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Sunday 25th April 2004
The story so far....
On 9th October 2002, I picked up a new laptop. A nice HewlettPackard ze5185--arguably the most advanced laptop on the planet, at the time. Which was important to me for a couple of reasons: first, I like having big, fast laptops, since I do a lot of rendering in LightWave and I need something with a decent processor, videocard, and so on; second, I'm into conspicuous consumption, so I like people seeing that I've got the best laptop money can buy--or, eventually, could have bought at the time--while I render things and write novels in restaurants.
The ze5185 worked well for all of that. I worked on novels; I worked on CG stuff; I showed off my taste and affluence. Things were good.
With one important exception.
I'd bought the laptop at BestBuy. Because, while talking to the 'droids in their computer department, I was assured that A) they don't work on commission [which is neither here nor there, but I took their word for it], and B) BestBuy have a remarkable Extended Warranty which covers issues above and beyond the shorter manufacturer's warranty, including, for example, according to the salestard who now knew that I write novels in restaurants, quote: 'a waitress spilling coffee on [the laptop]'.
Of course, the ze5185 was too new and expensive to be found in the store, so, instead, I hit BestBuy.com and ordered it for delivery. Eventually, it showed up, but didn't actually work. Luckily, I'd bought the Extended Warranty for about three hundred bucks. Which wasn't really that large a percentage of the $2,099.99 the machine itself had cost, and which protected me against all manner of nightmares in the event anything ever went wrong.
I took the machine into a physical store to have them figure out why it didn't actually work. After a few bad guesses, they came to the decision that it was probably just broken. They grabbed another ze5185 from the back room, now that they actually had the machine in stock, gave it to me, transferred the Extended Warranty over to the new machine, and apologised for the problems. Which was pretty well just what I'd expected, having bought dozens of things for thousands of dollars from BestBuy in the past. Now that I'd finally had any sort of problem with something I'd bought there, I was happy to buy dozens of things for thousands of dollars in the future.
Over the next fourteen months, I did just that. Manufacturers Warranties went extinct on various things, but my BestBuy Extended Warranties remained extant. I predicted no problems at all, lauding BestBuy to anyone asking me where they might find any given device.
Then, on 11th January 2004, my laptop broke.
To this day, I'm not entirely certain what happened to it. I'd been doing little more than surfing the 'net when I went to sleep, leaving the computer on, as always; when I awoke, the screen was black, but for a DOS message reading Operating System Not Found.
I reset the machine, and got the same message. I reset it again, and got even less. The thing was fully blanked, leaving only the HewlettPackard BIOS behind.
I located the CDs which had come with the laptop and tried reinstalling the OS. But the DVRom drive wasn't working. So, I gave up, waited until BestBuy were about to open, and took the laptop off to 13801 East Mississippi Avenue in Aurora, Colorado, to be repaired.
Standing out in front of the store in the cold, I managed to get inside a few minutes before they were supposed to open. Which is always nice. And I got to the Service Counter and explained the problem, which Anna, the tech on duty, confirmed by turning the machine on and trying to get it to do anything of use.
She conceded that the thing was evidently broken, and accepted it under Service Order #00217-752842914 and PSP #1907144466. Since I had the Extended Warranty on the laptop, the Approval Estimate was a reasonable $0.00.
And that was that. BestBuy had my laptop; they'd either get it working, or replace it for me; they'd call me the minute it was repaired. In fact, it would be repaired or replaced on or before 22nd January 2004, according to the promises.
22nd January 2004 came and went. But I had no laptop, and no one had called me. Figuring that BestBuy were probably being slammed on all fronts by the AfterGiftmas lunacy, I gave it a few more days.
On 27th January 2004, nearly a week after I was supposed to have my laptop fixed or replaced, I finally called the store to find out what the problem might be.
The problem, I'm told, is that the repair order is on hold, pending my approval of the installation of a new drive. Apparently, there's something terribly wrong with the old one. However, the damage isn't actually covered by the Extended Warranty, so I'll have to come in and pay for it.
That doesn't make a lot of sense. But, before I have a chance to mention that, something goes wrong and the line goes dead. Whether that means that they hung up on me, or my mobile phone hit a satellite gap, I can't really guess. I take advantage of the downtime, though: on calling back, I set up a different computer to record the call, and leave it to my coffeechick to discuss the new turn of events, since the laptop was actually given over to BestBuy in her name anyway.
We call back, accidentally forgetting to switch on the damned microphone until halfway through the call. But that's okay: we've got Anna on the phone, and she knows that we're recording the conversation. For all it matters; while on hold, the recorded message states that calls may be monitored or recorded for quality control. And we're certainly attempting to control some quality, at this point.
