The Misadventures of a Traveling Computer Repairman

I was going to post this in the lounge, but then I realized this probably deserves its own damn thread…

Until I can find full-time work, I’m doing jobs as a contract IT worker. It pays decently, and I can have some really good weeks with a lot of work. I handle both residential and business calls, working on anything from printers, to laptops, to desktops.

I see some pretty weird shit on these calls, like a lady with domesticated chickens that actually came up to me and were really friendly. She also had a rooster the size of a car tire.

Today really takes the cake, though.

This morning, I get called about a residential service call. Replacing a motherboard. No problem. I arrived onsite, and it’s in a rough neighborhood. Several broken down cars, tires in one person’s front yard, and the door to the house across the street was literally a large piece of plywood with a door handle. This still is not a problem. I’m short but hardy and wear an eye patch, so I at least LOOK like a person who doesn’t need to be messed with. I knock on the door, and this black dude answers the door with a sleeping 2-yr old on his shoulder and a big-ass boxer in front of him. I’m already thinking this couldn’t get any more stereotypical, but he opens the door and I can already smell the stink of some skunk-ass weed. I have an intolerance to weed, meaning I’ll get a really bad headache if I’m around it (which yes, I do now), but this is for money so I put up with it. Anyway, the dude says the lady isn’t home, but knows I’m coming and lets me in. The inside of the house is one long hallway lit by a red lightbulb, and there were several rooms off to the side of the hall (some of which were boarded up, and others that have no door at all). He can’t find the laptop I’m supposed to be working on, so he calls the lady, apparently one of four women who live there. She says it’s under the couch. That’s red flag #1.

He fishes it out from under the couch, and hands it to me. Top looks okay. I flip it over, and see that the bottom of the thing is literally held together with blue painter’s tape. I set it on the makeshift table that he made for me, and he goes and grabs the motherboard I’m supposed to be replacing from the top of the fridge, then hands it to me. No box. He says she threw the box away (note: I’m supposed to return parts in the box they came in, so this is a big inconvenience for me). I continue looking at the laptop. There’s a loose wire hanging from the side that I realize is a ground wire from the DC inverter from the LCD. If I repaired the board and the 2 yr old touched the wire while the laptop was on, it would kill him. As for the screen itself, one of the hinges was broken, and the remaining hinge was warped. The screen wouldn’t stay up on its own and was barely hanging on. So a obviously mistreated laptop was red flag #2.

Here are some pictures:

Janky-ass laptop


Procedure said I had to go to a place away from the client and call it in before proceeding with the repair. I took pictures of the damage and went outside to call. During the 20 minutes it took to get through the tech support queue, I kept seeing people drive up to the house next door, then people would get out of the passenger side, go up to the door, and then come back within less than a minute. I saw a preppy-looking white dude, then a black lady in a nice dress, and then a middle-aged guy do this, and then it finally dawned on me… “Holy shit, did I just witness three drug deals?” That was red flag #3. It was time to leave.

It was about this time that the support agent answered. I explained to him the situation with the damaged laptop and the neighborhood I was in, and said I wanted off the job. They agreed, especially since the laptop had no accidental coverage. I was told to reclaim the part, tell them that the home office would have to check on the screen that needs replaced, and that they’d call them later. I did that, and went home. When I called the CSR in charge of the call, she was amazed that I went through all that, and they said they’d give me full pay for the job.

This still doesn’t beat the time I discovered hardcore gay porn on a Fire Chief’s computer. It’s safe to say that I’m pretty much only doing business calls from now on.

That’s a pretty winning story.

Nice story.
But cmon, with all those steamy calendars, and spending all day around those hunky, muscular men lathering themselves up and polishing their big red firetrucks, a guy can’t help but want more. Would you really take that away from him?
Have a heart.

What’s funny is how he tried to hide it. He had a picture of Crissy Moran in a swimsuit on his desktop, and swore she was his girlfriend. Kind of sad, really… dude should just let his freak flag fly, but hey… this is Mississippi.

Now all you need is a biker, an indian, a construction worker, a cowbow and a cop and you’re all set.

Sadly I work in a computer store right now also, and the techs come across some interesting stuff every now and than. Not too long ago, a guy brought in his computer that needed to be fixed. Now simply by getting close to it you could sense that this guy smoked a lot of weed. When the tech showed me the actual computer, it was covered in a thick brown sludge. I managed to snap a couple of pics with my shitty camera phone of the actual CPU cooler:


You guys should have seen the rest of his computer. I don’t know how people can live in such self imposed filthy conditions, but sometimes it makes me really wonder…

Comedy gold, man,

Seriously though, that laptop is FUBAR.

You’d think just spending money on a laptop from this century would have been their first plan.

I need more of this is my life breh/////////

One of my co-workers used to tell me how he used to have to do tech jobs at bad neighborhoods and how freaked out he was…stories like the one the OP stated. Other co-workers would be marveled by the risks he took, but…

…I just don’t get the what the fuss is about.

I lived in a violent, high drug area for three years: my next door neighbor, my upstairs neighbor, my neighbor across the street, and 2 other neighbors down the street all sold drugs, and fought amounts themselves and each other, and I never felt in danger. If you mind your own business and don’t stunt, you have little to worry about.


I stopped doing housecalls when I opened somebodies computer case and there was a fucking snake in there.

Broke ass uneducated people do things with their computers that forever haunt me. Not just as a technophile, but as a human being.

Go on…

dude. the pictures of that laptop… Just…DAMN.


Yep. Seen that one. I used to do side jobs at a computer repair store, and that was one of the most common problems. Sometimes it’s not necessarily weed, it’s dust that has been discolored by the heat of the inside of a computer. Now keep in mind that dust is just dead skin cells… so what you’re actually seeing tiny bits of cooked people.

Yeah, think on that one for a second.

I’d wager you’re also black. I agree that the best thing is to blend in and be casual, but I’m white (strike one), was dressed in business casual (strike two), and wear an eye patch (strike three). I stick out like a pasty-ass sore thumb in those kinds of neighborhoods.

Alive or dead? I’ve seen snakes that had gotten curled up in PSUs twice. They just get in there because it’s warm and they think it’s a good place to hibernate, at least until the PC gets turned on and they get wound up in it.

I thought this thread was going to be about some old crusty man running around stealing women’s undergarments while screaming “What a haul, what haul!!!”

I can’t wait to get into the new world of IT 2…


carry on :coffee:

Dear OP,

How does one become a traveling computer repairman such as yourself?

I’m still trying to figure that out myself. >.>

Seriously, got a random phone call about it. Apparently they saw my resume on Careerbuilder and called me. The funny part was that I didn’t have a CB profile then. I do now, but not then.

Why do you have a eye patch?

Really? What company is this? Because I would love to be a traveling computer repairman. The sights, the women, the bullshit…that is the life for me, my friend.