Dell 1905FP Review

NOTE: You can find the driver for the Dell 1905FP right here. That way, you don’t have to read my crappy review (although it would make my day if you did!).

Well, my monitor arrived on Thursday. The guy from DHL dropped it of nice and early, around 10:30 AM I believe. I opened up the box, and proceeded to set the monitor up.

The monitor comes in two pieces– the base and the screen. Connecting the two is as simple as pushing them together the proper way. Since LCDs seem fairly delicate and since the screen of this size is bulky, it seems that you have to be extra careful when assembling the monitor. It was a fairly easy process to get it together.

The monitor came with a regular 9-pin monitor cable hooked up to it. I don’t know what kind of people Dell has putting these wires on, but they must have the world’s strongest fingers! I had to use the screwdriver blade of my pocketknife to get the cable off. Popping the DVI cable on the monitor was pretty easy, although big hands like mine made it a bit difficult to screw the cable down nice and snug.

Once I got it hooked up and switched my video card to activate the DVI, the monitor lit up. Let me tell you, this thing is bright! It has an 800:1 contrast ratio, and a brightness of 250.

As I adjusted the monitor, I realized that I really liked the ability to move the monitor in just about any direction I please. This monitor can go down as low as about four inches off the desk, all the way up to probably about 10 inches above! It tilts back and forth and rotates to the left and to the right as well.

One of the best features is rotating the monitor from landscape mode into portrait mode. This is so cool. I find myself rotating the screen orientation around quite a bit depending on what I am doing. For example, if I am viewing photographs, I like landscape mode. If I am designing a template for a webpage, I like portrait mode. It is very nice.

Last night, I thought I had found a bad pixel on the monitor. I noticed a white spot on just about all of my pictures while poking around in Picasa. So today, I set the desktop background at a bunch of different colors, and checked for dead pixels. I didn’t see any.

So, I went back and looked at my pictures, and sure enough, the dead pixel was back. I took a screenshot and took a look, and the dead pixel is actually on the image, and not caused by the monitor. The only thing I can deduce is that my digital camera, a Kodak DX-6490, has a dead pixel on the sensor. Oh well. I’ve taken over 10,000 pictures with it, so I guess I can excuse one dead pixel! It really is a great camera. Unfortunately, Kodak won’t release any firmware updates to address some outstanding issues with the camera, and I would recommend against it and Kodak products altogether as a result. But anyway, this is about the monitor.

One thing I about which I am unsure is the color. It is bright, and it is brilliant, no doubt about that. It almost seems too bright, though. If I compare it to my old CRT, which had very good color I thought, the colors are all noticeably brighter. Like a lot. I’m sure that I just need to calibrate it properly, so if anybody knows of any good sites to direct me on how to properly calibrate an LCD, let me know.

There are some parts of this monitor I think are a bit weak. For example, the monitor driver is nowhere to be found on the disk. It contains only documentation. I downloaded the driver from the Dell website here.

Another weak point is that there is no easy way to rotate the video on the screen when you physically rotate the screen. I had to assign a hotkey using my video card software so that I can change the orientation of the monitor on the fly.

Some people would say that a 20ms response time is a weak point, but for me, it really isn’t a big deal. I don’t watch DVDs, and I don’t really play games. I use my PC mostly for productivity. I manage, arrange, and edit digital photos. I design websites and graphics. I write PHP scripts. None of this requires a fast response time, but they all require a nice, high-quality image.

The last weak point has to do with the built-in USB hub. Yeah, it is a nifty little feature, putting a USB hub in the monitor. The bad part, though, is that when I hit the power button on my monitor, it does the windows “bing-bong” telling me that the USB hub has been disconnected. When I power it back up, I get the “bong-bing” twice– once for the USB hub, and once for the mouse that is connected to it! Annoying!

Anyway, if you can find a good deal on this monitor, I recommend it. I will definitely be looking for another one in a few months so Jaime can have a nice big screen too.

That’s all I’ve got. :)

Mike

NOTE: You can find the driver for the Dell 1905FP right here. That way, you don’t have to read my crappy review (although it would make my day if you did!).

Crap Glorious Crap!

Alright, so, I got my Bag of Crap from Woot.com.

