Will Edwinson

Author & Storyteller

A bit of frustration

Computer Image

Photo image courtesy of Keerati/FreeDigitalphotos.net

I’m too old for this high tech stuff. I got into another fight with my computer recently. Do other people beyond age 70 have these constant battles of the will between themselves and their computers, or am I the only one? This latest skirmish came a few weeks ago when I decided to order myself a book from amazon.com. In one of my online newsletters, I saw a book mentioned that advertised, “6 Easy tips for free publicity.” Since I’m always looking for ways to publicize my latest book, I reasoned this is something I might ought to buy. So, I proceeded to make the purchase.

I’d ordered books from amazon before with no problem; there should be no reason why this order would be any different. Everything started out okay. I logged in, found the book I wished to purchase, clicked onto the “one click purchase” link where I proceeded to place my order. It asked me if I was a new customer, or was I a return customer, and did I have a password. I answered in the affirmative to the password question. Then it asked me for my password. Here’s where things got to be a little discombobulated.

It had been more than six months since I had ordered from amazon.com, and my mind was a bit foggy about the password. I typed in what I remembered to be my password, and received a response in return that said the criteria that I had submitted didn’t match what was on file. I scratched my head, uttered a few expletives through clenched teeth, and proceeded to chastise my computer: “You dummy, this is the right password.” I entered it again. Same response. After several more tries and much frustration, it finally dawned on me that I had changed my password the last time I ordered. I sheepishly forgave the stupid beast, and entered the new password. Eureka!! It worked. Maybe the computer isn’t so dumb after all. Okay, this is good. We should have this project finished in about two to three minutes.

I clicked all the proper symbols as per the instructions and lo and behold, a message popped up on the screen telling me my order was complete and would be shipped the next day, and I should receive it in about three days. I’m happy; blood pressure is back to normal. But just to make sure, I had better double check. I clicked onto the bar that said “review or change order” and brought up my order. I discovered two mistakes. First off I had forgotten I wanted to use a different credit card than the one I had used for the previous order. That should be easily enough fixed, which I proceeded to do.

I clicked on the bar that said: “change credit cards” and entered in the new card number. Now I discover I have two credit card numbers in their system, because the first one didn’t delete as it was supposed to. After much frustration and forty-five minutes of my time, it appeared as though I had successfully solved this problem, but I still wasn’t sure I hadn’t charged two books to two different credit cards, or who knows what.

Well, enough of that, on to the second mistake. I had changed addresses since my last order and the old address was still in the system. I had to get this corrected or my book would show up on the doorstep of the old address. Again, I found a bar that said: “change address.” I clicked on that bar expecting to find changing the address to be a simple matter. Not so. It resisted any attempt to change my address.  I go to the “help” bar. No help there either. After another forty-five minutes of surfing through every page on amazon’s website that I could find, I concluded that maybe I should have made all these changes before I placed my order. With a bit more searching and a huge dose of frustration, I did manage to find the little box where I could click and cancel the order. This I did.

By that time I had already wasted about two hours or more and was ready to go the bookstore and do what I should have done in the first place; order the book from them. But then I got to thinking; “am I going to let a stupid metal box with a bunch of plastic chips, and yards of wire running through it get the best of me? Not on your life!” So I spent another hour satisfying myself that I had I finally defeated little cream colored monster; that the credit card mess was fixed; that the addresses were properly changed; and that I had my book order properly placed.

The book did arrive at the right address, by the way, and was only charged to one credit card. But, still, it would have been much easier to do it the way we used to with the old mail order catalogue. Sit down, fill out the order blank, slip it, and a check, into an envelope; mail it, and wait two weeks for the book to arrive. As I said at the beginning of this story: I’m too old for this high tech stuff.

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