Saturday, July 25, 2009

Recycling: The XBOX Saga (2005)

This won't mean much to any of you, but I have to put it on here to save it. I wrote this in St. Louis to chronicle our Microsoft misery.

The XBOX Saga: Part One
So, I've been on the phone all day trying to track down an XBOX 360 for John. We should have reserved one MONTHS ago, but he wasn't sure he wanted one at the time. Now, it's the only thing he wants (obviously, since they cost eleventy trillion dollars).

They go on sale at midnight tonight. We've talked to every Wal-Mart in a 68 mile radius. They all have 10-20, but most of them have already been put on layaway. One place had a few that weren't spoken for, but the line was already crazy long.

So now it's on to Plan B. Sam's opens at 7:00 in the morning. They have 19. Usually, the 7:00 open time is only for business memberships. We've been told they're letting everyone in AND we've been told they're only letting business people in. I've tried to cover my bases. I'm going to be there around 5:00. A girl I work with is bringing her business membership card and meeting me. The first 19 people get a ticket to go in and buy the XBOX. SURELY, there won't be 19 people in line at 5 AM! I'm about to go to bed, though, so that I can get out there bright and early. Wait, I mean dark and early. Dark, cold and early.

Gee, I must love that boy more that I thought

Anywho, the saga continues tomorrow. I'll post again after I get to work. If you don't hear from me, I froze to death in the parking lot. Or got mugged. Or fell asleep and got trampled.

The XBOX Saga, Part II: The Passion of the Sam's
After a fitful night of dreaming about waiting in line and running through stores (fruitlessly) looking for an XBOX, I awake to the sweet sound of John’s alarm. 4:00 A.M. Rise and shine, Valentine. I manage to pull myself out of bed and shower without drowning. I bundle myself up like a modern Nanook the Eskimo (or whatever they like to be called now) and make my way to the local Sam’s Club in the hope of procuring the hallowed XBOX 360.

I pull in sometime between 4:30 and 5:00 to discover a line has already formed outside of the entrance. I do a quick count of heads (thirteen) and giddily (is that a word?) swing my car into the nearest open space. I know that Sam’s has 19 XBOX bundles inside. It appears that fate likes me. She really, really likes me.

I start talking to those in line (as I’m prone to doing) and discover that I am (alas) not number 14. A group of guys in the front have left to get food, asking their friend to “save their spots.” My philosophy is that if you’re going to wait in line, you wait in line. Period. Suffer with the rest of us. The woman in front of me says that only three guys left. I con my still slumbering mind into doing some quick calculations. Okay, that puts me at number 17. No sweat.

Time passes. A guy in line reveals that he has been sleeping in his car in the Sam’s parking lot since 1:00 AM. Another guy says that his buddy is in line at Best Buy with at least 40 other people. John shows up to keep me company. He doesn’t bring breakfast because McDonalds in Ballwin don’t open until 6:00. Go figure.

Suddenly, a car pulls into the parking lot carrying not three, but FOUR strapping young men bearing food. It seems that they have added one to their party while on their journey. The line in front of me suddenly grows longer. Can it be? I’m now number 18?? My palms begin to sweat. I look at John who is counting the line to himself.

It tell him it’s okay. We’re still number 18. I wonder, though, how many more spaces are being saved in the line? Then I wonder what it’s really like in jail…

A gentleman exits the building and makes his way toward the line. He has little slips of paper in his hands. He informs us that he’s going to pass out numbers to the first 19 so that we can all go home or sit in our car until the store opens. He makes his way down the line, finally coming to a stop in front of me. I think of all the bad things I’ve done, wondering if karma is about to kick me in the proverbial balls at last. Please, please, let me have an XBOX. It’s all John wants for Christmas.

“Here you go, ma’am. Number 17.”

17? I’m 17? I jump up and down. I hug John. I almost hug the guy with the tickets. I’m acting like the fat woman on The Price is Right!!! I’m as happy as the kid in that movie who finally got a Red Rider BB Gun. It's the fucking Golden Ticket!!! And it’s not even MY gift!

John and I take our ticket and head to Uncle Bill’s Pancake House for a celebratory feast (or some hash browns). It’s almost six and we’re both exhausted. But it’s worth it. It’s worth the short night of sleep and braving the elements just to see his face on Christmas morning.

Oh, who am I kidding. He’ll have this thing out of the box by the end of the night.

Still, it’s shaping up to be a happy holidays.

The XBOX Saga Continues (and hopefully ends)

Of all of the XBOX 360s in the world, I buy the one that has issues. John will never let me forget it, either. A sample conversation from the last few days.

John: I love you

Amber: I love you, too.

John: Then why did you buy me a broken XBOX?

It’s not actually broken. It’s just not functioning properly. I guess this tends to happen when stuff like this first comes out. Working out the kinks, you know?

He’d had the thing for about 24 hours when it started freezing up. Plus, it won’t let me play one of my games from the old XBOX that is supposed to be compatible. John called Microsoft. They sent him a box to ship it back in and said they’d take care of it. I just hope it’s back by Christmas. I have to have something to wrap and put under the tree. He’s promised to act surprised.

