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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Don't Even Get Me Started

Wednesday, August 22nd started as any normal weekday would. I got up, showered, made lunch for my husband and settled in front of the computer to check email and to post an entry to this blog. I was very excited because I was going to join the “Works For Me Wednesday” blog carnival and post an entry on my idea for cheap and reusable popsicle drip catchers.

It took me a while to make sure I had everything linked properly but I did it! I was so excited and proud of myself. I was babbling to my husband before he left for work about my post and the carnival and how I just knew I was going to gain lots of new readers from this post so I should probably start thinking about my next blog entry so any new readers wouldn’t be disappointed if they happen to stop by to visit my blog again...

Fast forward to one hour later:

I popped back into the office to check my Stat Counter to see how many people had read my blog and what was I greeted with?

None other than the horrible and dreaded BLUE SCREEN.

It was a big, blank, blue screen. Oh, no! What’s going on here? I quickly tried to reboot. Sweat started popping out on my brow as I rebooted two more times with the same result. I almost started to cry but decided to call Dell Technical Support before I resorted to such childish antics.

Fast forward to Thursday, August 23rd:

After two separate conversations of at least 1 hour each, it was determined that we needed a new hard drive. I ordered one from Dell at a cost of $95…that includes shipping and handling and tax of course. Quite the bargain don’t you think?

Fast forward to Monday, August 27th:

My new hard drive arrived! I just knew I would be up and running in no time!

Immediately upon arriving home from work, my sweet husband Dan removed the old hard drive and installed the new one and we got other error messages. We called the lovely Dell Tech Support team (which based on the accents of each member we spoke to, is located somewhere in the heart of India) and were informed that the hard drive they sent us was blank and we would need our diskettes to load the operating system onto the hard drive.

Uh? Diskettes? Uh…we don’t have any diskettes.

We actually had one diskette but it wasn’t the operating system diskette it was the Microsoft Office diskette which was useless to us if we didn't have the operating system diskettes. So we spent another hour on the phone with Dell until we convinced someone to send us the diskettes…for free. What a joke. The computer we had before was loaded with everything we needed on it when they shipped it to us so if they send us a new hard drive (which we paid $95 for) then it should be sent to us preloaded with everything we need…right?...right?...WRONG! It was sent blank and we were expected to load the operating system on it.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening, August 29th:

We received the diskettes and made another phone call. We now were getting different error messages:

Floppy Diskette Seek Failure
Hard Drive Not Found
Press F1 to Reboot, Press F2 to Curl Up in Fetal Position and Cry Like Big Baby

We called the lovely folks at Dell Tech Support again and kept getting told that our warranty had expired and that we needed to pay $49 to get Expired Warranty Support. My husband, being the cheap Yankee that he is, did not want to pay this. He felt that we just purchased a blank hard drive from Dell with a limited 90 day warranty so why should we pay $49 for Expired Warranty Support when technically we had a new waranty. At this point I didn't care about the $49 I just wanted my computer to work!

So we began engaging in a game of good cop, bad cop with our friends at Dell Technical Support. This is how we played the game...

Dan used our home phone to call Dell Tech Support and would get into an argument with the technical support person and would ask to speak to their manager. He would inevitably be put on perma-hold. When this would occur I would call the same number from our cell phone and would go through the long and boring spiel of the hard drive crash, the new blank hard drive, the diskettes, the error messages and then the person I was speaking to would say, “Oh yes, I see in the records here that your husband has just called and has been transferred to a manager.” So I would whisper conspiratorially, “Yes, he’s upset but maybe you can help me without getting any managers involved?” We played several rounds of this fun game but the techs were never able to get the computer to work.

Fast forward to Thursday morning, August 30th:

I finally thought I had a break through. I spent a good hour on the phone Thursday morning with Ramir. He seemed very knowledgeable. He ran through the same steps with me that all the other techs before him had and as usual, with no luck. The only difference being that Ramir seemed genuinely concerned about my case and wanted to fix the computer without me having to pay $49.

After one hour on the phone with Ramir he finally said that my husband should check the hard drive. Maybe he hadn't installed it properly. I told him I doubted this was the case since Dan, being a smart engineer, had taken pictures of the old hard drive prior to removing it so he could get all the connections reconnected the exact same way and that he had most likely installed it properly. Honestly though I was tired of talking on the phone with Ramir and was just ready to get on with my day.

