Post away!

At least 3 times this week I’ve bumped into a friend and started a conversation as if we’d been talking every day. We talked about the special dinner they cooked the night before or the kid’s recital… you know, personal, intimate stuff that only friends and family would pay attention to or care about. Only later I realized that we hadn’t actually been together in months. We just follow each other on Facebook.

There’s probably a lot of things wrong with this but I’m cool with it. So let me say it openly to my friends. I WANT to look at photos of your dinner. I LOVE hearing about your cat. I’m thrilled watching the progress of your kitchen remodel. I want to wish you a happy birthday. I welcome the stories and pictures you find interesting.  Let’s debate on your page and battle it out in Words with Friends. It’s okay because in a bit I’m going to need you to help me build my village. I will watch the video of your big head kid doing something cute. I want to cheer when that great thing happens and cry with you when it’s really messed up.

I recognize the security concerns and how easy it is to stalk someone these days. I strongly support controls for how our info is used and who has access. And I’m never going to fully trust whoever holds the keys to the pipes we need to communicate like this. Those are all very real and many of the criticisms are legit.

At the same time I feel closer now to more people than I ever have in my life. Relationships become less temporary. Social media has made that possible. We can stay connected for as long as we choose. Now I don’t have to miss you so much because you aren’t really gone. I can see you online.

So post away, my friends. Give me every detail you want to share. I want to know. That’s why you’re my friend. ;)

(did I just do a commercial for FB?)

Best Buy gets a star. (not gold. not even bronze but a star.)

If you’ve been following my laptop saga you will recall that on May 12, 2011 I took my Sony Vaio notebook back to Best Buy in North Haven to have it repaired because of a broken power button.  I’m not going to go into the details of that. You can follow my Tweets for background (@kewingct.) I want to tell you what happened today.

Today marked the 65th day since I took my laptop in. I’d been tweeting and emailing trying to get them to do something since about day 45 but the last few days I’ve picked it up and started mentioning everybody I found with Best Buy, Geek Squad or Sony in their handle on Twitter.  

Yesterday I got an email from Best Buy saying they were looking into it but the problem was with Sony. This morning I got a call from Sony to “explain why they can’t fix my laptop.”  They left a voicemail with the direct number to Sony’s Top Level Customer Service department.  I called him back. He spoke English as a first language. That right there told me I had gotten somewhere. (Not being xenophobic. Just sayin’… sometimes you can’t understand them Indian dudes.  To be fair, I sometimes can’t understand Southern country twangs and although I understand them, the Boston joint is just annoying. ‘Paak da Caaar’) lol.

Anyway the dude I got apologized and said, “Let me check your file and we’ll get that fixed up right away.”  I breathed a deep breath and thought, “FINALLY!!!”  Of what a fool I was…

Dude came back to give me the reason for the delay.  The reason he gave was because “we don’t have it anymore. We sent it back to Best Buy and since they don’t have it we can’t fix it because it’s not here. So when you get it back from BB send it back to us… on our postage dime… and then we can fix it… in 2 to 3 weeks… and we’re waiving the charge for the repair even though it was user caused damage and not our fault.”  

I dropped the phone!!!

I said, “First off… that’s some bull!!!  I mean it took you 65 days to figure that out?!!! Why the heck didn’t you just fix it when you had it instead of sending it back to Best Buy!!!”  

He said they sent it back because BB refused payment for the repair.  

I said “Okay first off… (for some reason I start putting my issues in numerical order when I get pissed. I think it’s because keeping track of the order keeps me from slapping the crap out of whoever pissed me off.)  I said, “Okay first off… you just said that Sony was covering the cost so there should have been no cost for Best Buy to refuse to pay!  Secondly, that’s not what Best Buy told me. They said it was all your mess up!”  He said, “Well I can’t be responsible for what BB says…” I cut him off, “IT DOESN’T MATTER. YOU 2 CAN FIGHT IT OUT AMONGST YOURSELVES! IN THE MEAN TIME YOU ARE SCREWING OVER A CUSTOMER WHO JUST WANTS TO BE ABLE TO DO HIS WORK! NOW WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO FIX MY FRIGGIN’ (I actually said ‘friggin’”) LAPTOP?!!!”

Anyway, we went back and forth like this several times and I never got him to acknowledge that this has been going on since May 12 and that Sony has done anything wrong.  He kept insisting that it was Best Buy’s fault for the delay since they declined the payment and threw it out of Sony’s repair tracking system.  So I said, “Let me get you both on the phone together.”  I called BB and got disconnected. Then lost the Sony call too.