Keep in mind, I paid $8 for all this stuff– delivered.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Scroll for the good part…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animation
Link to animation if it doesn’t work.

That’s right– I got the gratuitous brown lunch bag with a $5 off Woot.com coupon, not one but two– count ‘em– two Kensington Priority Pucks (paper holders), a yellow network cable, and one animatronic remote controlled Tyrannosaurus Rex!

Woot!

New Monitor On The Way

I really do enjoy this.

I purchased yet another LCD monitor tonight. This will be the fifth LCD monitor that I have ordered. Take note, however, that I have never had any of these sales actually complete. The company always finds one way or another to weasel out of their end of the deal.

I have a very good feeling about this one.

From time to time, Dell releases coupon codes. Much of the time, you are only allowed to use one coupon code per order, but sometimes they allow you to use multiple coupons. They release these coupon codes intentionally, and they expect to fulfill the orders.

So, here is the deal:
DELL<br />
UltraSharp 1905FP

Total list price with shipping and tax: $573.41

+ $479.00 (Dell UltraSharp 1905FP 19-inch Flat Panel Monitor with Height Adjustable Stand)
- $205.97 (20% off + 23% off coupon on Flat Panels)
+ $25.95 (DVI Extension Cable – padding)
- $5.19 (20% off Accessories)
- $60.00 ($60 off $500 purchase coupon)
+ $36 (Overnight Shipping)
- $36 (Free Overnight Shipping)
+ $14.03 (Tax)
————————————
$247.82!!

This monitor had very good reviews, and is quite possibly the same monitor as the Samsung 193P, which is very well reviewed.

Dell has confirmed the order, given me an order number, charged my credit card, and given me an estimated ship date of August 1st (odd considering it is overnight shipping).

I guess it is only a matter of time before they cancel this one! :P

Edit Sept-8-06: No more commenting on this one. Too much spam a comin’ down the ‘ol tubes.

Let’s talk politics for a moment.

Could someone please tell me why the taxpayers of the United States of America needed to foot the bill to send Laura Bush to the space shuttle launch this morning?

I saw her there on NasaTV as I watched the launch. On the Internet. For free. She didn’t have any official function to perform. There is no “gentlemen, start your engines” equivalent for a shuttle launch. She was just a spectator. And she didn’t even bring cookies.

The last time we tried to launch the antiquated shuttle, we spent more than $73,000 to send a Congressional delegation to view the launch. The launch never occurred, so it turned out to be a nice day trip at the expense of the taxpayers.

We again likely spent the equivalent of poverty-line salaries for three Americans so that the elite Members of Congress could view the launch for real this time. “The spectators also included members of Congress…”

Let me spell this out:

I AM SICK OF PAYING FOR POLITICIANS TO FLY PLACES TO SEE THINGS WHEN THEY CAN QUITE SIMPLY WATCH THEM ON TV FOR FREE LIKE THE REST OF US REGULAR SUCKERS.

There. That feels better.

Laura Bush, Members of Congress, and other members of the ruling elite: Keep your asses in Washington doing the work of the people, or go the hell home!

That is all.

Office Depot – Last Entry – Good Riddance

Barring any unforeseen circumstances– like them getting me a couple of monitors and redeeming their poor policies and services of the past week– this will be my last post about Office Depot. There won’t be any future opportunities for Office Depot to offer any more poor service to me, as I will no longer be shopping there. They have lost a customer of well over three years because, while they could admit that I received poor service, they could not make up for it by honoring my original purchase price for a similar item.

Part of this post is going to come from an email I sent to Casey Ahlbum, the Manager of the Office Depot Executive Customer Relations department.

Before I start, I would like to thank the people who have taken the time to read this. I know that my two prior Office Depot posts are getting a decent amount of traffic. Just look at the comments– there are actually comments! Normally, my blog gets a fair amount of readership, but never any comments. It seems that my entries about Office Depot have been enough to pull the commenters out of the woodwork!

If a company–any company– has mistreated you I encourage you to stand up for yourself and demand satisfaction. Even if you do not get that satisfaction, you will at least know that you tried your best to give a misbehaving company a chance at correcting a situation and earn your business. And for companies that don’t rectify problems created by their own faulty systems, I encourage you to never patronize those companies again.

