Real genius at least 3 light-deer away from Apple Store

I went to the Apple Store.
Apple Staff: “Can I help you?”
Me: “Yeah, I need a USB to Serial adapter please.”
“A what? You mean Sirius?”
“No Serial.” I spell it out.

She gives me the deer in the headlights look. You know, when the deer gets caught by the car headlights and just stands there transfixed and unable to decide what to do. I like to measure how far from understanding a person is by calling it light-deer. She was at least 3 light-deer away from knowing what I was talking about.

“I’ll get you an Apple Genius. Hold on.”
Oh good. That was quick.

Apple Genius comes up: “Can I help you?”
“Yeah, I need a USB to Serial adapter please.”
“Are you sure that’s what you need?”

I give her my look that means “Are you kidding me?” Many of my friends and clients have seen this look. Ask Wayne Skelton. He has scolded me for giving him the look.

“Yes, I’m sure.”
“What are you going to use it for?”

OK, now she deserves to be messed with. Besides, the other customer standing next to me knew what I was talking about.

“Well, I need to use my MacAir to plug into a Cisco router and reset the password since my client doesn’t know it. The router monitor port is RS-232. So, I need a USB to serial cable since the Mac no longer has a built-in serial port. Do you have one?”

She gives me the look of being at least 2 light-deer away from understanding.

“I’ll look it up.” By looking it up she means she is going to search Google. She finds a picture and says: “Oh, you mean a VGA port.”

“No.” Admittedly, the VGA ports looks just like a 9-pin RS-232 port so she shouldn’t have deserved my scorn except for all of the above.

“So then you need a HDMI?”
“No. Not video at all. RS-232 please.”

I used to teach a class on data communications. 3 days long. It covered RS-232 and I would even draw out the sine wave to show how the signal is interpreted. I decided not to teach this class in the Apple store right now.

She gets another person. I’m not sure what constitutes smarter than an Apple Genius but here she comes. Person arrives. I describe what I need. She smiles. “I know what that is but only because my dad is an old tech guy like you.” Ouch!

They don’t have it. I went to Microcenter. They had one. While I was reaching for it someone on staff asks me if I need help. I tell them this story about my visit to Apple store looking for a serial port. He gives me the 4 light-deer look.