Imagine the scene in the AlienWare/Dell UK boardroom. You’ve got a pretty slick gaming computer setup, over-priced as F%&*^, but slick, nevertheless.
The pandemic-fuelled run on computers has helped you deliver strong financial results, so how to further boost the bottom line and justify those big-buck salaries?
Bob from Finance pipes up. “Hey, I know, let’s shave a few pennies on deliveries. Rather than use FedEx, UPS or some relatively expensive competent Titan-sized logistics giant, let’s outsource in the UK to some cheap-as-chips minnows with a reputation for delivery quality that leaves a hot-mess of complaints in their wake.”
Best 90 cents you ever saved on those £3000/$6000 high-end gaming rigs you make?
Well, not really. I stuck in a couple of orders with AlienWare, Dell’s gaming computer brand recently.
One for a monitor, one for a crazy-expensive new PC rig. It’s the kind of money I would normally only justifying splashing on a second-hand car (yeah, I’m cheap – and an author – and there’s a reason ‘starving’ and ‘artist’ go together like Salt and Pepper).
I certainly wouldn’t spend such dosh on myself for a PC.
But my autistic son recently graduated college top of his course, straight distinctions. That didn’t come naturally to him. He bust a gut working every hour God sends to achieve this. I’m as proud as ^%%&* punch, and I wanted to show him this with more than just words. I wanted to drop his dream set-up in front of him, and watch his face light up.
The main rig was going to take between six weeks to two months to turn up (a fact only highlighted by AlienWare after you have made the order, I should point out).
But what about the expensive monitor from AlienWare, made as a separate order and an afterthought?
Seconds after hitting the ‘buy’ button, I noticed Dell’s auto-address lookup function had stuck the wrong letter at the end of my postcode.
I immediately contacted AlienWare/Dell and pointed this out, only to be told “I sincerely regret that we are unable to change the address as the order is currently in the production stage.”
Wow, what a flexible system, that doesn’t allow AlienWare to change their error a few seconds after you submit an order.
What, are Dell’s orders carved in granite tablets by calligraphic-trained Zen monks in a temple high in the Himalayas. Or, you know, put into a computer system’s database, and able to be modified using a piece of 21st century high-technology called a ‘keyboard’?
Of course – you know what’s coming next – the AlienWare monitor immediately went missing during delivery – claimed delivered to somewhere (just not my son).
I never even saw a delivery van, despite waiting in all day and working by the front window, nervously tracking the supposed process via an online BPO tracking system that looks like it was designed to run on an Amstrad green-screen terminal.
Oddly, BPO’s awful screen never showed a ‘delivered’ status at the end of the day, just a line that read something like ‘delivery not made, delivery reschedule not possible’.
Dell’s own control panel, meanwhile shows the total lie: ‘delivered.’
Well, perhaps that’s my money delivered into Dell’s bank account for an imaginary product. I don’t know if this is legally fraud, but if it isn’t, it should be.
Checking the web, I see there are hundreds of stories like mine, complaining about sub-sub-sub-sub contracting via a firm called BPO, Dell orders missing, Alienware orders stolen, Dell orders delivered months late after day’s worth of painful, stressful effort by frustrated customers.
AlienWare/Dell isn’t a PC firm anymore, they are a clown-car manufacturer.
But the one good thing about that £3000 order for the gaming rig taking two months to wind its way to me?
When you see AlienWare spitting in the soup for the starter, you just cancel the main course. Hey, when someone shows you who they really are, believe them!
My son’s still going to get a dream set-up gaming PC. It just won’t be from AlienWare, anymore.
Buying premium from AlienWare is like dropping £5000 on a Rolex, and having the salesperson stamp on the time-piece, drag it through some dog-do-do on the floor, wrap it in some used fish-and-chips-paper, then throw it over your fence into your garden and hope it somehow re-unites with you through the force of hope and will, alone.
Avoid AlienWare like the plague.