Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I thought it would be...

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I mean...they told me it would be...

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It was not...

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I came back from my Christmas vacation in Texas, ready to get back to work at the various freelance jobs I do.  I had a week's worth of Mahalo work to do in just a few days.  I was behind on a manuscript I needed to copyedit for a publisher.  I had all  sorts of pictures from  Texas to  blog.

This was not a good time for the fan on my laptop to go out.  I mean, it's never a good time for my laptop to go out, what with my entire livelihood being dependent on it and all.  But of all the worst times in the history of worst times for my laptop to break, this was the worstiest of the worst.

Add to this the fact that it was New Year's Day, and, well, let's just say my stress level was high and leave it at that.  (Dear Family. Thank you for loving me anyway.)

After calling every possible computer repair place in the metropolitan Salt Lake area and getting nothing but voicemail, we finally decided we'd better buy a second laptop to get me through the weekend.  Now, this was not an impulsive or unplanned purchase.  Richard has a fledgling side business transposing and arranging music, and we had already agreed he needed a better, more portable computer to make this easier.  We just bumped the date of the purchase up a week.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Staples was a big sign on the wall proclaiming that they, Staples, of the disingenuously named "Easy" button, did computer repair.  It was like a miracle from Heaven.  Like a really good hair day when you're scheduled to have your picture taken or a sugar free, carb free dark chocolate truffle that doesn't taste like dirt.  STAPLES DOES REPAIRS!!! HALLE-FLIPPIN-LUJAH!

So, I explained the problem to the salesperson who helped us choose our second laptop. She fiddled with her computer and gave me all the mandatory warnings about data loss and backups and diagnostics costing $70 before they could even do anything.  I signed on the dotted line and handed over my computer, my home office, my university classroom, my hub.  She told us we'd hear from them by Monday with an estimate and we'd likely have our computer back by Thursday.

On Friday, after hearing nothing, we called them.  Our $70 had told them what we already knew.  The fan was out and needed to be replaced. They then proceeded to give us an estimate that, when added to the diagnostic fee, equaled nearly the purchase price of the laptop itself.  We pondered and then decided it was still worth it, since I'd already paid for all the software on the computer, and I would have to pay for it again if I bought another.  I was bummed that I wouldn't have my computer back in time for school to start, but surely it would only be another week.

Thus began a month and a half of "updates" from Staples.  The central repair facility had my computer.  The fan was ordered.  The fan was there.  Oops...we need to backup your files.  That's another $100. Will you pay for that?  The fan has been installed.  The computer should be here tomorrow.  The computer should be here tomorrow.  The computer should be here tomorrow.  Oops! We forgot to order a heat sync to go with the fan. The computer will not be here tomorrow.  Heat sync should be there by Tuesday.  The computer should be here tomorrow.  The computer should be here tomorrow.  The computer should be here tomorrow.

On January 29, I was fed up. Done. I found Staples' customer service contact information online and wrote them a detailed email, explaining my situation and asking that my laptop be fixed and returned to me as soon as humanly possible.  My work required the use of several software programs, some of which my husband did not plan on installing when the computer I was using became his.  My free trials were almost up, and still, I had no laptop. (Before we got the computer back, I was forced to spend another $160 on software in order to work.)  I mentioned this blog and let Staples know that their treatment of this issue would determine whether their computer repair service would end up as a Stupid Product post or an Awesome Product post.

I received an auto-generated email telling me they'd received my message.  I heard nothing else.

ELEVEN days after that email, a full 42 days after dropping off my laptop to Staples, I finally have it back.  42 days of temporary files on a temporary computer.  42 days of Richard not getting anything done with his side work.  42 days of hoping, wondering, wishing, and fuming. And finally...

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They gave us a little folder with packets of papers detailing the transaction.  There were FOUR packets of papers which all said the same thing:

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That my computer was broken. It needed a new fan.  We wouldn't sue them if I lost all my data.  And that Staples has extra computer boxes which only require a sticker, and that this shortens turnaround time on repair jobs.

What happened to my sticker, Staples?

There was one paper detailing what was done.

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Two whole things...in all that space.  Just two things they needed to fix, and it took them 42 days to do it, despite an assurance that my computer could be done in a week.

Now, this post is titled Semi-Stupid.  This is so because, according to my dear, sweet, longsuffering husband, when he stopped in at Staples today, they apologized, profusely, all over themselves.  And they reduced the repair bill by 25%.  This is not enough to make me ever want to deal with them again, but it is enough to make me knock their Stupid Product status down a notch.

The 25% off and the abject humility on the part of the local Staples staff has earned a small amount of respect from me.  However, because the local staff had little control over the actual repair time, I cannot recommend them on the basis of remorse alone.  The fact is, their central repair facility had my computer for 6 weeks for a repair I probably could have paid any number of smarty pants in-laws to do for me in an afternoon.  This is not acceptable.  This is not something I would want for any of my readers.

Sorry, Staples.  I needed this...

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And I just didn't get it.

4 comments:

computer repair said...

This is very informative blog.thanks

Square Grouper said...

If you take a look at this, you'll understand why Staples is such a mess...
http://www.iworkatpencils.blogspot.com

PCCare247 said...

Nice writeup. Your blog post is very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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