Thursday, January 06, 2011

Where in the World?

The old laptop on which I'm typing this right now has seen better days. It should have been replaced a long time ago, but I was reluctant to splurge on a new machine, so I staved off the inevitable with some more memory. Then the hard drive failed, then the power supply began to fail, then the USB ports began to fail, and it became clear that the poor thing was heading for a complete system implosion.

So just after Chrimble, I decided to take the plunge and took advantage of the sales to buy a new laptop. Free delivery within three days, they promised, which was dead handy as I had the week between Chrimble and New Year off. Such are the --meagre-- joys of working in education. I paid my money, and got a confirmation email, so far so good.

A day later I got another email saying that I should expect delivery. I was a bit concerned, as I was told that they would specify the method of delivery in the email, but there was nothing of the sort. Three days passed and there was no delivery, and we were heading into the New Year weekend, so I sent an email to the company to ask if they could let me know what was going on. Update me they did, but more of that in a bit; all in all I had a sinking feeling that it was going to be delivered after I'd gone back to work, and so the endless dance of "Sorry You Were Out" cards would begin.

The night before my first day back I got an email -- from the delivery company -- to say that the computer would be shipped overnight, and they gave me a tracking number. Why they couldn't have shipped it overnight the day I bought it, I don't know. Sure enough, upon checking the tracking number the next morning I saw that it was on its way, and might even arrive before I left for work.

At the office, I checked the tracking site a number of times during the day, discovering that they had delivered the item just after lunch -- five hours after it set out from the depot -- but that there was no answer at my flat -- because I was at work, checking the tracking website -- so it had been returned to the depot. I then received a reply to my email from a few days before, saying that they'd delivered it but no one was home. Excellent customer service there.

I knew how this was going to go, so instead of attempting to rearrange delivery, I requested that it be held at the depot, and I would just go and get it myself. I'd be losing the free delivery, but the money spent getting to the depot would be a tenth of the amount saved by buying online, so it would still work out in my favour.

So this morning, I got up early with a plan to nip over to the depot, get the package, and get back in time for work. The first bit worked. I got to the depot -- which is further away from my flat than the place from which I bought the computer -- and discovered that the laptop wasn't there. Why not? Because it had been put on the van for redelivery.

"But hang on," said I, "I asked for it to be held here. Which is why I've come here on the train, and walked through the rain."

"Oh," says the depot person, "Well the van is still here, so I can go check for you."

"Yes. Please do that."

Indeed, the laptop was on the van, but because the van had "already been packed" they could not give it to me. Instead, they could deliver it to my house.

"Appearances to the contrary, I am not a man of leisure, and I have to go to work. Can you deliver it there?"

"Oh yes, we can deliver it there. In fact, we do a lot of deliveries to your workplace, and it just so happens that your package is on the van which goes there today."

"Well there's some luck!" I may have said, with sarcasm.

Back I go -- PAST THE PARKED VAN IN WHICH MY COMPUTER IS SITTING -- through the rain to the station, and then to work. At this point I discovered a hole in my shoe and the resulting wet sock. Back at the office, I kept an eye on the tracking website, fully expecting it to say that they had attempted to deliver the package to my home again, but in the late afternoon it indicated that the box had been delivered! Huzzah!

I nipped over to the caretaker's office and picked up my new computer at long last. I haven't booted it up yet, but I bet it's broken.


  1. It is quite extraordinary how soul destroying something (that's meant to be) so simple as getting something delivered can be. Did they offer you any kind of compensation? Or is that the stupidest question I have ever asked?

  2. The bloke at the delivery depot seemed confused when I pointed out that if I was expecting the delivery to go to my house then I wouldn't have gone all the way out to the depot to pick it up. That's about all I managed to get out of them as far as sorrow is concerned.

  3. Are you living my life for a laugh or something?

  4. (Apologies for the length of this)

    That sucks kelvin! Especially the bit about them having it on the van... Although I guess it could have been buried deep.
    As I mentioned before, I bought a new laptop in Sept, and the 'M' button (crucial for me!) fell off within weeks. I'm in their fix-it scheme, so I phoned them up and it's the longest automated system ever :-(
    And they said I just needed to call them and that's fine, but I needed my receipt. So then I went home and phoned the next day with my receipt handy, and after going thru the automated system, they now say they need my serial number off my computer (which is at home lol).

    Did you hear my Fantagraphic Books woe?
    I'll put it all on my Blog in a bit.

  5. it's now live lol
    fascinating reading?

  6. Rol, after I wrote it and read it back it did occur to me that it seemed like the kind of thing which would happen to you.

    Mart, so far so good with the laptop. All the pieces seem to be there, and it works well now I've got rid of all the pre-installed junk.