The following scenarios are make believe. I made them all up in an effort to show how different the computer world is from every other business, and how we, as customers, seem to have lost our senses in the process.
#1 The Phone Call
“Yes, mom, Terry is coming with us this year to visit… Yes, he misses you, too… Oh, no, we will be driving, I think… No, no, Bill thinks he fixed that… Oh, he called the dealership… Yes, he had to pay them to listen to his problem… Yeah, they said he had to put a new engine in it… Yes, I know it is a new car, Mom, but it goes twice as fast as the one we had last year… You’re right, when it actually works… Yes, bumpy roads still make it stall and quit half the time… Okay, we will see you soon… okay… okay… Love you, too… bye-bye!”
This is the greatest VCR I ever had. Sure, it eats tapes fairly often. And yeah, it can’t play the real old movies. But it works great! I love it! It rewinds really fast, and fast-forwards at a blistering rate. In fact, the only problem I had was when I had to send it back to the company.
It all started one day when I put in a tape and nothing happened. Well, it started making this really screechy noise, then nothing. It was like it was unplugged or something. So I called the store I got it from, and they told me to contact the manufacturer. After about two hours on the phone, I got to talk to this really nice lady. She said that even though my VCR was only a few months old, and a top of the line model, they would not replace it, as they’d prefer to just fix it. She said they would send me an empty box, and I had to put my VCR in it to send back to them. Of course, I asked if they would give me a loaner, but they said no. I even asked if I could use maybe an older VCR loaner, but they said no to that, too… So a month goes by. No VCR. Everytime I call, they give me one excuse after another why it’s not fixed. But then, about six weeks from when I sent it in, I finally got it back. The repair tag said they changed the power source. I was happy just to have it back. Then, after a few weeks, it did the same thing. I figured I would get a loaner this time, as they obviously did not fix it right the first time. But again they said I could not have a refund or use a loaner, nor would they exchange it for another new model. Ah, well… I’m hoping the VCR will be fixed this time. I mean, what else can I do? I will still recommend people buy this brand of VCR. It’s still the best one out there, and even though most people will never have the problems I have had, nor the shoddy customer service, the only other choice is the inferior brands everyone else is using.
#3 Beta Movies
We went to a movie last night. My wife wanted to wait until they had added all the special effects to the movie, or at least a sound track, but I wanted to see it now! So we went. It was a good movie, though I do think you really should wait for all the special effects if you are going to see a space movie. I mean, when the USS Millennium Enterprise goes to warp speed, it is better when you don’t see the sound stage set reflected in the glass, or the boom mike hanging over their heads. But I just couldn’t wait! I was the first person to see the movie out of all my friends!
True, the computer industry is unique in many ways. But it seems to me that even the most patient computer user accepts a heaping helping of grief when dealing with his computer when he might otherwise throw a huge fit. Why are we like this (and I’m as guilty as the next person)? Why do we simply accept such a low standard? Perhaps it is time to hold the computer makers, software makers, and support people in a truly Apple sort of way. Differently.