Well, I can't say I didn't expect it.
Last night, the "I" key fell off my 18--month-old Dell Inspiron 600M. I have a heavy hand, but not that heavy. The damned thing just fell off. At first, I thought it worked like an old typewriter key and I would be able to just stick it back on, but it turns out that there is a lot of technology under those plastic notebook computer keys, and mine was all messed up.
As Scoble would say, "Crap." I'm heading to France tomorrow and am looking forward to Live Blogging Les Blogs. I typo enough as any of my readers will tell me. But now, every time I want to type in the missing vowel, I have to press hard on this plastic squishy thing 3-5 times. You just can't avoid the letter in question. I'm trying, but already I've been compelled to use it in this post 41 times.
I called Dell early this morning. But after about 10 minutes of hearing "Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line..." I decided not to. This story was not going to improve with them. I went to Best Buy and Fry's where the tech support guys cringed backwards saying they are not allowed to touch a Dell. In fact, they didn't want to be even in the same room as a Dell.
By mid-morning the word "Thinkpad" was resonating ever louder in my mind. Why? Because everyone I know who owns a Thinkpad likes the machine. Okay, this s true for Mac Powerbook users too, but let's not even go there. I just won't buy a computer from a company that has banned my book from its store shelf because of a spat with our publisher.
That's when "TurboTodd" Watson came to the rescue. When I spoke at The Blogging Enterprise, in Dell's neighborhood, I said that I had owned many Dells in my time, but I would not buy another because their blogging customers has written so many credible horror stories about shoddy products and shoddier service. I said that I would go with Thinkpad, because everyone I knew who had one was a customer evangelist, spreading the word on their product integrity.
Todd, who has been at IBM for 14 years had spoken on a panel and we had schmoozed and liked each other pretty much. He called out that when the time came, contact him, and he would help me out.
He did. Big time. He responded quickly to my email (marked urgent). He loaned me his name and employee number (shh! don't tell) and sent me to an internal site where they sold used computers--usually returns--from people with buyer remorse. I got an X40, the nifty, three-pound baby, with a six hour battery. Chris Shipley, the BlogOn executive producer has one that I've been coveting. She told me--I think--hers cost north of $1800 a while ago. Thanks to Todd, I got mine for just short of $1000.
In retailing, this is what is called, "Such a deal!"
My new computer should arrive shortly after we get back from Paris. It would have been here sooner, but I asked them to slow down there service. BTW, the woman I spoke with to buy it was just first rate.
I was at the gates of Dell Hell but praise be to Lenova, I have been saved by Thinkpad. But don't expect too many blogs from me for the next week.