Tuesday, May 22, 2007

the case of the chirping power cord - part deux

How hard can it be to get a replacement power cord for an 8-month-old laptop that has a 3-year warranty?

You see where this is leading, do you? Well, hang on – you’re getting ahead of me.

So after my power cord starting chirping and then died on me, I stopped in at Future Shop on Friday afternoon, fairly confident in their ability to replace the possessed thing. I have never had an issue with the customer service at this particular store. And I still don’t. Although I got sent back and forth betwixt the customer service and the laptop department a handful of times, telling my tale to roughly half the store before the one guy who dealt with these things had finished putting his paperwork away from the last job, I was cool with it. Hey, we’ve all got to put our paperwork away at some point, don’t we? I can relate to that.

Because the laptop is less than a year old, it is still under a Toshiba warranty, so it was suggested that I go directly to a Toshiba service centre where they would likely “just give me a new one right away”. Buddy then printed off a list of about 7 or 8 addresses for me. I had no clue where any of them were. Naturally I had no cell phone or map with me, because that’s just the way I roll.

One address looked familiar and I figured that it was in the gridlock hell of parking lots and criss-cross roads that go nowhere except back and forth among a pergatory of big box stores, known as Deerfoot Meadows, which is where IKEA is located. The futility of trying to find your way in and out of that place is the major reason why I no longer go to IKEA. That and the fact that I don’t need any more semi-disposable Swedish furniture.

So off I went to CompuSmart (probably the most badly mis-named place I have come across in a long time, but I am getting ahead of myself). I actually spotted the place from the off-ramp from Deerfoot Trail, so I knew in which direction to head, and was pretty pleased with myself for demonstrating such sharpness of eyeball. But once inside the store, it was pretty evident that this was a place where sales careers go to die. The only signs of life were one fellow talking on the phone and, ominously, a security guard sitting by the door. After much throat clearing on my part, I was informed that they no longer handled Toshiba servicing and here's another address.

I had no idea where this address was, and said “I have no idea where this place is” and buddy just shrugged. Not his problem. (Can't really blame him - it was obvious he was going to be out of that job by the end of the week.)

With no map (and no phone) I was ready to head back home and make some calls to some of the other addresses on the Future Shop list, but then decided, no I was already in business/industrial zone hell, and the spectre of a laptopless weekend loomed, mere hours away unless I made an effort.

So I headed back on the Deerfoot, where the Friday afternoon traffic was ratcheting up, and headed over where I thought I would find the address given by the CompuSmart zombie. I thought it might be by the Cosco – the original gridlock hell of parking lots and criss-cross roads that go nowhere – but when I got there I discovered I was at 11th Street (and 90th Ave), not 11th Avenue (and 4th St). And that’s when I noticed that I was just around the corner from where I had started, and that if I had turned left instead of right when exiting Deerfoot Meadows, I would have been there in 20 seconds.

Having committed thus far, I headed downtown, because that’s where 11th Avenue had to be. Once there, I spotted a parking lot with empty parking spots. Risking the likelihood that this was merely a mirage, I ducked in and parked, and lo and behold, the place I was seeking was directly across the street! I headed to the machine to throw a couple of bucks in, but it only took credit cards (which is never a good sign). A notice said that I could choose an hour, 4 hours, or 15 hours. With trepidation I inserted my credit card and without even asking me what option I wanted, the machine spat out a parking pass, informing me that I had just paid:


The customer service rep at Metafore seemed a little surprised to see us. “I generally deal with corporate clients”, he said, “and usually just get couriers coming in here. I’m not used to seeing real people”. Apparently he has been having a few people coming into the shop lately though, and they are generally pissed right off. I guess what has been happening is people have been getting that list from Future Shop, going to another CompuSmart location which is locked up with a sign directing them to go to the place I was at. And you know what happens once you get there. So people come into his location, just ready to rip somebody, anybody, a new arsehole!

