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Thursday, January 27
Took care of the #1 stressor of January. Yay. Then I finally got through to Microcenter after the sort of runaround that makes for near unto slapstick comedy when you're not the one doing it, and (in my case) even when you are the one.

(Back in 1994, one of the books I was reading mentioned the concept of 'sacred clown'. The concept clicked into a place in my brain that I hadn't until then realized would exist. It encompasses both the shaking-up-the-Establishment that apparently I'm a little too fond of, and also the finding-the-humorous-angle-in-nearly-anything. If I'm not describing even the oh-my-god-why-is-this-happening-to-me parts of my life in hilarious terms, there's something very wrong and I need to get my head whacked around by a licensed Alpha Operator.)

Fortunately the runaround was approaching hilarious proportions for me. Timeline on the meta-problem:
  • ~ April 2009: Asus Eee 900HD, "Disaster Area", purchased from Best Buy.
  • ~ February 2010: Disaster Area fails to boot. Diagnosis: busted RAM, busted HD; not covered under warranty.
  • Late October 2010: dogsitting windfall, time for a new netbook. Asus Eee 1000H, "ShadowSpark", purchased from Microcenter, with repair plan.
  • November 1-30: NaNoWriMo, writing sprint challenge: 0-50,000 words in 30 days
  • Mid-November 2010: ShadowSpark starts arbitrarily rebooting. DURING NANO. THIS IS NOT GOOD.
  • I email MicroCenter techs giving the symptoms and asking for help.
  • ~ A few days later: They email back with troubleshooting suggestions, and say I should bring it in for repair.
  • I test (yes, it happens without the battery in as well, just from wall power).
  • December 2, 2010: ShadowSpark taken to MicroCenter for repair. (See hilarious story involving me and Caltrain.)
  • ~ a week later: call from MicroCenter tech saying that they have duplicated the problem, but not diagnosed; they were still working on it and it might take a while longer. I assented.
  • December 13, 2010: The Google Cr-48, "George", comes into my life. I tote George everywhere that requires a portable computer.
  • Early January 2011: I realize that I have not heard from MicroCenter for a while.
  • I call Microcenter. Their phone system is being eaten by weasels.
  • I call Microcenter. I get through and leave a message asking for a callback with the status of my computer.
  • I call Microcenter. I get a real human being, who does not have information on my computer in front of them, but who can check and call me back. I leave my name and number, but do not get a call back.
  • January 25, 2011: I call Microcenter. I get a real human being, who is not in the repair department, but who can ask someone in the repair department to call me back. I advise her that I had already asked for a call back but did not get it. She says that she can check with them personally and call me back. I leave my information, do not get a call back.

January 27, 2011: I call Microcenter. I get a real human being, eventually one in the repair department. I ask after my computer. The guy says that a gift card was issued, in the slightly-dismissive tone of voice that indicates that the user is receiving information for at least the second time. I cut in here, before he can get much further in the user-must-be-crazy train, and say that I have had no actual information on the repair status of my computer since early December: I dropped it off December 2, got a call saying it was still being looked into a few days later, and then nothing. The guy's entire demeanor changed at this point, he pokes at his computer for a bit, and in a very determined tone of voice he asks if he can call back after he researches this. I point out (meanwhile I am relaying to my chatfish in a so-far-beyond-surreal-that-it-is-hilarious fashion) that I've already not gotten two callbacks. He promises half an hour. I vow to myself that if he hasn't called back within the hour, I'm calling back again, and then coming right down there.
He calls back in 20 minutes, and says that the machine could not be fixed, but there's a card there with my name upon it for the price of the machine, and furthermore, given that I'd got the protection plan for it, either the protection plan would be applied to the new equipment I got, or I could have the price of the protection plan applied as an additional discount.
So I hustle on down there and spend a diverting while picking out tech. The stuff I get eventually includes a hard drive, RAM, and enclosure, sized to repair Disaster Area. Hooray!

Crossposted. comments.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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