Friday, October 29, 2010

ComCrap/Hewlett Crappard

Can you guess what my rant is about today?

We bought a Compaq laptop 1 year and 31 days ago. How do I know exactly? Because that is the day it stopped working properly and the warranty is expired. But not to worry, I called the beyond wonderful ComCrap help desk, located surprisingly, in beautiful downtown Bangladash, India. They assure me that they can stand behind their product 100%... as long as I buy the warranty for the low, low price of $299.99. And once I pay this low, low only just slightly inconvenient fee and pack up the laptop in a big ole box, they will take 2-3 weeks (in which time you'll be without your ComCrap craptop laptop - hey, it doesn't work anyhow!) and possibly send it back to completely fixed. And the bonus??? Once they "fix" it, they guarantee it will work for thirty days. Wow, a more solid warranty one cannot find this side of India, which surprisingly, is the country I talked to several times.

We need a new laptop in our home. My guess is that it will not be a ComCrap or a Hewlett Crappard which apparently are one in the same. Hewlett Crappard didn't have enough sub-standard products in their own company, so they bought out ComCrap.

I originally bought this laptop at a box store near us. I'm not sure that you have them where you live, but it's called Worst Buy. Yes, Worst Buy for all your computer needs, well, at least until they don't work, then you're on your own. And don't forget their free 12 month financing, with no minimum payments, as the sales clerk told me. Well, apparently, that's not true as there are minimum payments and you don't have to make them. They will be quite happy when you don't actually, as then they can charge you $39 a month for a late payment. As I was told by the 12 year old female store manager, Bev, it doesn't matter what the salesman told me, I was supposed read the fine print, which has a font size on 3. The only people who can read it are the little tiny bugs installed inside your laptop, which are genetically grown to come alive at 12 months and 1 day, so they can reek havoc on the inside of your laptop. Oh, and for the record, Bev doesn't have a last name was when I got a "little" upset and asked for her last name as I had planned to write a letter or two to the CEO who would be happy to ignore my letters, once they received them. She told me, "I don't have to tell you my last name!" Needless to say, we don't shop at Worst Buy anymore. That's one box store down. And living in Vermont, we have a limited amount of box stores. We have a store that sells boxes, but that's another story.

And don't forget S-crap-ells! I love their buttons that say "That was easy!". The problem is that pushing the button is the only thing that's easy about dealing with their store.

Yes, S-crap-ells, where they offer you $100 off your purchase for your old PC as long as it has Windows XP and boots up. My old laptop did boot up and have Windows XP, but they refused as it did not come originally installed. Even though, you guessed it, that's not what the salesman told me. Also, don't forget to take advantage of their 6 month free financing program, which, just happened to expire last week, even though, once again, the wonderful salesman told me to make sure to take advantage of. It only took five people to figure that out. First, it was the pimply faced 11 year old, whose voice cracked several times at the service desk, who had never taken a credit card application. He called over the 14 year, assistant to the assistant assistant, and he also, didn't know what his name was. (I wish Dwight Schrute still worked here, he'd help me!) The 14 year old called over the assistant manager who had to go ask another manager. They both came back shaking their heads, disappointingly, which made me shake my head and wonder why I was in this store. That highly touted 6 month free financing program, which comes special today with a 29.99% interest rate, expired last week. Sorry.

As I told them goodbye, after first promising to never to visit a store who employees either lied to me or who were too stupid/dumb to know what the store policies are.

So, we are still laptop-less, but thankfully we ARE crap-top less and will continue to ignore the huge sales of ComCrap/Hewlett Crappard craptops.

And just so you know, I'm not alone, I googles compaq and one of my favorites finds is:

I'll check and see if they have free financing.

Oh, crap, we need a new laptop!

Yes, the call came down from the heavens; your desktop is dying and you need to go spend money. I hate spending money as anyone who knows me will tell you. I've have tried to secure a brand new laptop for free off craigslist and so far, have been totally unsuccessful. So, off I go, once more, to learn how much has changed about PC's in the last several years. (I hate doing this.)

