Friday 6 June 2008

A rotten experience of shopping and delivery

Bit System, Bigger Memory

Sometimes, I do not know what it takes to snap me out of a terminal sulk and I had every reason to be quite contrary. This blog is a bit geeky.

I had been thinking of getting my mitts deep into Microsoft Windows Server 2008 but that would have required a reasonably specified system.

With a help of a friend at work who knows a bit more about assembling computers, I ordered a computer from placing each component into my electronic trolley after check that it was available and in stock.

The highlights of this system were the Intel Core 2 Quad core processor, 8GB of Ram and 2 1GB SATA hard disks.

Having the Microsoft TechNet Plus Subscription meant I had access to a good deal of Microsoft software for free, for evaluation and usually as Microsoft expects, we feedback to them issues and discoveries to improve the products.

My plan was to install the 64-bit version of the Operating System and the run 2 virtual machines using 2.5GB of RAM, very few systems at work are that well specified.

Then I also decided to get a lower specification pre-built system, half the memory and hard disk space – this was to run Windows Vista, also 64-bit with one virtual machine using 2GB of RAM, thus, I would end up with 5 logical systems and all the research and development can begin.

Indulging myself, I got a 22” widescreen monitor too

Beginning to fail me

The site offered to means to keep up with the processing of the order after I had parted with a smidgen over EUR 2,000.

In real-time, it then appeared not every component was available, most of the order filled up by the 3rd day but for the memory which was supposed to be 2 banks of 4GB for 2 slots in the bespoke system.

In fact, it took 9 days for the memory to be signed off as ready and my system went to assembly.

On Tuesday, I received an email with Track-and-Trace numbers that my systems would soon be delivered and I watched the progress through out the day, from site, to office, to chauffeur and possibly my home.

When I got back home as I walked into the atrium entrance of my block, I noticed 2 boxes, I walked up to check and they were my goods.

I was livid, I could not believe that my goods had been handled with such levity and dumped in an unsecure place with no one having signed for the delivery of the goods. This was supposed to be some “professional” outfit called TNT.

Normally, if a delivery cannot be made, a second and third attempt is made before the goods are taken to the local post office for collection – I have done that so many times for good that do not even cost EUR 50.

It is not all there

It took about 2 hours for me to calm down enough to check if my full order had been delivered, though I could not think of 2 computers and a monitor being in just 2 boxes.

Well, the boxes contained the bespoke computer and the other empty boxes of the components used to build the computer. It did not dawn on me then that I was missing the monitor until later.

Imagine the thoughts that went through my racy mind all night, someone might have waked away with the lighter goods and I had to chase down the whole delivery process to prove that the goods were not in my possession.

I had paid for delivery so it was not like I was being done a favour, I believed I had an implicit contract that ensured after nicely pocketing my money would ensure that goods were properly and professionally delivered.


The next morning, I called to complain and remonstrate, no one knew what had happened to my full order, it was not till the afternoon that I was informed that the goods were still on location and arrangements had been made to get them out to me the next day.

I also received a Track-and-Trace number which I did not try out till the next morning only to find that the number had one character missing.

Akin had to calm down seriously when composing an email to demand the exact number because I wanted to be at home to receive my goods.

Afterwards I called and for 30 minutes I went over my story as if in a recital and could not get a Track-and-Trace number for the life of me.

I was just assured that my goods would arrive, I had no problem with that, but if they were user a professional delivery service there should be a record of the transaction somewhere – well I could not get the information at all – it was frustrating, but I decided to work from home in the hope that their assurances would be met.

Not what I ordered

Meanwhile, the night before, I have powered up the beast of a server and slapped on Microsoft Windows Server 2008– Enterprise Edition with Hyper-V all 64-bit.

Then I ran Everest tools on the system, this is software that takes off the bonnet of a system better than any assembly engineer can do. I had suspected the memory I asked for was not what was installed.

Lo and behold, the system has 4 banks of 2GB RAM instead of 2 banks of 4GB RAM, not problem, it just means I cannot upgrade the memory, but then the motherboard can only take 8GB of RAM – fair enough.

However, should I not have been informed that one of the components I ordered could not be sourced and it had been substituted with another?

Given that the price of the 4 modules is higher than installing the original 2 modules I ordered, there was a whiff of hanky-panky and dishonesty in this situation, I was not being given what I paid for and something else was passed off to me as what it was not.

I was not pleased at all and I mentioned that to them, apology precipitates excuses but this was really a process gone wrong.

Arrived and dumped at the door - AGAIN!!!

At just a quarter to 4 my bell rang at the delivery courier said he had 2 boxes for me; I let him in and made for the entrance, 7 floors down by elevator, before I got there, he had disappeared and my boxes were just by the door on the inside.

I found out from a neighbour that the boxes delivered on the Tuesday were placed in the same place and someone had moved them further into the atrium. I was already too exhausted to be very angry, it was completely unacceptable.

How can a firm deliver EUR 2,000 worth of goods and not require signatures of proof of delivery?

I wrote to and told them I would never shop with them again and I would shop them to the computer consumer site called and vent my spleen on my blog.

Apparently, they do have good consumer ratings – Murphy’s Law just seemed to exact a gravitational force on my transaction.

I received a profuse apology by email and they said they were going to lodge a complaint with TNT.

Don’t keep me waiting

So, I left work early to get a KVM (Key Video Mouse) switch to link up 2 computers in my office, I already have one linking up 4 computers in my computer room; none of the shops had what I wanted and when I got to the other side of town all had closed but one.

I bought a cable off them but it took probably ten minutes to process the order because the mouse on their computer was playing up – then I paid, but the boy at the till could not make out that if I bought stuff for EUR 16 and gave him EUR 51, he should give me EUR 35.

The innumerate are taking over the world and that is probably more catastrophic than the illiterate.

Then he offered me a bag, but got distracted trying to fix their computer with a colleague, another 5 minutes that I slapped the shelf with my palm and asked that the customer be properly attended to regardless of whether their system works or not – it is not my business if as a computer store they cannot replace suspect parts.

Basically, I am a customer who does not like being kept waiting – nothing vexatious, just as the boy was about to raise his voice to me, the calmer heads in the place called him to order – I was just about to get really pissed off with computer people.

Anyway, I think I feel a lot better now; I am off to play with my new toys.