UPDATE: 8AM TODAY: Late last evening, Crabby took another shot at getting her new Kindle to work.
Not believing the Amazon rep who said her ISP was at fault, she deduced that the fix needed was probably a router setting. Since these are a mystery to Crabby, she telephoned tech support at her router manufacturer.
The free support period had long expired, so with a great deal of language difficulty, Crabby first questioned the rep to determined that they could fix the problem. Satisfied, she then paid an outrageous sum of money for the support.
A techie led Crabby through a quick and minor software update and then told her to change ONE router setting. She tried connecting to her WiFi again and it worked. The Kindle became functional. So in summary:
• Amazon sold a device knowing that it might not work.
• Three different Amazon reps gave Crabby three different explanations, none of which were a correct analysis of the problem.
• Crabby figured out the source of the difficulty all by her little self and paid enough for the fix that she could have spent less to buy the $189 Kindle with 3G that would have worked from the getgo.
Crabby has been using complicated technology long enough to know that when she has a problem, it is not unique. Thousands, maybe millions have the same the difficulty.
Someone at Amazon knows there is a router problem with an easy fix, but instead of training their reps or, better, including instructions for equipment from the major router manufacturers, they prefer alienating a long-time customer.
Having had a little time to play with the Kindle before she fell asleep last night, Crabby thinks the device is quite cool and will be useful. But she will forever be suspicious of Amazon.
Imagine, if you will, an eight-year-old at her birthday party who has just torn the wrapping paper off a pretty package to discover a Playstation. Wowowow. But after Dad spends 30 minutes trying to set it up, it won't connect. The little girl is completely deflated and disappointed. It ruins her birthday.
That is exactly how Crabby Old Lady feels right now. Let her explain.
Last week, in a fit of modernity, Crabby bought a Kindle – the little $139 version. She figured it would be good for books she reads once and doesn't need to keep that are less expensive in Kindle editions than hardcovers and some paperbacks, not to mention the tens of thousands of free books to choose from.
It arrived yesterday afternoon and because Crabby is like an eight-year-old when she gets a new toy, she figured she could play for awhile and still take care of the preparations for the TGB elderblogger meetup on Saturday.
The Kindle comes with a cute, little Quick Start Guide and it was easy to get it plugged in to charge the battery. Then she tried connecting to her router network. Kindle refused the connection. (Why is nothing ever easy with electronics?)
Thinking she must have gotten the password wrong (how often does anyone use their router password?), she checked her records and tried again. She was refused again.
After a third refusal – with those chores nagging and knowing that her energy fades by about 3PM every day - Crabby phoned the Kindle help line. Amazingly, she waited only a minute for a customer service representative. Hoo-ray.
After the usual preliminaries to prove Crabby is who she says she is, she explained her problem. Then:
AMAZON REP: Press “home” and type in “date,” he said. [Crabby fumbles with tiny keyboard.]
CRABBY: It says January 24, 2010. That would be a problem, I think.
AMAZON REP: Yes, that is why you can't connect to your WiFi network.
CRABBY: How do I set the date correctly?
AMAZON REP: Go to a public hotspot that doesn't need a password and it will reset itself.
CRABBY: Huh? Isn't there an internal calendar?
Well, no. The Amazon representative said that in newly manufactured Kindles the date problem has been corrected. Crabby could return this Kindle and they would send another. But, he said (now get this), there is no guarantee it would include the date fix.
The rep told Crabby that most McDonald's and Starbucks have hotspots. Well, Crabby's never seen a McDonald's anywhere near her home. She recalls a Starbucks, but isn't sure where. And anyway, the Kindle hasn't finished charging and if it's anything like a new cell phone, it won't finish for three or four hours.
It's probably just as well because as soon as she finishes bitching in this post, she'll get back to her preparations for Saturday.
But she is one pissed off Crabby Old Lady (and an unhappy little girl too).
What can be said about a company that charges a customer's credit card and knowingly sends out a product that is possibly defective? That requires one to wander around town hunting for a free hotspot?
10 MINUTES LATER: Oh, wait. It just got worse. Crabby had filled in an email rating request for her customer service call giving them a failing grade and then the phone rang. Amazon, wanting to know her problem.
But then, THEN, the rep wouldn't talk to Crabby because, she said, the name on her customer account is not the name Crabby gave her. Crabby checked her account name online and it is the name she gave them.
After a ten-minute wait on hold, the rep deigned to speak with Crabby and told her the WiFi connection date problem was with Crabby's ISP and they couldn't help her connect her Kindle.
Crabby is now way beyond her cute little birthday girl metaphor. Amazon has turned her into a giant, raving lunatic. She can only hope now that the first rep is correct and when she can find the time, she'll go look for a hotspot.
30 MINUTES LATER: Another call from Amazon from yet a third rep who walked Crabby through a software update and again Crabby attempted a connection to her WiFi. FAIL! And no more suggestions from the Amazon rep.
Nothing for Crabby to do now but return the damned thing.
Crabby has left raving lunatic behind and is back to being a disappointed little girl.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dolores Banerd: One Wedding. One Funeral. One Week.