Anna takes us back off hold, having gone off to find something out. And we're back to the issue of paying for a new drive.
The HP ze5185 had a sixty-gigabyte 4200RPM laptop drive, which was pretty cool back in 2002; in 2004, it might be worth all of a hundred bucks. But: the repair estimate would be $358 for parts and labour. And the reason there was a repair estimate at all was that someone had spilled coffee on the drive.
Just like the salesdroid had predicted back when he was recommending the Extended Warranty.
So, was the salestwit lying, or is Anna lying? None of the above: we must be lying. Just what I like to hear from someone asking me for money.
After several minutes of excuses and evasions, Anna pushes us into making a decision. So I do: I'll give her $358 in the event that A) my laptop is fixed, B) my damaged drive is returned to me, and C) objective evidence of this alleged customer abuse is provided. Anna agrees to those conditions, within recorded oral contract, and hurries off the phone before we can record her saying anything else.
Now that I'm suspicious of BestBuy in general, since they never actually called me to tell me that my computer wasn't being fixed unless I gave them $358 to fix it, I start calling them every few days to find out why I still haven't got a laptop. Finally, on 19th February 2004, I get hold of Anna, whose largest concern is whether I'm recording her this time. Unfortunately, I wasn't; I admitted that. Once that was confirmed, she told me that my laptop had just come in a matter of seconds before I called, and she hadn't even looked at it yet; but it must be fixed, since it was in the store. I grab my coffeechick and my coat; we hurry off to get my machine back.
Now we're back in the store. And there's Anna, reminding me that she hasn't even looked at my fixed laptop yet. Let's open the box and see what's going on.
Apart from the coversheet confirming that it was delivered to 13801 East Mississippi Avenue on 11th February 2004, 'just seconds' before I'd called on 19th February 2004, there's my laptop, and some air. My 'replaced' drive is nowhere to be found; my objective evidence of customer abuse is nowhere to be found. I ask about those things.
Anna has no idea where those things might be, if they exist at all. But I've got to make a decision here: I've got to give her $378.71, or my laptop will become property of BestBuy and I'll never see it again. Also, I've got to think fast, because they're about to close and kick us out.
It's not really that difficult a decision, all things considered. We put the $378.71 on MasterCard and abscond with my laptop. On the way to the car, we call MasterCard and dispute the charge, given that we were forced to pay it under duress.
To date, MasterCard are still investigating BestBuy Store #00217 for fraud.
Across the street from Store #00217 is a restaurant. I take the laptop there. Fortunately, I still had the CDs in my laptop case, so I can get the machine working again in a matter of minutes, then get back to accomplishing things.
While reinstalling the OS, and attempting to tell the computer my name, I discover that, for some 'reason', some idiot has stolen my M key and replaced it with a second J key. Also, in the course of attempting to reinstal the OS, something goes terribly wrong: the machine starts beeping incessantly, and the whole process goes awry.
I start over, finally getting the OS reinstalled on the third try.
The beeping, it turns out, is a symptom of the UpArrow key. It's jammed somehow. Not the key itself, but something deeper inside the machine. A mashed wire, probably. But, while I could probably fix that myself, I'm not actually allowed to, according to my Extended Warranty. Unless I want to void the thing. I glance across the street; BestBuy are closed for the night.
I call 1-888-BESTBUY, which does no good until the next day. Finally, I get through to someone at Corporate and explain pretty much everything mentioned above. The guy can't believe his ears; it's all so terrible; Store #00217 must be full of idiots; I should take the laptop to a different BestBuy so they can fix this problem immediately.
Oh, and I was right to dispute the charge for $378.71 with MasterCard. In fact, this guy will go ahead and kill the charge on his end. Everything will be just fine from here on out.
Not that I happened to record that call, either.
Obviously, the guy never cancelled the charge on BestBuy's end. But I ran with his recommendation, taking the laptop to Store #00211 at 4100 East Mexico Boulevard in Denver on 20th February 2004. They can't believe their ears either. What a tragedy. Everything will be just fine just as soon as I give them my laptop. They even make a special note of the idiocy at Store #00217: 'This unit was in for COD service from store 217. Service was done without estimate/authorization [sic]. When returned, the number keys were left partially disconnected. Also, one of the keys (M) was replaced with a B [sic] key. Also left'
The notes end there; apparently, the maximum number of characters allowed falls short of the minimum number required to make decent notes.
But, they accept the laptop under Service Order #00211-756831376, and promise to have it back to me by 2nd March 2004.
