A Trip ’round Robin Hood’s Barn…

With any luck my mom’s computer will be delivered tomorrow. Unfortunately she leaves early on Fridays so she might miss it. She’s going to flip out when she sees it. Today she actually called about getting real internet at her house. With any luck she’ll move out of the 1990’s any day now. She was very excited to find out that if she bundles her cable, phone, and internet together it’s only about 15 dollars more than she already pays. I did tell her to make sure that this wasn’t just a one year deal and that it was the permanent price. And more importantly, when I go to visit her this summer I’ll be able to keep you updated as to all the fun I’m having.

Speaking of computers. I ordered my mom’s computer from Dell. I would have gotten her an Apple but I was completely convinced that she’d never be able to figure out how to use it. Yes, I know it’s easier than a PC but she’s already figured that out and it took my brother months for her to understand what little she knows. And so last Saturday I called up Dell, talked to the sales rep “Melinda” and discussed what I needed. I decided after talking to her, what I needed and placed the order. Start to finish it was probably close to an hour. When we were done I felt great about doing this for my mom and just knew that she would be excited.

When I ordered the computer I used my mom’s home address for the shipping address. I didn’t even think about the fact that she wouldn’t be there. After some consideration and after talking to a couple of people, I decided to change the shipping address to my mom’s office. I lied to her to get the address(I’ve been lying to her a lot this week).

So I called up Dell on Sunday night to change the address and boy was I in for a surprise.

Seems once you place an order with them nothing can be changed. Not the product. Not the extras. Not the address. It simply cannot be done. I was sort of taken aback. How can you not change something. It’s been less than 24 hours, it’s on the weekend, and it’s sure as hell not been possible to actually get the thing in the mail. I don’t know the name of the woman that I was talking to but she was snippy and didn’t like my tone. I was being pretend nice. Which is over exaggerating everything I said. She explained again and again that I couldn’t do it. So I asked to speak to a supervisor. She told me that she would check to see if one was available. I told her I would hold. She came back and told me that the only one available was on another call couldn’t speak to me. I told her that I would hold. She told me that I couldn’t speak to her. I told her that I would hold. She told me that I couldn’t speak to her. I told her that I would hold. She told me that I couldn’t speak to her. I told her that I would hold. She told me that I couldn’t speak to her. I told her that I would hold. She told me that I couldn’t speak to her. I told her that I would hold. She told me that I couldn’t speak to her. I told her that I would hold. She told me that I couldn’t speak to her. I told her that I would hold. She told me that I couldn’t speak to her. This went on for while. My roommate was laughing just at my end of the conversation. She finally told me that she could give me a number, I could call to speak to a manager. I jotted the number down.

So my one and only last question to this woman was, “Can I cancel my order.” She told me she would check. She came back on the line and said “Yes I could cancel the order.”

I got off the phone and immediately dialed the number to register the complaint. It was a Dell recording. I don’t even remember what it said. I do know that it was just a recording and it disconnected me at the end of it. It certainly wasn’t a number to register a complaint.

So I was a little pissed. I was a little annoyed. My roommate told me that I was probably more annoyed with my foot than I was with the lady on the phone. He probably was right. But I stopped watching TV and I sat down and wrote a snarky email…


I called today to try and change the shipping address of the computer system I am buying. I realized that since my mom works during the day that I should probably have the system sent to her office. I’m doing this because the last time I bought a Dell product it was left on the doorstep for anyone to help themselves. When I called I was told that I could NOT change the address. Seems that once I’ve ordered the computer nothing can be changed. I find this a little annoying. It has been less that 24 hours since I placed the order, and I can’t imagine that on Sunday of all days, the computer has been built, packed, shipped and is on it’s way to Kentucky. Perhaps you are able to work that fast. But it’s my guess that you do not.

What I WAS told, is that I can cancel my order. So I would like to do just that. Cancel my order AND THEN, I would like to repurchase the computer system to have it shipped to a new address. This seems a little like going around Robin Hood’s barn to get to the place I want to get to, but if that’s the way your award winning customer service is set up, so be it. Of course this only confirms what several of my friends have warned me about concerning purchasing a Dell Computer these days.

The other thing that I would like to have happen, is that I would like it all entered into the computer so that all I have to do is say yes to whatever else I need to confirm and NOT be on the phone for another 60 minutes to repurchase the computer. If this is not the case, then I will consider buying a new computer elsewhere.

