Third-party Anythings not permitted in Dell's

Stroller stroller at
Sat Feb 6 10:31:54 CST 2010

On 6 Feb 2010, at 15:40, Linda A. Walsh wrote:
> ... -- I suspect the writing is on
> the wall for them and they are trying to squeeze more blood out of  
> customers
> to stave off the inevitable.   That is a really poor outlook as it  
> only
> means they've given up trying to compete in the free market and think
> they need to use these underhanded methods in order to compete now.

The crazy thing is that we'd happy pay a little bit more for their  
systems, were Dell to go along a "do no evil" path.

We looked at Solaris a while back, before the death of Sun seemed  
obvious to us. It took time & effort contacting them, and (IIRC) weeks  
to actually find a reseller who would talk to us. Their hardware was  
at least 50% more expensive than Dell equivalent, and for that we had  
to join a "start up club" to get these discounted prices.

The hassle of dealing with Sun was obviously not worth it - not  
compared to clicking "order" on Dell's website - but the totally open- 
source nature of Solaris was quite appealing. We'd have gladly paid a  
20% premium.

Disk caddies should be readily available as a separate item for less  
than £50. £35 seems quite fair to me - at £50 I'd be thinking "well, i  
don't have any choice", but to supply disk caddies *only* with the  
disks does indeed seem like fleecing.

Another Dell peeve: telephone sales reps. I don't want a discount and  
a 0.2ghz faster processor from phoning up to place the order. I just  
want you to put the right price on the website in the first place. The  
appeal of Dell is that the ordering process should be simple &  
straight-forward. If I have to haggle with the salesman, how do I know  
I'm getting the best price? I know you only gave him the authority to  
negotiate with me, Dell, because you're trying to "upsell me" and rip  
me off.

We extended the warranty on a server a couple of years ago - it had  
been bought with 3 years service, and we wanted to extend to 5 years.  
This would have cost us only an extra couple of hundred quid if we'd  
bought the 5 years in the first place. The salesman quoted me about  
£1300 in the first instance, about as much as we'd paid for the server  
in the first place! This was my first experience of Dell haggling, so  
I just fell off my chair - "that can't be right; can I speak to  
someone in the UK instead, please?". They dropped to £800 and then to  
£300 using phrases like "special price for you" and "I'll just check  
with my manager" and this was when I realised that I was being  
bullshitted (sorry, I've done this sort of stuff myself in my own  
shady past). Secondhand models of this server were going on eBay for  
less than they were quoting me for the warranty extension, and I had  
to explain repeatedly that there was no point in us buying warranty  
coverage if it was cheaper to buy a whole spare server (just stick it  
in the corner of the server room and forget about it - problem solved).

Aside: I'm sorry, but I just can't relate to blatantly Indian  
telephone reps. However well you train them, and however good they  
are, my expectations are tainted by all the poor experiences I have  
with the out-sourced Indian tech-support I've ever had from BT &  
TalkTalk. Those guys don't understand me, they ask me to reinstall my  
modem drivers when I've already explained I can see the router's web- 
page and it says the line's not syncing. Those guys have wasted hours  
of my time in the past so, I'm sorry, but when I phone up & hear an  
Indian accent I'm expecting to have a bad experience. When I phone  
your tech support & speak to a native English speaker or a Euro, I  
just immediately get a positive feeling in contrast.

I've always found IBM's specifications & options obscure, and I don't  
like having to find a reseller, wondering if I could have got a better  
deal from a different reseller (but that would incur further days of  
emailing back & forward). However IBM will get another look if the 3rd- 
party drive prohibition remains.


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