Time for a little story. When I got hired on my first tour back in 2003, I had about a month to get set to go, and part of that prep included buying a new laptop and getting up and running for it before I hit the road for six months. Since I wanted to be able to buy it in person and not have to wait for a delivery or backorders (to give me time to get it ready and make sure it was working), I bought a Sony Vaio from the local CompUSA. Not my first choice, but they were close, and had a service plan where I could bring it into any CompUSA anywhere and get it fixed, so I went with it.
A couple weeks after buying it–midway through shop prep for the tour–my DVD drive started having issues with condensation on the lens. I brought it into the nearest CompUSA, and they warned me that it might not be done before I left town, but they’d arrange shipping with me if that were the case. As it turned out, they got it back the night before I flew out, and I was thrilled at the great service they gave me. Too bad it would be the last time.
That was October of ‘03. For two years, the computer chugged along happily, but in fall of ‘05, it started overheating and the battery wasn’t holding a charge. No problem, I’ve got the 3 year service plan, I’ll just take it to CompUSA.
So I do, and they take their time about it, but after a few weeks they replace the motherboard and battery for me, as well as the power supply that had developed an intermittent near the strain relief. I was quite excited, and pleased that they’d agreed to swap the battery, since I figured they’d find an excuse and say it wasn’t because of the overheating that the battery life took a hit.
Well, I was excited until I got home, and discovered that the tech who worked on my computer didn’t keep track of the screws he removed from the case, and the entire front edge of the case had been reassembled with screws that were too long. This meant that the case flexed open to reveal a sizable gap at the front edge of the computer. Not good. Furthermore, two of these screws had been overtightened, causing one to dimple through the thin metal of the top side of the case, and the other to actually punch a hole all the way through.
So back to CompUSA I go, and after waiting another couple weeks, I finally get it back, in a brand new bottom case (they left the top casing, with the display–and my Smaart bumper sticker–intact.
Fast forward to a year later, when my hard drive dies, a week before the service plan runs out (at least for once I had good timing for my bad luck). Of course, they can’t find the computer’s service plan, because my serial number was on the original casing, and the new casing had a different serial number on it. So, after two weeks of the computer apparently sititng around the shop collecting dust, somebody finally calls me at 8:30 or so in the morning local time, which is too early to be calling somebody regardless*, let alone the fact that I was at LDI in Las Vegas at the time, so i got woken up at 5:30am. It takes 2 calls with me repeating myself over and over to finally get him to understand that they messed up with the serial numbers on the case swap, and get it all sorted out so that the repair is covered.
Another week goes by, and finally I get a call that the computer’s been repaired, and is en route to the shop for me to pick up, probably that Monday or Tuesday, but the rep will call me daily to update me. Friday comes, I haven’t heard from the guy since that first call on Monday, and I call them. Still no word, but they’ll call as soon as it’s there, and later that evening, I finally get the call to pick it up. I get there to discover that the computer did indeed sit in the store untouched for two weeks before it got sent out for repair, as is documented in their own paper trail. I’m still waiting for an explanation of that, but wait, it gets better.
When I arrive home, I discover that the upper right corner of the keyboard is popping up from the casing. Uh-oh. I gently pop it back in, and a minute later, it pops back up. So I go to do some exploring, since I’ve had to take this thing apart before. I get to the last screw, and–what do you know–it’s not the original screw, and is the wrong size. This time, it’s too short, and a different size/threading, so not only does it not hold the keyboard in properly, but I can’t even get it back out!
But it gets better, because when I do remove the keyboard (since this screw isn’t holding half of it in), there’s a massive wad of ugly translucent orange tape and two small squares of masking tape formed into a sort of tape loop “holding’ the edge of my keyboard down. It turns out this is what was causing the delayed spring-action in the corner of the keyboard. I’d press it down, it’d stick to the tape, eventually the tape would unstick and, because of the huge size of the wad of tape, it’d pop back up.
So off I go tomorrow morning, again, to find out why these people can’t keep screws in a little bag or dish labeled for what computer they came from. Isn’t that something they teach you in electronics repair 101?!
Hopefully I won’t be without my laptop for another two weeks while these geniuses try to remove the screw they got stuck in my laptop and replace it with the appropriate one…again.
Do yourself a favor, avoid CompUSA like the plague. AARGH.
–Andy, who is trying to make it one more year on this Vaio, and then is buying a MacBook of some sort
P.S.-Just be thankful I left out all the “screwed up” and “screwed the pooch” puns in this one!
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