When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

12 August 2005

Chapomatic: Why I'm unlikely to buy a Thinkpad

Chapomatic has just had a hellish experience trying to get his Thinkpad repaired.

It took eight months--eight months!--and countless hours of phone calls and e-mails, before Chap finally got his laptop returned to him in semi-working condition.

With a wiped hard drive. (sigh)

Although Lenovo has bought out IBM's PC business--a transaction that took place, incidentally, during the time Chap's laptop was already in the shop--all of these repairs were (mis)handled by former IBM staff, and I must confess that I am especially surprised and disappointed to learn of the incredible runaround that Chap experienced.

I have memories of a much-different IBM.

Twenty years ago (cough), I started my career in information technology working for IBM, while still a college student.

I bought IBM products (the employee discount didn't hurt!) and having seen first-hand the ruthless efficiency and fanatical devotion (pace Monty Python) of IBM field service personnel, always popped for the service contract.

When my IBM PC Convertible suffered a fried motherboard after a power spike in Chapel Hill, two days before a big paper was due, I made a frantic phone call to the local repair depot, and was literally met at the door by a guy in a suit who expedited my repair. An hour later I was walking out the door with what was essentially a new computer.

My, how times have changed.

Back in the day, a letter like Chap's that made it to the desk of a competent Service Manager would have resulted in someone, or several someones, getting terminated with extreme prejudice, followed by an extended bout of customer ass-kissing.

These days, apparently, they can't even be bothered to answer their mail.

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