Three Stories of Technology Fails, and Why It Matters

3/15/2017 10:34:00 AM
We, as an industry, need to let our clients know that technology is less than perfect, but what we can provide is the priceless answer in their time of need. Here are three stories of when technology has failed, and why it matters.

Image: Thinkstock

STORY 1: My sister in law recently moved out to California (from Virginia). Her husband, who is in the Air Force, had to leave for two weeks on official business. Left alone, in an unfamiliar place, she needed to print a document. The local store did not sell the ink for her current printer, so she ended up buying a new printer thinking that setting it up would be a breeze. 

She took the new unit home and thoroughly read the directions before beginning set up. Hours later she was still stuck. The website or her computer would not allow her to download the software, and her PC did not have a disc drive. For her, this resulted in an enormous amount of frustration (and maybe tears, but I can’t confirm as I’m on the other side of the country). 

After an extended conversation with my husband (who must have been a phone technical support specialist in a former life), she was finally able to print. 

STORY 2: On a recent ski vacation to Utah, both Google and Apple brought our tribe of eight through a dangerous mountain pass at night while it was snowing. As we climbed altitude, the drive became scarier. The algorithm for these map programs considered only the shortest passage, but certainly not our front wheel drive next to a cliff of certain death. 

A few days later, we found out is there a happy straight safe road that would have added only minutes to our drive. You will have to try harder to get rid of us next time map programs! 

STORY 3: Utah and I do not see eye to eye when it comes to consuming alcohol, for they have some of the strictest liquor laws. Most alcohol retailers are state run, therefore when attempting to find a store that sold wine, we were brought (repeatedly) to a distribution center (this is only funny in retrospect). 

It turns out that the best way to find wine in Utah is ask the teens. I am not joking when I tell you that we once had to go into the basement of a building and down the hall to a hotel-room-sized store, if you could call it that. Luckily, I was not alone and very committed to successfully completing my task. The un-google-able! Guess we still might need social skills in this new world after all. 

Why it Matters:
 Whether it is hooking up a printer, a new TV, Wi-Fi, or directions that bring you to a dirt road or sitting down after the longest day only for the remote not to work, stories of technology failures are everywhere. 

And good luck if you want to call Amazon when this happens, or Apple, or Google or the printer manufacturer. 

We, as an industry, need to let our clients know that technology is less than perfect, but what we provide is the priceless answer in their time of need. Sure, we might not be able to help them with the direction to the red wine, but we can help them hook up the Wi-Fi and the printer and certainly the rest of the electronics in the home. 

For those of you who work in retail, how many times a week are you called and told that the TV isn’t working, only to have them reboot a cable box and have that fix everything? Now, think of all of those folks out there that do not have a “friend” like us, so they believe all is lost. 

Your first conversation with a client needs to tell this story, and perhaps some (the good ones) will see the light and become your life-long customer. Others will take your brilliance and go Google for themselves (trust me, you might be glad they left). We, the technologists, have graduated from the school of hard knocks and have seen more technology fails than one can imagine. 

Now, we only need to get the word out about the valuable service that we provide.


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