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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Send The Box, I Said

So I was visiting India last night...

Not in that whole messy, may-I-see-your-papers sort of way, but in that 1-800-Dell sort of way.

Let me preface all of this by saying that I have always enjoyed the Indian people. I find them to be an intelligent people, a fiercely tenacious people, unblinking in the face of adversity and most politely patient.

The politely patient comes particularly into play on the Dell hotline.

As posted yesterday, the screen on my laptop has gone bi on me -- that is, the left side is willing to play along, but the right side has become petulantly uncooperative and stares at me blankly. The interesting part is that when I place my thumb on the top center of the screen, the two sides unite and do what they've been paid to do.

Conceding that I cannot type with one thumb on the screen, I called Dell.

A recorded woman's voice asked me a number of questions, and after giving her a number of answers I gave in to my increasing frustration and refused to speak using the words the recording wanted to hear.

It's my version of holding my breath and kicking the floor until I get my way.

"Frippen on the flim-flam! Puttin' on the Ritz" I squealed.

"Please choose from the following options..."

"I want a fish sandwich, cole slaw and a large chocolate malted. And don't try to bring me a shake, either. I'm on to you people."

"I'm sorry. I didn't quite understand that. Please choose from the following options..."

"A malted! I'm gonna need a chocolate malt and two napkins!"

"I'm sorry. I didn't quite understand that."

You get the idea.

The recording finally gave up and transferred me to a human being.

The first call lasted 27 minutes and consisted mostly of me explaining to a man who, for all the world, sounded like Ringo Starr doing an impression of an Indian, what my problem was.

"May I have your name, please?"

I gave him my name, and a whole lot of numbers, and he regularly expressed his appreciation of my being patient, his regret regarding putting me on hold, and his pleasure in serving me.

Formalities out of the way, we spoke at length about the screen.

"When I put my thumb on the screen," I said, "the whole screen appears, but when I take it off, I can only see the left-hand side."

"Pardon, mum, your -- your what?"

"My thumb."

"But not your fingers?"


"It only works with your thumb but not your fingers?"

"No, no," I said. "I just used my thumb. I suppose you could use any of your digits but I used my thumb."

The poor man. Would I hold for just a minute or two?

Of course.

He was back in six minutes. "Yes, yes," he said, "I am understanding this now. You used your thumb."


He explained to me that my computer was no longer under warranty. I concurred that that seemed to be the case more often than not. He chuckled understandingly and offered to put me in touch with technical services for $49.

I told him it sounded like a bargain, and he chuckled again, whereupon he put me on hold. Ten minutes later the line went dead and I was forced to redial.

The next man did not sound like Ringo Starr, which I actually found a little disappointing.

I explained it all again and again I was rewarded with gentle and soothing words of sorrow regarding my difficulties and his appreciation of my patience.

I was also rewarded with many times on hold.

During one of these times, I explained to Big Willie that it sounded like the man on the phone was in a giant room filled with people. "Sounds like the Dell support staff are all at a bar," I said. "Rahr, rahr, rahr, mumble mumble mumble."

"Yes, mum," the man on the other end said, "it is very much sounding like that here."

And we both had to laugh. "What time is it there? You are in India, yes?"

"Yes, mum. India. It is almost 4:00 a.m."

"Four a.m.!" I exclaimed. "That's a helluva shift you've got!"

"Yes, mum," he agreed.

Having, at his direction, shut my computer off and tapped the F2 key repeatedly and impotently, our options were exhausted and he transferred me to another person.

I explained the issue to her.

She explained to me that she would have a box sent, that it could be fixed for $149 unless it was the LCD screen, in which case there would be an additional charge of $199.

Have I not been describing the LCD screen? I seem to be poised for a fleecing. Nevertheless, in for a penny, in for a pound.

Send the box, I said.

And so they shall.


Comedy Goddess said...

I am sending you much rewards and many thanks for your patience in this matter. By the way, Mrs., is that to be mastercard or visa? Again, many thanks for your patience, Mrs.

Not The Rockefellers said...

You should have ordered an egg cream, I've always wanted to try one of those...

Wow Pearl!

But they were very polite with you..

Peace -Rene

ellen abbott said...

I tried that, not using any of their responses. What I got was the question...

I think you want to speak to a person, is this correct?

Yes, yes! I replied (OK, now I'm getting somewhere)

I'm sorry, the voice continued, I cannot connect you to a person at this time.

Frustrated fuming ensued.

f8hasit said...

$149 for a box. Alrighty, then. Seems a little high for cardboard.


Good luck. I actually found my own Indian guy who fixes computers here. No box needed, AND it feeds into my 'instant gratification'. Can't live without my little computers babies for too long...

DouglasDyer said...

You are a saint. Saint Pearl. It has a ring to it.

Pearl said...

CG, so I see you've been helped as well!

Rene, you know, I've never had one! Isn't that an Eastern thing? Aren't you an Eastern gal? What's going on here?!!!