Of course, they'll call me to tell me if it gets back early.
Naturally, 2nd March 2004 comes and goes without a word from BestBuy. I call every few days, mostly to learn how amazingly rude and presumptuous I am for calling to see whether my laptop happens to be on the planet. Finally, on 17th March 2004, they tell me that my laptop 'just came in', so I can go pick it up, now that it's all fixed.
Of course, it's not all fixed. I take it back on 19th March 2004. Service Order #00211-759471858 lists the Symptoms as: 'The up arrow key sticks and keeps trying to scroll up constantly whether you push the key or not, many times beeping over and over at boot. Right after you power the unit on it shows a media drive failure to check the cable. Repair needs to be'
And, we run out of room again. Anyway: on the record, I'll have my laptop back, working perfectly, on or before 30th March 2004; off the record, if I haven't got a call by then, I'll have conclusive proof that BestBuy are a company of fraudulent plebeians.
On 3rd April 2004, I call the fraudulent plebeians to find out why I don't have a laptop. Someone who speaks almost no English [I suspect, now that I know a few more things, that it was Aziz] tells me that they haven't got it either. But, I can hit ups.com and track it through UPS Tracking Number 1Z9088583511440633. In case I happen to have a computer, or something.
On 5th April, I finally get round to hitting ups.com. My laptop was officially delivered to BestBuy at 10.25am on 29th March 2004, and signed for by 'THADEN'. Technically, had the fraudulent plebeians called me on 29th March, or even told me the truth on 3rd April when I called them, I'd have had a laptop already.
I call BestBuy to tell them that I know they have my laptop. The guy on the phone confirms that they 'just got it in, a couple of minutes ago'. I tell the guy: 'Yeah; I'm looking at the UPS logue; you've had it for a week' and I head off to the store to get my damned machine.
By the time I get there, whatever idiot had told me that my laptop had only gotten there 'a couple of minutes' before I'd called has fled without leaving a forwarding address. Instead, I talk to Levi in Repairs, who makes some sense. In fact, he confirms that, since this was the third time my laptop was in for repairs, and if it's still broken, they'll just give up on the thing and give me a new one.
On 7th April 2004, I'm back at BestBuy with a broken laptop. The UpArrow thing is fixed; the media drive failure message is gone. But, now the soundcard and network port have stopped working, and the left mouse button doesn't really do much. So, having had it fixed three times already, I get a new laptop. Unfortunately, the way BestBuy work, they have to confirm that my laptop is actually still broken before giving me a new one. So, Levi takes it in under Service Order #00211-761197986, listing the symptoms as 'Unit has been fixed 3 times already with all hardware fixes. Unit was just sent to service and now the sound does not work and the left mouse click does not work very well. The network card also quit working. NO-LEMON. L.S.'
What happens now, Levi tells me, is that they send the laptop across town to the Service Centre to be analysed. It'll take a day or two to get there, then they should have it looked over by the day after that. Worst case, according to the Promise Date on this Service Order, everything'll be figured out in the next eleven days, by 18th April 2004. Of course, they'll call me long before then to tell me to come in to get a new laptop. But, realistically, I should get a call by, say, 11th April 2004, by which time the Service Centre will have got the machine, looked at the machine, and given up on the machine.
On 9th April 2004, I call in to see what might be going on. Very little of use.
On 13th April 2004, I get tired of waiting on my new laptop, and call back to find out what the problem might be this time.
Levi has no idea, and sounds genuinely perplexed to learn that no one's called me yet. He tells me to call the Service Centre directly, and to talk to Scott, who's pretty much in charge over there and will fix everything instantly.
I call the Service Centre at 303-340-5800 and ask for Scott. Eventually, I get hold of him, just long enough to give him my latest Service Order. In one fluid motion, he tells me he'll transfer me to the right department and dumps me back onto hold. I end up back at the switchboard, where Julia takes the Service Order Number and transfers me to the technician working on my laptop.
Now, I'm sitting on interminable hold, wondering why in hell a technician is working on my laptop for the fourth time. Finally, I get through to Ed, who has a handy answer: he's working on it for the third time.
See, the first time, they had to replace a drive. That's actually not the problem, as you might guess; while no one can actually prove that they ever replaced my drive, they're running under the assumption that someone did, or I'd never have given them $378.71 for extorting me. The next time, when they gave me back my M key, though, they failed to fix the UpArrow thing. The third repair, in which they fixed my media drive failure, they also fixed my UpArrow problem. So, you see, that counts as a do-over.
Ed's words. A do-over. Who knew that contractual law allowed for do-overs....
