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On a slow news day, spare yourself the heartache, don’t buy a Dell computer.
I wish to outline and explicate my severe disappointment and frustration with ordering a Dell computer. I’ve found my recent online ordering experience with Dell to have been the worst of my entire life. As you will see from my detailing below, I’ve found the quality of service provided to be appalling and incompetent.

On the 8th of November I placed an order online for a standard Inspiron notebook. I explicitly chose for Dell due to recommendations which seemed to be backed up by the brand research I had done. The promise of delivery within ten days as indicated by the Dell website suited my personal schedule perfectly. However, after nine days of waiting I grew concerned and contacted Dell customer service hoping to receive an update on delivery time. Not until the next day (the 19th of November) was I informed that delivery wouldn’t take place until the week after (well in excess of ten days, that is). Since I was moving into new premises then, I had to change the delivery address on the order. This process involved multiple telephone calls and emails (details of which emails I can provide if needed, though I suggest you check your own order logs) — most of which were at my instigation since the customer service representatives consistently failed to provide me with detailed or accurate information about the status of my order, whether the change of address had even been received by the carrier, etc. Often these representatives did not call back as promised. Several reasons were offered with regard to the lack of information, relating either to Dell procedure or poor communications with the Dell logistics department and/or the carrier company. Another week passed without clarification despite numerous emails to ‘resolution experts’ in India.

In desperation I called the carrier company (InterLink) myself but they couldn’t assist me without a dispatch number, which further communications with Dell customer service couldn’t elicit either. The carrier mentioned this was a frequent problem and complaint regarding your branded company. The ongoing process of desired clarification and resultant obfuscation finally resulted in a representative calling (another week later) to inform me the carrier had “lost” the order and would therefore have to be re-ordered and assembled from scratch at the plant etc. This representative understood my frustration and offered a 10% discount to continue with the order — though I did not receive written confirmation of this discount. In addition to hinting the reason for the delay was purely my change of address (and hence my fault), no accurate delivery time was indicated — though in a perverse parallel, my mobile number seems to have crossed with another Dell customer waiting on an order, so that I started receiving calls related to that order but none regarding my own.

The week after placing this second order (all the while receiving no order updates as promised), another representative called to inform me the renewed order had been processed with my old address details, not the new address which I had twice already provided at my own prompting. The representative said the updated address details had been forwarded to the carrier company again, but couldn’t give any indication of the expected fulfillment. I was now expecting a repeat of the delay procedure mentioned above.

By this time my frustration and utter disappointment with a ‘ten day’ order had become overwhelming. Another representative called to say that prioritized delivery had been arranged for Monday the 13th. Needless to say, the order didn’t arrive then either, despite my taking time off to receive it. And neither a phone call from Dell or the carrier company to clarify why. Again, I had to instigate communications telephonically — and though I expressed the urgent desire to cancel the order with an eye to a complete and direct refund, the representative promised to clarify the situation with the carrier by calling back within several hours. Which, when he did, was only to tell me he had no further details to add. Since no further update was forthcoming, I rang again on Tuesday the 14th to cancel the order. It appeared, from discussion with the CS representative, that my computer had again gone to the old address. Despite everything I had done to provide the correct address.
And in closing, it seems the carrier attempted to deliver it about 7-8 times in total, just to the wrong address every time. Dell have apologised in full for the debacle, but didn’t offer any incentive for ordering with them again. Watch out, people.

posted by rino breebaart  # 4:11 pm (1) comments
The Incredibles

I can’t remember chuckling and chortling so continuously during a movie. What fun. So much characterisation. So much discrete wit. Probably the ultimate family movie — something for the middle aged, the gameboy-addicted, the comic-obsessed, the surly and pubescent. Amazing animated action, great and subtle lighting changes, amazingly full characters — all fully accessible and understood, great mix of media and continuity and superb setting and rendering (the characters even breathe naturally — it hardly feels like animation — the triumph of a movie that is as real as an, er, acted film). One scene I treasured: Mr Incredible driving home in his basic-salary car, that pathetically small car which he fills to the gills, that look of frustrated ennui and him crunching the trim and then smashing the window… all in quiet comedy. Superb. And Elastigirl had a yum figure. So much fun.

posted by rino breebaart  # 1:43 pm (1) comments


This amazing story from Israel: Israel shocked by image of soldiers forcing violinist to play at roadblock.

