Buyer Beware

Caveat Emptor … Buyer Beware. The Mountain Farmgirl believes in doing her due diligence when it comes to purchasing big-ticket items, but no matter how much academic research we do, sometimes manufacturers and retail stores prey on our fears by selling us empty protection plans that give us a false sense of security. Join her as she tells how she purchased one against her better judgment and got burned (NOT by the product … but by the insurance!) in Buyer, Beware…!

It’s going on two years now since I publicly pledged to simplify my lifestyle and Live Frugally … and I’m happy to report that it’s going GREAT! But ‘Living Frugally’ can sometimes be quite  different than ‘Not Spending Much Money’. I may not be a big consumer, but I’ve had to buy -- by necessity-- a number of things since my pledge … some of them pretty large-ticket items.  As fate would have it, only days after I officially announced my initial Year of Living Frugally, my laptop died.  Now this old Farmgal practically invented the phrase, “Make Do, or Do Without”.  I can live without running water by using a handpump and doin’ some old-fashioned haulin’; I’ve also lived well without electricity for years at a time, and I’ve given up my car (it’s been TWO years!). I’ve even had to go without health insurance for long stretches over the years. But as a writer, I absolutely,  positively, UNEQUIVOCALLY cannot live without my laptop! We all have our idiosyncrasies, and that’s mine!  

Now buying a new laptop is a lot of work. If you’re not a born-again Nerd, or if your tech-savvy children have grown up and fledged the nest to faraway states, it can also be downright confusing, and going it alone is scary.  There are gigabytes and terabytes to consider for your hard drive and i5 vs. i7 processors. There’s memory, battery life and if that wasn’t already asking enough decisions of me, there are infinite choices in dozens of other categories that I haven’t even heard of, let alone understand. Deciphering those is like comparing apples to oranges in a foreign language with my eyes closed. Finally, my laptop has got to be really portable (small and lightweight), but really durable because I take it everywhere. In the end, finding one that has everything I want all in one package is nigh on a nightmare. You get the picture …

Yet somehow, about a year and a half ago I figured all that out (or maybe it was just a lucky guess), but I ended up with a laptop that I LOVE. We are inseparable, my ole laptop and I; dawn-to-dusk companions, devoted to the core. All my writing is done on it; my emails; my innkeeping business, photos, music, media and more. And you know how spouses come to look like one another over time, (and that goes for pets and their owners, too)? You can see from the photo here that my laptop and I spent so much time together that we were beginning to share a resemblance, too.  By now I’m sure you ‘get it’: my laptop is like my right arm (except I almost think  I’d rather lose my right arm than all the files and programs on my computer)…

A few days ago my laptop and I took a little trip together to the coast of Maine.  It worked fine the whole time we were away. I wrote, emailed, even watched a movie on it, but when I got back home and turned it on, there were some crazy lines across the top and right hand side of the screen. Weird lines, some of them squiggly, in neon green and purple and red. And that SHADING! Oh, such an annoying shading that started creeping down the monitor and obscuring whatever I was working on. It vibrated and flashed enough to nearly give me a seizure.  It didn’t take long to figure out that something was seriously wrong here; my companion was very sick.  So what’s a 50-something computer-dependent Farmgirl writer to do when something like this happens? I took a photo of my screen of course, and texted it to my computer-science major son down at Johns Hopkins University with the message: “S.O.S.  love, mom”.
Noah called back right away with several diagnostic hoops that he put me through, shortly arriving at his original conclusion that I had a damaged screen.

 “It’s cracked”, he said.  (“Like me”), I was thinking, but instead I said, “Yeah, something’s definitely  happened to it”. 
“That’s bad,” he told me, and I knew he was right.  From the various experiences of some of my friends, I knew that replacing a screen can cost almost as much as buying a whole new machine. But then, a little light bulb started flashing above my head … and beautiful music started playing in my ears (well, almost)!  I suddenly remembered that for once in my life, against my better judgment I might add, I had uncharacteristically purchased an extended 2-year warranty plan from the ‘Paper Clip’ office supply store store (not its real name) … and I even knew where I could get my hands on it!!
“That’s good”, Noah said, and I certainly agreed.