Anyway: now that they're fixing the soundcard and the networking and the PalmRest Assembly [the left mouse button not working], this is, in fact, the third repair. At least according to Ed the repairtard who secretly has a PhD in law.
I'm not real surprised anymore. I recorded the conversation. At the very least, Ed proves to be good for some laughs.
On 21st April 2004, I call back again; this time, following the terroristic 'ANSWER ME!', there's some potentially useful information about my laptop being broken for the fourth time, and my sudden right to upgrade to a modern machine.
At 8.49pm on 22nd April 2004, eleven minutes before they closed for the night, someone from BestBuy called my coffeechick. She didn't manage to answer the phone, so he left a message mentioning that my laptop was dead. What I should do now is show up at the store, and bring along my original receipt so they can ascertain the price I'd paid for the machine, and give me that back in Store Credit.
This, of course, is good news. Sure, it's been four days since Service Order #00211-761197986 promised I'd have a new laptop, and nine days since I'd heard from Ed that I wouldn't, and eleven days since Levi told me they'd have everything cleared up, and fifteen days since I'd last seen my laptop, and 102 days since I'd last used my laptop, but: now I can go in with my original receipt so I can get $2,099.99 in Store Credit.
Like, if I get there within eleven minutes after the guy called. Which doesn't work out since I first hear about it around ten that night.
So, I hit BestBuy.com, armed with this new information. As it happens, they've got a pretty good laptop for precisely $2,099.99. The HewlettPackard zd7160us. It's good enough to satisfy my conspicuous consumption requirements. It's not quite as good as the zd7180us for $2,699.99, but it's better than, say, the zd7140us. Obviously, I'm not going to get enough in Store Credit to get the zd7180us for $2,699.99; and I'm not going to spend another cent at BestBuy; and, since the zd7180us can only be purchased through BestBuy.com, where they probably don't take Store Credit anyway, that settles that. I'll just trade across for the zd7160us. I can live with that.
The next day, I get over to BestBuy #211 to pick up my new zd7160us. The only problem now is that...well, I'll save myself a lot of typing, and just grab the contents of the What's New from gremlin.net for 23rd April 2004:
One of those days
Friday 23rd April 2004
Ten at night. And I'm tired. This is why.
Well, there's the obvious: I woke up about twenty-four hours ago. Which is largely meaningless. On average, I stay awake for about thirty-six hours at a time, sleep for up to six, and do it all over again. Of course, since 'up to six' isn't real precise, I can never quite guess whether I'm gonna be awake at any specific minute of the day three days from now. It's just how things work; I'm used to it.
Today was a little different. Today was exhausting enough that I'm nearly tired enough to sleep after only twenty-four hours. So, let's talk a little about that.
Around ten last night, I woke up. We've covered that. Then I played with various things for a while, until Hunter woke up sometime after dawn. I already knew I had plans for today: as of Wednesday, Pavlov, or whatever the retarded guy's name was at JestBuy, had assured me, in that special Downs Syndrome way, that, by Friday--today--I'd have a new laptop. Good. So, I'm intending to call these twits around, say, eleven so I can hear all about how they've changed their minds again, or lost some paperwork, or forgotten what planet they're on, or whatever excuse they might be able to dream up for me.
It never quite happened.
Somehow, the stars aligned just right; Deimos and Phobos were in Uranus, and someone at JestBuy ACTUALLY CALLED ME.
Okay, so he didn't actually call me. But, he ACTUALLY CALLED HUNTER.
At 8.49pm. Eleven minutes before they closed.
The message? We got the authorisation. Drop in with my original receipt [of which animals none exist, since I got the laptop at BestBuy.com] so they can ascertain what I paid for it, so they'll know what to give me in Store Credit.
Naturally, upon hearing this once Hunter had got up, time became quickly short. Rapidly, I put on my jumpboots. Hurriedly, I grabbed my fedora. Precipitously, I donned by trenchcoat. Belatedly, I discovered that my car was under a metre of snow again. So, there was a slight delay.
Eventually, we got the snow off the car. Fervently, we averaged seventeen miles an hour getting to Colorado and Interstate Twenty-five. Receiptedly, we dashed inside. Sovietly, we waited in line until Sol burned out.
Then, we encountered Aziz. That was what his nametag read. Kinda like, say, a JestBuy Fucking Warranty.
Yes, you can now visualise the old Electric Company cartoon short about the used car: 'As is...as is...as is...[clunk]...I want it as was'. Don't we all.
Which is why I recommend avoiding the living hell outta JestBuy. Well, that, and a few other reasons. Like these.
