Are you an early adopter or just a jerk?

T-Shirt: No, I will not fix your computer

I was reading this story over at Engadget that tells of an online study — It’s always some online study these days, isn’t it? Whatever happened to the malls and clipboards? — reporting that most tech heads are high in assertiveness, but low in modesty. The study seems to indicate that the lack of modesty may extend to other types of consumerism, luxury brand buying, early-adopters, etc.

I suppose that may well be true, but it mainly stood out because of the t-shirt from ThinkGeek. I know more than a few people that could use this t-shirt or at least a similar disclaimer. Personally I’m learning to let the stories of woe just wash over me. I’ll nod and put on a sympathetic face and just advise they call tech support. What always gets me is not the assumption that I will fix their tech issues, it’s the assumption that I want to do so. Like the “Computer Guy” post from last November, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Help them out and you’re destined to forever be helping them in the future, which you will get tired of and eventually refuse, you jerk! Don’t help them and it’s simply unbelievable that you won’t give them a hand since you practically or actually do it for a living, you jerk! It’s in the same vein as needing something else to tell people when they ask what I do, because the first question is always “Oh, can you build me a web site?” and 9 times out of 10, they’re not joking.

I think from now on when someone asks me for computer help, I’ll start asking them for help in whatever area their 9 to 5 or hobbies are. About the only person I can think of that wouldn’t be bothered is my friend the RN, who took great delight in giving me a flu shot last year. He threatened to bring over a big rusty needle and tried to convince me that the shot had to be administered in the ass (no pun intended).

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9 Responses

  1. William Mize says:

    I’ll always help family, period.
    Anyone else, I’m probably just as lost as they are.

    So does this mean that when I ask you for mac/Apple advice, I need to help you write that novel you’ve been wanting to write? 🙂

  2. Brian says:

    @William Mize: No, in your case it means you need to write that novel I’ve been wanting you to write. 😛

  3. pyack says:

    I enjoy helping my friends– i don’t enjoy the work, just the satisfaction of helping someone i care about. That being said, there is no more hideous crime in my book than taking your geek for granted. Ask The Princess, she’s been banished from my life for treating me poorly after giving her tech-help.

  4. Brian says:

    @pyack: Lordy there are some bitter, bitter geeks out there.

  5. Oh man… yea, my fiance is a tech guy and has the same problem. Also when I was a camp counselor, the counselor I bunked with was a masseuse and EVERYONE bothered her for massages. She was too nice to say no. I always wanted one, but I could never ever bring myself to ask. I would have felt so guilty with everyone else asking her.

  6. Lolypup says:

    “ass shot” giggles! I want to see! Ok, that is so me, I swear I bug you daily on hundreds of inane things. I promise to do better, having said that my current 9 to 5 is in research so if you need any hard data on deafness, deaf education etc we can make a trade???? I can even tell you where all the cute deaf boys hang out in DC!

  7. Esprix says:

    At least if I ask someone to help me build a website I expect to compensate them somehow.

    Sadly, few ask me to engage in my 9-to-5 job as a gigolo.

  8. Brian says:

    @Liz: I think that’s definitely the problem, being too nice to say no. And once you say yes, it’s like you can never say no again without sounding like a meanie.

    @Lolypup: Unless they have impeccable lip-reading skills, it’s pretty much a lost cause. 🙂

    @Esprix: You just keep picking the wrong clients, focus on guys that like the lights turned on during sex or that have fluorescent skin as a fetish, white boy.

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