When mneme and I got back from Contata, there was a crack in the screen of my laptop. After each of us assured the other it was really the speaker's fault (mnemex pointing out he'd carried my laptop, I pointing out that I'd packed it into his bag), we called ASUS. The service representative said to send it in, and they'd let me know how much fixing it would cost, as it was out of warranty.
The day before Origins, I sent the laptop to ASUS in a FedEx laptop kit, which is really well designed for the purpose. The man at the FedEx / Kinkos counter was very helpful, pointing out a cheaper way to send it, assuring me that he did not mind recalculating the cost, and reminding me to insure it.
This Monday, I got email saying that the package was on its way back. Surprised, I called ASUS, explaining that I hadn't received a price quote. The woman I spoke to said that this meant the problem was something minor, so there was no charge. mnemex was skeptical, but allowed as how maybe it was just the glass, not the lcd, that was cracked. jlighton pointed out that glass screens aren't trivial to fix. I wondered whether, given that we'd pulled out the hard drive before mailing in the computer, ASUS had just given me a new machine, sans hard drive.
It was several days before I was to find out. The woman I spoke to at ASUS said that the package was scheduled to come to me at home, but took down mnemex's work address, and said she'd change that. I should have called back, as she said, though I don't know if that would have changed anything.
I received a new email, this one with a FedEx tracking number. I called FedEx and was told that the package was coming to the apartment, and that only the shipper could change the delivery location. The man added that the package was due to be delivered before 3 pm on Tuesday. Since I could be home for that, I decided to let it stand.
Throughout the morning and early afternoon, I checked the tracking number on FedEx's website and via the automated part of FedEx's phone system. When it was nearly 3 pm, I called, saying that maybe I was being silly, but no package had shown up. The rep said taht I was not being at all silly, and found out that there were some mechanical difficulties, and that the package would not leave Louisville until 5:30 pm. The website and automated tracking system failed to mention this at any point.
As I had a urologist appointment on Wednesday, I asked to change the delivery address. Again, I was told ASUS had to ask. I asked for a supervisor, who was very polite -- everyone I dealt with at FedEx was invariably, unfailingly polite, however rude I got -- and said that the shipping cost would be waived, but that the contract was with ASUS, and asked me to call ASUS.
I did, and, while it took two or three transfers to find someone capable of picking up a phone to FedEx, and while the woman sounded annoyed at having to do this, she did assure me that she would call FedEx. She added that the work address was the one in ASUS's computer. I'm guessing the package went out while the woman I spoke to on Monday was entering the change.
Five minutes later, another guy from FedEx called me. He explained that changing the location meant that the package would have to go all the way back to a hub city, like Newark, and then get sent out again, and we'd get it late Thursday if we were lucky, more likely Friday. This was very annoying, so I kept asking him to connect me to the manager to whom I'd spoken. After being on hold for a while, I hung up and called mnemex on the landline.
FedEx called back on the phone, the manager I'd spoken to at first explaining that this was how it was. That's when I started screaming. I'm sure they've heard far, far worse. I yelled that because they'd had mechanical difficulties and couldn't deliver when they said, and because I had the nerve to (gasp) make a doctor's appointment for the day after they were to deliver the package, after waiting a whole day for a delivery that never came, I was now not going to see my laptop for three more days. The man said, "This is medical? Why didn't you say so? I'm bumping this up, and you'll hear from someone within the hour."
This boggled me, but it sounded promising. Two hours later, no one had called back. I called, and ran to the bathroom while on hold, so mnemex talked to the person answering it. I came back, and mnemex said that someone would get back to me within the hour. Deciding that this simply wasn't good enough, I called back.
First I talked to a regular rep, who managed to coax out the tracking number from me. (I just wanted to go straight to talking to a manager.) Then, I spoke to a different manager. She looked at the records and said that, instead of updating the original record, two new records had been opened, which we agreed was a total mess. And, she said that it really would take longer to deliver it. I got frustrated and kept getting back to the first manager having said that he could bump it up because of the medical issue.