Aziz is naturally a bit perplexed, being a dumb fucking idiot whose entire catalogue of English is...well, I'll let you guess from the conversation....
I'm here, at JestBuy, to grab my Store Credit, so I can buy a new laptop. Understand, at this point, that I'm talking literally about nothing more than the amount of cash I spent on the machine in the first place. Which, incidentally, turned out to be less than I'd thought. I'm used to spending three thousand bucks every time I buy a laptop [unless you count that Toshiba 80286 I got, wholesale, in 1992 for a mere US$7,999.99; those were the days]; this one, since science marches on, was slightly less.
So. Here I am at JestBuy to get, as promised, Store Credit for a new machine. Or whatever. I might even blow the money on a couple hundred DVDs and go get a computer from CircuitPity, where they gave me Store Credit for the price of my broken Sony FX210, the Extended Warranty itself, the sales tax, and so on. In that case, of course, laptops had dropped in price rapidly enough that I wound up spending only half the money on what became Hunter's laptop; the rest I just kinda spent; in the end, I was buying CDRs and reams of printer paper, just to use up the last few bucks.
But that was CircuitPity. Which is meaningless. Cos I'm at Fucking JestBuy.
Aziz is having problems with this concept. Largely because, even though I've got recordings of JestBuy Representatives promising me Store Credit [along with various other things no one ever gave me, of course], it's a matter of JestBuy Policy that, in returning a broken laptop, even after the fourth repair out of three, and even after Three and a Half Fucking Months without a laptop, they simply trade machines across based on the Comparable Technology.
Lemee repeat that: Comparable Technology.
In case you missed it: Comparable Technology.
Has this phrase got any particular meaning to anyone? Not on its own. But, it is one of the two English phrases known by Aziz.
You'll encounter the other phrase in a few paragraphs.
Store Credit for $2099,99--the cost, it turns out, of my old laptop--could conceivably purchase a computer, in this day and age, of, say, Incomparable Technology. And that would suck. Lots and lots. Imagine: me getting a slightly better machine after having been forced on hold for Three and a Half Fucking Months while JestBuy failed to fix my laptop four tries out of three.
Comparable Technology. We don't even know why I had to bring in the 'original receipt', given that they never cared what I paid for the machine in the first place. Because they've got to trade me for Comparable Technology.
So, Aziz is a fucking idiot. It's what we've come to expect from JestBuy. Dumb luck I happened to go in on Levi's day off. Which is an optimistic presumption on my part; more likely, JestBuy sacked him for failing to be a Fucking Idiot.
So, we go off to look at laptops. I'd already hit BestBuy.com to look at replacement laptops. I found three HewlettPackards I didn't hate. The ZD7140US [$1849.99], the ZD7160US [$2099.99] and, on the outside, the ZD7180US [$2699.99]. I printed each one out [incidentally violating the BestBuy.com EULA, which states...and lemee go copypaste this one verbatim, lest anyone think I'm exaggerating.
According to http://www.bestbuy.com/site...287#rightdownload:
Right to Download
You may only download Content displayed on the Best Buy Web site for non-commercial, personal use provided you also retain all copyright, trademark and other proprietary notices contained in the material, do not modify or alter the material and do not copy or post the material on any network computer or broadcast the material in any media. It is strictly prohibited to modify, transmit, distribute, reuse, repost, "frame" or use the content of the Best Buy Web site including the text, images, audio and/or video for public or commercial purposes without written permission from an authorized representative of Best Buy. It is strictly prohibited to download the images of the products for sale within this site.
Okay, so my formatting is cleaner; but that's what their site says.
Now, given that I don't happen to retain all copyright, trademark, and other proprietary notices, since those are all owned by HewlettPackard, I was evidently not actually allowed to print this shit out. Just a heads up for anyone thinking about printing, screenshooting, downloading [as in, say, to Exploder's cache], or accidentally reading and learning from BestBuy.com in any way whatsoever. That would be bad.
Anyway: I did it. And I'd do it again. In fact, I just did do it again. I'm incorrigible. You'll never take me alive.
So. Having violated JestBuy's EULA by visiting their website, I printed out these three different files to compare features betwixt them. This was actually before I learned that my laptop had, by coincidence, cost exactly $2,099.99--the exact price of the ZD7160US.
Then, I found that out, crossreferenced it against the matter of record that I'd be given Store Credit in the amount of the total of my laptop--$2,099.99, and worked out without much issue that I could trade straight across for the ZD7160US, based on all information to date.
All information to date, of course, didn't yet include Comparable Technology. Which I'm now hearing about. To no end.