I have to admit, though, from what I’ve seen it’s pretty cool. The old games like Halo 2 don’t look different of course, but the new games (he got Madden ’06) look great. And I loathe football. The players don’t look generic. They actually look like the players. Like Peyton Manning? He’s looks as goofy as he does on TV! (cue hate mail)

Anywho, he’s very happy with his new toy which makes me happy.

The XBOX Saga: Return of the XBOX (aka I HATE DHL)

When we last left the XBOX was broken. We don't feel bad, though. So were many, many other consoles. In fact, some guy is suing Microsoft for putting out a faulty product in an attempt to beat Sony and Nintendo to the punch. It's total bullshit since all he has to do is send it back for a new one. Microsoft even pays for shipping.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I had mentioned in the last installment that MS had sent us a box in which we were to return the console. The box would ONLY hold the console, nothing else. Store that somewhere. You'll need it later.

We pack up the console and fill out the shipping label. Then I drive over to the nearest DHL dropoff station, which happens to be in Office Depot or Max or one of those stores.

I'm going to stop here and make something known. I. HATE. DHL. I only used them because I had no choice. They're MS's "preferred" carrier. I'm convinced that the entire DHL company is run by semi-retarded baboons (no offense to baboons or retards). And since it seems that DHL will put a drop-off in any business that asks for a kiosk, the chances of dealing with someone who doesn't give two shits about your package are up there in the "Very Probable" status. On top of that, their drivers are complete idiots. Many of them aren't even DHL employees; they're independent contractors. But let's back up a few more steps...

Earlier this year, John ordered something from Dell. DHL claimed they delivered it, but it wasn't left at our door or at our clubhouse. John calls Dell and they GRACIOUSLY send him another. Fast forward a few days. Suddenly, the DHL guy is at our door with the ORIGINAL package. It seems it somehow got "left in his truck" despite the fact that he logged it in as delivered.

Strike One.

Back to my story, I'm at the DHL counter talking to this teenage girl who probably chews gum for a hobby. She takes my package and shipping label, hands me my copy of the label and tells me she'll take care of it. I point out that there is an old packing label on the box. She once again says she'll take care of it.

So the next day, I go home for lunch. I walk up the stairs and LO AND BEHOLD in front of my apartment is... THE XBOX! The very XBOX that I dropped off not 12 hours earlier. There is NO shipping label on the box besides the old one with OUR address on it. On top of that, it's about 14 degrees! Boys and girls, what does the little label on electronics say? Do not expose to extreme cold or heat.

So the DHL man has left a $500 package on my DOORSTEP in the FREEZING COLD, a package that should already be labeled DELIVERED in the system and should be impossible to deliver back to us!!!

Strike Two.

I call Office Whatever and ask to talk to the DHL rep. The woman tells me that the girl who helped me will be in later in the evening and I should come by and get this worked out. She also tells me that it's POLICY to attach the label in the PRESENCE of the customer.

So I got to visit the Gum Chewer. It went something like this:

"You watched me attach the label."

"Um, no, I didn't. You told me it would be taken care of."

"Well, the label must have fallen off."

"It's a sticker. It doesn't just 'fall off.'"

"Well, then one of the other packages must have rubbed it off."

"According to your manager, only two packages went out yesterday. Try again."

Strike Three.

Doesn't this girl know I taught high school? I can smell the bullshit on her! So she finally gets a packaging slip out and prepares my package. I pray over the package and, just for good measure, I lay hands on Gum Chewer.

A few days pass. John calls Microsoft to make sure the package got there. According to DHL, it did. According to MS, they have no idea where it is. By the way, Microsoft also hires baboons who are only slightly less semi-retarded. Every time John called, no one seemed to be able to tell him the status on his XBOX or even if it was there! One girl even cancelled his original work order and started a new one. You'd think Bill Gates with all of his money would AT LEAST find some chimps to work for him. Or better yet, something that doesn't fling poo. Dolphins maybe.

After a few weeks, we finally get news that the XBOX is on its way. The problem is that DHL interprets "Overnight" as "When the hell ever." They shipped it to the wrong place!

That would be Strike Four if it even mattered anymore.

Anywho...finally, we got it back on Monday. The drone that delivered it could obviously read on a 1st grade level because he left the package at the clubhouse as the note on the door asked.
The system seems to be working just fine now. They sent us a whole new console. In fact, they sent us EXTRA stuff. Remember how I said earlier that the original box only fit the console? That means we weren't expected to send back everything, only the console. Well, they sent us a complete system: a wireless controller, remote, HD cords, power source. All of it. Finally, some sliver around our cloud!

So this is the end of the XBOX saga... I'm buying the two-year warranty just in case, though.

Merry Christmas everyone!


We are currently on our FOURTH XBOX in as many years. The 2nd one ALSO broke and had to be sent back. They sent a third one that had to be repaired in 2007. The third one recently got the RED RING OF DEATH (nerd talk for the XBOX is FINISHED) and we had to buy a FOURTH one because it was out of warranty.

I hate you Microsoft.

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