This past Saturday, I had the kind of computer debacle that retailers hate. Somehow, I had done something that caused my three point of sale computers to stop talking to each other. When this happens, modern retailing comes to a grinding halt.
I had updated my anti-virus software in the morning (note to self: never do this activity on a weekend) and then all hell broke loose. Only one computer worked, but it was the server in the back room. This meant that all bookstore activities had to take place in the office. No one could check on inventory, make a sale, or take a special order unless they were in the back where you can’t even see customers.
I was trying to keep my cool while I called my bookstore tech support people. I was told there was nothing they could since the problem had nothing to do with their program. I hung up totally frustrated. And cursed to my staffer that I needed a tech support guy I could call on a Saturday.
A customer overheard this exchange and started talking to me about the issue. He seemed very knowledgeable about networks and whatnot.
He was about to pay for $54 of books when I asked him if he had a minute to take a look. He said that he did. I gave him back his credit card as he headed to the back office. Within 10 minutes he had figured out that the problem was the upgrade. While he couldn’t fix it entirely, he did fix it enough that I could actually use all the computers at the store. I happily gave him all his books for free.
He ran out of time, but he suggested I try three things. The best piece of advice he gave me was to come in early and do it when I had time. After a few failed attempts, I finally got it right and now all the computers talk to each other and I no longer have a migraine.