It is simple. If Soyo or Belkin denies your rebates without good reason, do not buy their products. If the retailer where you bought the products will not honor the rebates even though they are legally obligated to do so, don’t shop at that retailer. If Target charges a late fee on a credit card for which you never received a bill because their internal address system was unable to update billing records (but able to update credit line increase records), then don’t shop at Target. I haven’t shopped at Target for over five years. And if a company like Office Depot charges your credit card for the full amount of a purchase that they said was in stock, and they are unwilling to give a comparable product at the same price as agree, then don’t shop at Office Depot.

There are almost always alternative companies that are willing to earn your business.

On Sunday, July 24, I received an email from Mr. Ahlbum, the Manager of the Executive Relations Department. He had been asked to contact me by Brian Levine in Media Relations.

If there is one positive statement I can make about Office Depot, it is that Mr. Ahlbum was polite and pleasant in our correspondence. Of course, he was unable to provide two monitors at the price I had agreed to pay and was subsequently charged, but at least he gave it a try. In all likelihood, Mr. Ahlbum was simply not able to get permission to offer the monitors to me at the price I had agreed to pay.

Mr. Ahlbum’s initial email was very polite, and asked that we get in contact so we could discuss ways to address the matter. Of course, the easiest way to address the matter would have been to sell me two monitors, but that was seemingly out of the question.

Here is the email I sent to Mr. Ahlbum in response to his request for contact:

I appreciate your response.

On Friday, District Manager Don Butler returned my several phone calls from Wednesday and Thursday, only after I called again and left another message with Susan, who takes his messages. Mr. Butler had previously offered $100 off each on any two monitors sold by Office Depot. After researching this, I found that, when accounting for a $100 discount on all other monitors in the Office Depot inventory, I would actually be paying similar prices to those at nearly every other retailer.

I had found that Amazon-Tiger Direct sells a monitor that Office Depot also sells– the KDS K-917S– for $269.99. If Office Depot were to price match the Amazon-Tiger Direct price, and then apply the $100 off per monitor that Mr. Butler offered, my final price would be $169.99, which is a mere 2% more than the price of my original order. I would certainly have been satisfied with that.

Mr. Butler informed me that Office Depot does not match Amazon-Tiger Direct prices. He stated that he would match a price of any merchant in Savannah, GA, or Charleston, SC. I thought this was odd because it seems to be contrary to the Low Price Guarantee policy listed at the Office Depot site. I informed Mr. Butler that I thought his offer of $100 off each of two monitors was not very good, considering it basically brought the prices of the monitors down to that of other competing merchants. I informed him that I was posting full details of my experience with Office Depot online for all to see.

I went back and reread the Office Depot Low Price Guarantee policy, and I still couldn’t see where it blocked price matching for Amazon-Tiger Direct. I called 1-800-GO-DEPOT and spoke with the first agent who answered the phone. I asked if Office Depot matched Amazon-Tiger Direct prices. The representative stated that Office Depot did match Amazon-Tiger Direct prices, however they charge overnight shipping charges for these items. I thought it was odd that a customer service representative would have different information than the District Manager, but I was not surprised judging by my past communications with Office Depot employees.

At this point, it seemed that every level of Office Depot with which I had dealt– from the Floor Employees to the Store Manager to the District Manager to Executive Customer Relations– were unclear on company policies and procedure.

I decided to dig a bit deeper to find someone at Office Depot corporate willing to listen to my story about being given incorrect information from the very moment I placed my order. I eventually discovered a phone number to Office Depot corporate: 561.438.4800. I called this number, explained my situation to the operator, and she transferred me to someone whose name I cannot locate in my notes.

The man with whom I spoke was understanding of my problem, and attempted to help, albeit in a round about way. He confirmed that an Amazon-Tiger Direct price should be matched, although frankly I had no reason to believe him. He offered to match the Amazon-Tiger Direct price on the KDS monitors– the cheapest 19″ LCD monitors in the Office Depot inventory. I thought I was finally getting somewhere.

Since the price match was offered, and since the District Manager had already told me that I would get a $100 credit per monitor because of the inventory confusion, I was under the impression that I would be able to get the monitors at the matched price, minus $100 each per the district manager.