Ramir promised me, PROMISED ME, that he would call me on Friday morning at 8:30 am to run more tests with me after Dan had a chance to reinstall the hard drive on Thursday night. He wanted to talk to Dan but Ramir left work before Dan got home and Dan would be gone Friday morning before Ramir got back to work. So Ramir was going to call me Friday morning to check to see how things were. In fact, his exact words were, “I am going to make it my personal mission to see that we get your computer fixed without you having to pay $49.” For a few minutes, I thought I was in love.

Fast forward to Friday morning, August 31st at 8:40am:

I started trying to call Ramir at 8:40 when it was clear he was not going to call me. I called and called but basically was told that the number I had called was a generic Tech Support number and there were too many people working there to know if there was a Ramir there or not. Why did I suddenly feel like the naive 20 year old who was promised by the cute guy she met at the party that he would call her and then never did? Um, not that I have any experience with that or anything.

So I was left venting to some other poor tech. He tried to help me but could only say that perhaps the hard drive was bad…the NEW hard drive mind you.

This was all I could take! I called the number that I had ordered the hard drive from to give them a piece of my mind…although at this point there really wasn’t much left of it to give. This nice guy promised me that if I just paid $49 for the Expired Warranty Tech support those people would be able to make it work. "Guaranteed". His words, not mine.

So, I did what I knew I shouldn’t do and gave him my credit card number. He then forwarded me to a nice girl who told me that it wasn’t the hard drive but probably just bad cables and if it wasn’t bad cables probably a bad motherboard. Oh, and by the way, if it was a bad motherboard well, it would probably cost as much to replace the motherboard as to just go ahead and buy a new computer.

Buy a new computer?

I picked myself up off the floor, took a deep breath to calm myself and said, “I just paid you $49 to tell me that I probably just need to buy a new computer?”

“Well, uh, you should check the cables first.”

“How do I get my $49 back?”

“Well, I really don’t think you can since you have already received our advice.”

I’ll give all of you some advice…for free…

DON’T BUY A DELL COMPUTER!!!! And you don’t even need to check the cables first!

Fast forward to Saturday morning, September 1st:

Dan and I took the kids and our computer to Best Buy. I don’t normally like Best Buy but that’s where the nerds from the Geek Squad live. A friendly agent (yes, they call themselves agents and they even wear badges…no, I’m not joking) checked out the computer, bad mouthed Dell Computers, informed me that the NEW hard drive was bad but my old hard drive was still ok, and told me they could fix it. I paid him $158 and was out of there with the promise that it would probably be ready by Monday.

Fast forward to Sunday, September 2nd:

We got home from church and there was a sweet, sweet message on the answering machine:

“This message is for Beth. This is Agent Rob (yes, he called himself Agent Rob…no, I’m not joking) from the Geek Squad. We fixed your computer and it’s ready for pick up."

My computer works again, Mommy is happy again and things are back to normal in our household for now.

Next thing on my to do list: Call Dell to get my $95 back for the bad hard drive they sent me and my $49 back for the bad advice they gave me.

Should be fun!

Edited to add: I did call Dell and after talking to multiple reps and being transferred multiple times I did get my money back!


Megan Cobb said...

That smooth-talkin' Ramir... I bet he's breakin' little hearts all over the world with his empty promises. It's hard to resist the bad boys, isn't it? I'm glad you're back up and running thanks to the Geeky boy next door. That really is the way it always goes, though, isn't it?

I admire your ability to hold it together as well as you did... I'd have been a blathering idiot without my computer that long! With no one to blather to!

Pam said...

Beth, I am begging you. PLEASE call me next time your computer goes down. My husband is literally a computer genious and doesn't charge nearly what the Geek Squad does.

Too bad Dr. Morgan doesn't know about computers...*WINK*

Now, excuse me while I hop a flight to India. I have a bone to pick with a certain RAMIR!

Megan Cobb said...

Hee. I did post the recipe! It's here:

Blackeyed Peas with Courtney's Secret Ingredient.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God, Beth. I'm sorry you had such a time of things. These scenarios are all too common. This is why it helps to have someone in the family who can help you before you have to resort to calling a computer vendor. In my family, that'd be me.

Glad you eventually got your money back, and more importantly, your computer working again!