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25 November 2016 @ 10:27 pm
Retail Nightmares III: A Temporary Fix  
On Wednesday, the card we'd been waiting for so desperately arrived. Seanie installed it in computer Prime, and...nothing happened.

Everything was still broken. Registers still down. Nothing was fixed.

I wanted to cry.

Instead, Seanie got on the phone with IBID, and they arranged to send two more replacement cards to us so we could see if we'd just gotten a bum part. In the meantime, he moved Prime out of the backroom and into the front of the store so that we could have one functional register/inventory system.

It took most of the morning, but he made it work, much to the relief of the bosses and my co-workers.

Since the only working IBID computer was now at the front of the store, our stock receiver was unable to process the invoices of the books we'd received. Fearing the backlog that we were rapidly building, one of the owners arranged to come in on Thanksgiving Day with the receiver so that they could use the computer while the store was closed.

Thankfully, I was nowhere near the store that day.

When we came in Friday morning, the replacement cards from IBID had arrived. Seanie went to work installing one...and still the problem remained. I was a bit panicked. I had to open the store in a few minutes and it was Black Friday, one of the worst days to have a system failure!

Seanie continued to fuss with the computers, and after talking with IBID figured out that somehow - and I admit upfront that this makes NO FREAKIN' SENSE - when one of our employees switched out a broken keyboard on Prime for one that worked, it somehow killed the computer's ability to connect to the others. WE HAVE NO IDEA WHY. There's no logical reason why virtually identical keyboards would impact performance. But this was the problem.

Once Seanie restored the broken keyboard, the system began to come back online. He had to manually check the port settings, and tinker with each machine, and he never managed to get all of our computers working. But by the end of the day we had functioning registers and we could start to function normally.

All of this tinkering was possible because Black Friday was slow. No, "slow" isn't quite the right word. There was a steady flow of people and we sold plenty of books. But it was never a manic, crazy, line-out-the-door sort of day. We were busy, but not to the point of frenzy. It wasn't good, because like most retailers we are dependent on Black Friday sales to help make our end-of-year numbers, but thankfully the slower pace allowed us to make the computer repairs we so desperately needed before the holidays.

Seanie and I will come back on Sunday or Monday to continue working with the computers to try and get all of them up and running. It's not a permanent solution. The machines are still aging and need to be replaced. But if we can keep this system running for a few more months, we can limp through the holiday season and give the issue our full attention in the new year.
 
 
 

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