Why I had spent all that money on an extra plan, when one already came with purchase by the manufacturer, I didn’t know. I have NEVER in my life had a hard time saying “No thank you” to a salesman … EVER! But this guy was brilliant; he had been SOOO convincing, assuring me that it would cover anything that might ever arise for two whole years.  It was too big of an investment to gamble with … I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Afterwards I lamented endlessly that I had paid $150.00 for the duplicate insurance policy (WHAT WAS I THINKING??!!), but now I was glad that I had!
I drove my laptop down to our local ‘Paper Clip’ office supply store, and told them the screen was damaged on my laptop … but that I had a valid extended Warranty to get it repaired. “Great!” the technician said. “But the warranty doesn’t cover the diagnosis.  You’ll have to pay for that.”
“I already know what’s wrong with it,” I told him.  “The screen is damaged”. But that didn’t matter. Even with a warranty, the ‘Paper Clip’ store would not cover the cost unless a certified ‘Paper Clip’ technician officially diagnosed the problem.  My hands were tied. “Go for it,” I told him.
Two hours and $69.99 later, I got a call. “”Your screen is damaged” he told me. (Like I didn’t already know this).   “Can you fix it?” I asked hopefully.
“I’ve got good news and bad news” was the reply.  Ugh. When a sentence starts out like that, be prepared for the worst.  “The good news is that it IS covered by your warranty.  The bad news is that you will have to send it to the ‘Paper Clip’ Service center.  We cannot fix it here.”  Rats. It would probably be at least a week before I would get it back, and by that time I’d miss a deadline for posting one of my Farmgirl blogs, and I’d be going through laptop withdrawal. But with a characteristic Farmgirl ‘I-can-deal-with-anything’ outlook, I took it home and called the ‘1-800-‘ number to arrange for pick-up. First I talked to someone in India who couldn’t find my Warranty. Then I spoke with a nice woman in the Philippines, but the connection was so bad that I thought I was talking to a mechanical robot. On second thought, maybe I was. After verbally ‘travelling around the world’ for more than half an hour, I finally asked to be transferred to someone in the United States. I spoke with Darren, a Midwesterner who spoke beautiful English, in a voice I could hear, and who also was able to find my Warranty. Three out of three …  I was on a roll! EXCEPT that when I gave him the official Paper Clip Diagnostic Code, he suddenly became very quiet. “We don’t cover screens,” he said.  “I don’t know why they told you we would.”

“Maybe it’s because I bought an Extended warranty 18 months ago that I was told ‘covers everything’ for two years”, I told him, but what I was also thinking was ‘If the keyboard needed replacing, would it then cover everything but THAT? ‘    Darren was a pleasant young man and I didn’t want to spoil his day; after all he was just doing his job and following Company Policy.  But I was really annoyed, so he put me on hold to get some clarification from his Supervisor.  “No ma’am … it definitely doesn’t cover screens.” We went round and round in our conversation until it was clear (to me) that this was going absolutely nowhere. “How much?” I asked. “What is it going to cost to fix this? I can’t use it the way it is.”  To my dismay, I learned that it would cost almost as much as buying a new laptop. “Not worth fixing,” he said.

I was livid. Now Darren was a nice fellow just doing his job.  He didn’t need to be taken down a notch by an irate writer who had gotten ripped off by a worthless insurance policy she shouldn’t have purchased in the first place. So I leveled with him. “Look,” I said. “I know your hands are tied; you’re just doing your job. But when we get off the phone, I want you to tell your Supervisor that I am a journalist. I am going to write an expose on rip-off Warranties in general, and ‘Paper Clip’ Warranties in particular. I don’t want anyone else to waste their money on worthless pieces of paper. In the long run this will cost your company more than replacing a computer screen.”

