More Adventures in Customer Service

Adventure 1: Buying hard drives!

-OfficeMax has appropriate HD on sale at good price w/2 rebates!

-BUT online ordering system fails to credit me for one of the rebates and phone-support person will not acknowledge the problem, so. . .

-CompUSA has adequate HD on sale at great price w/2 rebates!

-BUT online ordering system won’t let me check out, even though I attempt to place order multiple times over two days, using two different browsers. Can’t get a human being on the phone. Remembering wasted time from OfficeMax experience, it’s time to. . .

-ABANDON SHIP. Now I will wait for an Office Depot sale or buy from Old (relatively) Reliable.

Adventure 2: Camera repair!

-Find name of local repair guy recommended by someone in online discussion forum. Excellent! A trustworthy local craftsman! Call him up => no answer. Repeat for about a week. Consider visiting his shop (about five miles away). . .

-BUT with traffic this would take an hour and he might not be there => not worth it.

-Return to online discussion group, find name of highly recommended repair person 3k miles away. I email query, she replies promptly with answers and a price quote. I drive ten minutes to FedEx office and ship camera (which will be shipped back directly to my address, negating any need for me to pick it up).

-Outcome pending.

14 thoughts on “More Adventures in Customer Service”

  1. If you are still in the Chicago area, I can’t recommend Fry’s in Downer’s Grove enough. Take the North/South Tollway to Butterfield Road and turn right at the first light. You can’t miss it. It’s huge. And by huge, I mean ginormous. And by ginormous, I mean “Dear Lord! Can you cram any more geeky goodness under one humungous roof?”

    The prices generally can’t be beat and support is top-notch.

    They have an online counterpart at I won’t go back to Best Buy, OfficeMax, CompUSA or any of the other retailers because if I can’t find it at Fry’s, it probably doesn’t exist and if it does exist elsewhere, Fry’s has their prices beat. They are real big out west and are only now moving into the MidWest.

  2. New Egg is very good. For refurbished items, I have bought online from Eagle Computer Systems (no idea if the name is an ironic reference to the early PC clone company). If something is well and truly DOA, they take it back without hassle.

    For a real hands-on geek-fest, I go to haunt Micro Center in Cambridge, MA. I see they also have a store in Chicago. Besides the big things like component upgrades, they stock the many little things that are uneconomical to buy online (case screws, wire ties, connectors & cables, etc.). The bargain bin is always worth a look. Anything someone opens and returns when it doesn’t fit winds up there (my last mb and memory upgrades originated there). And the staff people know things I don’t!

    In re blogging for cash: these endorsements were made on spec. Nobody paid me for them, but I’ll be happy to cash your company’s check.

  3. Thanks. I don’t want to have to go to a store: I want to buy online, preferably without having to jump through rebate hoops and without having to monitor weekly sales at multiple vendors. I’ll probably use Newegg.

  4. You live in a place where traffic is so bad it takes an hour to go 5 miles??? That is so horrible. That sounds like hell.

  5. It’s not five miles. It’s five miles during work hours through a busy downtown, then looking for the shop, parking, talking to the guy. And for all I know he’s not answering the phone because he’s on vacation. I may even have the wrong phone number but it doesn’t matter. Maybe it would make sense for me to use his services if I had a valuable camera or took pictures for a living, and perhaps his clientele consists mainly of camera shops and professional photographers for whom putting up with the old way of doing things is an acceptable part of doing business. For me it’s not worth the hassle, whereas professional-service providers who use email and are accustomed to dealing with distant customers are a godsend.

  6. I found with Hard Disk Drives in particular that the best (cheapest) way to buy them is to go to stores and see what is being discounted/rebated. I think you confirmed my finding.

  7. Oh good. That’s a bit better… I’m glad the traffic isn’t that bad all the time. I developed a traffic allergy a few years ago. (Actually maybe you can relate, it was when I lived in the Chicagoland area. Egad. I commuted from Evanston to Elk Grove Village. It was hell. I have resolved to never, ever, ever accept a bad commute or any other hellish regular driving in my life.)

  8. Some stores are better than others. I have had generally good experiences with Office Depot (online, on the phone and at the store), whereas CompUSA is the kind of place where you often have to go to the store if you want to avoid problems. But the nearest CompUSA is 1/2 hour away, so it isn’t worth going unless I’m going to be in the area. The best operations, like Newegg and Office Depot, make online ordering trouble-free. This isn’t true for OfficeMax and CompUSA, and the consequence for me is not that I visit the store in person but that I rarely buy stuff there.

  9. I have had very good luck with Tiger Direct online. They got my order to me just when they said, it was well packed and the Service People on line really know what they are doing. Cannot say enough good things about them.

  10. Tiger Direct has been good for a long time… I think my dad used to buy stuff from them in the early 90’s, and they were always solid and had good prices on some things.

  11. Re: Adventure 2

    The Global Village in action; 3,000 miles can be more convenient than 5 miles. And this is only the beginning.

  12. I ended up using Robert’s method and picking up a HD from a CompUSA store. The price was right, I got the drive immediately and I was able to combine the trip with another errand.

  13. Compusa is especially good for family members who aren’t computer savy. I bought a printer for my mom with Compusa’s performance guarantee. It broke, and all she had to do was bring it in and they gave her a new one. Other stores generally try to fix it first, which is a hassle.

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