An open letter to the world’s manufacturers

Dear motherfuckers,

I’m not one for built in obsolescence type tin foil millinery but I’d quite happily pay more money for something that’s been slightly over engineered and is thus less likely to go tits up without warning in the middle of an important project, has shithouse customer support, and allegedly consists of absolutely no user serviceable parts whatever despite the English-as-a-second-language guy giving me a list of approved service centres where a man will almost certainly take a screwdriver to the bastard, remove a couple of panels, blast some air through it and put it back together for me with an invoice for a hundred bucks. Look, I can fucking do that myself if you tell me what fucking panels to remove, and if that doesn’t work then Mister One Hundred Dollars can have a look, okay? But only if he can give me a real fucking estimate over the phone.

Consider this customer feedback, you shower of cunts.

An extremely Angry Exile

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Posted on April 4, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. You’re in the minority here. Most people want Mister One Hundred Dollars OR already know what panels to remove. And how do you expect him to give you an estimate if he hasn’t seen it? I mean if you don’t know “what panels to remove”, then you won’t be able to give him the information he needs (assuming he is actually competent).

    • In my rage I worded this rather poorly. What’s typical for consumer electronics repair here is hundred bucks or so (might be only $50 but for one thing that went wrong recently it was over $300) to look at it. Just to fucking look at it. It doesn’t seem to matter what ‘it’ is, TV, PC, DVD, VCR, etc. Anything like that the idea seems to be you take it in and pay them a certain amount, and then they’ll either tell you that the repair didn’t cost any more than that or tell you how much it’ll cost to actually fix it, and with such a huge variety of devices I bet a lot of the time all they’re going to do is ring up the manufacturer and ask what fucking panels to unscrew to aim the air canister through or where to stick an IPA moistened ear cleaner – information which support could as easily give the person who rang up in the first place only to be told to box the bastard thing up and take it across town with some cash stapled to the top. Oh, unless it’s Apple, who, in my own experience, will do it in house and say it needs a thousand dollar part from Sydney when my own investigations had identified the problem as a $20 part, which I eventually got from a company in Georgia and fitted myself.

      Compare this practice with when our old washing machine went kaput – we phoned a guy who did appliance repairs and servicing, told him how old and what make and model it was, and he told us it would be one of three or four things and could give us a price for each there and then. None of this teeth sucking and open ended price bullshit where’re almost hooked for a repair cost close to the replacement value because you’ve already thrown money at it, just a set of possibilities and a price for each leaving me only to decide whether to pay him or buy a new one. Because of that he got the work, whereas at the moment I’m googling to find out how to DIY fix yet another electronic good, with a fair amount of success since I’ve identified the bust bit and am now hunting aftermarket suppliers in the US (or a crook machine for parts). What boils my piss is how my time’s wasted by these feckless fuckpots when they could just tell me what to bloody do and then I could have found the worn part and ordered direct from them. I’m happy to pay the rate for parts, though with easily breakable ones (in fairness it turns out that this isn’t) I’d rather pay more for something less prone to breaking in the first place, but I object to being screwed for more money just to have the fucker looked at when the person doing so will often not be doing anything I couldn’t do myself at home.

      Aaaaand… breathe!

  2. “Consists of absolutely no user serviceable parts whatever”

    In which case the first thing I do is open it up to have a good look….

    You probably already know my views on technology. I long ago learnt never to buy the first examples of any new product. Let some other sucker do the R&D work!

    I was having a chat with a local Bosch “master” technician the other day – he told me that even he and his ilk are finding modern cars to be a nightmare to diagnose and fix. So, although my old jalopy may be getting a bit long in the tooth, it has NO high tech systems to go wrong. My main concern is sourcing parts, but in many cases I use some ingenuity and make my own, or adapt/concoct a repair.

    Similarly our Creda tumble dryer is now 30 years old, and has only needed a set of bearings in the motor (£10 from a local factor), and a repair to the mechanical reversing switch, from which a small pin had vanished. I sorted that with a bit of welding rod.

    The dishwasher has finally beaten me after 10 years, due to a diaphragm splitting in the water valve. This is a special part, and I can’t find one anywhere. I’ve re-bearinged the pump and replaced a microswitch on the door 3 times each. The door handle broke and has been beefed up with fibre glass…

    I generally find that small, independent, dealers are better at diagnosing and rectifying problems. They rely on good customer reports more than national chains, who don’t seem to give a sh1t. I don’t object to being charged a fee (within reason) for them taking a look – you’ve got to consider how much time they would spend otherwise, only to be told not to bother when the customer decides not to proceed.

    • Absolutely. My dad used to go on about never ever buying a new model of car because there’s a good chance you’d be one of the people either bringing it back with problems or getting phone calls from the dealer to say there’s a recall because other people have had problems. Buy a model they’ve been making for a few years, he used to say, because by then you can be pretty sure all the minor problems have been straightened out and they’re screwing the buggers together properly by now.

