days later she called me at work from Best Buy to ask me which new laptop I would recommend she buy and just starts spewing specs. I told her, I'm working and it's really busy I'll get back to you later.

    When I got off work I called her and said "Listen I have tried to be nice about this whole thing. I've told you in every possible way that I don't want to be bothered with computer problems anymore. I have a lot of things going on in my life right now, my dad just found out he has cancer, and I already have anxiety problems to begin with. Do you really think I care about you being able to cheat on farmville or what computer you buy when you buy a new one every year anyway??? You're 38, you live with your parents and you don't pay any rent. BUY THE BEST LAPTOP YOU CAN AFFORD AND STOP PESTERING ME!"

    I tried not to lose it but I just couldn't take it anymore. I admit the live with your parents line was kind of low since I've been forced to live with mine before but I had just had enough. She finally got the hint. Now every time she sees me she looks at the ground and keeps walking.

    For some reason helping people with questions on forums like this doesn't bother me...I guess I see it as a hobby and I really do like to help people when I can but from now on besides this forum which I really enjoy, I will help family members and true friends only. I'm now known at work as the guy that used to fix computers lol.

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  2. LOL that's all too familiar!!!! I used to be that person in the family that could fix just about anything. Cars, computers, blenders, furnaces, hurt feelings, you name it. I was also the consultant of just about anything as well. Boyfriends, does this look good on me, should I buy the Hyundai or the Chevy, is this rash something I should be worried about, etc and so forth... It's scary how many people use you, even within the family. There were only so many free repairs and advice I could give out... All it took was me telling one person that next time I drive 25 miles out of my way for a car repair that a 3 year old chimpanzee could do blindfolded, they'd better have their wallet ready. A MONTH after I just replaced the transmission on their car in a gravel driveway, on my back, for FREE. Normally I would charge $500 for doing that, and that's a friend price.

    I really enjoy helping people with just about anything, but when said free help has become expected of me, and the only time my phone rings is when something breaks, enough is enough LOL. My phone pretty much stopped ringing after that, as word in the family spreads quickly I guess. I felt guilty for the longest time after, but looking back, most were getting way too comfortable and taking advantage of my kind and helpful nature :)

    The ones who still call are the ones who appreciate my services and pay me for the time!
  3. Rukbat

    Rukbat Extreme Android User

    I used to be the guy the tech support department came to when they had a problem they couldn't solve. And I mean tech department, not a clerk with a title. Like back in 98SE - any way to reinstall just the Windows files without messing up the registry? That sort of thing. Hey, they were trained, but I used to design computers and software for a living, so I had more experience than they did. I mean, CP/M was something new when it came out, not something I remember people talking about.

    In my phone store, I set up a computer repair corner. Fixed 'em in the store. For money, of course. Rarely had any problems, though. Fixed right or free, that was the way I did it.

    Neighbors? We all have all sorts. I have one who nearly smacked a 9 year old girl in the mouth with a fist. In HER front yard. She hadn't said a word, but he doesn't like her family. (The guy wears camos for a living, if you get my meaning.) I'll take "help me download a cheat" any day over that.
  4. jmcook79

    jmcook79 Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    Yes I completely forgot about that part. I've had so many people ONLY call or text when they need something. In her case she never once called or text about anything else in 12 years lol.
  5. jmcook79

    jmcook79 Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    I feel you don't even get me started about some of my neighbors!
  6. Codegerm

    Codegerm Android Expert

    Don't I know it. I am the resident technician in the family. Found myself repairing computers for family and friends, cleaning viruses infested machines to save their important data (pain in the butt job BTW). I would get asked upgrade their machines etc. Luckily, my brother and sister learned the computer stuff too so I don't ever need to help them, and it is nice to be able to "talk shop" with my brother (he is a biomedical technician) I still do have one "friend" that only ever calls me when she has messed something up.

    Being a commercial service technician for ADT, working with computers and networks went with the territory at work, but that also meant that any service call that even remotely required my skills, got dumped on me from the technician it was originally on.

    I am also the resident car repair, and have even rebuilt the entire front end of my mom's car from when someone cut in front of her, and did the maintenance and repair on family members cars.
  7. huh

    huh Android Expert

    not computer guy...but...saving everyone from everything...at least in their own heads....oh and I'm not a guy..but....Sometimes I think I take care of everyone...

    so yeah..
  8. Eugene

    Eugene Android Expert

    At least its not as bad as being the family computer guy. Then everyone calls you up and wants you to fix their PC for free as well as throw in some hardware for free because you have spares laying around.

