Sometimes, nerdiness can make you feel weird. And sometimes it pays off. My interest in accents and language and other cultures led to a generous move by Sony. This is what happened:
The remote that controls both the VCR and television has never worked properly, and instead of sending it back to Sony and demanding a new one, I've called to ask them what to do. They've given me tips, which temporarily fixed it, but then it wouldn't work. I got another brand remote that worked consistently, but then one day, when I was setting the VCR to tape Startrek (which I've been overdosing on) that one didn't work either! It was a taping crisis! Startrek: TNG was going to be on in the afternoon, but I had to leave my place in the morning, and I needed to set the VCR, and the only way to do that was through a remote! Time was running out, and if I just let the VCR tape, it wouldn't get all three episodes of TNG! A major crisis in bad-weather Chicago!
So I called Sony to see if they could help me, and let them know that their products have gone down in quality, since my TV is a decade old, and it works fine, but the dumb remote has never worked consistently. The guy who talked to me had a very slight accent, as if he was from an Asian background. He sounded American and had a non-Asian name, but I bet he spoke an Asian language at home. I was guessing Chinese, but I didn't want to ask him, in case I was wrong and/or he'd be weirded out.
I told him I've lived in Japan, so I know what their quality and work ethic are like, that I wish the products were still made there, etc. When I mentioned Japan, he thought that was cool. But I could tell he wasn't a Japanese chap, so I took a chance, and just asked him if he was Asian. He asked me how I knew, and I said I'd been to Asia, I knew Asian people, blah blah. Then I asked him if he spoke another language, and he said Chinese. I knew it, and told him that I had a feeling he did.
It turns out he immigrated from Hong Kong when he was eight, so I said, "So you speak Cantonese," and he was surprised that I knew that. Basic knowledge, it seems, but not for a typical American, I guess. We talked about that and Asia and other stuff. Overall, he was impressed. I didn't mean to impress him, I was just being my nerdy self.
Well, the remote still didn't work, so he hooked me up with a higher level customer service rep, and I got another remote. For free, outside the warranty period. I called Sony back to tell them to thank the guy who originally helped me, and regretted not getting his email address. So maybe he'll find this post on the Internet and see that I still appreciate what he did.
Nerdiness helped, without me knowing it would. I was just being myself, and someone appreciated it.
So thank you Sony and the guy who gave me a break!
Yeah, but did you get to tape the shows?
I did--I left, came back, and then at the closest moment, I used a fresh, long, tape, and just pressed "record" on the VCR and let it go. So there was some useless stuff on the tape. The VCR doesn't have the ability to preset recording times.
But now I've really OD'd on TNG, so I don't know if I would go to such lengths to tape it, if it happened today.
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