I will be available all day tomorrow so please call when this request has been processed.



In case you are able to just change the address it is as follows:

Phone number stays the same.

By the way, I don’t appreciate the customer service person I spoke to today not being willing to let me speak to a manager. And even more infuriating was the idea that she gave me a number that didn’t actually get me through to anyone, but instead gave me a recorded message and then disconnected me. Once again, it seems that Dell’s award winning customer service is at play.

My roommate told me I shouldn’t send a snarky email. But I was pissed. And annoyed. And I’d never let that advice stop me before. So what the hell. I proofed it a couple times and hit send.

Perhaps it’s just me, but doesn’t anyone else find it strange that I could get what I wanted by taking up almost 3 hours of their employees time and inconveniencing the hell out of me, just to change the address.


I do have to admit that Melinda called at exactly 9:01 the next morning, terribly afraid that I was going to cancel the order altogether. It took about 15 minutes to re-process the order and I was on my way.

Makes me think perhaps a well placed letter to Verizon might be just the thing.

By the way, I wouldn’t mind going ’round this Robin Hood’s barn.


11 thoughts on “A Trip ’round Robin Hood’s Barn…

  1. Daniel May 9, 2008 / 00:05

    I actually had Melindas’ job, except they called it AOL. It was horrifying what we had to do to people.

  2. Chris May 9, 2008 / 01:38

    As frustrating as they may be I’ve never been happier with a pc than with my Dell. When I bought a used pc from a friend sans monitor for Bryan I bought his monitor through Dell. I’m afraid to admit they could jerk me around all day and I’d still come back to them. I’ve had such bad experiences with IBM, HP & Compaqs over the years in my classrooms…

  3. sorted May 9, 2008 / 04:36

    I have a Dell laptop and have been very pleased. But, I have to agree that is a half-ass backwards way to do bid’ness.

  4. Rick May 9, 2008 / 05:14

    Gosh I’d like to get my Mom INTO the 90’s. She and my brother, down south, are still living in 1982. They just got an answering machine! Still don’t have call waiting, caller ID and refuse to use an ATM (too scary).

  5. Lemuel May 9, 2008 / 05:21

    To finish the expression – you DID get to the chicken coop. More and more I am with you and not your roomie – send those snarky emails! It seems it is the only thing they understand. You said the magic words: I will cancel the order.

    Years ago I had a very good experience with both Gateway and Dell. Not any more. And if you did not know, you now spell Melinda in Hindi. (They take fake “English” names and are schooled to speak without accent).

  6. Sarah May 9, 2008 / 08:36

    Forgive me, I’m a little slow, did you say you’d hold for a manager? ; )

    Love your letter! The only thing that separates one company from another is the service they provide to their clients. When one of their employees gives you a bullshit phone number to keep you from speaking to her supervisor you have every right to complain.

  7. eddie May 9, 2008 / 10:35

    Where in Kentucky are you from? I grew up in Lancaster.

  8. Shel May 9, 2008 / 10:40

    Absolutely LOVE your letter– corporations have gotten WAY too big for their britches and need to realize it is the little people that are their bread and butter – not that they are doing us a favor by providing their services or products. I have had to fight with the Evil Empire AT&T recently over something very similar. Fight the good fight, brother. Don’t let the bastards get you down!!!

  9. Mike G May 9, 2008 / 11:47

    It is frustrating when a company seems to run roughshod over you for no rational reason.

    I would cancel the order. Just cancel the mofo. They had the chance to get your business and they blew it.

    And go buy a laptop at Walmart, it will be as cheap as whatever Dell’s selling, and give that to your mom. They have new ones with good sized screens. It will take up less space too.

  10. Bill May 9, 2008 / 22:05

    I’m optimistic that this story will have a happy ending, and that your mother will soon be zooming down the Internet autobahn.

    I wonder how that expression, Robin Hood’s barn, originated? He doesn’t strike me as an agrarian type. Why not Robin Hood’s Archery Range or Robin Hood’s Hidey-Hole?

    Maybe, though, Robin Hood had a barn, but since it was far outside of Sherwood Forest, it would have been an ordeal for him to go around it. Especially with a BOLO hanging over him.

  11. Donnie May 15, 2008 / 09:13

    I’m glad that you got everything straightened out with Dell. You’re a more patient man than I though.

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