And that was my motivation for writing today’s column. Like my husband has told me many times, these warranties are generally a rip-off.  I personally went back to the store, lamented my tale, and asked for my “Diagnosis” money back. I was told that wasn’t possible, so I requested to talk to a Manager”. About 5 minutes later the same employee came back and said, “Here’s what we can do: if you purchase a new laptop right now, we will deduct the $69.99 off the cost.  But this is a one-time offer that won’t be valid after you walk out the door, and won’t be offered again.”

Wow. That wasn’t “Easy”! It also didn’t seem fair. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t make off the cuff decisions on large price tag items – especially one as complicated as a computer -- on the spur of the moment, under pressure.   I left the store very disappointed in this chain’s Customer Service.  To console myself, I went home and wrote up a detailed saga of the entire ordeal, start to finish, and mailed a copy to the General Manager of the store, and sent a copy by email to the Corporate office. The email bounced back immediately as “Undeliverable”, and three weeks later I have yet to hear from my local store about this. Not good ... but I'll just take my business elsewhere.

But I AM happy to report that the story has a happy ending!  My housekeeper at our Lodge noticed how lost I was without my laptop, and offered her husband’s help.  “He tinkers with stuff like this … let him look at it.”  The next day he stopped by and said he could replace the screen in about 10 minutes.  He ordered a brand new screen right from the computer manufacturer over eBay for $59, it was here in 2 days, and he had in it and working in 15 minutes!!  Can anyone understand why the Tech Warranty Department said “This wasn’t worth fixing?”  
The moral of this tale is two-fold:
• Don’t let fear and ignorance affect your purchase of additional warranties. Most of them are profit generating schemes for the businesses who are trying to sell them to you, and only give you a false sense of security at the time of purchase, not any ‘real’ coverage if you should need it in the future.
• This is the most important: We should do everything we can to encourage our children (and ourselves) to ‘tinker’ and explore the world around us. We are a society who has lost the ability to figure things out and fix things.  As a result, we have become extremely dependent on others, and when this happens, we are at the mercy of all sorts of mercenaries who might want to take advantage of us. We need to take back the world around us, understand how it works  and become more self-sufficient, or for the want of a horseshoe nail (or a $59 computer screen), our worlds will be lost.

Until next time,

Mountain Bounty, Mountain Blessings,

Cathi, The Mountain Farmgirl


By: Rattlesnake Rosey
On: 04/16/2012 10:14:14

Very informative. I think the most awesome statement is that we should tinker, encourage our children to solve problems, instead of the quick fix less-stress solution that our country is is so used to now.

Yes, absolutely ... that is the point of the whole story. Thanks so much for sharing. BTW, do you have rattlesnakes where you live, 'Rattlesnake Rosie'?  Like our sister Rebekah, the City Farmgirl, I am terrified of snakes!! :-)

By: CeeJay
On: 04/16/2012 12:35:53

Oh my what a "journey"! I'm so glad you got it repaired however, it's terrible that you had to go through all that. So, frustrated and so unnecessary! Thanks for sharing your story!

Thanks, CeeJay. It's so nice to hear from you.

By: Ali
On: 04/16/2012 13:02:15

Oh how frustrating! I'm sorry to hear you went through all that. I generally do not purchase the extended warranty either and your experience justifies why I don't. The way people are these days, it seems like common sense flew out the window never to return (referring to the diagnosis and the customer service in general). Sad. But I'm glad your story had a happy ending!

Farmgirl #12

Thanks, Ali (FarmGirl # TWELVE!!!!) I'm happy at the ending, too, and if my tale can help spare just one person the misery I went through over this it iwll be worth it.

By: Betty Benesi
On: 04/16/2012 13:06:54

Yes our kids should be taught "practical" knowledge such as how to change a tire and not be afraid to make mistakes. When I was about 13, the plastic dial on our dishwasher broke and fell inside the front of the dishwasher. My parents had to go to a school meeting so with trepidation I found the right screw driver, took the front of the dishwasher off and glued the dial back together held in place by a rubberband. I don't know if my parents were impressed, but I sure was. I've never beena afraid to take stuff apart and fix it. Can't is not really a part of my vocabulary.