Also, as well, and in addition to Comparable Technology, Aziz notices, curiously enough, that the ZD71x0US models are Widescreen.
Not Widescreened. Widescreen. Noun. Aziz knows the terms Comparable Technology and Widescreen. And that's about it. He doesn't know the term The Customer Is Always Right, or the term Bait and Switch Fraud, or, apparently, the term INS. Just Comparable Technology and Widescreen. So I'm having nothing but fun....
Aziz trots off to discuss the matter of my promised Store Credit with 'the manager'. And he returns. And, in addition to Comparable Technology and Widescreen, he's learned, essentially, the word No.
No, the manager won't go for upholding the oral contract. Instead, I should just take, oh...here's a good model: the cheapest fucking laptop in the store. 7Eleven have better machines.
I sway not. Aziz trots away for a second time.
He returns. He hasn't learned Yes yet.
I remind him that half the reason I bought the best laptop on the market in the first place was for the conspicuous consumption. To 'replace' it with the 'comparable technology' of something an abacus can make fun of fails to replace the general notoriety of having a decent machine.
Aziz trots off. Aziz returns. No.
At this point, we start discussing the possibility of talking to this phantasmagoric manager of his, since, so far, Aziz has claimed to have gone off to talk to him three different times, and returned with no new information. Aziz ponders that for a percentage of his life, and goes off to get this guy for us.
It was instantly evident why, exactly, the manager had avoided the situation altogether. This requires a quick bit of information which might not be globally known yet.
I happen to be about six five. Which is to say that I'm about six five when I wake up, and closer to six four when I finally pass out every couple of days. Add a pair of jumpboots, and I'm over six and a half feet tall. Just a quick matter of fact.
Hunter is five and half feet tall. On a good day. When gravity is lazy. So there's a measurable difference between our heights. From across a room.
By whatever percentage I happen to dwarf Hunter, she similarly dwarfed this manager.
I'm using 'dwarf' here as a verb. I don't think the guy was technically a midget. It's just that my dick is bigger than he was.
Now: some of you know Hunter. Or of Hunter. By whatever rumour. Hunter's personality is a scary, scary animal. And, the only reason people ever recover from it is that she's the height of Ronnie James Dio.
This manager, though...he never had a fucking chance.
So. Now that he's here, I'm effectively out of the conversation. This is the exact conversation as I observed it....
HUNTER: I don't want Comparable Technology. In fact, I don't even want Store Credit. I want cash. The laptop was $2099.99; I want $2099.99.
MIDGET: Okay, but...we don't exchange laptops based on price. Because a laptop today for $2099.99 would be better than a laptop back then for $2099.99. Am I right?
HUNTER: No. You're not right. Because $2099.99 today is worth less than $2099.99 then. I want the $2099.99 to spend on a laptop. Preferably in cash, so I can buy a laptop at a good store.
LEPRECHAUN: Okay, but we don't give out Store Credit. We exchange laptops based on Comparable Technology. So we can't give you cash, because that could buy new technology.
HUNTER: [produces receipt brought along on demand] Look: Muh-nee. I already explained this very simply. Muh-nee.
GOBLIN: And I already explained that we don't give out money. We trade for Comparable Technology.
TROLL: Yeah, but--
HUNTER: No; look here; the paper. Muh. Nee. Like this. With the numbers in it.
GREMLIN: Okay, I get it--
Oh. Uh, GREMLIN isn't GREMLIN as in, like, a small, mythical animal; GREMLIN is GREMLIN as in, like, me. A tall, scary animal.
Anyway: 'Okay, I get it,' I say, 'The guy I recorded telling me you'd give me store credit simply lied to me. That's not surprising; you idiots have been lying to me for a hundred and four days now. I'll deal with the fraud separately; for now, I need a laptop.'
This, strangely, gets the guy's attention. 'Someone from BestBuy promised you that? Did you get his name?'
'I got some of their names,' I say.
'We've recorded most of these frauds promising us things,' Hunter adds, 'The latest guy's in there.'
They're all on the website,' I mention. Although, the manager doesn't fully grok what that might mean. Another poor bastard who hasn't heard of JestBuy.com. Yet.
The manager gives Aziz a dedicated nod, which has no obvious meaning at all; then he splits; he has Lucky Charms to protect.
Aziz has lost the ability to tell me that a given laptop is Widescreen[ed]. He's still all about Comparable Technology; but he's pretty well conceded that I'm getting a fucking widescreened laptop now.
