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David Kanani, PC paramedic

March 06, 2003|Carolyn Patricia Scott

In the shadow of the Beverly Center, in a busy strip mall at the corner of 3rd Street and La Cienega Boulevard, a modest sign identifies an electronics repair shop. But call any of the major computer companies -- HP, Compaq, IBM and others -- and the Computer Place will be on the short list of factory-authorized repair facilities. Inside its doors, dozens of framed certificates declare the proprietor, David Kanani, and his technicians an accomplished crew.


A simple history: Kanani, who was born in Iran, loves the United States and has lived here for 27 years. The Princeton graduate lives quietly with his family in Westwood. "I'm always here in the shop or with my family. This is the life. I love what I do."

Style: On his business card are the letters PhD, in electrical engineering, of course. But the gray-haired gentleman behind the counter is in a conservatively cut, imported suit as pale as sea froth, tieless with a dark blue merino wool sweater. A watch and a gold wedding band, his only jewelry, are nothing if not gracious.

For the love of the mainframe: "I have employees, technicians, but I spend many, many hours here -- too many. My spare time I like to spend with my children. The rest of the time I am here. I just love working with the customers. They come in, they think they have one problem, but even by phone, I probe, I ask questions and then I can tell them the true problem. That's what I like. But if the news is bad, I tell them -- I don't like it, but I always tell the customer the truth. If you were sick, you would want the truth. If their computer is ailing, well, it's the same thing. I give them my diagnosis."

A righteous confession: "In this business, you get people who come in with a computer, they tell you: 'Oh, I forgot the password. Can you clear it for me?' Of course we can do this, but as many of these computers are stolen, I don't tell them that I know how to break the password. But I don't call the police. I tell them I have to send it to the manufacturer to fix it. That's when they make an excuse -- 'I'll bring it back next week.' Then they [take the computer and] leave quickly. They never come back. No problem."

Best perk: "When I fix something that the customer thought would be a big job, and it's a simple matter and doesn't cost very much, and when they leave happy. That's what makes me happy."

-- Carolyn Patricia Scott

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