Friday, February 8, 2008

I Don't Do House Calls

I wish I could help, but I have to tell you up front that it's unlikely I'll have the time, sorry. With the utmost respect and kindness, I must demur that if I did have some free time, I wouldn't spend it on a service call.

I apologize for this drawn-out "no", but you have opened up a subject which has a long and ghastly history for me. I used to help friends & family with their computers at home, and after much work and frustration I decided it is not something I'm willing to do anymore. I'm sure you would be willing to pay a reasonable amount, but the trouble is the reasonable amount to charge for such a service doesn't come close to the time and stress involved.

I gently suggest that if you knew what you were asking for, you would not ask: the job is akin to separating all the white and black granules out of a pepper shaker into equal piles with tweezers and a magnifying glass. It will require the utmost concentration, but teach me nothing.

I understand the plight you are in, because computers rarely work right, and it is difficult to find someone willing and able to look at them for you. I feel the utmost sympathy for you and the millions of other people like you who have trouble with them; clearly things need to improve. If I am ever in a position to effect a change, I promise I will do what I can to fix those design flaws that cause you so much grief, and try to bridge the disconnect between computers and ordinary people.

But just because I've worked hard to become proficient with computers, doesn't mean I have to feel obligated to do additional work just because I have the ability. I may have the ability, but if I answered every request like this that I get - and I can't walk down the street without being hounded by requests for computer help - then I would never do anything else.

I'll tell you what I am willing to do for you. Send me an email, and describe your problem. If it is something I can advise you on, I will give you all the advice I can - for free - when I have time. Just don't ask for house calls.
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