I have, for a very long time, been a victim of the Hewlett-Packard Company. I turned a deaf ear to many people who advised me to purchase a Dell laptop. I chose to pay heed to one very opinionated person and fate threw into my lap, a HP laptop and sent me swirling down a whirlpool for 3 long, very long years.
It took me a week in Sept 2008, to realize that I had made the wrong move. I do not clearly remember the exact make of the laptop mostly because I chose to call it ‘the steel dabba’. This laptop had a silver-steel finish to it and it heated up like a furnace. The steel touch pad would get so hot that it almost became impossible to ‘touch’ the touch pad at times. I would stare at it in disgust. Many a time I was tempted to break an egg and watch it warm into an omelette. The lab that I worked in did not have a microwave then. So I was also eager to explore if placing a cup of instant noodles with cold water would actually bring my lunch to boil. No kidding, but one of my friends hugged her HP laptop as she slept during winters because her room-mate was a polar bear from the Arctic and would not let her turn on the thermostat. Apparently it kept my human friend warm. 😀
“Buy a HP laptop along with a carton box full of Burnol ointment tubes” was a common joke. The frustration of an over-heated laptop shutting down right in the middle of a mystery movie, or when you are sincerely writing up the last bit of your thesis, or when you have 10 more minutes to turn in your online assignment to Mr. Dracula, the alien stares your classmates throw at you cause your laptop makes a weird noise that sounds like you just started a motor engine right in the middle of the lecture, always having to carry your laptop charger (like a patient on IV fluids) cause your laptop won’t run for a single second without it; trust me, I have faced it all.
I may not have kept in mind my best friend’s birthday but I have definitely and distinctively marked on my calender, the day my laptop needed a warranty renewal. After complaining of an issue with the ‘heat sink exchange or whatever’, and having my laptop sent for servicing six times in two years, one kind man decided to replace my laptop for a new one. So I did get a new one. No heating issues. Just when I thought everything was going amazingly fine, one hinge of the laptop started to come apart. No, it did not succumb to a suicidal fall whatsoever. Remember the friend who hugged her laptop in her sleep, the hinge of her new laptop came apart too. HP had tricked me and I realized that I had failed miserably to see through this trick. My warranty did not cover accidental damage, it was a limited hardware warranty.
When this news hit my head, I think I was more happy than sad. It gave me a stronger reason and the guts to push myself aboard, spend a 1000 bucks and coax myself into purchasing a Dell laptop for a tension free gadget survival. There! The decision had been made.
I was told that there was an offer. It sure was a good deal. A Dell XPS 14z, i7 processor, 8 GB RAM and 750 GB hard drive (in lay man terms). It saved me about 500 bucks. So I swooped in and grabbed onto the offer. My new laptop arrived with a big fat green label that said “REFURBISHED”. I was angry, very angry. Now I am not sure if I was angry because my laptop had two small scratches on it or because it was covered within a limited warranty, yet again. I decided to return it even without switching it on. I am generally an angry woman. A green label that mentioned that the use of refurbished products is ‘environmentally healthy’ pissed me off even more. I went through the ordeal of having to speak very patiently with a guy from Dell. He said that he was sorry for the miscommunication but I am very sure that he was not. He must have put me on hold and chuckled away to glory. Why else would he offer to take $ 35 off my purchase if I agreed to hold on to that gadget with limited warranty? “Are you kidding me, moron?”, I wanted to yell. The bloody state tax cost me $ 42. I held my breath and said, “Send me a (‘fucking’ in my mind) return label, already.”
Eventually I did purchase a new Dell laptop. I could only afford an XPS with the i 5 processor but the good news is that it covers accidental, theft, and hardware warranty for a whole year. It arrives today. As I sit here and track the status of my package every 30 minutes, excited and relieved, and typing into my HP that can barely sit straight or hold its screen and keyboard together but can make the sound of a running engine, I realize that today is the day my HP will rest in peace. I also realize how much our lives revolve around warranty/safety/protection in today’s world.
Why was I so fussy about having a solid warranty plan? Am I pessimistic? Was I looking for an optimistic exit in a pessimistic situation? Am I gearing up for a planned and easy future? Am I afraid of risks? Do I not know that often circumstances are never under my control?
Everything comes with a risk-free option nowadays that includes a small or big plan right into the near or far future. Gadget warranties, health and motor vehicle insurances, dinner dates, condoms, seat-belts, helmets, preparing for events way ahead of their deadlines, the fear of submission errors, procuring an employee’s emergency contact information the minute the employer offers him/her a job, planning a birthday party two months ahead, promising a friend to be there at her wedding, eagerly waiting for Sunday to catch up on the latest episode of Desperate Housewives, and the list could go on.
The question is: how sure are we about seeing the next day when we know that our life comes with no warranty?