A tale of two laptops

by Mark Zaugg 6. May 2009 23:52

Last Thursday or so, my Lady-love brings in her laptop and says, "It's wrecked.  Fix it, you sexy geek of +3 studliness."* 

"Uh-oh," I think to myself.  She pulls it out of her bag, I see a hinge standing straight outwards and a shower of broken plastic bits where the outer shell used to be. 

Crap.  I hate fixing laptops.  It's bloody impossible without just getting entire new parts.  May as well just go buy a new one that's modern and up-to-date rather than fixing it or you're guaranteed to be toting around a decrepit piece of junk that's patched together with bailing twine and horse gum.  It's impossible to properly fix anything with broken plastic.

Laptops are the one and only thing for which I strongly recommend getting an extended warranty.  I never get an extended warranty for anything else, but I expect a laptop to last me three years before I get a new one and if anything busts on it, I damn well don't want to fix it on my own. 

Furthering the complication, she didn't buy it on her own so I had no idea if it was still covered under warranty.  Okay, before I permanently destroy it, let's call Asus.  Dial them up.  Get a tech on the other end.  Explained what happened.  Provided the serial number.  Got an RMA.  Asus shipped us a box to pack the laptop into for return.  That's it!  Most painless return I've ever endured.  Good customer service, a decent tech who knew what he was doing, what a great experience.  I'm not at all concerned with having problems with an Asus laptop again. 

So how do you top a good experience like that? 

Sunday night I'm flipping though some tech sites and my screen hashes out on me.  Think something along the lines of "blue plaid shirt" screen effects.  "UH-OH!" I thought.  "Looks like my Mac overheated."  Well, it was late, it was easier to shut it down and take a shot at troubleshooting on Monday. 

Monday night I got home, opened the Mac, and...  core dumped.  Notwithstanding the incredibly fortunate pun of a Mac core dumping, I was wondering what the hell was going on.  Rebooted.  Opened Firefox.  Screen gibberish all over my Firefox tabs and then my computer hangs.  That can't be good.  Reboot.  Open Safari, see the same junk on my screen and the computer crashes again.  At this point I'm really happy I got AppleCare. 

So I call Westworld and ask for service.  I didn't even get that far, the woman I spoke with tells me to bring it in for a tech to diagnose.  Oooookay.. 

Take it in, their service tech takes it to the back, returns less than 30 seconds later and says, "It's the logic board.  Three to five days."

Now, not being one to speak Applease, but being one who's just thrilled that it's covered under AppleCare, I'm happy to leave my laptop behind and have it repaired.  "Logic board" means "motherboard" to most people, and the long and the short is my MacBook needed some expensive love and care.  $1,236 plus labour, thank you very much.  I feel smarter for wasting my $300 or so on an extended warranty. 

So tonight - Wednesday - I get a call just as I'm leaving work.  It's Westworld and I'm feeling the dread well up inside me considering what WON'T be covered by warranty.  Excess dog hair in the fan?  Unapproved music in iTunes?  Dead hooker in the trunk?  How much extra is THIS going to cost me right now?

"Sir, your MacBook is ready to be picked up." 

It was fantastic.  The timing was perfect.  All I had to do was go get my laptop.  Easy.  Easier than easy.  Absolutely painless. 

When I picked it up, I'd left the work order at home.  I wasn't expecting it to be ready until Thursday at the soonest and possibly next Monday.  I had to present my drivers licence and...

Well, I had to wait for her to clean my computer.  Yes, my computer is officially as clean as the day I bought it.  And normally it's the same texture as my stove.

Sooo....  That's it!  Customer service that's been a complete joy to deal with.  No messing with stupid, recite by rote service droids.  No incomprehensible accents.  No scrambling to find original packaging.  No hidden charges.  No panic.  No problems.  No issues.  Except, of course, our original issues, which were resolved.

Well, mine was resolved.  My Lady-love's are still in process.  Westworld wins the speed race, but there was no shipping involved.  We'll see how Asus does in the next week or so.  It's a long, long ways away from the bad old days of craptastic service.  Yay.



*All conversations may have been filtered through the brain of a man and may not be exactly as represented.

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