Here, here!!! That last sentence is a GREAT motto. We Farmgirls are right there with you, Betty!

By: Cat
On: 04/16/2012 13:16:31

WOW!!!! I am surprised that no one has left a comment on this. These kinds of things happen so often that it has become so horrible in trying to get anything fixed out there, much less talk to someone in our own language. Maybe if enough of us write up articles like the one you wrote, it might get back to some of the companies that want to rip off the consumer.
I have journals of situations I have gone through, very much like yours. Gee, I have almost learned the language of India, and other countries by being on the phone for hours at a time dealing with electronics.
I love your blogs and always look forward to reading what you have to say. You seem like a kindred spirit to me, as we have so many similar interests. God Bless! Glad you came across someone to fix your laptop.

Dear Cat (and Kindred Spirit!), Thanks so much for writing. It is indeed frustrating to have to talk to another continent, when the people actually involved are just a few miles away. Just another absurd evolution of our modern world, unfortunately. But we Farmgirls still have the ability to Buy and Act Locally whenever we can.  We can change our own worlds in that way. Have a great day. - cathi

By: Jeanne
On: 04/16/2012 13:22:11

Cathi, I feel your pain. I just went through the process of purchasing a new desktop computer and it was confusing with all the new technology out there and me being electronically challenged. I bought three over the internet. My first computer would not turn on when it was delivered. I called the dealer and had to wait a week for their technician to arrive. The tech was unhappy, because he said since the computer never turned on it should have been reboxed and returned. I told him the company refused to accept it back until he came to fix it. He called the dealer and told them it needed to be returned and they finally okayed it.(I decided after that I didn't want it. I had to pay shipping. Then I purchased a computer from a another dealer and the salesman described it, but when I received it it was different and lacked the features I needed. I called the dealer and was told their procedure is not to accept it back without an assigned number with permission to be able to return the computer.(They wouldn't give me their permission) I boxed it and again paid shipping. Whatever. My last purchase when delivered was a re-furbished computer, but the price I paid was for a new one. Again I re-boxed it and paid shipping charges to return it. Lastly, I traveled to the nearest town 50mi away and shopped at an electronics store. I still have my doubts about this computer, but I am exhausted after everything I was put through. I have decided Customer Service has died. It is no more. And that is all I have to say about that.

Oh my, you have been through the wringer much worse than I have been, Jeanne. That is the worst possible customer service, and they don't realize how much it hurts them in the long run.  I am SO sorry you had to go through that as well. As another of our Farmgirl Sisters has suggested,  I would contact the Better Business Bureau. Thanks for writing!

By: Donna
On: 04/16/2012 13:22:42

Please tell us the names of the computer and the "paper clip" store where you bought it. They deserve to be exposed as you said you would. I have found that these exposures actually get results, unlike just a general essay about the problem.

Hi Donna!  Thanks for writing. The first step is to try to resolve it on the spot with the people involved. It's always best to give them a chance to make the situation right. If they don't however, take it higher up. Sometimes a little pressure from above helps resolve a multitude of sins. If not, then as I did,  expose it so that others can be aware (and Beware!). The last resort is to hit them where it hurts most ... on their bottom line. Never buy anything there again and spread the word!

The 'Paper Clip' Store was actually more of a 'staple' if you know what I mean.  Specifically it was the North Conway, NH Branch, Store # 1228 @ 1739 White Mountain Highway, under the General Management of Charissa Kennard.  

By: Judith Miller
On: 04/16/2012 13:31:51

Thank you - that was very enlightening!!

Thank you; to be forewarned is to be fore-armed! The Farmgirl sharing network is a powerful force!