The person on the phone informed me that this was not possible. He stated that Office Depot would lose money on this transaction. Here is what he offered: He would have the two monitors sent to me for the Amazon-Tiger Direct price of $269.99. I would pay $539.98 plus tax for the two monitors. He would also include two $100 Office Depot gift cards, further reducing my price to $339.98 plus tax.

Unfortunately, this was simply not financially feasible for me. When I placed my initial order for the original monitors, Office Depot placed a “precharge” on my debit card. This precharge actually reduced the amount of available funds in my bank account by the cost of the order.

As of right now– early Monday morning– the funds are yet to be returned to my account. I understand that, after contacting my bank, that I am dependent on my bank to return the money as the precharge falls off the system. But, if the items were not in stock at the time I ordered, I should not have been precharged for the items. No money should have been held or reserved from my bank account at the hand of Office Depot if the monitors were never in stock from the beginning.

I understand that $350 is a small amount of money for a large company like Office Depot. Part of the reason that sum is insignificant to Office Depot is small businesses like mine who purchase small quantities of supplies, but purchase them from the same place time after time.

We are a free website– we don’t generate a lot of revenue. In fact, this monitor purchase is more than 10% of our annual revenue– not profit, revenue. We do not profit. We provide a great service for free, and ask for nothing return. As a result, we pinch pennies everywhere we can, and getting a good deal on technology items and office supplies is one way we accomplish that.

Since my funds have not been available to me for going on six days now, I was unable to accept the offer of an Amazon-Tiger Direct price match including the two $100 gift cards– I simply do not have the money, even though there is a small chance that I might if my original funds were returned.

After I declined the offer, the representative offered to send a $100 gift card, which may or may not be on the way, regardless of whether or not I purchased the monitors.

If Office Depot could sell the monitors for $269.99 and add in $100 gift card, bringing the price to $169.99, I do not see why Office Depot cannot simply sell me the monitors for $169.99. That is only 2% more than my original order.

With three office supply superstores within five miles, companies are distinguished by their service. The accuracy of the information provided by the employees of a business directly impacts a customer’s chance of patronizing the business in the future.

At this point, I am not too sure what else can be done to correct this situation in my eyes short of finding two new 19” LCD monitors for me to purchase at the same cost as my original order.

If you still wish to contact me, I may be reached at 912.xxx.xxxx during most of the day.

Thank you again for your response,

Mike

Yesterday evening, Mr. Ahlbum left a message on my machine while I was getting dinner. He basically stated that he would like to apologize, and would like to clarify what I should expect from Office Depot in the future.

I thought I had made it fairly clear that, without monitors on my doorstep, there would be no reason for clarification of Office Depot policies. Without monitors, Office Depot would lose me as a customer, no matter how many times they apologize or how many gift cards they send me.

I attempted to telephone Mr. Ahlbum this morning at the telephone number he left on my machine, and the automated operator did not seem to want to transfer my call. I sent Mr. Ahlbum an email:

Mr. Ahlbum,

I attempted to return your telephone message of yesterday evening, and was told by an automated operator that my call “could not be transferred at this time.”

I appreciate your effort in calling. However, I am not particularly interested in learning much more about Office Depot policies, or Office Depot’s positions short of receiving two monitors for the price I was originally charged.

Being aware of Office Depot policies as a customer means very little when the chain of command is unclear about those same policies. Were a situation to arise in the future where I was clear on policy but the in-store employees or managers were not, I would not expect that my assertions of knowing the policies would be very persuasive.

I plan on using the offered gift card as intended– as a gift. I have very little intention of shopping at Office Depot in the future, even for free.

There is an Office Max 1.73 miles north of the Office Depot location in Savannah, and there is a Staples 3.32 miles south. Both of these companies offer very clear policies on their website, including price match policies that specifically address Internet price matching.

I have shopped at Office Depot for three years now, mostly out of convenience. The Office Depot location in Savannah is directly next to Best Buy, and it makes for convenient comparison shopping. Convenience, however, is always trumped by service and price, and Office Depot has performed poorly in both regards, and has done very little to maintain my business.

Again, thank you for your time, and best of luck to you and Office Depot in the future.

