1-800-WasteMyTime

I look forward to reading Mary Roach’s humorous Reader Digest column in every issue. The column reflects on things she runs into in life that many of us can relate. In the June 2007, she shares her experience in calling tech support regarding the Windows setup CD. Her computer crashed and it needed the setup CD to repair itself.
Unable to find the CD, she calls tech support. She reaches someone located in another country who is obviously a gatekeeper that routes calls. The gatekeeper asks her the same standard question that we all get when calling tech support (following the script, y’know?). Then the gatekeeper gives Roach the phone number to Microsoft.
She compares receiving a Microsoft phone number to a phone number for North America. Anyway, she calls the Redmond company where the technician reports she doesn’t need the CD because Windows comes installed on her computer. Oi!
Insert conversation here where they go back and forth and nothing happens. Finally, he walks her through using a different CD that will erase everything. To paraphrase her thoughts, “Gee, why don’t you drop a safe on my headache?”
She resolves her problem with a short trip to a nearby repair shop.
Situations like this make me grateful for the Internet, which provides us with the tools and resources to try to solve the problem on our own without making the dreaded support call. Here’s a recent example of how the Internet saved us.
Paul finally got around to installing the second dispenser in the sin that matched the new faucet and its accompanying dispenser. After he finished, the original dispenser would not pump soap and the new takes a lot of pumping to spew a pitiful amount of soap.
I went to the company’s Web site and found its troubleshooting (yes, the company uses this word even though it’s not a techie product) section. Within a few minutes, I ordered a replacement part. It arrived and it worked. This took maybe 10 minutes of my time. The other dispenser, however, took more effort as it didn’t appear in the list of products for troubleshooting.
After more research, I had to submit a customer service e-mail. The first e-mail said the company hoped it resolved my problem, but there was NO solution in the e-mail. I replied asking for the solution. The company said it sent a replacement part. Now we wait to see if it arrives. If it does and it works, I will have spent less time resolving this problem than it would take me to finally get to the right person in a relay phone call.
Update a few hours later: Of course, the replacement part arrived today after I posted this entry. Actually, I received the entire thing. Back to nagging Paul to get around to installing it. Let’s hope it works.

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