By: Noreen
On: 04/16/2012 13:42:16

Thank you so much for sharing. I feel like they are trying to make lap tops a consumable. But they are too expensive for that. We have had trouble with our on and off since we purchased it. We will soon be looking for a new one. I wish we could find a very reliable source. I hope your computer will keep on clicking!

Thanks, Noreen; yours too!!

By: susannah
On: 04/16/2012 14:37:55

Wow! What a story - we've all been taken advantage of like this at least once or twice. But the lesson here is appreciated - we shouldn't be hesitant to try to look around and see who or what might be useful the next time something breaks. We might be able to fix more than just our pocketbooks if we do a bit of research, and use our brains!

Thanks for sharing,

Amen to that!!  :-)

By: Marsh
On: 04/16/2012 15:03:09

I think you handled the situation exactly as I would have with one exception. I would have named the Office supply store chain outright. These corporations seem to be accountable to no one except the almighty dollar. The fewer people who buy from them because of service like you received, the faster they go by-by. Glad it worked out for you because of one of your wonderful connections in life. Thanks for sharing your story.

Hi, Marsh ... I DID think of doing that ... but figured that between the "Paper Clip" and "That wasn't Easy" references, it would be obvious without setting myself up for libel suits!!!  However, it might have gotten me the attention from the Corporate office I sought and did not get!!  You'd better believe I don't hesitate saying their real name verbally!  Have a great day!

By: Brenda
On: 04/16/2012 15:12:27

Yep! I NEVER buy the extended warranty offered by the retailer. I remember once at a major big-box retailer, I bought a $40 dehumidifier (it was a long time ago...) and they wanted me to buy an extended warranty for one year for, you guessed it, $40.

Why wouldn't I just go get a new one for the same price if it broke? I laughed at them. It is still running 25 years(or so) later....

On the other hand, I did find a local place that does laptop repair for a flat fee of $59 plus parts. I had a broken screen too. I dropped it off one afternoon and picked it up the next. The parts were about $75, as I recall. I thought the flat-fee repair was easily worth my time researching the right part number, ordering the part, paying tax and overnight shipping, and installing it myself. The only drawback was they only took cash, and they took my last dollar bill!

For anyone who enjoys fixing things and wants steady employment and income. I say to them: start a little business like this one that you describe!  There will never be a lack of business for an honest, fair computer repair person, or a Tech support person either for that matter!  Thanks for writing, Brenda!

By: Lois
On: 04/16/2012 15:16:41

What an awful situation. I am glad to hear that your computer is fixed now though. I would like to post a link to your story on my facebook page. Would that be okay with you? Thanks.

Yes Lois, I think that would be fine.  Just mention the original source as well ... Mary Janes Farm.

By: Marji
On: 04/16/2012 15:55:54

Oh what nightmare. I certainly have had my share of similar attempts of companies to rip me off so now I use the internet to research how to fix, build, redo and undo. If I can't find the answer there, I go to the library. Thank goodness we still have those. I figure I have saved thousands of dollars and it has armed me with the confidence to do more. I recently removed the glass from my printer and cleaned underneath it. I smile every time I use it now considering the computer shop would clean it for a mere $100. Yikes. Thanks for all the great wisdom.

Great to hear from you Marji! Everything starts with a single step. Once we start fixing or trying to figure out how to do something, it gives us knowledge and confidence to try a little more. Everything may seem like a huge mystery at first, but if you start breaking it down into bite sized pieces, most things can be figured out and conquered!  I'll never forget the 'Ah-HA Moment' I had one day when I was in college.  My husband and I were stopped in a traffic jam.  I had recently learned how to use a pop rivet gun, and so was sort of tuned in to that ... I looked over and stopped next to us was a tractor trailer truck.  It suddenly occurred to me that a tractor trailer is nothing more than sheet metal riveted together, and that I could actually conceive of how to make one myself if I had to!  It was a breakthrough in the way I looked at the world, and a huge confidence-builder. Have a great day.

