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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
About a month ago, my beloved Gateway Tablet died. It didn't go out violently in a blaze of glory, or even with so much as a whimper. One day it just refused to turn on anymore.

I'd had it for nearly 3 years, and other than running pretty hot and being fairly heavy, it always performed really well.

So, I was bummed, but such is life. Then I thought to myself... self, didn't you buy a warranty? Hmm...  I almost never buy warranties, and certainly not for more than a year...  But I flipped the laptop over, punched in the serial and sure enough, I had about 3 months left of warranty coverage. Sweet. Not only did I buy a 3 year warranty, but it covered pretty much everything.  parts, labor, shipping, etc.

So I filled in all my information and requested warranty repair. Turns out Gateway sold their service department to some company called MPC. Never heard of them, but I figure as long as I'm getting my tablet fixed for free, who cares.

A week later, the coffin arrives. it's full of hard styrofoam that bears no resemblance at all to the size and shape of my laptop.

Do you remember those puzzles you had as a kid where you try to fit the various geometric shapes together into squares and rectangles and crosses, etc...? We called them Pythagoras Puzzles and all those years of pushing plastic around finally paid off.

So after I work out a way to get the laptop and most of the styrofoam in the coffin, with no lateral movement on the part of the laptop, I fill out the paperwork and seal up the box. Off it goes.

A few days later, I get confirmation from FedEx that the box arrived. I wait a "reasonable" amount of time (about a week and a half) and called for status. The informed me it had been shipped out and I should have it within the next day or so. 

Fantastic, right?

So, because I'm a curious sort, I ask for the tracking number so I know when to expect it. She gives me the tracking number and I punch it in while I'm still on the phone with her.  (This part is important.)

Hmmm...   according to FedEx, the package is sitting in South Carolina. Several delivery attempts have been made and it's now sitting on station at the FedEx depot in Charleston, SC.  Well, that's a problem, seeing as how I live in MINNESOTA.

Since I have the nice lady still on the phone, I go ahead and ask her again, when exactly I should expect my package. She informs me that it's on it's way, and that I'll probably get it "tomorrow."

At this point, I invite her to check the FedEx tracking number she gave me. She seems pleased to inform me that apparently I wasn't home when they tried to deliver it, but that I could go pick it up now if I wanted to.  I explain to her that I would be delighted to, if only I didn't live NINE states away.

At this point, we experienced what I like to refer to as "awkward silence" while she processed that information. It's kind of like those cell phone commercials where the one guy says something funny, and then the call drops and he spends the next two minutes apologizing. Except that I didn't say anything funny, the call wasn't dropped and I wasn't the one apologizing afterwards.

Thanks in no small part to her masterful customer service skills, she recovered quickly and said...  so you don't live in South Carolina? I explain that I used to live in South Carolina, and that I lived in Charleston about 2 1/2 years ago, but that I had updated my address since then.  (The fact that you sent the coffin to the right address should have been a giveaway.)

So I sit on hold for about 45 minutes, while she takes lunch, a couple smoke breaks and picks up her dry cleaning. Eventually, she gets back on the phone and informs me my laptop is in South Carolina.

Um... yeah?!?

She then goes on to explain that they are overnighting it to me as we speak. I will receive it "tomorrow" (2/16/08) and that the tracking number she gave me before is still good.

Tomorrow never comes. We sat around the house all day Saturday waiting for FedEx. I checked the tracking number several times Friday night and during the day Saturday, and it still said it was sitting in Charleston, SC so I had two choices... 1) assume she gave me the wrong tracking number or 2) assume it wasn't actually being overnighted.

Ever the optimist, I took option 1. Boy was that a mistake. Needless to say, the laptop never showed up.

So, I called again this morning. This time, I got a different nice lady who took my number down and offered to call me back once she figured out what was going on. About 5 minutes ago, she called me back and informed me that my laptop was sitting in Charleston, SC.  She apologized for the delay, and assured me that it was being FedExed to me now and that I should receive it by Wednesday.

Of course, she didn't have a tracking number for me, but she's going to call me "later" with that information.

At this point, the story is only half over. Once I receive my laptop (whenever that is) I'll have to give it a good test and make sure everything works as it should. Granted if it turns on, it's an improvement, but I'd hate to think they broke something else in the process.

I'll know if it's the same machine or not, because I have a big GeeksWithBlogs sticker on the top of it.

update:  They just called back.  The shipment was never re-routed to Minnesota. Today is a holiday, so Fed-Ex is apparently closed(?) and they can't do it today either. So they're going to try and reroute it tomorrow, which means I might get it Wednesday or Thursday. Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 11:03 AM General Interest | Back to top

Comments on this post: My tablet died

# re: My tablet -- the victim of a bad FedEx routing table
Requesting Gravatar...
If only physical goods could be sent as quickly and easily as packets of data.
Left by Lorin Thwaits on Feb 19, 2008 5:19 AM

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