Column: Doing business in the 21st Century

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 23, 2004

By Warren Jensen, Tribune columnist

So my computer began to slow down. And once in a while stop. Freeze. Lock up!

Thankfully I have someone to call who is (1) knowledgeable and (2) reasonable.

Email newsletter signup

So after a few calls within a fairly short time, the two of us decided that my computer was about &uot;three or four generations&uot; old, and needed to be replaced.

With my tutor’s assistance, we studied the route we should take to replace the computer.

We decided, after careful study, that &uot;DELL&uot; would be the way to go.

After a month of use, I am not sorry about the choice we made; however, the process we went through to obtain it is quite interesting.

It all started with a call to an 800 number.

Oh my, you want to hear some &uot;menus?&uot;

Try that one!

On the third call, I was able to decipher just what menu number I needed to punch to get to the right person to place an order.

Or at least try to place an order.

First of all, the person representing the company spoke very broken English.

But, I thought, I had pressed the right button when given a choice of &uot;English,&uot; &uot;Spanish&uot; or &uot;Portuguese.&uot;

Finally, in a soft voice, I explained to the person that I was having difficulty understanding him and he would have to spell out some words that I just could not decipher.

That was very agreeable with him, and so that conversation went.

I talked and he spelled.

Finally, after long and careful examination of the options and prices, I agreed to the purchase.

But I did ask him to have someone with better command of the spoken English to call me or get on the line.

He did this, and a nice young lady, with considerable better talent with the spoken English word, went over the purchase order to my satisfaction.

At the end of the agreement conversation, just after giving my credit card number, I asked the person where they were talking from.



In due time, I received the computer, in three boxes, via UPS, just like the man from Panama had said.

My credit card was billed.

Eventually I received the check for the $100 mail in rebate, and all was well.

After one week, I experienced a minor problem and I decided to try out the free technical advice via the toll free number.

Again, the menus were long, detailed, and difficult to navigate through.

But, navigate I did, and finally after 17 minutes (my phone has a timer) I got to talk to a live human being who answered my questions and solved my minor problem with finesse and aplomb.

His English vocabulary was seemingly very limited, and his delivery in English was very poor.

He, too, had to spell several words so I could follow them.

Nevertheless, I was very satisfied with the technical advice and service.

Once more, at the end of this call I asked the man where he was talking from.



And, so, life goes on.

We have come a long ways.

I now purchased a computer in Panama, Had it serviced in INDIA, and of course it was MADE IN CHINA.