Here again, the three loosely-available models are the ZD7140US, the ZD7160US, and the ZD7180US. Although the ZD7180US is actually available only online, since no one with twenty-seven hundred bucks to spend on a laptop in 2004 actually goes near BestBuy for anything. But: in the event a biblical seal is opened, BestBuy.com can get a ZD7180US from hp.com and add a few hundred bucks to the price for you.
That effectively leaves the ZD7060US, costing precisely what my ZE5185 happened to cost, to the penny, and the ZD7140US, costing a few hundred bucks less. This is important to understand.
I can't, you see, have, in fact, the ZD7160US. Because that might make me happy. It might even get me to think wow...was I ever wrong about JestBuy...all these months thinking they sucked, when, in fact, they came through at the last minute and effectively just gave me my money back...what a great place....
Two reasons that never happened.
First, I wound up with the ZD7140US. Which is essentially a 3GHz seventeen-inch widescreened version of the ZE5185 I haven't got anymore.
Second, I wound up with the ZD7140US. Which is essentially a 3GHz seventeen-inch widescreened version of the ZE5185 I haven't got anymore.
Before you wonder whether you really just read the same sentence twice, realise that you're not getting the varying inflexions.
I've now got a ZD7140US. And that's great. It's a laptop; it does what I need a laptop to do; it's cool.
I've now got an outstanding loss of $378.71, extorted by JestBuy, who allegedly replaced the ZE5185's harddrive, without supplying the promised evidence of its replacement, or the promised evidence of customer abuse, which has purchased for me a harddrive which may or may not be any newer than the rest of the laptop in fact, and which is no longer in my possession.
That is to say that: JestBuy still owe me $378.71 for a drive I paid to have replaced, under duress, while ending up with exactly zero out of two drives rumoured to exist somewhere in the universe.
Which means that, now, instead of merely $2,099.99 for the ZE5185, I'm up to $2,478.70 for the ZE5185. And that's just in money I've literally spent.
That doesn't count the money lost while having no laptops for 104 days, two hours, and fifty nine minutes, between 9am Sunday 11th January 2004, when I gave them my laptop the first time [it was actually slightly before nine; I managed to get in there around 8.45 somehow; but the numbers round out better if I call it nine], and 11.59am Friday 23rd April 2004 [which I'll go ahead and round off to noon, since it leaves me fourteen missing minutes in their favour]. So. Let's talk math.
I already adjusted for the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, dropping the 104/3.59 to 104/2.59 when we lost an hour. So, let's call this 104 days and three hours. Which is, of course, 2,499 hours without a laptop.
Update: In a quick shortcut on the math, I glanced at the timer at JestBuy.com to get the 104 days. Of course, the timer is a CSI, so it took the word of the new laptop regarding the date, which it shouldn't have done, since the laptop apparently thought it was somewhere in Australia at the time. I've since fixed the date here on the laptop, revising the 104 days to 103. So, technically, instead of 2,499 hours without a laptop, I went only 2,475. Just in case that makes things sound any less idiotic somehow....
Given that I sleep about twenty-five percent of the time...well, let's be a little forgiving there, as well; it's the least I can do after all the kindness these dumb fucking criminals have shown me. We'll push beyond twenty-five percent. We'll remove, say, six hundred hours from the twenty-four hundred--twenty-five percent--and drop those mathematically-upsetting ninety-nine hours into, like, taking baths.
Leaving eighteen hundred hours. Approximately all of which, had I had a laptop all this time, I'd have been working. Anyone who's ever so much as heard of me is well aware that I can work for eighteen hundred hours in a hundred and four days; but only if I have a laptop I can lurk in restaurants with.
While working, I make $150 an hour. Which isn't entirely true, of course. Half the time, I double that. Consulting rates. Or, if you prefer: hazard pay for dealing with utter fucking morons. But, just in case I'm forgetting that I'm not actually touching any keys on the laptop while driving [usually, I'm juggling a phone, a cigarette, a soda, a stickshift, a steeringwheel, a clutch, a brake, and an accelerator--not necessarily in that order], let's run a special, just for this promotion: let's suppose that, instead of $150-$300 per hour over the last 1,800 laptopless hours, I was actually only pulling in a hundred flat per hour.
Now for the math. $100*1800=$180,000.
So. Let's be sure to welsh out of a twenty-one-hundred-dollar machine, after charging me $2,478.70 for my ZE5185, by handing out--against all precedented policybending at JestBuy--a laptop selling for $1,849.99.
It is, you know. I doublechecked BestBuy.com. And I saved it for you....
Of course, I'm probably not supposed to download that, or look at it, or screenshoot it, or upload it, or publish it, according to the BestBuy.com Right to Download policy. But, it's okay, actually. See, I'm not just reading and downloading and screenshooting and uploading and exposing this on a whim.
