Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bad tech mojo

This is the final installment in the sorry story of my attempt to purchase a hulking new desktop PC (aka: The Hulk), to help me with my budding photography business.

If you're new to the Ranty Pants world, you may want to check out this post first and then this post, just to get up to date. Or, not. It was bad enough to go through this technology hell, without having to read about it.

Sooo... leading off from waiting for the replacement graphics card; let me make this as painless as possible for you.

It arrived on time.


It made no difference.

(Sorry, Mum. Some things just call for expletives.)

So, I called HP back again. They made the genius assessment that it wasn't the graphics card that was faulty (ahem) and that the PC had to be returned. No kidding. BUT... I bought it from Amazon.com so it was out of their hands.

On to Amazon.com. They have a very nice user interface for establishing eligibility of your order for refund/replacement and to help you instantly request a return. Thanks, Amazon. Used it and got an instant confirmation that they would be picking up the defective desktop the next day. However the email mentioned nothing about the replacement PC.

So onto Amazon Live Chat support. Very nice customer service there, by the way, Amazon scoring 10/10 so far. Lady was very apologetic, said that she couldn't see the replacement order in the system and would place it for me there and then while I waited AND would even have it shipped overnight. Wow. Seriously? Without me asking? Knock me down dead with a feather!

I was a bit worried, however, that there would be a duplicate order. She assured me there would not be. I copied the contents of my chat panel into a Word doc and saved it, trusting soul that I am.

This was yesterday. And so we're at today.

The PC arrived first thing this morning by FedEx. (If it was possible for Amazon to get an 11/10, they would have it.) Kewl beans. Then the UPS truck arrived in the afternoon to pick up the return. More beans. Except... they also had a replacement desktop to deliver. Umm... HELLO!? Am I not psychic? (Alright, maybe the word I was looking for was psychotic.) Of course, I turned that one away, pointing to the newly delivered desktop sitting just feet away. Once you sign for those things, you're responsible for returning them and I don't have time to go through all this again.

I'm hoping (praying) that there will not be another story to tell about how I got charged twice or something for these orders.

Excited, however, I decide to spend my lunch hooking up the *new* new Hulk to the monitor. Big smiles. Lots of expectations. Turn it on and... NOTHING. That's right. Not a sausage. Still no picture. WTF!? Monitor still reads "No Signal" (although, again, having the right inputs and working fine with my laptop.)

At this point I could only conclude that either:

  1. HP REALLY DOES suck and is shipping one dud desktop after another (not likely, no matter how much I hate them right now.)
  2. OR it's the monitor that is somehow not compatible, despite having all the right specs on paper. 
Since the simplest explanation is usually the best, I went with two and immediately moved into action. Obviously, I needed to suck it up and buy a new monitor. Spend $200 to take advantage $800 and all that. (Yeah, I know, GULP.) I had a return for Fry's electronics and decided to bite the bullet that lunchtime, by a new damn monitor and end this whole sorry story then and there.

With purpose and fast feet (because, you know, this is my lunch time and I DO HAVE a job other than being my own tech support department) I waltzed into Fry's and all-but launch myself at the salesman. 

"I need a good quality monitor for under $200; the best specs at that price, no preference on brand, and I need to get out of here as soon as possible," I say. 

I mean, am I NOT the dream customer or what? I have announced my immediate intention to buy, I've shared my goals and my price limit, all the guy has to do is find it and put it in my cart. If I could get prospects like this every day at work, I would HAVE my own tech support department.

Initially the sales guy was helpful, leading me to a wall of monitors of dizzying proportions and immediately up-selling me to an LED LCD from a plain-ole LCD. He recommended one in particular, showed me it in action on my actual desktop, and then set off to grab it from inventory. In the meantime, I found another monitor, same specs, for $20 less. So, when I came back I asked him why I he hadn't recommended the cheaper one. He was apparently grateful for my research because the initial one wasn't in stock. So off he went again to check on the cheaper one. Not in stock. So I agreed to go up $40 in price. Not in stock. Then I went to an inferior brand. Not in stock. Repeat.