But despite the fact that he was catching a plane to Nova Scotia in six hours for a vacation home for the first time in three years, Jamie was pleasant and accommodating and ordered a replacement cord for me, and gave me a loaner to use until it comes in later this week. (And I'm planning to park in the same lot and using the ticket that I've already paid for - hahaha I'll let you know how that works out.)

So the moral of the story is, Jamie at Metafore IT Solutions is my new best friend.
I should have asked if he would pay my parking too.


Allison said...

Wow, that is quite the tale. All this talk of power cords is making me nervous and I might buy an extra one this week while in Toronto (again) just in case. I love the part when he said he wasn't used to dealing with 'real people', reminds me of a verification I just saw online...please illustrate you are not a robot.

Next time you're in need of direction, and the sharp eyeball fails, call me, and my handy GPS system, with BR accent will help you along ;) Actually, no it took me to the airport yesterday when I clearly stated wetlands.

D'oh, remind me to share my Nancy Drew tales with you later on. Not much, just strange coincidences.

mellowlee said...

Barb, only you can make a trip to replace a power cord so extremely entertaining :O) I loved the post, but sorry you had to go through such crap to get it. "where sales careers go to die" killed me! hehe

I hope your power cord comes in right away. At the start of the year I really wanted a laptop. I am rethinking that more and more lately...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It can be pretty challenging sometimes to prove that you are not a robot, Al.
I don't think Nigel the GPS was actually letting you down; I think he merely sensed that you would much rather go to the airport than to the wetlands. Did he have a nice little suitcase all packed and waiting for you in the trunk? You should check. Never underestimate the power of GPS.
I would love to be regaled by your Nancy Drew tales.

I do love having a laptop, Mel. Especially with summer approaching and I can schlepp it outside. Go for the extended warranty.
Odd how attached we become to those things.

Joe said...

Wow. What a saga. I practically expected to hear sirens calling to you to crash your car or something. Glad you got your cord.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Simultaneous comments, Bub - what a rush!
Aside from the lack of sirens, it did feel rather like a Homerian journey! Not quite like gator-wrastling in the Everglades, but close.

justacoolcat said...

Maybe the cord was just chirping for it's momma cord to bring electricity.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Poor starving little power cord. It likely fell out of the nest too, Just A.

Toccata said...

You had my laughing from, "You see where this is leading..." I just love how you write.

Once on vacation my father decided he just had to try a certain restaurant so we left our hotel and followed the directions that took us to hell and back along every freeway in the city. Never a good thing for someone from smalltown Saskatchewan! When we finally arrive at our destination my mom looks across the street and says, "Hey, isn't that the back of our hotel?" Can't remember a darn thing about the restaurant but I certainly remember the ride getting there.

phlegmfatale said...

Yay! Jamie rocks! We celebrate competence, here! WOOHOO!


And you didn't have to deal with anyone whose badge declared them to be "genius."

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Toccata, that is TOO FUNNY! Your dad must have been fit to be tied! Was your mom laughing her head off? No wonder you never forgot that ride.

Competence is so refreshing, PF, especially as we seem to get it in such small doses.

No genius badge on this lad, not even 37 pieces of flare.

mellowlee said...

Hmm writing outdoors does appeal to me!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It can be pretty sweet,Mel, as long as you don't get divebombed by the robins.

Deb said...

$17.50...I think that included the valet parking, no?

Are you sure Office Depot didn't have a hand in all of this?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I thought I'd at least get some drycleaning with the $17.50, Deb, but no. I strongly suspect an Office Depot influence.

Evelyne said...

I love how trying to get a new power cord became a story. This post really made me laugh, at least I hope that you'll get a new one pretty soon (one that will be yours).

And I agree, the 3 years warranty is a good thing to have!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Good news, Evelyne! I got a call that my new cord has arrived. So now I get to test out my plan of reusing my parking stub from last week. Woohoo!