I'm reporting a fucking crime.
A what? A crime? JestBuy? Conclusive criminals? The hell you say!
The hell I do not. Exhibit B:
See? Not that they actually give a damn what I paid for my laptop in the first place. Well, until they arbitrarily mark up the price of a ZD7140US to duplicate that of a ZD7160US, to use up every last exact penny I'd given them for the machine I'd bought and used before they failed to fix it four times out of three.
So. It ain't over yet. It's just gone mobile.
I've got a laptop again. Which means that, now, I can develop JestBuy.com in restaurants, where I can think.
At least, until or unless JestBuy give me a good reason to stop doing that. At which point I will. Precisely 2,499 hours after I'm satisfied.
So, there's the story so far. After two thousand, four hundred and seventy-five hours of downtime, I finally got a laptop which I could have got in a day or two, had I had a laptop at the time, and been able to do things on my laptop which would have paid me the price of a laptop within a day or two. Not that its about the money, per se. Really, it's about the fraud, and the lies, and the insults, and...really, it's about JestBuy. These guys suck. Store #00217 suck; Store #00211 suck; the Service Centre suck; 1-888-BESTBUY suck; BestBuy.com suck. The company suck.
So: that's why I registered and wrote JestBuy.com. To let you, the visitor, know that these people suck. Based on approximately random testing of a number of BestBuy properties.
And, of course, this is only the beginning. Next, I'll throw together a messageboard to allow visitors to add their own anecdotes. Based on some of the things I've discovered online already, there should be some interesting tales to be told.
Lemee predict a couple of Frequently Asked Questions real quick....
- Why bother with JestBuy.com, if there are already a number of AntiBestBuy sites online?
Because I can. And, actually, because I'd registered JestBuy.com and begun developing it before it occurred to me to see whether any other such sites already existed. And, furthermore, it's not like we AntiBestBuy sites are exactly competitors; this is a nonprofit endeavour, existing merely to warn potential customers about BestBuy's suction; whether you learn about BestBuy here, or at BestBuySux.org, or wherever...It's the warning, not he who admonishes it.
- Why 'JestBuy.com'?
Why not. It rhymes; it describes, and it works better than MessedBuy.com, StressedBuy.com, and so on. It sounded funny and accurate, so I ran with it.
- How does JestBuy.com fix the problems which led to it?
It probably doesn't. I doubt I'll ever get BestBuy to concede that they suck, lie, defraud, et cetera. I doubt they'll ever cancel the MasterCard charge of $378.71 on their end, or give me the evidence and drives they promised me. It's not about restitution; it's about warning people ahead of time.
- Surely you don't think that all BestBuy stores suck as much as those you've encountered, do you?
I don't know whether they all suck, and I don't really care. I do know, from personal experience, that two physical locations in the same town suck, that the Service Centre in the same town suck, that the corporate offices at 1-888-BESTBUY suck, and that BestBuy.com suck. Whether a given store near you suck is something I can't predict. So: better safe than sorry. And caveat emptor. And stuff.
- What would it take to get BestBuy back on your good side?
At this point, I honestly don't know. Obviously, I wouldn't mind having them cancel their extortion charge on their end, sacking a few people who have provably lied to me, generally acting as though the customer were always right, and so on. But that's actually not enough. And, since I can't reasonably expect BestBuy to give me back my 2,475 hours...I really can't answer the question. If they make me a reasonable offer, I guess I'll consider it.
- Do you really think that the existence of JestBuy.com is going to do any real damage to BestBuy?
Actually, yes. Already, a number of people, having seen this site develop over the last few months, have sworn to avoid BestBuy in the future. I've had BestBuy employees EMail me to tell me I'm doing the right thing, and that they're in the process of quitting because BestBuy suck so utterly. I don't quite expect to drive BestBuy into bankruptcy with this site, but I've already cost them far more than they'd ever have spent and written off as a business expense, had they simply done their jobs in the first place.
- Don't you think you're overreacting a bit?
Nope. Given that I've spent well over thirty thousand bucks at BestBuy just this century, up to and ending with the $378.71 I gave them under duress this year...to have singlehandedly covered the annual salary of a given BestBuy employee per year for two years, and then to have run into this level of suction...I don't think I'm overreacting at all. I think I'm underreacting. And so do the majority of people who hear about this. Lawyers to laymen urge me to sue, to alert the FBI, and, in cases, to blow these people up. I'll settle for doing what I can to prevent anyone else from encountering the same suction. I've already wasted enough time dealing with these idiots directly.
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