Five displayed monitors later and I had single-handedly established that they did not have an LED monitor under $200 in stock. Nuttin' 

Of course, I was now PISSED. And if you've ever seen me really pissed, it's not pretty. It doesn't happen very often, funnily enough - despite being passionate and feisty, I rarely lose my temper - but when it happens it is an unstoppable tornado of wrath and destruction. In this instance, I was dealing with more than a week of technology issues, almost $1,000 spent and more in the works, time out of my day(s), my life, and still no benefit. I just wanted it to be over and I had SO pinned my hopes on grabbing a simple thing like a monitor and heading home to start up my new computer, putting this all behind me.

And so there were choice words to the hapless salesman and a stop by the Manager on the way out to let them know just what kind of establishment they were running. As I walked through the exit, a representative said "Thank you! Have a nice day!" and I stopped in my tracks, turned heel and gave him an icy "YOU MUST BE KIDDING!" stare. If looks could kill, I'd be in jail for second degree murder right now. Ahem.

On the way home, stewing about my lost hour, I saw the Target sign and did an impromptu, quick u-turn. TARGET! Why didn't I think of that!? Target has everything, right? I would stop at Target, find my monitor at a decent price and turn this day around. Yes sireee. Things were looking up.

Again, run into Target with same sense of purpose and determination only to find that.... Target sells precisely 3 different monitor models, none larger than 20" and all of which are inferior brands.

STRIKE 2. (Or at this point, maybe we should just call it game over.)

Now I was forced to abandon my monitor search, since I had to get back to my desk.

Sitting at my desk in my office, however, I happened to look up and see the Dell LCD TV that my mother bought me several years ago. On impulse, I got up and looked behind it to see what kinds of inputs it had. Low and behold it had a DVI socket which meant... you guessed it... it should work with the desktop!

My heart raced. Would THIS WORK? Would this be the answer to my problems?

And then I realized: I don't have a DVI cable. 

FUUUUUUCK! (Again, sorry Mum and to anyone else who is offended. No other word had the gravitas.)

Fortunately, Hubby came to my rescue here, likely because he foresaw some kind of implosion this evening if I couldn't get this whole situation put to bed. He went to Best Buy and brought home the appropriate cable. My little White Knight.

This evening, after we put Daisy to bed, we unhooked the LCD TV from my office, hooked the desktop to it with the new DVI cable and... HEY PRESTO, there was the start-up screen.

Now, if you've been following along from the beginning, a very sad irony may already have occurred to you. If not, let me spell it out for you clearly:
  1. This likely means that the first desktop was not faulty.
  2. So all this time I had another usable "monitor"sitting upstairs in my office...
  3. ... and a perfectly operational new desktop PC sitting idle on my dining room table for a week.
Which means all of this was for nothing. All my time, all the Live Chats, the phone calls, the cable switcheroo, the replacement parts, the returns, the duplicate replacement orders... all unneeded.

I ordered a new monitor anyway, since the LCD TV is only 17" and I like to have it in my office as a TV. 

And how is The Hulk after all this build up? So far meeting expectations. Instantaneous start-up and connection to the internet, fast loading of my two most important programs, and a lovely keyboard that feels good under my fingers.

For now, the drama is behind me. It made good blog posts but that's just about all that was good about it.

Now off to have that third glass of wine.


Meghan said...

That's insane that Fry's didn't have a monitor that met your criteria! I really wish I didn't have my head in a hole last week and read your posts as they came instead of last night, as we could have helped you figure out the problem.

MsRantyPants Herself said...

That'll teach you not to read my blogs. ;o) Just kidding. It's the thought that counts.

e said...

Ack! I was going to suggest Best Buy next, they've never let me down, but you fixed the problem so yay! All is well. Can't wait to see more pictures now that you're up and running.

Team Flores said...

I HATE Frys...sorry that you had to experience that nonsense, too. Hope you have a fun weekend with the Hulk and it puts a BIG smile on your face!

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