The sucky thing about a prolonged run of bad luck is that, well, it sucks. It’s stressful and people get sick of listening to you whine (I assume; when I reach the point where I’m actually tired of whining, I pretty much figure that anyone who’s been subjected to it is probably fantasizing about smothering me in my sleep) and I much prefer that idyllic life we used to have where cartoon bluebirds sat on my shoulders as I pranced through the daisies.
Okay, fine. We don’t have any daisies. Grant me a little poetic license in my time of woe, OKAY?
But the GREAT thing about a prolonged run of bad luck is that, if you are me (and I happen to be me!), continued problems tend to lose their ability to upset you. Why, if you are me, they start to just become HILARIOUS. Because stress makes me laugh. (Exhibit A: uncontrolled giggling while furniture shopping.)
So when the pediatrician told me this morning that, “Yeah, this stomach bug that’s been going around lasts about a week,” and Chickadee said “I’M NOT MISSING STATE SCIENCE FAIR!”, I just chuckled and told her to bring a bucket.
[Picture it: Rows and rows of projects in the exhibit hall. Eager young nerdlings shifting nervously from foot to foot, awaiting their turns to speak with the judges. And Chickadee there, with her six-foot-tall massive display board, plastered with graphs, proudly... hunched over a bucket. Maybe she'd get a sympathy vote from the judges? Or, given that her project is in the ecological sciences category, she could make a compelling argument for her current state of, um, recycling, just being further enthusiasm for the area...? No?]
ANYWAY. Seriously, at this point I am practically unfazed. Because OF COURSE everything is going wrong.
So when Monkey told me this weekend that our NotPad™
The thing is, I have never been overly impressed with the NotPad™. I figured it was mostly because it’s, well, not an iPad, but it’s also because it locks up periodically and it’s slow and the finger tracking is horrendous and… did I mention I don’t like it much? It gives Monkey an easy way to amuse himself and it was free, so whatever. But shortly after we first received the NotPad™ it started having problems charging if you didn’t arrange it and its cord JUST SO. Monkey—primary user of the NotPad™—took to plugging it in very deliberately, arranging it in the Designated NotPad™ Charging Spot with the cord tucked underneath in exactly the right way, etc.
But then this weekend, it died and we couldn’t get it to charge at all. Of course.
Otto looked it over and pronounced it well and truly dead. He could feel that the port for the charger was actually loose inside the NotPad™, which was doubtless the culprit. Still, he went ahead and found another mini-USB cord to test to make sure it wasn’t just the cord. It wasn’t. He then also tested the existing cord with a second device and discovered that the cord was ALSO not working, so the problem was clearly twofold: Busted cord, and loose port.
The NotPad™ is under warranty, you know. So this is where it got interesting. I hunted around on the manufacturer’s site and found a live customer warranty chat. It went something like this:
NotPad™Bot has joined you.
NotPad™Bot: Hi, Mir. How many I help you today?
Me: Hi, NotPad™Bot. I have a NotPad™ that’s no longer charging. Can you help me set up a repair?
NotPad™Bot: I understand that your NotPad™ is having difficulty charging. May I take you through some diagnostic steps to determine the problem?
Me: Sure, but we’ve already determined the port is loose inside the unit. Also the cord doesn’t seem to be working, either.
NotPad™Bot: May I take you through some diagnostic steps to determine the problem?
NotPad™Bot: Excellent. Please unplug the cord from the NotPad™ and from the wall, wait ten seconds, and then plug both ends back in.
Me: It’s still not working.
NotPad™Bot: Do you see a flashing light or any sort of display?
Me: No, it’s completely dead.
NotPad™Bot: Please plug the cord directly into another computer to see if the NotPad™ shows up as an accessible drive.
Me: Okay, done. It doesn’t show up. The cord isn’t working.
NotPad™Bot: Do you have another device you can plug into the cord to verify that it’s functional?
Me: Um, sure, but the cord is NOT functional.
Me: Okay, I used it on my MiFi. It doesn’t work.
NotPad™Bot: Can you verify that the other device was another NotPad™?
Me: It wasn’t. It was my MiFi. But they both use the USB/mini-USB cable, and it didn’t work. The cord is dead.
NotPad™Bot: It sounds like your cord isn’t working properly. Because your NotPad™ is under warranty, I would be happy to send you a replacement cord. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Me: Yes, it’s not just the cord. The port is loose in the NotPad™. I have other cords, none of them work to charge it.
NotPad™Bot: I would be happy to send you a replacement cord for your NotPad™.
Me: Thank you, we DO need a new cord, but the NotPad™ itself is ALSO in need of repair.
NotPad™Bot: What makes you think the cord is not the issue?
Me: The cord is ALSO an issue, but as I said, I have other USB/mini-USB cords that I have verified are functional on other devices, and they cannot establish a link with the NotPad™, so clearly something else is wrong as well.
NotPad™Bot: Just a minute, please.
NotPad™Bot: May I take you through some diagnostic steps to diagnose the problem?
Me: Uhhhh… okay?
NotPad™Bot: Do you have another cord which you can plug into your computer and a different device to verify that it is functional?
NotPad™Bot: Please do that now.
Me: Okay? I have a cord plugged into my MiFi. It works.
NotPad™Bot: Now please plug that cord into your NotPad™ to see if you can establish a connection.
Me: Okay. It’s not working.
NotPad™Bot: It sounds like your NotPad™ isn’t working properly. Because your NotPad™ is under warranty, I would be happy to send you a prepaid box to ship the unit back to us for repair. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Me: Thanks, that would be great. Would you like me to include the cord when I send it back?
NotPad™Bot: No, just send the NotPad™ itself. Hang on to the cord, it will work with your device once it’s repaired.
Me: … no it won’t. I also need a new cord.
NotPad™Bot: Once the NotPad™ is repaired your existing cord will work with it.
Me: The diagnostics you took me through showed that the cord is ALSO not working. I need the NotPad™ repaired AND I need a new cord, please.
NotPad™Bot: Just a minute, please.
NotPad™Bot: Okay, because your NotPad™ is under warranty, I will send you a new cord as well as a prepaid box to ship the unit back to us for repair. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Me: I certainly hope not.
I made that last line up. But I most certainly THOUGHT it, even if I didn’t TYPE it.
The account above is abbreviated, but the entire exchange—including handing over the serial number and verifying our shipping address—took took over an hour. OVER AN HOUR.
But you know, it was a problem I could actually fix, so I’m not really complaining. Much.
Okay, maybe just a little.