Finally admitting defeat with a seemingly simple, but annoying computer glitch, I called Dell’s “Award-Winning Customer Service Department.” (Not sure who judged THAT particular contest, but they should be summarily fired, then forced to spend their remaining days fixing computer problems with nothing but Dell’s service techs as help. Some things just need payback.)
Naturally, my award winner is Akmed in Sri Lanka, eager to try out his new online diploma in English-as-a-9th-Language, and we spend the next 20 MINUTES trying to spell “Claflin.” (Apparently the “C-as-in-Cat, L-as-in-Lola, A-as-in-‘amma gonna kill myself’…” approach is futile since he doesn’t know how to spell any of my “as-ins,” thus defeating the entire process.) Repeated attempts to just get a quick answer to my question were met with “Oh no, ma’am. We need this FIRST, so we can look up your account.”
Moving on to my address, where we cuddle up for ANOTHER 20 minutes because apparently there’s no Sinhalan equivalent to “Lois Drive” and since we’re not Skyping, he can’t see me act it out like The Village People flash-mobbing Y-M-C-A.
Perilously close to reaching through the phone and smacking him up ‘long side his award-winning head, I finally hear “We’re almost done with your information, ma’am. I just need your computer serial number.” Suspecting the answer, I slowly asked him, “And where would that be?” “It’s on the back of your hard drive, ma’am.” “SERIOUSLY?? You want me to crawl on the floor, somehow get behind my hard drive, and read those 2-font numbers to you?? Can’t I just ask my question first, and you can tell me if this is all necessary??” “Oh no, ma’am. We need this information FIRST.” FINE.
Phone in one hand, flashlight in the other, I hunker down underneath my desk and crawl behind the hard drive to get the magic serial number, which promises to unlock the secret gates of ACTUAL CUSTOMER SERVICE, which I repeat to obviously dyslexic Akmed. (And by “repeat,” I mean say over and over again until I’m hoarse, lying on the floor, neck cramping, sneezing out dust bunnies, ready to shoot him, myself, or my computer, thus ending this misery for at least ONE of us), when I hear “Uh oh” from my new BFF.
“Yes, ma’am. Thank you for all your information. I have your file ready to transfer to our tech support department.” (Oh dear God, YOU aren’t even tech support??) “Unfortunately, it appears your warranty has expired. For a $45 fee, I’d be happy to transfer you to our billing department, who will process your payment, then transfer you to tech support. But before I transfer you, is there anything else I can do for you, ma’am?” Anything else? ANYTHING ELSE?? You haven’t done anything YET. “Ma’am? Are you still there? Ma’am??” Ma’am has hung up and left the building.
They say every cloud has a silver lining. They’re right. Buh-bye, Dell. Hello, iPad.