By: Heather :) :) :)
On: 04/16/2012 15:56:32

Oh, wow...I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that to get your computer screen fixed...Yuck!!! What a hassle. It's my general opinion that extra warrantes are just that...a waste of money. I very rarely purchase them. I'm glad that person was able to fix it for you. Hmm..I hope that you do hear from the head of corporate for that store, because that was some really bad customer service you received. However, you're doing the right thing by voting with your "dollars" and taking your business elsewhere!!! Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather ;) :) :)

Dear Heather,

So nice to hear from you again!  As a fellow blogger, you know how important such technology can be! I was thinking of you recently as I have been doing a LOT of knitting.  Hope you dad is on the road to recovery and doing well. Have a great day in California!  -- The MFG

By: laurie altieri
On: 04/16/2012 16:04:07

Thanks for the caveat! I would like to share this warning on Facebook--is that permitted?

Thanks Laurie ... I will check and find out! :-)

PS. Good morning! I think it is okay, as long as you give credit to the original website, MaryJanes Farm.

By: bonnie ellis
On: 04/16/2012 16:06:52

Cathi: Loved your blog! Right on girl. A lot of people are scammed by people like that and it's just rotten. My older son is my tech and can fix anything. He puts computers together from old parts and gives them away to people who can't afford them. Thanks for writing about this.

Hi Bonnie ... so nice to hear from you again! Recently in a cleaning frenzy, I got rid of a lot of old computers.  Just tossed them!!  Never again.  Thanks to people like your son and my housekeeper's husband, who keep the world running smoothly and efficiently, I will now save old components for them to recycle and use. My hat is off to the 'Fixers' and all the lifelong learners in this world!

By: Marlene
On: 04/16/2012 16:20:33

Thank you for your expose' about warranties which are definitely a rip-off! You paid so much for the extended warranty that you'd think you'd get something for it. The costs for these so-called insurance policies are steadily rising, and what they actually cover seems less & less. I've never used one and now will definitely NOT buy one. I'd read elsewhere that they're a waste of money and you proved it.

Yes, Marlene, it has been my experience that they are not very helpful, and that companies have so many loopholes that most likely our specific case will not be covered.  Thanks for writing!

By: Nancy
On: 04/16/2012 17:29:26

There's nothing more powerful than a woman with a brain and a screwdriver who's not afraid to use either.

I cannot tell you how many times I've picked up a screwdriver and gotten a few more years out of a supposedly dead machine. Glad it worked out for you, Cathi!


Hi Nancy ... so nice to hear from you again. I love your first sentence, and I am going to use that quote from now on! (Of course a little duct tape and some WD-40 goes a long way, too!). Have a great day!

By: Paula
On: 04/16/2012 17:51:22

What a nightmare! I have to wonder how many of us have been through similar situations...I have! So glad you posted this...hopefully somebody will benefit from this experience and "beware"...glad you have a working laptop again! xxx

Thanks, Paula. Yes, I'm happy to be 'back in business' again!  I think it helps to share the words of our experiences.  From the number of comments I have received so far I can see that many others have been burned, too. Knowing how prevalent  this is can give us courage to speak out ... we are not alone, and we don't have to blindly accept it when we are being cheated.

By: Donna
On: 04/16/2012 19:16:04

I love your article,I never buy warranties i like you would rather not throw my money away as I have found they are not worth the money.I am also blessed with a son that can fix just about anything on the computer including replacing cracked screen been there.LOL So glad to see you shared with us.Love your posts.
Have a wonderful week.

Good morning Donna! Thanks for your nice words. Hurray for the Tinkerers of the World! Tell your son to keep at it and to encourage others. There are a lot of so called 'experts' in every field, but those of us who actually know how to do things are a rare commodity indeed and in the end will help keep us free!

By: Brandy
On: 04/16/2012 20:29:33

Report the ENTIRE incident to the Better Business Bureau as soon as possible! This totally unacceptable & very POOR business practice! So so sorry you have had to endure this!

Thanks, Brandy. That is my next stepThe BBB is always a court of last resort for consumers when you hit the wall.  Thanks for reminding me.