Mike

Mr. Ahlbum responded:

I am sorry for the difficulty. I understand that Mr. Butler has made you aware of how such a situation can occur, and believe me, we understand why you are upset! I wanted to speak with you personally,to apologize for the way that the call was handled in my office. The poor level of service provided was simply unacceptable. We should have been able to provide a suitable explanation, but more importantly, found a reasonable way in which to address the difficulty so that you were satisfied.

I am embarrased that this did not occur initially and I sincerely apologize. Mr. Bartlett has sent out the $100 gift card that was promised during your call. I hope that you will accept this with my apology for the poor service along with my thanks for bringing these concerns to our attention. I do not expect you to experience difficulty in the future, but if you do, and you are not able to resolve it at the local level, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,

Casey J. Ahlbum
Manager-Executive Customer Relations
Office Depot, Inc.

I responded one last time, and am no officially done with Office Depot:

Mr. Ahlbum,

I am confident that you are correct in stating that I will not experience any more difficulty with Office Depot. After giving Office Depot about a dozen opportunities to make good on my purchase without a single opportunity being accepted, no amount of gift certificates or apologies would earn my business back. I would be happy to send the gift card back at your request.

I finally received my funds back this morning after being held for six days since last Tuesday when I placed my order and when my credit card was charged. I will be ordering the monitors referenced in my last email from Tiger Direct this evening.

I hope you forward my concerns on to someone who has the ability to review and change Office Depot policies at a corporate level. If a hold is placed on a customer’s funds and that hold leads to the funds not being available for six days, the order should be completed, even if it means a loss for Office Depot. If there is even a possibility that an item may be out of stock, a customer should only be “precharged” one dollar, if anything at all. Additionally, if a customer orders an item and the item is found to be out of stock when the customer arrives, they should be offered a comparable product for the same price.

I sincerely appreciate that you have taken the time to address this, and am disappointed that, in the end, Office Depot was unwilling to provide comparable monitors to those that I purchased.

Thanks again,

Mike

I’m not expecting a response back, and if I where Mr. Ahlbum, I wouldn’t offer a response. He knows what it will take to keep me as a customer, and is either unable or unwilling to meet my request.

Office Depot, in my opinion, has lost their focus: Customers. Their slogan is “Taking care of business,” but it seems as though their policies are not be written to empower their employees to fulfill the expectation that a slogan like that creates.

Hey, I have an idea. Maybe I can get Office Depot to sink a few hundred grand into my NASCAR. That really takes care of business.

Thanks for three years of good service followed by one week of inadequacies, Office Depot. Now I’m off to find out why “Max means more” and “That was easy.”

New Categories

I have added a couple of new categories to my blog, and this time I am actually going to try to use them.

The new categories are:

  • Companies: Good & Bad – This is where I will post facts and opinion on the performance of companies I patronize or have patronized in the past or will never patronize again. I find that most of the posts at my blog are directly related to companies and customer service, so this seems to be appropriate.
  • Deals – Yeah yeah, people call me the deal king. If I find a particularly good deal on something, I may post it here. If it doesn’t work out, expect to read about it in the previously mentioned new category.

That’s all I’ve got for now!

Mike

Drivers or Video Card?

Well, I’m having a bit of trouble with my computer. I try to repair computers for a living, and I usually do pretty good job of fixing whatever may be the problem. Before I go spending a bunch of money on a new video card, I figured I would run my situation past the geekier readers of my blog to see if there is anything obvious that I am missing.

Video Card Information

Current Card: SAPPHIRE RADEON 9200 128M DVI Radeon 9200 128MB DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card
Purchased on: 3/29/2004 10:45:39 AM
Drivers: Catalyst 05.7 (newest available– upgraded last week)

Other System Information

OS: Windows XP Professional SP2
MB: MSI|PT880 NEO-LSR MS-7008
CPU: P4-2.8E, 800MHz FSB, Socket 478, 1MB Cache
HSF: Thermaltake XP-90, Nexus fan, Zalman Fanmate II, Arctic Silver 5
PSU: Rosewill RE501-SLV ATX 500W Power Supply
RAM: Patriot 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered
RAID0: 2x Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y080M0 80GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150
Sound: M-Audio Audiophile 2496 PCI Audio Interface Card
Case: SkyHawk MSR-4610 Silver 1.2mm All Aluminum ATX Mini Server Case
Cooling: 2x120mm, 2x90mm, round cables, fan controller, very clean wiring, decent aiflow1.

