Thursday, September 30, 2010

Global Positioning System

A day in the life of...

...a Garmin Employee.

Stephen spends 4 days a week talking to people on the phone about their Garmins. He works (luckily) on the outdoor/fitness rather than the automotive side of things. (There's also marine and aviation sections, for those of you who, like me, had no idea Garmin made anything other than the GPS that you use in your car). That means he doesn't have to deal with angry teenagers who are lost. Phew!

HOWEVER, don't be deceived. He deals with plenty of interesting folk. The outdoor/fitness team deals with runners, bikers, golfers, hikers, and hunters, to name a few. I love sitting at our dinner table as he tells the tales of the day. Here are some of my favorites:

There was the guy who asked if he could get maps worldwide, like in South America. Stephen kindly pointed out that it is a Global Positioning System, so yes, as long as South America is on the globe, he should be fine. I think people forget what GPS stands for.

One call, the customer told Stephen what was on his watch display (Garmin makes watches for runners to wear), which was "Pace," "Distance," and "Time." The gentleman proceeded to ask if he had to enter the distance on that screen of the watch that he was going to run. Stephen (kindly) informed him that it was a GPS watch that tracks distance automatically and displays how far the runner goes in real time. This man was unaware that his watch could do that. He spent $350.00 on a watch without knowing anything about it.

A few days ago, a customer had a black watch with a broken band. Garmin didn't have any black bands in stock, but they were going to be available in two weeks. The lady was upset because she had a marathon to run, so Stephen offered to send her a navy blue band from a different watch to use for the time being, and then send her a black band as it became available (meaning she would get a free watch band, and no shipping charges). The lady was seriously upset. She told Stephen, "I can't run like that." I can't run like that? As if it were a physical problem preventing her from running! Really?

Garmin makes a GPS dog collar (called the Astro, naturally) for hunters to use (on their "coon dogs"). A week or so ago, Stephen had an angry customer who called about a problem with his dog tracking unit. The unit lost communication with the dog collar and he couldn't find the dog. Now the dog was lost and he insisted that Garmin replace it. The dog, that is, not the collar. When Stephen told him that they wouldn't replace the dog, the man asked, "Well what is the warranty for then?"

And, my personal favorite: there was a hunger from Louisiana that called about a problem with his dog tracking unit. Casually, he told Stephen about how he had lost three huntin' dogs. "How?" Stephen asked (thinking they had gone out of range and ran off). "Oh," the man replied, "to gators." In fact, that gentleman had found one of the alligators because the dog collar was still working inside of it.

Surprising, right? Who knew Garmins were so versatile. I bet "works inside of gators" isn't in the Astro unit's manual.

Stephen near our hotel in North Vancouver

Stephen, Vanessa, and Anya

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