Saturday, July 10, 2010

So This Is What Happened

First of all, I just want to say that my new keyboard feels odd. The old one was nicely broken in and this one will take some time to get used to. But dear Lord, it's nice to be able to write again. I promise that tomorrow I'll get back to baseball but first I want to tell you about my adventures over the last two months.

So sometime around the middle of May, I came home from work and got something to eat. I had the laptop out and was going to check the news, emails and whatnot while having dinner. I also grabbed a bottle of flavored water from the frig. I was at the dinning room table and opened the water, which promptly began to explode on me. Now I was standing right over my dinner and didn't want to get water all over my food so I turned to the left, moving the overflowing bottle of water with me. And it just so happened that I had the laptop opened and running to the left of my dinner.

Water all over the laptop. Curse words flying. I put the water down and grabbed for some napkins to dry off the laptop but the damage was done. My "a" button and the left shift key, I quickly came to discover, were no longer functional.

While the loss of the left shift key wasn't that big of a deal, the loss of the "a" was a serious problem. "A" is the third most used letter in the English alphabet, used more then any other letter except "e" and "t." You simply can't write without the "a," can't be done. Also, pretty much all of my passwords have an "a" in them, including the password to get into my laptop.

I discovered most of this the next morning when I tried to access my laptop but couldn't log on. I had to go into safe mode and change my password and quickly discovered that I could copy and paste the "a" whenever I really needed it. But there was no way I could write doing that. It was just to burdensome.

So the keyboard had to be replaced. Not a big deal. I have a Dell laptop so I went to Dell's website and purchased a refurbished keyboard for fifteen bucks. No problem at all. I figured I'd be back up and running in a week.

But no.

Dell sent me an email about a week after I had ordered the keyboard saying that they had to push back the shipment and it would be going out within the week. Okay. Not a problem. Things happen.

And then I got another email. Same deal. They had to postpone shipment. Only this time I had to okay things because of some kind of government regulation. So I sent of a quick email saying that I still wanted the keyboard and that they should ship it as soon as possible.

And then I got another email. Same deal. I again had to approve the continuation of the order or it would be canceled. At this point, I was a bit frustrated but, in all honesty, I was more upset at the federal government for making me have to continuously approve an order that I had already made and paid for.

And then I got another email. Same deal. Order postponed and, per the government, we need your approval to continue. By this time it was the first week of June and I've been dealing with this for almost a month. So I decided to take the bull by the horns and call Dell to see what was going on.

This is where it gets fun.

You probably have had the exact same experience with some other company so there's no real need to go into all the details. Nobody knows what's going on. Nobody has an answer. Nobody has a solution. And you just keep getting transferred from one person to another and having to retell your story over and over again. It's a bureaucratic nightmare. And that's what I had to deal with. When you get caught in the maze, it's like you can't stop because maybe the next person you get transferred to will have all the answers. But they never do.

The whole time I'm getting the run-around, all I can think is that we had made a contract. I give you money and you give me the product I selected. It was a very simple and basic social contract. They were in violation of this contract and nobody seemed to care. I was getting madder by the minute.

And then finally, I talked to a guy who came up with an answer and a solution. The reason, he said, that the order kept getting postponed was because that it was a very popular part. Okay, that makes some sense. My laptop is four years old and probably a popular model. Parts are in demand. I found that to be a reasonable explanation. He said that the best solution was to cancel the current order, refund my money and place a new order for the part, since they now had some in stock. Okay, again this sounded reasonable to me. This guy seemed to know what he was talking about and, since I needed and wanted the part, I was willing to take his advice.

He was a nice enough guy and seemed to care about helping me out. He not only put me in contact with a sales representative but he also stayed on the line, explained everything to her and basically acted as my agent in making the transaction. The old order was canceled, I got my money back and I began to place a new order.

And this is the point of the story where I about lost it. Rather then simply reselling me the part I wanted, the sales woman tried to sell me a brand new keyboard for sixty dollar. I don't mean that she gave me the sales pitch for a new keyboard but, rather, that she was trying to charge me sixty bucks for a new keyboard after cancelling the fifteen dollar, refurbished keyboard.

Dell gave me the run-around for a month and then tried a bait and switch.

I was not happy. I believe I told them something along the lines of "I will not, under any circumstances, give you more than fifteen dollars. I will not, under any circumstances, pay you one penny more then we had agreed to for this keyboard." I told them that if they didn't have the keyboard for the price we had agreed to that I'll just cancel the transaction. At that point, the sales women agreed to sell me the refurbished keyboard for fifteen bucks and the guy who was still on the line offered to wave shipping costs.

So that worked out, I thought. I complained a bit and saved a few bucks. The squeaky wheel got some grease. I'd have my keyboard in a week.

Meanwhile, as I waited patiently for my keyboard to be delivered, I went out of town for about five days. A little vacation. When I got back, the part still hadn't arrived. The next day, I got an email from Dell.

Same deal. Postponed a week.

And then I got another email a week later. Same deal. Postponed a week. Would I like to continue with the order?

I was done with Dell at that point and I called them up and canceled the order. By now, it was the first week of July.

The reason that I was so patient with Dell was that this was a difficult part to find. Newegg didn't have it and the only other place I found it online didn't exactly seem reputable. I couldn't find the dang thing anywhere but Dell. But having given up on them, I started searching again and two days ago, I found a brand new keyboard at Amazon for fifteen bucks. Brand spanking new. With one day shipping, I got the part for thirty bucks. Which was half what Dell wanted to sell me a new one for. The bastardos.

Literally the next day, UPS dropped the thing off on my porch. The next day. Dell jerked me around for almost two months. Amazon got me the part in twenty-four hours.

All's well that ends well and all of that but I'll never do business with Dell again. And my love for Amazon (which was already pretty intense to begin with) now knows no bounds. I went back to Amazon today and showed them a bit of appreciation by purchasing a 320 gb external hard drive. Almost went with the 1 tb but they're just too bulky and 320 gigs is more than enough for the laptop. Do you see what you lost there, Dell? It's called business. It's called money. If you had treated me better I might have bought that from you. Now you get nothing from me.

But enough of that nonsense. Tomorrow, I promise you that it'll be all baseball.

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