Monday, January 16, 2006

The High Cost of Technical Ineptitude

Ok, I admit the iPod is one of the coolest gadgets of the last 5 years. I also admit that I am insanely jealous of anyone who has one, as my budget has not yet allowed me to own one myself. But I am compelled to seething ire by this story. People are actually paying Selfridges department store over $100 for lessons on how to use their iPod.

I don't blame the store. They are most likely bombarded day in and day out with frustrated customers begging for an explanation on how to use one of the most user-friendly consumer electronics devices ever invented.

If you are too inept to use a computer, you should not buy any peripheral accessory that requires a computer for its optimal use. This means you all of you grannies who can't figure out your digital camera (not you Nancy), all the parents who ask their kids to program the VCR (don't get me started on Tivo), and anyone who can't figure out how to get their songs off of a CD and onto their iPod.

I know from personal experience that the majority of these people who will buy the iPod lessons from this department store will forget most of what they learned within a week. From the late 90s up until about 3 years ago I made quite a lot of money on the side going to people's homes and teaching them how to use their computer. Most of them just wanted to learn how to send an e-mail or get on the Internet. Every month or so, I would get a call from the same people I helped last month, asking me the same questions they asked before. They wouldn't mind paying me again, could I come show them one more time. No problem.

I actually charged a woman $60 just to teach her how to use the mouse. I billed by the hour and it took her that long just to get comfortable with the damn thing.

I feel sorry for these poor schmucks teaching the iPod class at Selfridges. Eventually their customers will realize that they just don't get it and give the iPod to their grandkids.

Hey, maybe I can convince my grandmother to buy one...


Kara said...

I'm going to eBay mine and get the newer one.

I totally agree - some of the wrong people are buying them, some just to show they have one, which is f*ing LAME. It's a waste of a good thing because it'll never be used in the ways it can be.

I've helped people with their computers some, too, and I send you much respect for being able to hang in there with the same questions over and over. I just get irritated and end up telling them to get a Mac so they don't have all the bullshit problems.

iPod lessons. Wow.

Jake said...

I don't deseve much respect, because after a few months of the same lesson over and over, I eventually stopped taking their calls. I don't know if it was their inability to lean or my inability to teach, but I just felt guilty taking their money without them gaining any value from the lessons.

I have since grown up and realized that it's their decision to make whether to part with their money, not mine. If a customer balks at the price now, I will negotiate. But it's in MY best interest to charge full price when I have fulfilled my part of the deal, until otherwise requested.