    Lets see there was the distant cousin who was legally blind so he couldn't work. once a year he gets that big .gov check (on top of the regular monthly check) and goes out and buys the biggest fastest computer he can buy, the kind that costs 4x what I can afford and has a huge monitor set at low res so he can sit right in front of it and read it and plays Woflenstien 3d and duke Nukem under DOS. I told him when I was working for the small PC shop back in college there was a state agency that would hook people up with a nice computer and job liek the one guy who 'typed' lawyers notes using dragon dictate. But he was content to play games and wanted me to copy them over from old pc to new pc yearly when he bought a new one.
    Then the cousin who asked me to put a new hdd in their pc. When they arrived it turned out to be a packard bell so after I got the hdd cage removed and took it out in the garage to drill holes in it to mount a standard hdd my pizza arrived and they ate it all. So not only did I modify his case to accept a standard drive, instal it and copy everything over for him I bought them pizza for dinner.
    And the MIL who uses MSIE and OE and plays Yahoo games so yahoo's intrusive ads and the insecure browser lead to spyware infections every few months which usually result in me having to completely reinstall. Last time i forgot to back up her e-mail so now she pays some pc shop to do it. I told he to use firefox/thunderbird which I installed and stay away from yahoo games because a lot of the ads that support them are bad but she won't listen.
  9. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Extreme Android User

    Usually software. I don't do hardware. I'm the local "Inquire within upon anything" Strange bird in the yard? What kind of plant is this? Can you see Saturn's rings in that thing? Can you mend this?
    Even the Vulcan assumes I can fix most stuff.
  10. Eugene

    Eugene Android Expert

    Software is just as bad. "How do I do x in obscure software package that no one but myself uses, you're a computer guy so you will know."

    And the inlaws needing "real" office, sure whatever, you go pay $400 for it or pirate it yourself, I don't do that crap.
  11. big_z

    big_z Android Enthusiast

    I figured out how to beat this. I'm a developer, so calling me to fix your computer problems is like calling an automotive engineer when you need a mechanic. It grates on my nerves. Anyway, the way you beat it is to quit using Windows. Quit Windows for a couple of years, and either MS will release future versions that you don't learn about (because you don't use them) or you'll forget most of your Windows skills anyway. I've never used Windows 8. I've used Windows 7 probably fewer than 100 times. Nobody asks me about Windows anymore, except my mom, who has a large entitlement complex and also thinks I'm holding out on her.
  12. richmatthews76

    richmatthews76 Well-Known Member

    When I first started I did it to make a few extra bucks...I was still young. Well for that say $50.00 you are forever there free Tech Support. I remember getting a call at 2 or 3 in the morning from drunk buddies who could not get on the internet:mad:

    Well one day I just snapped no more I did not work on anyone's PC in outside of work. To this day I go Insane!!! If someone even in my family asks me to work on there PC done deal:p
  13. jmcook79

    jmcook79 Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    That's so true! Everyone thinks that one favor equals lifetime technical support and or repair service!
  14. pbf98

    pbf98 Android Expert

    That is me, I fought for the position at a young age, and now realize I should have just let someone else take the role. For the longest time when we first got a PC in my family (2000) my sister was the oldest so my dad would always ask her, and I wanted to know everything about them so I could be the go to person for the computer advice. Now I am the automatic person they ask, I am often volunteered to help others and was volunteered to be the IT guy for their church.

    But I still do enjoy tinkering with computers showing others little tricks, whether it be short cut keys or just how to do something differently that is more simple.
  15. Codegerm

    Codegerm Android Expert

    You just need a sign like this

    Answers 15dollars

    Answers that
    require thought 25dollars

    Correct Answers 50dollars

    dumb looks still free.
    Thatdad likes this.
  16. Thatdad

    Thatdad Android Expert

    Yes lol
  17. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Here's the sign I like:

    Hourly rates:

    $35/hour if you watch
    $45/hour if you help
    $100/hour if you tried fixing yourself before bringing it to me.
  18. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Some people should not be permitted to own, use or be within 100 ft. of any technology, let alone employ it in the execution of their profession.

    I get a call last night which goes something like this:

    CALLER: "Where can I get a fire wire?"
    ME: "What do you need Firewire
    Spec2nirvash likes this.
  19. Codegerm

    Codegerm Android Expert

    I actually had a sign like that in my ADT truck though the prices were higher LOL..
  20. jmcook79

    jmcook79 Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    This has got to be the best line in the entire thread lol.
    lunatic59 likes this.
  21. Eugene

    Eugene Android Expert

  22. Rukbat

    Rukbat Extreme Android User

    I don't care what "X" is and what the software is, the answer is "do you know what 'Google' is? If not, let me teach you."

    Why do these people spend 15 minutes getting hold of you and asking you, when the answer they want is the FIRST HIT on Google, and it would have taken them 15 SECONDS to look it up? (Okay, I'll give away one of my secrets - I find a lot of the answers I post here by doing a Google search. Contrary to popular belief, I do NOT know every single fact in the entire universe.)

    That's why my web develpment contracts had (past tense - I'm SOOOO glad that I'm retired and there's such a HUGE number of morons up with which I no longer have to put, to misquote Churchill) something to the effect of "this is what we're supplying you for this amount of money. If you want any changes - no matter how small or trivial - made, or any additional work, no matter how "easy and fast" it will be, we'll negotiate a price for that work." And they had to read, date and sign that part separately from the rest of the contract, attesting to the fact that they had read AND UNDERSTOOD it.

    Still, about 25% of my contracts ended with "I know you said something about paying for more work, but this is such a simple thing ..."

    Hey, if it's so simple, learn programming and do it yourself. Shouldn't take more than 5 minutes, right?
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