Symptoms

Screenshot
Click for larger image.

  • Started about 2 months ago.
  • Strange pixels at random locations.
  • Happens about once or twice a week.
  • Often follows return from standby
  • Has happened while actively using system (lightly)
  • Only known recovery is reboot.

So, it really seems to me that this is a video card issue of some sort. I was able to take the screenshot you see above, so I know it is not a monitor issue (unless Print Screen works much differently than I have been lead to believe).

So the question is whether or not it is drivers or the card itself.

I guess it could be heat acting upon the card. The card itself doesn’t have a fan on it, just a heat sink. So, I’ve got this nifty bracket that mounds on the screws that hold in the PCI cards. It holds a 120mm fan parallel to the side panel of the case, and blows air directly onto all of my cards.

My temps, while high, are not too far out of line for the system:

Room: 28.4c
Case: 47c
CPU: 51c
HD: 48c

It is a Prescott, after all. I know the case temps are high, and I attribute part of that to poor quality sensors in the incredibly cheap MSI motherboard, and partly to the lack of top fan on the case. I plan on putting a top vent on the case as soon as I find someone with a Dremel.

So, it is a tad hot on the video card, but it has direct airflow over it, with some coming from outside the case. I can’t imagine heat is the issue, but of course, I may be wrong.

So how about voltages, you ask? Maybe the video card isn’t getting the right voltages. Here they are:

VCORE: 1.38V
+3.3v: 3.18V
+5V: 5.05V
+12V: 12.46V

Alright, so the voltages are a bit off, but tolerable. You should have seen what they were when I had my old 350-watt PSU in there! I can’t imagine that voltages like these would be the cause.

Now I think I have heat and power covered. That leaves drivers and general card failure as my only options.

Since I am running the latest drivers, and this issue has happened with the current drivers, and my old driver (prompting the update), I would have to say my card is starting to fail. Unless I am missing something, I can’t really imagine any other cause.

Anyone?

Office Depot – Unethical – Scam – Bait and Switch – Take your pick… Part II

So, I talked to Don Butler, the District Manager, again yesterday afternoon. He offered to take $100 off any other monitor they sell. The offer would hold true for any 2 monitors, as that is what I ordered.

I know he is probably doing the best he can, and I am sure he considers it to be a reasonable offer, but he has got to be aware that an offer like that is not a good deal at all!

Let’s look at their three cheapest 19-inch monitor prices:
KDS K-917S – $369.99
Samsung 930B – $429.99
ViewSonic VX910 -$449.99

Alright, so if I buy the KDS, I spend $203.98 more for each monitor than my credit card was charged for the original order. If I buy the Samsung, I spend $263.98 more per monitor than my credit card was originally charged. If I buy the ViewSonic, I would spend $283.96 more for each monitor than my credit card was originally charged for the original order.

What a joke! They want me to spend a minimum of 123% more— not just 23% more— but a full 123% more to get similar monitors to those that I originally ordered! If I were to buy their third most inexpensive monitor, that figure jumps to 171% more than the product I ordered!

So, digging deeper, I find this 17″ monitor (smaller than my original purchase):
KDS K717s – $279.99

Alright, so, $279.99 – $100 = $179.99.

So, they want me to pay over 8% more than my credit card was originally charged so I can get a smaller monitor! Sure, it doesn’t seem like the size difference between a 17″ and a 19″ monitor is that large. But, when you do the math, you find that a 19″ monitor has 22.8% more screen area than a 17″ monitor!

I did some more digging.

It turns out that Amazon has the KDS 19″ for $269.99. If Office Depot were to pricematch this, my final price would be $169.99. That is a mere 2% more than I originally agreed to pay and was subsequently charged for an item that I was told was in-stock.

Of course, the KDS has lower specifications, but I am not particularly concerned about that. I just need two new monitors for Jaime and me at a good price. We spend a heck of a lot of time sitting at our computers to run America’s Debate and our old 17″ CRT monitors are just not cutting it. They hurt your eyes, and they put off an incredible amount of heat. Jaime’s (which I believe was actually bought at Office Depot) is pretty messed up.

