Firing Up a Firestick

I have teenage grandchildren who have become my tech support team, and they are more than willing to help Grandma with all things tech. But they are in Idaho and I’m in Florida and I wanted to watch something other than home shopping and twenty-four-hour newscasts, like a movie or unlimited broadcastings of M. A. S. H. My teenage tech support team advised me, “Get a Firestick, Grandma, it’s easy peasy. You can do it. You just plug it into the back of your TV, and it will connect to your Netflix and Prime shows. Call if you need help.” That sounded like a deal.

Walmart is nearby and they sell everything, so off I went fighting the mostly masked people who were already there. It’s a huge Walmart that has everything, except firesticks, so off I drove to Staples and indeed, they had huge display. Just what I needed, $39.99.

“Would you to like to purchase the extended warranty support package, Ma’am? It’s a bargain at $19.99,” Chase, the red-bearded clerk, asked.

It didn’t sound like a bargain to me. I already have a huge list of movies available at my real home. “Surely it will last for longer than the short time I am in Florida, so no, thank you, Chase, no extended warranty at fifty percent of the price of the firestick.” He repeated his offer four or five times, which should have been a clue to what I was in for. I paid for my purchase and left, eager to plug in my new device and watch something on Netflix.

Opening the package was a challenge, but I had a knife, scissors, and screwdriver and I was able to rip off the cardboard and find the five parts to the firestick. I squinted my eyes to read the directions (I forgot to bring a magnifying glass), but I managed to read the English version, and followed the directions. I plugged it in and of course, nothing happened. I scrutinized the directions, thinking I had missed something. This calls for a glass of wine, I thought, and poured myself a nice glass of cabernet.

Back to the firestick. Something flashed on the screen, a firestick logo. Success! But then, not so fast, I needed a code. Where do I get a code? I called my grandson, but he was skiing and my granddaughter was at gymnastics. So much for my loyal tech team.

I called the support number listed in the directions and linked up with a nice young man who said, “Did you buy a support package? I don’t see your name in our data base.”

“Are you telling me that I have to have to buy a support package to get the code to access Netflix and Prime?”

“Yes, miss. (Hot damn, nobody has called me miss in a long time!) That’s the way it works.”

I resisted ranting because he had called me miss and returned to Staples and located my red-bearded clerk, Chase, who had a big smile on his face, “You are back, and I know what you need. I mentioned that you needed this support package, Ma’am, but no problem, I have them on speed dial, so I’ll get you registered right away.” He did, and now my firestick and support package cost over $60, but Chase guaranteed I would not need anything more.

I called support again and talked to a different young man, equally polite, who reverted to calling me Ma’am. We went through some of the same steps, plus a few more than were not included in the packaging and added the six-digit code. An HOUR later, he had me up and running. There is no way I could have done this alone, and I don’t think my grandchildren could have either, so why don’t they charge the $60 to begin with and save me, their eager customer, a lot of frustration? Just askin’.

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