Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dude, You gotta Dell...

My wife wanted a laptop. She is starting grad school and frankly it makes sense having a baby around the house to be able to work anywhere. She will no longer be tethered to the desktop in the loft.

Legends abound regarding the great deals one can receive if they buy computers through work, so I consulted with our purchasing maven. He told me the deals are no more. That there are no advantages over buying direct. We use Dell exclusively at work, by the way. Unless you need some specific motherboard chipset for a crazy audio application, Dell offers the best bang for the buck, in my opinion. Mr. Purchasing Guy also suggested that there are all sorts of back to school deals at the local electronic stores. In Norway, electronics are relatively cheap (compared to vehicles, beer, etc.). We have Elkjop, Euronics, Lefdal, Siba, Elpris, and a few others that I am forgetting at the moment- all in walking distance. I checked a few websites, and by the time we added the MS Office package, Dell was looking like the best deal.

I began ordering online, but there was no way to order the OS and Office in English. I can handle Norwegian computer terms, mostly, but all of our work PCs and my own laptop have the Norwegian keyboard and the English software. I am very accustomed to the terminology, and half the computer words are in no known dictionary or translation book. Since we were ordering a laptop with Vista, I thought it might be helpful to have it in English, since I am confident that we will encounter a few glitches. I asked Mr. Procurement Guy how he orders it in English. He told me there was a place to add comments.

I waited until I was at home after work to consult with Lise, and continued with ordering. I entered everything, and was faced with a submit button. There was no comment field anywhere in the workflow. I went back and clicked on Live Chat- they were closed. I was faced with a last day to order a free double memory upgrade, the free upgrade to a larger hard drive, and free shipping. For all I know, Dell says every day is the last day for such deals. I was shopping under duress. I called the US Dell customer support. I was informed that it was IMPOSSIBLE to purchase a Norwegian Dell with the OS in English. I told him that I had one right in front of me, that we use that configuration exclusively at work. He acted like I was an idiot who had no idea what I was talking about. He then went on to say that there was nothing I could do, that the memory deal would expire, even if I kept the configuration in the shopping cart. I was frustrated. I went back to the website and clicked on submit. I figured I could sort everything else out the next day.

The next day I called some Dell dude who was in Denmark. He masterfully fixed the order for me. His customer service was excellent. It went a long way toward erasing the frustration from the previous night. Now we just wait for it to arrive. I am a little envious at the spec we picked for this machine. It is far superior to my own laptop. In thinking about it, I cannot even remember the last time we purchased a PC.

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