Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Updates Galore!

I know, I know!  I finally received my new laptop which allows me to edit my photos without the hassle of a physical memory for your viewing pleasure, I have added photos with hopefully more to come as I continue to search for non-incriminating photos of my life and friends :)

Now, about the laptop.  You wouldn't believe the interesting time I had while ordering from Dell.  I am for about six years a loyal Dell customer so when the time came to update my laptop, I naturally chose to order online from Dell.  The difficult part was sending the laptop to Kosovo so I decided to order to my friend's house and have him ship it to me.  So, I placed my order and waited patiently for the ship-date (approx 1.5 weeks after ordering.)  The day after it was supposed to ship, I checked the order status and it was still in production.  So I called Dell Customer Support from Kosovo (at the tune of 10 cents/minute) and asked why the order was delayed.  The response was that because I had truthfully indicated that the laptop would be exported from the US, they needed more information from me.  So, I spent a half an hour verifying my personal information with the rep.  Then it came time for the export information:

Do you work for the US government, agency or an international organization?  
Yes, I work for the UN.  
The UN?  
Yes, the United Nations.  
The United Nations?  
Yes, the United Nations. 
Pause...the United Nations?  
Yes, I work for the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  
Pause...umm, okay.

So after this little bump in the road (and serious cause of I-can't-believe-this on my side), the rep entered all my export information.  So now the laptop should ship.  I check back two days later and this time, the order is cancelled.  I am slightly upset as I call Dell Customer Support.  The new rep apologizes and tells me that the order was cancelled because the export office needed more information from me (I'm thinking, so logically they cancelled the order rather than contacting me?  Right!)  So, we place the order again and thankfully, because of the mishap, I retain my special online deals that had since expired.  Then the next day, I receive an email from the very helpful rep asking me to fill out some supplementary information for the export department and fax it back to them on my company letterhead. 

First, I respond that I cannot use the letterhead of the United Nations because the laptop is for my personal use but that I am a US citizen but working overseas for eleven months out of the year.  Then I open the attachments.  I CAN NOT BELIEVE what I read:

"Accordingly, we hereby agree:
that we will not transfer, export, or re-export, directly or indirectly, any Product(s) acquired from Dell to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Sudan, and/or Syria, or any nationals thereof, or to any other country subject to restriction under applicable laws and regulations, and that we are not located in, under the control of, or a national or resident of any such country;

that we will not use the Product(s) in any activity related to the development, production, use, or maintenance of Weapons of Mass Destruction, as defined by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, including without limitation, uses related to nuclear, missile, and/or chemical/biological development and or production and that we will not transfer, export, or re-export, directly or indirectly to any party engaged in any such activity; if we are engaged in the development or production of Weapons of Mass Destruction, we acknowledge that we could be subject to and responsible for U.S. export licensing requirements;"

Then after my response that I can't do anything, I don't hear back from them.  So I think great, my order is going to be cancelled again.  Then I start tracking my order online and it is going through the production process.  It gets built and then stays in the boxing prep stage for about a week.  Now I'm really thinking that they are holding up the order because I couldn't do the export paperwork like they wanted.  Ship date comes...and whoa, the order is shipped!  I couldn't believe it...and now, I'm happily working away on my new laptop...meanwhile, very seriously holding up my end of the bargain not to make WMDs with it >:-)  Ummm...right!