Chronicles: February 2002 Archives

Worst-Case Scenario

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I have been amused by the The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. Thank goodness it's now a website. Hey, you never know when this stuff might come in handy.

Valentine's day

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For Valentine's Day this year John hit the nail on the head by just slipping me a wad of $20 dollar bills and telling me to have a great time. He earned some extra cash instructing an Advanced Cardiac Life Support class at the local hospital here so I didn't even have to see the withdrawl in the check register!

Today I went up to Little Rock and had my hair frosted and cut. It is nice to be blonde again and it's amazing how every time after I get my haircut I wonder what in the heck I waited so long for. All is well in the world and I have a wonderful husband!

ISP Ratings

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Geek stuff. "Everyone hates slow modem dial-ups and never-ending waits for pages to load. During those long dark nights of your ISP's soul, it's natural to wonder whether you might be better off with another provider. Visit eTesting Labs: U.S. ISP Ratings...and take a look around. Find out how competing ISPs compare on connection speeds and how they stack up on those all-important Web download times. There's no time to waste." [YIL]

The Hotel Westhoff

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You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave [The Hotel Westhoff].

Dell Doldrums

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No word back from Dell, I don't expect I will hear from them. I did uncover an e-mail in my archives from months back explaining how to get XP, though it didn't mention the expiration date. I think I'm going to drop this, they've broken my will.

I'm sitting at work, I was called in to take care of a soldier with [censored to protect patient confidentiality]. It's a bummer, as I am off for President's Day.

The end of this week

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I'm glad to see the end of this week (I'm off tomorrow). Yesterday we had our annual Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program exercise. It is over, thank goodness, and I will not (ever) have to do another one. This one was particularly painful because the EMT evaluators were...less effective.

Katie went into the MTC Yesterday!

My Dell tech support guy

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My Dell tech support guy called me at home today during lunch. At first I was delighted, but it soon became apparent that the call was going nowhere...


Per our phone conversation just a few moments ago, I am forwarding our previous correspondence so you can forward it to the small business dept.

My service tag is: ********

It's unfortunate that this is going back to small business--they have already told me that there is "nothing [they] can do" and suggested that I correspond with you in customer service. In any event, I appreciate your help.

This is sad.

John Westhoff

Dell responds (the saga continues)

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Dell responds (the saga continues)...

Dear Mr. Westhoff,

Thank you for contacting Dell Customer Care.

I apologize for the delay in returning your e-mail and hope to have your issues resolved quickly as we value you as a Dell customer.

I have been using computers for fifteen years now. After working in the industry I have learned the hard way that you always wait at least nine months after a new OS is released. Trust me I worked engineering and R&D departments and will tell you that you should wait. If you really want XP I can push the issue to see if I can't get it for you.

Thank you for contacting Dell and I apologize for your delays.

Dell eSupport and Services

and my response...

Gregory, Thank you.

Yes--I'd had the same thoughts, which is probably why I didn't end up calling back earlier (my big mistake apparently). It's good advice and your point is well taken (witness the problems my friends who were early adopters of Win 2000 had getting drivers, etc.).

That having been said, this is more than a technical issue--I sincerely feel that what happened to me was just plain bad business. And as a fiscal matter, this is a now or never kind of issue: if I wait as you suggest, it is less likely that my claim to a $20 OS is going to be taken seriously. I'd end up paying upwards of $200 for XP (frankly, that's something I just won't do--I'm more likely to put that $200 into my next system...and as things stand now, it's unlikely that that system would be a Dell.)

So Gregory, if you could prevail on my behalf to have Dell send me XP for $20, I would really appreciate it. It would go a long way toward restoring my goodwill in the company.

John Westhoff

Dear Dell

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I wrote this letter today on Dell Computer's Customer Service site:

Dear Dell:

I apologize if this is not the correct forum for this--please forward this message to the appropriate department.

Last summer I bought a PC for my personal use from your "small business" division. Things have been great with one (major) exception.

I bought the computer before Windows XP was available in part because it promised a $20 upgrade to XP when the OS became available. I took the bait. My computer arrived in great shape, just as I had requested it, but without documentation as to how I could upgrade (perhaps in my excitement to order a Dell I missed the fine print?). A few weeks later I called you and asked how I would go about getting the upgrade. The person taking my call was unsure and after some "checking" she said that I didn't need to do anything for now since the OS wasn't available, but implied that it would all be made clear to me in time, not to worry. So I waited...too long apparently. Last month I called (the home dept) to inquire as to why I had not yet heard from Dell on this matter and I was told that (sorry) the expiration date on that offer was 12/31/01 and I was too late! Ooops. Hmmm...I called the small business dept (at the suggestion of the home PC employee) and she indeed confirmed that I was out of luck. To add salt to my wound she confirmed that yes, I had called last year and the dutiful employee I spoke with had indeed recorded that she had "explained to customer how to get upgrade" (somehow this was done without my knowledge)...I think you know where I'm going with this.

Look, I'm not a fortune-500 company but I am a reasonably tech-savy middle class guy with two PCs in the home right now--contemplating buying a third; and I have four young kids (i.e. I anticipate buying LOTS of computers over my lifetime!)

I have to tell you I am not impressed with Dell right now--and I'm torn. On the one hand, I don't know of a PC manufacturer so consistently praised for the quality of the product and (perhaps more so) their customer service. I've used your PCs at work and recommended them to family and friends. On the other hand, it will be difficult to buy a Dell PC in the future if this is the way it's going to be. I bristle when I see the Dell logo at startup--the pain! I feel betrayed.

So please, cough up Windows XP for the $20 advertised, and please don't tell me that I need to "contact Microsoft" or that "there's nothing [you] can do because the OS is not a Dell product." I'm asking YOU to take the hit and let's preserve a beautiful friendship.

John Westhoff, M.D.
(A Dell fan spurned)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Chronicles category from February 2002.

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