      Have to say that the small indie guys are as bad as the service centres here, and quite often it seems that they are one and the same as the authorised service centre. I think its a role filled more by SMEs here than in the UK, or at least it was a choice of independents I was offered over the phone who’d charge me various amounts to do what I did in half an hour with a maglite and some basic tools.

  3. It’s probably the only way to address them these days.

  4. A friend’s flat screen TV went ‘poof’ a few days ago.

    Bloke from local repair shop came out, looked at it, sucked his teeth and said ‘Frankly, you’d be better off just buying a new one.’ It was only two years old!

    • I understand from conversations with repairy type people in the past that TVs are particularly prone to dry cracking screwing up the connections on the printed circuit boards inside. Having had a motherboard die this way on an inadequately cooled laptop I can well believe it. I suppose solder costs money too, and if you can use a few percent less on each PCB it all adds up. Bit of a bastard if you’ve dropped a couple of grand on a huge flatscreen plasma and it goes wrong while your dad’s still happily watching a 20 year old cathode ray box that’s never ever once gone wrong.

    • Bloody hell – do TV’s find the need to “Come Out” now?? I suppose it’s some EU mandated equality ruling…

  5. Buy cheap,buy from someone who gives you an extended warrenty at a decent price (I use Richer Sounds) and expect to have to throw the bastard thing away sooner rather than later.
    That is modern consumerism…..
    Having said that…my Rogers Hi-Fi amp has been good for 40 years with only the need for one fuse so far!
    Computers? They have taken the “durable” out of consumer durables. Keep a spare one,back up regularly or prepare to weep.

    • Computers. Jeez, where do we start? With the fucking myth that drives last a reasonable amount of time. I reckon the half life – the half life – of an HDD is about five years or so, and as the bloody things have got bigger the problem a dying drive causes has grown. Solid state drives will probably be the cure, but for the moment they’re still bloody expensive. Then there’s the cheap-ass shitty fans they usually put just one of inside a case. Haven’t the bastards seen the water cooled monsters people build? Isn’t that a clue that computers can get a bit on the bloody warm side? Either more fans or bigger fans, please, and preferably both, because that five dollar piece of shit creating a gentle breeze over a CPU being whipped on a hot summer day doesn’t cut it. At least by the time the mobos about to give out you’ll be thinking of upgrading anyway.

      • “Solid state drives will probably be the cure”

        Don’t count on it:

        “Unlike disk media, flash media wears out”

        http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2012/03/28/enterprise_ssds/

        As for heating issues – I wonder how many people actually make full use of their PC’s? For basic web browsing & email there is little need for hi-spec machines which inevitably use more power. My 5 year old laptop runs much better with a “Clean” XP install, and unnecessary services stopped, than it ever did when new. It’s currently showing 35 processes running including Thunderbird & Firefox – If I were to do the same with a newer Vista or Win7 machine it would be more like 60…

        Another thing I’ve done (noting the link above) is to use a 8Gb SD card & reader as my default download location. This drastically reduces the amount of thrashing about the HDD has to do, and also means it doesn’t become fragmented anywhere near as quickly. I do most of my work on this card, and only transfer files to the PC for storage. If it does start playing up I’m not going to loose everything, and a replacement is cheap.

        • Interesting link there, MD. So it seems that you may not get extra longevity at all, and all that extra money buys is speed. Doesn’t even seem worth it when you’re waiting a couple of minutes for some shitty old Vista installation to finish booting.

          • Anthony Watts had some posts about SSD’s a few months ago – he’s using them – and it seems the best option (systems and finances permitting) is to have a conventional spinning HDD for storage, and a SSD for the O/S. He says the better ones come with with cloning software to make an image of your existing drive, and it would obviously be prudent to store that image on a backup. Another thing with SSD’s is not to choose one “just large enough” for your purposes. As that link explains, they do wear out with repeated read/write cycles, and the more spare data blocks are available the less each one is used.

            I have all my PC drives partitioned – with the O/S on one, and documents on the other. By using an SD card (as explained above) the storage section suffers very little fragmentation, and this is hardly a problem anyway given that I don’t access it that often. The O/S, with temp files etc, is the one that quickly gets messy, but it doesn’t take CCleaner & Defraggler long to sort this out once a week or so. With an SSD it would be irrelevant anyway.

            • When the current drives eventually wear out I’ve been thinking of going for flash/HDD hybrids for much the same reason. Means you don’t need multiple partitions unless you actually want them, though my main thought was their much lower cost compared to full SSD drives. However, with what you’re telling me about the technology I think it’s probably not worth it for my NAS or any other drive that doesn’t have an OS living on it.

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