By: Carmen
On: 04/17/2012 01:56:04

I feel your pain. I bought mine from "Not so Best Buy". I took my computer to be repaired along with a copy of the warranty. The associate checked the paperwork, wrote down the warranty information, said everything was fine. I went to pick it up and was told I owed "three fifty". I thought $3.50 for who knows what. Nope. $350.00 I had a discussion with the person at the desk. I asked for the manager. Had a discussion with him. Told me they had NO record of my warranty. I guess, except for the information in the paper in front of his face. Insisted I had to pay. Then I got really loud (I'm short but I can make noise) and all of a sudden he discovered that they did have the warranty. I never again bought anything from that store.

Hi Carmen, Thanks for writing. WOW ... in your situation it wasn't just "company policy" or a bad management decision in your particular case, but total dishonesty.  That is despicable. Good for you for sticking up for yourself.  There is definitely a time to be a 'squeaky wheel' and it is obvious that if you hadn't, they would have had you over a barrel.  

By: Deena
On: 04/17/2012 12:51:48

Thank you for walking us through your path. These has happened to me and all I felt was: "Not far! Not far!" It is great to have a blog to voice this kind of adventure and to share a creative happy ending.
Thank Heavens for tech savvy friends who tinker.

Deena, Yes, that's true!  If we can't fix it ourselves (and we probably can!), then we should encourage others to go for it! KNowledge is freedom! Thanks for writing. -cathi

By: Debra
On: 04/18/2012 09:24:51
You never buy warranty on anything. That goes for furniture or cars. I do sell insurance but, it is for your home or car. I feel sorry for people who do get sucker in.
By: Karin Thomas
On: 04/20/2012 05:39:24
So sorry you went through this mess. We never buy extended warranties either. I am fortunate to be blessed with a husband who can fix pretty much anything and he has always felt they are a waste of money. I also agree with your statement about teaching our kids. We're becoming a nation of people who don't know how to do anything. Before our kids were allowed to get their driver's license they had to learn how to change a tire, change the oil and know how to drive a manual. My son was changing his oil while he was at college and all his friends were amazed he could do it. They asked how he knew how and he said "my dad taught me, didn't yours"? They said "My dad doesn't even know how". This was not very many years ago. I think it's a sad statement on the direction our country seems to be heading. I'm so glad your housekeeper's husband was able to fix your laptop and you can continue to write your wonderful blogs.
By: Gale
On: 04/26/2012 14:12:15
Had the same happen to me with a printer. So now I buy from the manufacturers only. Like you, it never occured to me to go directly to the manufacturer. Lenovo has been exceptional in walking me through replacing keyboards with only the knowledge of turning the computer on and off. They also replaced my screen in 4 days! They also replaced a piece, unprompted, that I had broken. Could not have been more pleased with their service.

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Cathi Belcher

Cathi Belcher,
an old-fashioned farmgirl with a pioneer spirit, lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a “lifelong learner” in the “Live-Free-or-Die” state, she fiercely values self-reliance, independence, freedom, and fresh mountain air. Married to her childhood sweetheart of 40+ years (a few of them “uphill climbs”), she’s had plenty of time to reinvent herself. From museum curator, restaurant owner, homeschool mom/conference speaker, to post-and-beam house builder and entrepreneur, she’s also a multi-media artist, with an obsession for off-grid living and alternative housing. Cathi owns and operates a 32-room mountain lodge. Her specialty has evolved to include “hermit hospitality” at her rustic cabin in the mountains, where she offers weekend workshops of special interest to women.

“Mountains speak to my soul, and farming is an important part of my heritage. I want to pass on my love of these things to others through my writing. Living in the mountains has its own particular challenges, but I delight in turning them into opportunities from which we can all learn and grow.”

Column content copyright © 2010– Cathi Belcher. All rights reserved.

Mountain Bounty

“Keep close to Nature’s heart ... and break clear away once in awhile to climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods, to wash your spirit clean.”
– John Muir