There is NOTHING that irritates, annoys and drives me into a fury more than
a. things which break 2 days after they arrive in this house, and
b. total and utter incompetence from people on the end of technical support phone lines in foreign parts who do not speak intelligible English.
My older son has bought my younger son a really good laptop for university from DELL (and YES it is in capital letters and I don't care how many things this post triggers - I am not happy) and it arrived in this house on Wednesday evening. He was beyond thrilled with it. So was I because it meant I had more access to this one, and also, I happen to love seeing my child really happy about things. He would have been happy with a basic one. This one had bells and whistles. He deserved it.
It lasted less than 48 hours. Yesterday afternoon, it died. The Dell logo comes up, followed by the black screen of death and a little white cursor in the top corner and that is it. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Deader than dead. So we embarked on the dreaded "let's phone the technical help line in foreign eastern parts". Oh joy. My loathing of foreign help lines is well documented.
I am sure there must be many wizards on the tech line who are good at their job. We got someone who was "a bit of a challenge" - I am being uncharacteristically restrained here - and the first 10 minutes consisted of me yelling "I cannot hear a word you are saying" followed by the " I do not understand a word you are saying" followed by lengthy silences followed by rising blood pressure.
I handed the phone to my son to do the techy things, and after trying many things we had already attempted, he was told to put the driver disc into the laptop. He did. It ate it and refuses to spit it out. When David got up and said the man had told him to get a screw driver to undo the machine and work on the insides, I grabbed the phone and informed him that under no circumstances was he going to do anything of the sort and void our warranty. And that they could send a new computer immediately and remove this obviously faulty and inadequate one.
It took nearly an hour. I asked to speak to a manager and none was forthcoming. That also escalated my ire. I do hope they recorded that call and use it for training purposes. At the same time, Andrew was on my mobile phone saying "do not touch anything with a screw driver" just as I was telling the man. They are sending a technician on Wednesday. I told them to make sure he had a new computer with him, or this one is going back on Wednesday afternoon and we want our money back.
I was exhausted. And David had this look of resignation on his face which breaks my heart. He loved his laptop. He is the kind of kid who never asks for anything, and is always happy with whatever he has, and this was so special for him. He seems to find it hard to believe that good things DO happen to him, and seems to be expecting things to go wrong, and I want things to go well for him. He needs things to be good and exciting and now the joy from receiving this gift has been tarnished with a doubt that it will work, with a worry that he will lose his work. In a way, it doesn't matter if he does get a new one. He will be waiting for the axe to fall. And I hate that even more than all the above.
So the blood pressure got some exercise. It must have been up there somewhere in the stratosphere. I was not serene and content. At. All. Our dealings with Dell have not been good over the years. At one stage the GM of Dell UK in Ireland and I were on first name terms and emailing each other on a daily basis because of the useless piece of plastic rubbish they had sent me. So I have no idea why I am surprised this time. I just keep believing that the next time it will not happen. And it does. And I have just deleted a few choice descriptive words that were not at all family friendly. You may insert your own at this point. Use your imagination.
So now we wait. This is not something I excel at. And when I finally get my own laptop, it will definitely not be a Dell.
Ironically, last night we were going out to celebrate a great week for David with friends. Peter, Glynis and Matt took us out to dinner, after also being appalled at my chocolate cookie celebration. We were picked up just after we ended the call to the helpline, and it is just as well it took some time to get to the restaurant. We did have a great evening though. They are great friends.
And when we got home, the first thing my son did was try to start his laptop again. Nada. Yes. It matters.