Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dell - Do You Hate Children With Cancer?

That ought to get their attention, right?

I will still write about our weekend at the beach, compliments of the Believe in Tomorrow Foundation. But it's been so frickin' busy lately. Anyone with kids can relate, I'm sure. Baseball started Saturday. NCAA was Thursday and Friday. Went fishing with my son and his friend on Sunday (actually we went casting).

So what's up with Dell? Well, when my then 3 year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer (acute lymphoblastic leukemia), my wife and I were tag-teaming it at the hospital a lot. She spent 10 consecutive days in the hospital and let me tell you, 10 days being disconnected to the world except for a cellphone is enough to drive you crazy. So I decided that we needed to buy a laptop.

Believe it or not, I'm not much of a technology guy. I still regularly use a 3G Nano iPod. No touch screen. Smart phone? Nope. Calculator? Who needs that when I have a perfectly good abacus?

I wasn't quite sure what to do, so I asked my friends what brand I should get. Should I get a Digital Rainbow 100? Or a Packard-Bell 386? What, they're gone? The overwhelming response was, "If you can't afford a Mac, get a Dell." Since I didn't have several grand laying around (and my wife was quitting work to care for my daughter), I decided to get the Dell.

I brought one of my techy friends with me to Best Buy one day and we checked them out. He agreed that the Dell Inspiron M5030 was a great laptop. And at a little over $500, not a bad price. So I bought it.

It really was a great laptop. It spent time going back and forth to the hospital, both for admissions and monthly/weekly clinic visits. It spent most of the time on the kitchen table or the counter for quick access. My wife regularly wrote updates on her blog. I wrote this blog. I messed around on Facebook.

Then one day about 5 weeks ago: BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP. I forget how many beeps it was and I had no idea what was going on. I Googled it (it's a verb) and it said that the number of beeps means that the processor died. Died? The freakin' laptop was only 14 months old! And guess what expires 12 months after the purchase? And guess who didn't buy an extended warranty? Fantastic. I tried to go through their website for help. Nope. They won't help you. Call them? Nope. Can't get through. I'll write to them! What? No written physical address on the Internet? No customer service office for correspondence? This is unreal to me. I thought Dell was known for customer service. I must have had them mixed up with Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.

After scouring the Internet I finally found a physical address on a message board. The address is in Texas. I wrote them a letter explaining why we bought the laptop (cancer, daughter, etc...), asked for their mercy, and mailed it to them a couple of weeks ago. In the meantime, I've been borrowing my oldest daughter's laptop to conduct business. Not fun.

So, in addition to the laptop being out of commission, I started doing my taxes. Guess where I did my taxes last year? Yeah, on the other laptop. Guess who didn't print his taxes from last year? Yeah, that would be me. Why? Because I rarely use my printer and every time I do the printer ink is dried out, so I have to buy more ink. So in reality, it's costing me about $35 per page to print. Not worth it. Didn't count on the laptop dying. So I had to request a copy of last year's tax return from the IRS to be mailed to me. Should be here in 5-10 business days. That's cutting it too close for me. Stupid laptop.

Do you think Dell will respond to me? Or will they ignore me? Does Dell hate children with cancer? I hope not. Help me Dell!


Kent Allard said...

I may have some help for you, at least a suggestion. It might not be that processor "died" it just won't start up because its protecting itself from overheating. I had the same problem with my Dell. I'm not sure if its the same on a laptop, but on my Dell desktop I had this same exact problem like you're describing. On top of the processor on the motherboard is a heatsink and cooling fan. Sandwiched between that heatsink and the processor is something called thermal paste, some call it thermal compound. In any case its this grease-like goop that is between the two components and helps the processor to not overheat. Whatever Dell uses seems to dry out over time and turns into "thermal dried out playdoh". It took me a little bit to figure it out (but I'm somewhat tech savvy) and after I put a fresh little smear of thermal paste on there I've not had a problem since. But yeah, my PC was pretty much "dead" until I got that figured out. Whatever you do, DON'T take it into Best Buy and let their "Geek Squad" or whatever they call it work on it. Try and find an independent computer repair person if you can if Dell doesn't come through for you. I'm really surprised you couldn't get through to them on the phone (call during daytime hours if you don't want to get someone in India) I've gotten them on the phone without too much hassle.

Eludius said...

Thanks for the info, Kent. I'll explore that. When I called Dell they ask for the ID number on the back. After I entered it the recorded message told me 'sorry, go pound sand' and I couldn't get any further.

Brandon Hudson said...

Very dashing and attractive woody vases. Creativity is clearly showing. Nice work.

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