Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hardly Normal (Harvey Norman) proves its name

This is a tale of frustration, amazement and jaw dropping ineptitude. And, thanks to Harvey Norman in Devonport, Tasmania it is a true story.

My laptop crashed. Well, really it is Flexirent's laptop... I am just looking after it and paying for the privaledge. So, Flexirent's laptop crashed.

I purchased the laptop from Harvey Norman in Burnie, Tasmania nearly two years ago. Because Flexirent takes out the extended waranty, i knew that I should take it to the nearest Harvey Norman store. I was working in Devonport for that week, so I took it to the Devonport store.

They took my laptop, my phone number and address. I explained that I was in the process of moving from Tasmania to Victoria and would have a new address by the time the laptop was finished, so, "Call my mobile when the laptop is fixed and I will give you the address." The nice sales assistant assured me that would be the case. He also said that it would be 3-5 weeks.

Three weeks later I was sitting at my new office desk in Victoria and decided to check on the status of my laptop. After the usual bouncing from person to peson on the phone I was told by the tech guy, "Your laptop has been sitting here for a couple weeks. It's fixed. We just didn't know where to send it." I explained the agreement that the sales assistant had made with me regarding my mobile number and their promise to call it upon completion of their task. The tech guy said, "Oh, well, I don't have your number. Must be the other tech guy who has it." Evidently they do not communicate—at least more than once every couple of weeks.

So, I gave my address to the tech guy and my phone number—again. He assured me the laptop would be send out "tomorrow" and it would take about 5 days. I thanked him. That was Thursday morning at 10am. Why he couldn't send it in the remaining seven hours of that business day, I am not sure. But, I was comforted to know that it was fixed and on it's way to me. I also asked this tech guy if they were able to save the data on the harddrive or if they had formatted it. I was thrilled when he said, "Nope. Everything is still there. All fixed!"

The next Thursday (that's 7 days, not 5) I decided I better call them again. After the bounce around I got to the tech guy. This time it was the "other" tech guy. He had a very interesting response to my inquiry about my laptop. He said, "Your laptop has been sitting here for a couple weeks. It's fixed. We just didn't know where to send it." (if that seems like a cut-n-paste it's because it is...) I said, "That's what the tech guy said last week! I have him my address! He said he would send it the next day." His response was beautiful, "Oh, you must have talked to the other tech guy, it wasn't me." Evidently I was supposed to see the logic and brilliance in this response and offer words of affirmation and understanding. I did not. I repeated my address in a calm voice, asked when I could expect the laptop and hung up.

Then I called back and asked for the manager. When the bounce around got me to the manager (I got to talk to a nice young lady in "computing" first and asked her—again—for a manager. She cheerfully said, "no promlem!" and transfered me.) When I had the manager on the phone he said he had just heard about the problem and that the laptop would be sent that day. I thanked him and then said, "Can I tell you a story?" What could he say? I guess he had other options, but he graciously said, "Sure, go ahead." I then told him the above story of ineptitude. He had not been aware of the whole story (amazing, eh?) as tech guy 1 and 2 had not fully informed him. I then told the manager, "Look, I have a wedding that I am officiating at on Sunday. Based on the promise from the tech guy last week I assured them that my laptop would be available for their slideshow. They are country people and do not have another option. I need my laptop before Sunday."

Amazingly, he promised that he would see that the tech guy made it happen. I received a phone call from tech guy 2 about 30 minutes later asking, "Would Saturday morning at 10am be good?" I didn't want to completely confuse the guy by saying, "No, I'll be at church on Saturday morning." So, I said, "That will be fine." He then said, "It's going to cost $240 to have it couriered to you—but don't worry, we will pay—it was our stuff up." Indeed.

A few minutes later he called back to say that the delivery was paid and promised. I thanked him and then I said, "You know, for $240 you could fly over, deliver the laptop and spend a day in Melbourne!" His answer helped me to understand the whole frustrating situation, "I thought of that meself and I reckon I would if I weren't 'fraid of flying!" So, there ya go.
I have to say, I spent two years living in Tassie and this situation needs to be explained clearly. This guy was not a typical Tasmanian. But, he was (and most likely still is) a typical Harvey Norman employee.

Oh, you want to know if I got my laptop, don't you. Yes, it did arrive. And the Harddrive had been wiped clean and blessed with a fresh install of Windows XP with no drivers for the laptop. Had I known the install CD's were needed I would have brought them home from work on Friday. (Why did I believe tech guy 1 about the recovery of my harddrive? Good question!) So, I spent the next few hours downloading and installing drivers so that the wedding (which had a practice 7pm that night—a four hour drive away) would have the promised slideshow.

My family arrived home from church. I had a quick bite to eat with them and then I packed up the laptop and headed off to a wedding practice. Which went well, by the way!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:37 pm

    Harvey Norman is as they say, hardly normal.

    Completely useless staff in all stores. I will never go into a HN store again.

    I have nothing but contempt for all HN stores.

    What useless staff! I could tell so many stories about useless HN.

    Go elsewhere to buy your needs.


Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...