My pressure must be good because at this point I’m steaming so hot that if I had hypertension I would have passed out by now.  I tried calling Best Buy and was kept on hold for about 20 minutes before the operator came on the line and asked for my number so they could call me back.  I wasn’t prepared to wait for them to get around to that.

So I got in my car and drove to North Haven BB intending to call Sony from there and get this straight!  Before I left The Grove I told a couple folks the latest and that where I was headed. I said I would be back after I made bail… should it come to that. (Made sure I had Porky’s number on my phone before I left.)

I get to BB and there is a North Haven PD car parked in front.  I head to the Geek Squad counter and the uniformed cop is standing there. (His daughter’s cat chewed through the Wii cable.)  I’m thinking, “Lord Jesus don’t let them say something stupid and make me slap them in front of this cop. My birthday party is Sunday.

The first dude came to wait on me.  I asked if he was in charge. He said no so I said get me the dude that’s in charge. He went in back and came out with geek in the white shirt.  I handed him my repair ticket without saying a word. I was afraid of what would come out but I know he could feel the tension (or at least see the steam spewing from my ears.)  He looked at the paper and said, “Oh… it’s you. I’ll be right back!” Then scurried behind the curtain.  The first dude stood there looking unsure of himself then scurried behind the curtain with them.

I stood there mumbling to myself and noticed the cop looking at me. I stared him down. (okay actually the dude waiting on him came back and distracted him.)

A few minutes later the geeks came back with a folder and started showing me emails where Best Buy was trying to get Sony to fix the machine and return it to me. The problem was the emails didn’t start until 7/8.

When I pointed that out Geek Squad supervisor dude started with the “nothing I can do… it’s Sony” story and that’s when I started to loose it. I said, “I don’t want to hear that apology crap because it is fake. If you were really sorry you would see to it that I don’t spend another day unable to do my work without a working laptop!!!”

I had with me a small notebook where I had written all the tracking/service numbers and phone numbers on this case.  I told the dude, “I’ve not been able to get any work done for 65 days!  Two weeks ago I met with a potential new client to discuss his social media campaign and I had this [holding up the notebook] is what I had for a notebook.  I couldn’t even show him examples.  You think I got that contract?!!!”  They both shook their heads, no.

"Hell naw I didn’t get it!  You know why?  Because you are sorry. Fix my dang laptop and you got nothing to be sorry about!!!  But no… you care more about your systems than you do your customer’s satisfaction. So you tell me… are you sorry enough to compensate me for my lost productivity these last 65 days?!!"

He started back with the, “But it’s Sony who…”  I said, “I bought my laptop at Best Buy! I purchased the extended warranty at Best Buy! I brought it in for repair to Best Buy!!!  It’s a machine made by Sony exclusively for Best Buy!!! It will be Best Buy that shoot down in every tweet, every facebook post, every google+ stream and every chance I get to say it!!! It will be Best Buy that I report to the Better Business Bureau, the AG’s office, the Federal Consumer watchdogs and everybody else I can find!!! I got time to do it because I ain’t getting on work since my laptop is sitting here in your SORRY STORE!!!  Now what besides being sorry are you going to do about protecting your sorry reputation?!!!”

Dude said, “I understand your frustration but there’s nothing I can do.”

"Nothing you can do!" I said.  "Then who CAN do something?!"

He said, “I can go get the store manager. She might be able to help but I doubt it since it’s Sony…”

"Just go get the manager. And tell her to be quick about it too. My feet hurt. What’s here name?"

"Carla"

"Well tell Carla that if she ain’t here quick I’m gonna hop up here on this counter and rest my feet til she do."

The cop was at the counter listening this entire exchange. After supervisor geek left I looked at the cop like, “What!!!”  His rep came back and gave him his new Wii antenna and change and he started to leave.  He was mugging me the entire way. As he passed me he said, “65 days huh.”  I said, “Yep.”  He shook his head and said, “Get ‘em. Good luck.”  Then he winked and left. Supervisor geek saw the whole thing and visibly gulped, his buzzard looking Adam’s apple bobbing away.

That’s when the manager walked up. SG took her back behind the curtain to apprise her of the situation before she confronted me and my wrath.  They stayed back there for about 3 minutes while I rummaged through my file he’d left on the counter.  Best Buy was clearly trying. Sony was stonewalling.

The manager walked out and passed me without saying a word. Super-geek came out with another file and said, “I’ve got some good news for you Mr. Ewing. Because you had the extended warranty with us and since Sony is refusing to make the repair, and since your manufacturers warranty is technically up now [I started to interrupt] I know, it wasn’t expired when you brought it in.  Just hear me out on this. I think you’ll be okay.  