So I call the store and speak to the manager (I believe his name was John) about the pricematch and $100 price reduction. He was aware of Mr. Butler’s offer to give me $100 off on each of any two monitors. I asked the manager if the monitors were in stock, and they were. I asked him if they would match the Amazon price in order to fully rectify the situation in my eyes, and the manager declined. He claimed that they do not match Amazon prices

That was flat-out wrong. I just called Office Depot customer service. According to the gentleman with whom I spoke, Office Depot WILL match Amazon’s price. He said they charge overnight shipping, which seems odd, but fine. I would have no problem paying overnight shipping, if I actually got the items overnight Since I ordered on Tuesday, they were due Wednesday. It is now Thursday. The shipment is overdue– shipping charges should be refunded anyway.

So, now I know that the store manager either does not know his company’s policies (highly unlikely), or he doesn’t like the fact that I contacted Mr. Butler and is intentionally giving me bad information as a result.

I try to call Don Butler— it was busy for about 20 minutes. I just left a message with the friendly lady that answers the phone on his line, and she will ask him to call me back.

The title of this entry is “Office Depot – Unethical – Scam – Bait and Switch – Take your pick…”

I may have to change it to “Office Depot – Unethical – Scam – Bait and Switch – All three?”

<scam class=”bait_and_switch” style=”unethical”>

Bait: Sure, come on and pickup your monitors. You paid for them, and they are in stock.

Switch: Oh, you’re here? Sorry, we don’t have your monitors. But, if you raise a big enough stink, the District Manager will give you a discount that you can use on another product.

Unethical: Oh, you got a discount? OK. Can we match Amazon? No, we can’t. <mumble>yes we can</mumble>

</scam>

Given that they deducted money from my account, and that I spent time to go to the store, and time to research other products, and time to go back and forth with them in order to figure out their policies, I think it is safe to wrap the whole situation in a couple of <scam></scam> tags.

Office Depot – Unethical – Scam – Bait and Switch – Take your pick…

So, Office Depot cancelled my monitor order upon arrival at the store, even though the website said it was in-stock at the time of my order and upon initiation of charging my credit card.

For people who found this via a search engine (and there will be some), let me give you some information that I learned about the ethics of Office Depot.

According to an employee at Office Depot in Savannah (I have his name– no need to single out a non-manager):

  • It is possible that somebody is purchasing an item in the store at the exact same time you are ordering the same item online, even if you are ordering the item an hour after the store has closed.

According to Tony Hill, the store manager of the Office Depot in Savannah:

  • Items listed on the website as being in-stock at a local store may or may not be in stock.
  • Customers who have ordered and paid for an item only to find it is out of stock upon arrival to pick it up are not offered a discount of any sort on a similar item, nor are they offered a gift card to make up for the inaccuracies of the Office Depot inventory system, nor are they offered a simple 10% off coupon.

:::OPINION::: Mr. Hill does not seem to be interested in maintaining customers with growing businesses. Office Depot management at the store level does not seem to be empowered to ensure customer satisfaction.

According to Kimberly Bryant in Executive Customer Relations at (800) 937-3600:

  • Placing an online order for in-store pickup of an in-stock item does not guarantee that the item will be in stock.
  • Customers may walk in and purchase an item, even if another customer has purchased and paid for that exact item via the Office Depot website.
  • Employees are customers, too. Simple logic: Employees can cash and carry an item that a customer has already purchased if they find the item to be a good value.
  • Customers who have ordered and paid for an item only to find it is out of stock upon arrival to pick it up are not offered a discount of any sort on a similar item, nor are they offered a gift card to make up for the inaccuracies of the Office Depot inventory system, nor are they offered a simple 10% off coupon.
  • Clearance items are not always marked as “Clearance.” It is up to the customer to determine whether or not an item is on clearance based on the current and previous price of the item.
  • Office Depot is not able to send a Cancellation email to the email used to place the order.
  • Executive Customer Relations is to return phone calls of customers if they are disconnected in-call.
  • Phone calls can end when a customer is in the middle of a sentence.
  • Executive Customer Support does not have the phone number of the district manager.
  • If you are persistent enough and call back after they hang up on you mid-sentence, Executive Customer Support does have the phone number of the district manager.