Ellen, I miss the days of a live operator, don't you?!

f8hasit, I need someone here, that's for sure. I get the feeling I should be looking into my next computer -- and an external hard drive...

Douglas, wait -- do I have to die first? 'Cause I have things planned for the rest of the week, including but not limited to my annual "summer party", wherein I get delightfully drunk and end the night by eating with my fingers... I can do it after that, though!

Kavi said...

Thanks for the kind words mum ! Seriously. Mum !


the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

He might not have sounded like Ringo, but he did keep calling you 'mum'. That's got to count for something.

Charlotte Ann said...

hubby's laptop did the same thing. The light expired in the screen....it was an expensive laptop with all the bells and whistles. Too much to get it fixed..he ordered a new one and now he has his old one hooked up to an external monitor in the house and it's now used as "not a laptop".

Pearl said...

Kavi, they were all exceedingly polite individuals!

mjenks, it was odd, too. I don't think I'd ever been called "mum" before, although it could've just been the pronounciation of "Ma'am", I don't know!

Charlotte Ann, ooh, don't tell me that! :-) Why can't there be just the one laptop purchase in a lifetime?!

Douglas said...

I talked my sister into buying a Dell... Did I mention that I have issues with my sister dating back to somewhere around my emergence into the world? My sympathies.

About that screen problem... Do you have a clothespin? Will it reach the portion of the screen that has this need to be pressed? Place something soft between the clothespin and the screen, of course. If the clothespin is too small, try a small clamp (purchased at any Lowe's or Home Depot). Again, place something soft between the clamp and the screen. Now, I realize you may have to sort of read around this object but at least you will have both hands to type with.

Did I mention I used to do tech support? But not in India.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I love talking mish mash to the recorded voice so I can get a human.

Ringo Starr ; -)

darsden said...

More patience than me, I always ask for an English Speaking American..could be why I never have luck on the phone!

I would have had to have 2 xanex's after that!

(Pearl is that a cadillac computer? cuz I am really thinking you can buy a new one faster and cheaper)

Anonymous said...

Lots of the insurance companies that I have to call each day are customer service jobs outsourced to India.

I have had many calls just like what you describe. What is fun is when they first answer the phone, they always give me a fake American sounding name like Billy, Todd or Uncle Sam.

Yah right...that's your name. :)
I can't help but giggle.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

Mum??? I'm surprised you didn't cuss then and there!

I've had the reverse experience, of course. As soon as they realize that I'm Indian too, they try to get all chummy with me...an endeavour they dearly regret in the next few minutes!!!

powdergirl said...

Hey Mum,
Yeah had the experience a couple of days back.
I tried "option to detonate phone in call takers ear" and " if you make me chew my own arm off, yours is next"

I got nothin' for my efforts.

I love the Indian people that live around here too. Such melodic voices and gracious manners. And the traditional Sari is so easy on the eyes. Lovely.

Madame DeFarge said...

I loathe call centres, especially ones who say that I speak with a weird accent. As if. I've done the whole Dell call centre in India thing. It's ghastly. Buy a Mac - far easier.

mapstew said...

I have an Indian friend at the gym.
One of the nicest and most polite guys I've ever met.

But his english pronunciation is heavily accented, and for the life of me, I'm lucky if I can make out one word in ten that comes out of his mouth!

And I'm sure my Irish brogue doesn't help either.

Now that could be me or him, but he must think I'm a right simpleton, 'cos all I do is nod and smile back at the guy.

SweetPeaSurry said...

I really don't mean to be rude or insensitive, but ...

would you like a slurpee with that?

blessings you patient patient woman!

Rita said...

I too love the Indians. They are truly great, gentle people and having so close Indian friends, I understand their accent more than most, but support lines is wayyy more irritating. Just had my own funny experience with one. But it sure doesn't compare with the "but not your fingers, mum?"


Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I love your feed the woman til shes as large as the fat cat comment!!

Hallie :)

Jocelyn said...

I'm way too tickled that it takes you putting your thumb on the screen to make that baby shape up. Clearly, I don't get out much.

I kind of have this vision, though, of the tech support workers in India, especially the first one, putting you on hold and scrambling around for a supervisor, just to ask, "Could this be an American euphemism for masturbating?"

Chris@Maugeritaville said...

Ugh. Good luck, but it ain't lookin' good.

The Jules said...

My Dad starts chatting happily to them about the weather and what Mumbai's like at this time of the year. Frankly, they're glad to finish the conversation.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

I have been "mysteriously disconnected" after long conversations with Dell in India. Frustrating! However, I've also had a couple of guys so helpful, having me disconnecting wires and stuff I never knew existed and solving my problem for me. I was so grateful I wanted to invite them to be my friend!
I hate technology.

Anonymous said...

Omigawd, I just read about this, this morning, and it reminded me of your post. There truly is a web site for everything.


That one girl said...

I'm still laughing at "my laptop has become bi".