So here’s what we’ll do… we’ll go ahead and replace the laptop and give you a new computer. But if we do that, under the terms of your extended warranty, you will have used it up. You’ll have to purchase a new warranty for the new machine. Is that okay?”

I was like, “Look dude… I just want to get back to work. What you got for me?”

We went out on the floor to look at the stock. “Do you want another Sony?”

I said, “Dude, if Sony were the only company to manufacture the device I need to stay alive… I would probably just go ahead and die!  And don’t try to sell me no Dell either!!!”

10 minutes later I walked out of there with my new machine that’s bigger, faster and more powerful than the Sony. I’m setting it up even as we speak (or as I type.)  So by Monday I’ll be back fully back online.

Not long ago I got an email from one of the Best Buy people I mentioned in my Tweets affirming that the local store took care of me and offering a $75 gift certificate.  I haven’t responded yet but think I’ll write back and say, “Thanks but Best Buy doesn’t have anything I need for only $75. I know your intent isn’t really about compensating me but rather it’s to get me back in the store spending again. But I’ve been out of work for the last 65 days waiting on one of you to step up and take responsibility so I don’t have anything to add with it. It would take at least $[need a number] to get me back in a Best Buy spending money… when and if I can start getting some new clients!”

So Best Buy has somewhat redeemed themselves.  I’m willing to give them another shot one of these days.  Sony on the other hand…  well… let’s just hope they don’t start manufacturing pace makers and let’s hope I never need one.

We need to talk…

We need to talk. Not about what we’re losing.  We need to talk about how we’re going to do what needs to get done.  And we ALL have a role to play.

For the last few weeks the local news has been filled with fights between the police and the police administration… the police and the mayor… the police and the residents… the mayor and the workers and even the workers and the residents.  Nothing but fights!!  It’s us against them and even though most of the time we aren’t sure who is us and who is them, we know that they are pure EVIL!!!

What’s happening to my city?  The relationship between the police, city hall and the public is probably at one of its all time worst. (There’s probably a study out there confirming that statement but I don’t have time to look for it.)  No one trusts anyone anymore and we’re headed towards something… well… I don’t want to think about where we’re heading with this. If we keep yelling at each other like this… if we keep at each others throats no one wins.  We’re all screaming at each other and nothing is getting done!

I’ve found myself caught up in it.  I’ve said some things… I’ve done some things… I’ve been a part of some things that really did nothing to fix anything.  I got to scream.  Maybe I needed to scream.  But I’m done.  My throat is sore. Breathing is becoming difficult in our polluted air.  I’m going to save my screaming for when I’m really getting hurt or being ignored or see you stepping on somebody.

We are clearly at a fork in the road. There is no way we can continue down the path we’ve been traveling the last few years.  It’s time for change. We now have the chance to reinvent ourselves. 

But we’re going to miss out if we don’t sit down and talk to each other… not about what we are about to lose.  Let’s sit down and talk about how we’re going to get the work done.  There is a role for ALL of us and to be successful we’re going to need all of us pulling together.

Am I expecting us to just hug and all get along? That would be real cool but I’m not that naive.  Ain’t gonna be no Kum-ba-ya moments anytime soon. (Actually, I bet some UCC and UU folks will do some hugging sessions but that ain’t what I’m taking about.) We got some serious stuff to decide and about some of it we’re just going to need to fight it out.  That’s REAL TALK! 

But 2 things about this fight…

  1. We need to make sure we got the right folks fighting for us.  We got to make sure that they are saying what we would say if we were asked to speak.  If not, we need to change who does the talking.  Or better yet, speak for yourself!
  2. We need to remember that when this is all said and done we’re going to need our opponent.  In other words while we may be fighting today I ain’t trying to destroy you because tomorrow I’m going to need you. No matter how mad we get with each other we’re still in this together.  If we remember that we can temper the tone of our fighting and we have a better chance at reaching synthesis.

And when we get tired of fighting let’s sit down and figure this out.  See I believe that we have enough for everybody to get everything they need.  And if you work for it you really can get much of what you want.

We need to talk. Not about what we’re losing.  We need to talk about how we’re going to do what needs to get done.  And we ALL have a role to play.  I want you to be able to take care of your family.  I want you to be able to provide nice things for them.  I want the same thing. I bet if we work together at it we’ll both be able to take care of our families much better than if we could by ourselves.

We need to talk… knowamsayin’?

Drum time.

Drum time.

Dare to take a look into my mind and see what I think I'm thinking.

Beware all who enter...

twitter.com/kewingct

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