So, I gather in my gaggle of experts and we all agree. We know nothing.

A Dell would be nice but I heard my friend's barber's cousin's accountant say his wasn't very good.
I've heard Hewlett-Crappard's aren't bad except for those that are bad.
Gateway used be really good back in the 90's but I think they closed the gate.
Does IBM still make computers?
You could an Lenovo but wait, isn't that economy car now?

Who knows which ones are best? Everyone has an opinion and it's basically a crap-shoot.

And don't even talk to me about the warranty!

Salesman Sam; "Well, for $4000, you get a 3 year warranty on your $500 laptop."
Me: "Salesman Sam, would you get the warranty?"
Salesman Sam: "Yes, definitely. What if you drop it walking out the store?"
Me: "But isn't this a good laptop and won't it last?"
Salesman Sam: "Oh, if you buy the coverage, it'll last. If not, there is a activated device inside which starts melting and burning wires on the day after your warranty expires.'"

This was an actual true conversation with the Salesman Sam at Worst Buy. Well, okay, maybe it was just my interpretation.

But for crying out loud, can something just work for a few years? Is everything in society a throwaway now? When we went to bought our used Toyota Sienna van last year, as we got ready to leave the showroom, they asked if we wanted the extended coverage for the low, low price of $1,950?

Now, ten seconds before this, we had the best van in the whole stinking universe. But now that we are buying it, it will be falling apart before we leave the showroom floor.

So, I'm headed off to another box store, the last one left in the metropolis of Burlington. Stay tuned. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Another Monday morning...

I woke up this morning, refreshed and renewed from a weekend of fun. Okay, seriously, it was pitch black out and I had just left a nice warm bed to get ready for work. It was cold out and running from the shower to get dressed while freezing, I was wondering what to wear from my ever-so expansive wardrobe for work.

I checked the thermometer and it read 44 degrees. Okay, it really said 44.8 degrees as our Lands End thermometer tells us the temperature in tenths, the barometer pressure down to the hundredth of a millibar and if you press the button on the side, Al Roker's voice tells you what jacket you should wear to work and if you need mittens.

As it was chilly out and I hate the cold, I thought how nice it would be to go back to bed. But as the Dad, you're not allowed to do that (until you earn more sick days, at least). Another one of those little flashback hit me, transporting me back in time to our home in Syracuse. My father had to get up earlier than the rest of us. He would almost always be out the door on the way to work before I got up. If I think it is hard to go to work, I think of what it was like for my Dad. He was a carpenter and had to work no matter the weather. And growing up in Syracuse, that usually meant for some pretty awful working days.

There were nights in the winter when he would return home from work with white fingers. They were practically frozen solid. I looked at them with amazement. I know I was always cold. I hated going out for school and waiting for the bus on a cold street corner. When I got in, I always searched for the seat with the heater underneath it. And in those days, everyone had long hair and I always washed it (in the kitchen sink, of course) and didn't dry it before getting on the bus. It would quite often freeze up outside.

But at least I could warm up. My poor father couldn't as he was working outside on some huge construction project. How he did it, day after day, for over thirty five years, I'll never know. And I never heard him complain about it, not once. He did what he had to do to provide his family with food and shelter. And he did it well. We weren't rich but I never felt poor.

So, on this cold autumn morning in Vermont, I got into my nice warm car, drove to work, parking inside a parking garage and headed up to my nice warm office and didn't complain again all day.

Thanks Dad.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A whittle bit goes a long way

After a weekend of camping, Thomas learned to whittle. And as we need to get him a new Boy Scout approved whittling knife, he came up with the next best thing. He made one out of Legos. He makes EVERYTHING out of Legos.

So, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, for the forty-fifth time this week, he came in to show it to me. It was really pretty cool and I told him so.

I said, "I don't know where you come up with this stuff. That is the coolest thing. You must get your brains from your mother."

And, smart kid that he is, he came back with "No, Daddy. I get them from you."

Ah, and they say you don't get paid to be a parent.