Monday, November 05, 2007


Answering machine updates:

  • The machine that was up at my old house, the one with all of Ron's old messages through the years and my Mother's messages, is safe. It was unplugged for well over an hour and it preserved everything.
  • The machine my parents used that has my Dad's greeting is safe.

Note that both of those are little cheapo Sprint™ brand machines I bought at Meijer.

  • The machine I bought to use at my parents' house after Dad died (so I could preserve his message but stop freaking out everyone who called) is the one that commited suicide.

Note that it is a little cheapo GE brand machine that I bought at WalMart and actually thought was nicer than the Sprint machines.

I just got off the phone with tech support. Frustrating. Apparently this has never happened in the entire history of the company. Couple this with a bit of a language barrier and you can understand my irritation. (I'm not being critical here, it's just that usually I'm good at deciphering accents but this guy's was beyond awful, and I get the feeling his grasp of English is limited to the words on the tech support script. Attempts to veer away from the script caused him great confusion.)

He said "I'm sorry ma'am but if you unplugged the machine for longer than ten minutes, it will reset the machine and—"

"But I didn't do that. All I did was move the adaptor from one plug on the power strip to another. Unplug, plug."


"Yes, but ma'am but if you unplugged the machine for longer than ten minutes, it will reset the machine and you will lose all of your settings, I'm sorry? Is it under warranty?"

Oh boy.

"I don't know."

"Was the machine purchased within the last year?"

"Sometime in 2006, maybe in the fall, but I couldn't tell you exactly when and I damn sure couldn't tell ya where the receipt went."

More silence.

"You purchased last fall?"

"Maybe. But if it was only unplugged for a half second, why is this happening?"

Then he tells me to unplug it from the wall and the phone, wait ten minutes, then plug it back in. Then try to record a new outgoing message blah blah blah.

"So basically if I do that, I'll lose everything?"

"Yes ma'am I'm sorry. This model unfortunately has no battery backup and may lose data in the event of a power outage."

"But that's wrong—we've had a couple of power outages this year and the machine has been fine. All the messages were still there." Y'know. Being that it's been digitally inscribed on a computer mini-hard drive chip somewhere and not dependent on a battery. Like the Sprint machines, which also have no battery backup and somehow managed to survive hellacious storms last year, lots of power outages and even transportation from one city to the next one a half hour away with a 45-minute pitstop at Barnes & Noble.


"So in theory, if it wasn't unplugged for more than ten minutes, it should work fine and all my messages or settings and so on should still be there?"

"Yes ma'am."

"OK... so why isn't it working? When I plugged it back in, immediately after unplugging it, the window displayed a solid number 8 and the buttons became unresponsive. No response when I push any button. Nothing happens. Why is that?" (I felt like following with and the machine is fixed and dilated...)

"A solid eight?"

"Yes. A solid eight. I had like 30-some messages on that machine (so it would be flashing 3, then 3, then the dash) but it's just a solid, non-flashing number 8. What does that mean?"

"And you are unable to record a new message?"

"Yes. (No?) When I push a button, NOTHING happens. Nothing at all."

"I'm sorry ma'am I don't know why this is. The machine may be defective and need to be replaced. If it is still under warranty, we can replace it for you."

I said carefully (realizing it would go faster if I stuck to the script), "if I want to move the machine in the future, is there any procedure I should follow to ensure that my settings are preserved?"

"I'm sorry ma'am, no, there are no other procedures. The machine should have worked normally if the power was removed for less than ten minutes. The machine may be defective and need to be replaced."

Yeah, I got that part. You're damned straight it's being replaced.

But NOT with another one just like it. Thanks but NO THANKS. I let him know this, too. Said that I need to trust that my machine will still work following power outages or random relocation.

Sprint, you have won my heart and my undying customer loyalty because so far, you've lovingly preserved my most precious messages, through thunderstorms, power outages, moving, and cats with wayward paws. May that hold true in the future as well.

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At 5:10 PM, November 05, 2007, Anonymous tiennie said...

That is a bummer about the machine. I hate to lose anything personal and dear to me like messages from loved ones.


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