"The laptop is medical?" she asked, puzzled. I explained that I had a doctor's appointment, and that the manager said, when I mentioned this, that he could bump it up. She said that he had done this (whatever it means), but that it shouldn't have been done, and that she'd check on the status and put me on hold.
When she picked up again, I was calmer and had figured out the confusion on the medical question. I checked with her and confirmed that the first manager probably thought that I was saying I needed the laptop for medical purposes, whereas what I was saying was that I had a dcotor's appointment. She said that the package would have to go through rerouting, as drivers do not have access to changes in the records (and why not, I wonder, given that we almost certainly have the technology). However, she said that the package would certainly not have to go through New Jersey to get from Queens to Manhattan. It might arrive with the 7 pm delivery on Wednesday, but if not, it would arrive before 10 am on Thursday.
On Wednesday, I went to my urologist appointment and kept checking online status. FedEx tried to deliver the package to the apartment. mnemex and I figured that this was because it had to be done before it could be rerouted. To be on the safe side, mnemex called FedEx, confirmed that the delivery address had been changed, and made a correction to it, i.e., adding the name of the company, which I know I gave FedEx.
Today, Thursday, we headed out bright and early for Long Island College Hospital, spending several hours there. During this time, FedEx again tried to deliver the package to the apartment. Bless Sidekicks and carrying the Internet in one's pocket. Because we knew this, mnemex was able to untangle matters.
It turns out that there have been a lot of complaints about Maspeth location that had the package. mnemex wanted to call the place directly, but this is apparently as hard as getting the phone number of a local post office these days. He spoke to an operator who said to call back after 3 pm, at which point someone from FedEx could call someone from the FedEx place in Maspeth. Regardless, we could probably collect the package between 4 and 8 pm.
We left the hospital just after 3 pm, and mnemex called back. He was more laid back, as, unlike me, he had not been abstaining from food and drink just in case there was a medical procedure that needed to be done. He reminded me that the goal here was not to vent indignation, however righteous, at the FedEx people, but to get my laptop.
Apparently, the person in Maspeth who was supposed to redirect the package had not done so, and had gone home (or on vacation or something) without telling anyone that this had not been done and needed to be done. mnemex and the person he was now speaking tod iscussed options. We could ask for a Saturday delivery at the apartment. We could ask for a Monday delivery at work. There won't be deliveries on Friday, July 4, or on Sunday, and no one is actually at mnemex's workplace on Saturday.
Or, we could just go to the Maspeth location and pick up the package.
I mentioned a car service, muttering that FedEx ought to pay for it. We both knew that wasn't realistic, but mnemex agreed that a car service was the way to do this, as the Maspeth location is a long, confusing, and thoroughly inconvenient walk from our place.
I called Caprice when we returned home. This is the car service I use for getting us to the airport, and the one we used for getting to and from the emergency room last week. As promised, the car arrived in ten minutes.
We spent a couple of uneasy moments not quite sure precisely where the FedEx place was, but we found someone to check with. The streets are confusing there. And it took a couple of minutes to figure out where the entrance was. After that, I went up to the office. handed over the second door tag, and waved my driver's license.
The woman I spoke to found my package and handed it over.
"I remember that package," she said. "I got a call about it."
"It wasn't even supposed to come to this location," I said, wryly. Then, I saw that the package had misspelled my last name, starting it with a "T". As I said to the woman, I'm very glad she trusted that it was mine.
We opened the box in the car, discovering that I had almost called it. ASUS did not replace the entire computer, but someone replaced the entire top, i.e., the part with the screen. Over the course of the evening, mnemex put the hard drive back in, and we've confirmed that it seems to be working, without screen problems.
The car ride was smooth, saving us from two long annoying walks.
So, yay ASUS! And yay Caprice! Now, if ASUS would just release the 901 EEE to stores, I'd do the dance of joy.
FedEx? While everyone I dealt with was both polite and sympathetic, I do not ever want to use FedEx again.