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Sunday July 12, 2020
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Caffeinated Computers

More folks working at home means more folks spilling stuff into their computers.

by Jame Leonard

Published in June, 2020

"When it was actually called a pandemic by the CDC, we had three [calls] the very next week--two on the same day, one the next day," says Alex Kaufman, a technician at Computer Alley on Jackson Rd. "One was coffee, one was beer and one was water. Two of them were Macs. Interestingly, we've seen a heck of a lot more Macs that have had water damage probably because the Apple store has closed."

To put that in context, Kaufman says "usually we only see one or two water damages a month. We've had ten since the pandemic started."

That wasn't their only surprise. Allowed to stay open during the shutdown because IT is considered an essential service, Computer Alley initially closed for two hours in the morning. "We thought we weren't going to get as much [business]," says Kaufman. "We were wrong about that. Turns out the service went up. So we decided to consolidate our hours to save a little bit on payroll, but also so that we just didn't have to work with as many people, so we could be in the store for lesser time to keep the employees a little bit safer."

Kaufman is booked for house calls through the middle of July. "People are a little more comfortable now," he says. "Of course I'm wearing gloves and a mask - an N95 mask in fact - to keep myself safe and keep our customers safe. And we ask them to please wear a mask."

In the store, all the staff wear masks and gloves. As for customers, Kaufman says, "we request them to but we don't demand them to," though he adds that only to three to five percent haven't.

Sales are also way up. "We couldn't keep anything refurbished or new on the shelves for the first couple of weeks," Kaufman recalls, "monitors, used desktops, new desktops [and] webcams. We didn't have any [webcams] in stock when the pandemic started but were able to grab two and that was it." And headsets for video meetings are "constantly flying" off the shelves.     (end of article)


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