Only now have they realised they’ve hit rock bottom in terms of humiliating and debasing Palestinians. Never mind the head on a stake routine. The soldiers in question were 'ticked off for being "insensitive".' And then further down: 'To date, [only] one soldier has [ever] been convicted of causing the death of a Palestinian.' And yet '1,656 Palestinian non-combatants have been killed during the intifada, including 529 children.' What a disgusting world we live in. This is not the Age of Rights, this is not the Nixonian Age; this is the Age of Unaccountability.

posted by rino breebaart  # 6:26 pm (2) comments


Notes from the editorial cutting room floor:

Where do we draw the line between religious fundamentalism and fanaticism these days? I can’t think of a more dangerous and pertinent question for these times. On the one hand there’s some deluded extremists fighting for a hardcore misinterpretation of an idealised Islamic State (by way of a sectarian power putsch) and all the fundamentalist repression that implies (for women, free speech, etc); and on the other there’s a US Republican slash NeoCon movement deliberately blurring and diluting the separation of Church and State in defiance of that State’s constitution, which is also considering implementing a suite of repressions by dressing it up as Patriotism. Are you devoted enough to your country’s ideology? Both (half-baked and fragmented) ideas of state perceive themselves to be battling the other in a fight for cultural and political supremacy on the global scale. Or, at the very least, deftly manufacturing the impression that such is the case, that the other is a real and legitimate enemy. On a stage where half-facts and fear become political bedfellows. But as with any battle there are very real fallouts, and some wild, religious extremists at the periphery egging each other on.

I wonder what it feels like to be in a large population or group — a culture, a religion or a state — and to have a small number of hard liners or fanatics become the vocal minority, the public face of your group. Even though everyone might know they don’t speak for the group, or that they hardly speak coherently or accurately at all about that group’s core principles and beliefs — but somehow they’ve become shamelessly adept at exploiting shared attitudes and beliefs for political power and thereby tarnishing the goodwill of the group, so even other groups start think you’re all extremists. This is the politicising of religion — and if you look back a little further in time, you’ll find that religion has been political though the ages. This is the problem faced by the majority of Muslims who are believers in peace and harmony, wherever they live, who face the consequences of revenge attacks. And yet, reading that back just now, that issue could also be read into the Neo Conservative movement in America’s executive branch.

posted by rino breebaart  # 1:29 pm (0) comments



A completely quoted blog posting today (hey man, it's like, so the new trend!) from one of my favourite bloggers, the ever-sane and reliable Juan Cole:
The fog of information war thrown up by the Allawi government, the US military, and the guerrilla sympathizers, however, does make the [Fallujah] episode difficult to judge morally and ethically. In a democracy, such judgments are necessary, so that there is something radically wrong with the system, when we ordinary Americans don't have a realistic idea of how many US troops have been harmed in the prosecution of this war, and likewise have no clear idea of the human cost of an operation like Fallujah II.

The irony of the twenty-first century Information Age is that the American public is uninformed as never before about the most crucial information in our lives. The new Age of Ignorance amidst information riches is made possible precisely because modern means of communication lend themselves to manipulation by wealthy, powerful forces that understand how to make an emotional impact that will obscure the real issues. This observation is as true of the Baath Party as it is of the Republican Party, as true of al-Jazeerah as it is of Fox Cable News.

posted by rino breebaart  # 1:44 pm (0) comments
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Alternatively, read about it at: The Slow Review or the long blog. Or even Nurture Health

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