For some problems, I'll bull it out or fix it. This time my computer wouldn't reboot and didn't seem to recognize its own existence half the time. The hell with it, I finally decided, I'm buying a new one.
I went to Best Buy and got a nifty looking machine, one that'll serve me well so long as it keeps running. And I was informed, after I'd basically committed to the purchase (although I hadn't swiped my card yet, because they wanted to weasel more money out of me), that the reason the prices were so "low" was because my computer would come preloaded with lots of ads and the like, which would slow my computer's performance about 40%, but I can--for the low low price of $150--get them to take it back off for me, and give me virus/spyware protection.
Now this is not the topic of my rant. It's unfortunately nothing new/surprising/anything that products come bundled with all sorts of things that get in the way of your enjoyment. TV and radio commercials, anyone? But you can get satellite radio or special channels with no commercials--for a price.
No, what bugs me is that the service included all sorts of things to do to your computer--including downloading and installing all software updates. Which is rather nice, even though it's not really what I was paying for (anyone with a mostly-functional brain should be able to let Windows proceed with its many automatic downloads). So I pay for the service and leave the machine with them overnight so they can take care of it. I'm an advocate for giving people money to take care of stuff that might ail me, even if it's probably more worry-mongering than actual problem. I DON'T LIKE WORRYING.
ANYway. I finally get the machine home and...it tells me there's at least 18 updates it needs to download, should it start doing so? Also, the CPU monitor I was promised wasn't there--in its place is a digital representation of an analog clock, in case I can't read the handy digits in the lower right corner. And finally, it froze within five minutes of being plugged in (yay Microsoft). I call irately in to Best Buy, and they say all I can do is pack it up, drive across town AGAIN, and they'll look at it.
The updates it told me about were just auto-updates from Windows, but if they got those two things wrong, perhaps they didn't finish decluttering my hard drive. Or installing the software. So I lugged it back across town and had them inspect it. Of course, they swore up and down that it had *all* the updates *this* time and I brought it home to have it download ten more, and there were still ads for NetZero and AOL...
So my question is, how did we get to this strange attitude we now have as a society? Whence come our priorities?
Consider, if you would, the hypothetical situation where I'm trying to make my purchase at the same time as twelve other people, the phones are ringing off the hook, that deadbeat Jeremy is taking a break in the middle of a rush, and when I pester her a fifth time the salesclerk lets go an exasperated "I'm busy here, could you hold your horses for a minute?" Probable result? She gets fired for being rude to a customer, the company apologizes profusely to me, probably including a paper mailing to my apartment full of condolences and coupons.
Contrariwise, if the computer people DON'T DO THEIR JOB (do they not know that Windows Updates generally take four or five batches of updating, with resets in between?) and I get a machine that is specifically not what I was promised (and for which I paid a premium), what happens? A few oral apologies, and because they mostly fixed the problem without further charge (but with me doing all the driving) I officially have no complaint. Even though I don't get any sort of compensation for the time and trouble it takes me to get this fixed, and they gave me something not up to spec. Because I don't have to funnel *more* money into the corporation to get it fixed, I'm "good."
How did we get to that point?