As you might guess from the title, it's not going well at the Sick Laptop Hospital in Romeoville, Illinois. It's been a week and I have had no correspondence, of either the phone or email variety, that has originated from them. I've been ringing them to find out what's going on, which already makes me a less-than-happy-camper.
I've determined that there are two types of people who answer the phone at Sharp - those who are very good at their jobs and enjoy helping people and those who feel that they are trapped in the seventh circle of hell. Now, I feel bad for that latter group. Certainly, I've had jobs where I felt exactly that way. When you start to feel that way, you need to Get Out Now.
On Monday, I spoke to Marvin (all names in this story are changed just because I can) who was perhaps having a bad case of the Mondays. I don't think he was in seventh-circle-of-hell territory, but I do think he might have had a hangover or girlfriend troubles or something. Marvin was polite but very slow and didn't seem to know how to access the requisite information. When he asked me "Have you received an estimate? No work can start until you accept the charges." I said, "Oh, no, there will be no charges. I have a 3-year extended warranty."
Marvin and I were on the phone for about 20 minutes, during which time he was finally able to ascertain that yes, I had a 3-year extended warranty so the charges were waived. He told me that he was sure work would begin soon on the unit and that he would send an email to ensure that the process was moving right along.
On Wednesday, I called and spoke to Karl. Now Karl, he was fantastic. In fact, he was perhaps a little too solicitous and cheerful. Karl may have drunk the Kool-aid but he was polite, informative, proactive, and helpful.
Me: Karl, what is wrong with my laptop?
Karl: I'm pulling up this information now. You know, it's really unusual for an MM-20 to have trouble.
Me: Are you trying to be funny?
Karl: No, I'm serious. I've been working here for 5 years and I've only seen maybe 4 MM-20s come back for repair.
Me: If that's the case, my laptop would have been half of your cases. The exact same thing happened last year.
Karl: That's very unusual and I certainly am sorry to hear that. MM-20s have a very good reliablity rating, you've just had a run of bad luck.....So, I can see here that the motherboard is broken and needs to be replaced.
Me: Great. When will that happen?
Karl: The part is on order.Ed. note: See, this is why being nice to customers pays off. Had Karl not been nice, I may have just lost it with this "part is on order" bullshit.
Me: Right, so. Funny thing - that's what I was told last time and it seemed to me like the part was always going to be on order. No one could tell me when this mystery part would arrive.
Karl: Well, it's on order - not back-order. That's probably a good thing.
Me: Last time, the part was on order. It was August - the last time they'd had a shipment of parts of May and they had no date for the shipment of new parts.
Karl: That's terrible. I will package up your old records with these new records and will send out a reminder email, put in a note that you need your hard drive returned in the repaired unit, and will sacrifice a goat to the computer gods.Ed. note: I'm kidding about the goat.
On Thursday, I rang again amd (what are the chances) I got Marvin again. He was in much better form but was still not up to Karl-level. Marvin was able to tell me that yep, the part was on order. I told him my tale of woe and could I please talk to one of the guys at the Sick Laptop Hospital in Romeoville, Illinois because I did not want to go through another round of the never-ending "The Part Is On Order" game.
Marvin gave it his best shot but Laptop Repair Manager (hereafter LRM) was a long phone call. So Marvin gave me what basically amounts to gold - the direct line of LRM. Unfortunately, it's the same LRM as I dealt with last year.
This LRM, he's not only in the seventh-circle of hell, the devil is apparently right there, covering him with honey and fire ants while he tries to work. That's the only reason I can think of that would explain why LRM was a miserable, difficult bastard the last time I had to deal with him.
I didn't bother to leave a message because I know from experience that LRM will not call me back. I rang again today instead and got the man himself.
Me: Marvin in tech support gave me your number and said I should talk to you to find out the status of my laptop repair.
Me: Do you want my case number?
Him: You're the MM-20, right?
Long pause during which I wait for him to give me the status of my laptop repair.
Him: So what do you want then?
Me: I want to know the status of my laptop repair.
Him: The motherboard is broken. We're waiting on a part.
Me: I see. So when are you going to have the part?
Him: I don't know.
Me: Why not?Ed. note: Sounds familiar, right? All together now..
Him: It has to be made in Japan.
Me (thinking that made in Japan sounds like it will take even longer than the unscheduled mystery shipment): I see. So it could be weeks or months, right?
Me: That is not acceptable.
Him: I can't do anything about that. We have no replacement units available. We might get some in next week and if one of those is an MM-20, then we'll give it to you.
Me: So, the motherboard, are you going to know when that might be available?
Him: Yeah, Tuesday.
Me: Alright then, thank you for your time.
This is so not good. I laptop-less now since Peter is in Dingle and he took his Mac laptop to offload photographs. On the 26th of this month, Peter is going to Iceland on a photography expedition for 10 days. And he's taking the Mac with him. Even if the laptop was replaced or repaired on Tuesday or Wednesday, I am still looking at a week at least for the laptop to travel from Illinois to Ohio, get repackaged by my parents and travel from Ohio to Dublin. And that's assuming that customs doesn't get all evil about trying to charge me duty on something that's already mine.
I am left to drag my sorry ass up into the attic to use the clunky desktop (which Peter is going to have to replace soon because it keeps mysteriously rebooting) so I can taunt myself by reading articles like this
and spec out machines like this
. I want a hot spare - now - but that car is going to need service soon. Being a grown-up really sucks.