:::OPINION::: The information supplied by Kimberly Bryant seems inaccurate, and the above, while provided directly by Ms. Bryant, should not be trusted. Executive Customer Relations is code for “reading off a different script.” Executive Customer Relations does not seem to be empowered to achieve customer satisfaction.

According to Don Butler, the District Manager at (843)769-0943:

  • There is a delay in inventory updates on clearance items.
  • Employees can only buy clearance items after they have been on clearance for a minimum of 48 hours.
  • Customers do not have to determine whether or not an item is on clearance by price. Clearance items should be marked as such.
  • District Managers can offer discounts or gift certificates to compensate customers for Office Depot’s flawed inventory system.
  • District Managers are truly concerned about maintaining growing businesses as customers, most likely because there is a Staples 3 miles away, and an Office Max 2 miles away.

:::OPINION::: Mr. Butler has expressed interest in trying to right the situation. He seemed to agree that if a customer orders an item and are told the item is in stock, the customer should either get the item, or some form of compensation to make up for the flaw in their inventory system. He stated he will look for the item elsewhere, and will offer a discount on other monitors or in-store credit to make up for the the inconvenience of travelling to the location to pickup an item that was ordered only to find out that there was an error in the Office Depot system.

I plan on linking to this entry from my signature at America’s Debate. We serve millions of pages per year (7,364,897 since July 2004) to over a million visitors (1,567,605 since July 2004).

My time was well spent on this entry if just one Office Depot executive stumbles upon this post and sees how the flaws in their inventory and ordering system has an end effect of losing customers, or if just one person reads this and decides against ordering from Office Depot.

There are plenty of office supply stores, and they all sell the same products. What sets them apart is service, or lack thereof. Barring any unforseen circumstances, Office Depot has officially been moved to the bottom of my list of local office supply companies.

Maybe This Monitor Deal Will Work

Well, I’m trying another monitor deal.

The last one from HP failed miserably. I didn’t get the monitor, and it took quite a while to get my money credited back to my account.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

I picked up two of these:

Benq T903 19″ LCD Monitor

They list for $369.99, and I bought two of them for $332.02. That is 55% off retail price!

Plus, there are rebates, but I can only do one I am sure.

I’ve got my receipt all printed and ready to go. I’ll be heading to Office Depot first thing tomorrow to attempt to pick them up.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Why the AP Sucks.

Really, I don’t know why the AP sucks, I just know that they do.

I imagine they suck as a result of several factors, some of which include:

- They are too big and have too many employees
- They are more concerned with breaking news/exclusive stories than they are with accuracy.
- They have poor proofing skills
- They have a poor grasp of what is fact
- They have a poor memory of current events.

Case in point, this article:

Gore: New TV Channel Won’t Be Partisan

I have uploaded a screenshot to demonstrate their error:

The AP Sucks

The article states in reference to Al Gore:

The 2004 Democratic candidate for president was asked if he was concerned the 24-hour news and information channel, called Current, would be perceived as having a political slant.

Now, I would like to think a journalist, who is much more likely to align herself with the Democratic party than the Republican party, would at least know who was the freaking candidate in 2004, and who was the candidate in 2000!

Get with it, AP. And by “it” I mean good quality articles that are authored by smart journalists, proofread by smart proofreaders, and given the green light only after a full review by smart editors.

Mike

Woot!

Well, I finally got in on a deal at Woot!

They were selling their “bag of crap” for a dollar tonight, and I was able to buy three of bags of crap (that is the actual product name) for $3, plus $5 shipping.

I almost didn’t get my order in. Woot’s servers were very bogged down, taking several minutes to load each page. Believe it or not, I figured out that IE was loading the pages faster than FireFox.

I actually didn’t think my order went through. I had all but completed the order when, after being told that my product was reserved and my credit card was being charged, the page returned the dreaded Woot “Server too busy” message.

Then, about 15 minutes later, a confirmation email arrived. I checked my bank account, and Woot took my money.

So, what will I get for my $8? Will it be a TV projector, a DVD player, and a home theater package; or will it be a USB fan, a package of AA batteries, and a shiny nickel? Only time will tell..

This is a test for PubSub: America’s Debate | mikesblog.americasdebate.com