"It is the poet's job to remember"
Gerald Stern

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Episode 3, 1-800-ITS-HELL

Amazing as it sounds, Dell has one telephone number that works.  No employee knows any other number.  Last night I asked, very calmly, just where the main office, where Mother Dell makes the rules, is located.  Nobody knows. I had done a little research earlier on the net and found a number of locations in the US, all with telephone numbers.  I tried all of them.  The ones that were not a constant busy signal (really) instructed me to put in an extension number with the caveat that if I did not have one I would be disconnected.  I was. 

I don't know if Dell started out that way or if it was only after Dell Hell was created, but the big cats and the main Kahuna are  obviously avoiding everyone except their investment advisers.   According to my nightly phone friends, they have no idea whose in charge or where they are. 

It occurred to me that I could take a little leap in an attempt to sound like I knew what I was talking about.  Hey they've been doing  that to me for a week. I figured now it was my turn.  I told the first representative I was passed to that since I was doing business with Dell and purchasing a product from them,  I was entitled know what state they were incorporated in  so that I can check to see whether or not they are a business in good standing.  Suddenly I was passed onto another guy who quickly supplied  an address which actually turned out to be  just a mail stop mailing address.  I think I made him a little nervous though,  because he kept telling me that was all he was "allowed" to give out.   He also reaffirmed that there is only one phone number in the entire universe for Dell.

I suppose in our age of cell phone communications,  the families of Dell employees don't have to be supplied with an office telephone number. Maybe they do get one but must memorize it and are not allowed to write it down anywhere.   Then again, it could work like the CIA and no one will disclose that  a family member is employed there.   Come to think of it, I've never known anyone who worked for Dell.  My salesman's name was John Brown.  I'd spoken to representatives, natives of a country halfway around the world, that gave their names as  Bill Clark, Pat Jones and Bob Lane.  The devil takes many disguises...

But again I was calm and kept myself busy with other things while they "checked the details"  and "were very sorry for your problem."  I threw a bag of popcorn into the microwave and flipped through a couple of magazines while I waited to be connected, re-connected, and in between repeating my tale of woe. I calculate that even with their cheapo 800 number deal, I must be costing them something with my nightly calls.  I've  spent more than  15 hours on the phone on their bill, and every person I spoke to has logged the call into the system.  Sooner or later someone might figure out that eventually I'll cost them more in phone calls than the price of the monitor they can't seem to find.   If not, at the very least my nightly calls have forced me to relax, re-direct my thoughts, ponder some the great questions of the universe. Why is it that there are always a few infernal kernels of corn that just won't pop?

And on it goes...

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