Recently, my wife's laptop started displaying some interesting errors. "Corrupted registry" has to be the worst possible error message a Windows box can give you, because now you know you're completely hosed. Various bits of error correction, volume scanning, etc kept it limping along for a while as we considered what to do about it. Coincidentally enough, while reading something or other from IBM developerWorks, I saw a banner ad for IBM laptop hard drives. I clicked through (yes, I'm embarassed for me too) to see what was up.
The vendor was Googlegear.com, and the deal was a 40GB drive in the right form factor to stuff into the laptop for $131 shipped. If you haven't priced hard drives from Sony (it's a VAIO), then you don't know how astoundingly good this price is. I ordered one immediately. That was late Friday afternoon. I was hoping that since I'm on the east coast and they're in California that it might get shipped out then, but no luck. They shipped it UPS 2nd day on Monday, and posted the tracking number. UPS admitted they had the package and estimated that they'd deliver it on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, I had to run to the grocery store for stuff and, of course, that was when the UPS guy dropped off the package. Or rather, that was when the UPS guy dropped off some other persons' package but not mine. That's right ... the hard drive was AWOL with UPS claiming it had been delivered. I called the 800 number for UPS the instant I got home and told the customer disservice clerk that there had been a misdelivery and my package was still missing. They told me that my package had in fact been delivered and I should go look on the porch. I repeated that no, it had not been delivered, but someone else's package had been delivered instead. The clerk typed in a note and said they'd have the local depot contact me within the hour.
Three hours later I still hadn't gotten the phone call. I called the 800 number again, and told the second rep that I was expecting a call from the local depot and could they give me the phone number or connect me directly. They asked what the story was, so I repeated it. This clerk then looked on their web page and said the package had been delivered and I should go look on the porch. I told them, slightly less politely than I told the first clerk, that no it hadn't been delivered but someone else's package had been misdelivered to me instead. Then I asked them why my previous contact wasn't showing, and what had the first clerk been typing if it wasn't a contact record. They told me that there was a contact record but they hadn't read it. Super. Clerk #2 said they'd call the local depot and I'd get a call within the hour.
Two hours later, the local depot finally called. I told him (clerk #3) the story. He looked on the web page and said the package had been delivered and I should go look on the porch. I used my last remaining smidgen of patience to tell him that I didn't care what his website said, I didn't have my package but instead had someone else's package that had been misdelivered and I wanted him to find my damned hard drive. He said he'd go find the truck and see if it was still on there and call me back within an hour. If it wasn't on the truck, he continued, then he'd have to wait until tomorrow because the driver had already left for the day. I was flabbergasted to find that they hadn't done a damned thing in the five hours since I placed the original call, but told him that would be okay since I had no other choice. He called back eventually, and of course it was more than an hour later. He repeated he'd have to wait until tomorrow to check with the driver, but he'd call first thing in the morning.
By lunchtime Thursday I still hadn't heard anything, so I call back to the UPS 800 number and begin politely demanding that clerk #4 solve my problem and find my hard drive. I wasn't interested in getting a call back, I wasn't interested in hearing anything about online presence, I just wanted her to find my package. She finally said she couldn't do anything and I needed to get the shipper to start a trace. I boggled. "What can they do that you can't?" I asked. "Start a trace" she replied, and continued that she couldn't start one and nothing I could say was going to change her position.
I called Googlegear and they were not only sympathetic but actually helpful. The customer service people there started the trace process, and continued to email me when they said they would with schedule updates. I don't mind that things don't always go perfectly, but if the vendor will just do what they said they would, I would be much happier about giving them my custom. On that metric, Googlegear is worthy of my repeat business.
The moral of this story is Googlegear good, UPS bad. If you're looking to buy computer-y bits online, then I will strongly recommend Googlegear, and will further recommend either (1) using FedEx instead or (2) requiring a signature from UPS since if they think you got your package then they're not going to do a damned thing to help out.
And yes, I'm still pissed off. Why do you think this public jeremiad is making its appearance?
Oh yeah ... the hard drive showed up in my mailbox Friday morning. It was probably misdelivered to a neighbor who stuffed it into the mailbox Friday morning as they went to work. The laptop survived its surgery, and things are back to normal. Now that Kathy can check her email on her own machine again, I'm golden.