It’s a pact as old as Old St. Nick himself: in exchange for years and years of presents “magically” appearing on Christmas morning, to the youngsters’ delight — without being able to take credit for it — parents offer up their offspring to Santa Claus. In turn, they get the reward of gleefully sharing photos of the momentous event for years to come. This might be the only time it’s considered appropriate to find humor in a child’s fear, and that’s why we like to share your photos of kids being totally freaked out by Santa every year. [More]
The Grocery Shrink Ray is what we call it when the manufacturers of food and consumer goods make their products smaller––sometimes almost imperceptibly smaller––rather than raise prices. You know what it looks like: it’s why your toilet paper doesn’t quite fill the holder anymore, and why you don’t get as many servings of hot chocolate as you used to. We know that it’s been in action for decades, but is there proof? Yes: one need only turn to collectors of consumer ephemera like boxes and cans. [More]
Longtime readers of Consumerist are familiar with “Dell Hell” stories, in which something bad happens to a Dell computer and then the company does its best to do absolutely nothing about it. A recent news story about an exploding Dell laptop is a perfect example of Dell’s particular flavor of ignorance. [More]
On the one hand, a check for $14.73 doesn’t seem like that much to get worked up about. But for one man who lost his girlfriend to cancer in 2010, part of his role as her trustee is to recoup any debts owed to her estate. And that includes a refund check from Dell that the company took a heck of a long time to send. [More]
When you think of corporate espionage and snooping, you probably think of big manufacturers — electronics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, packaged food — trying to learn what the competition is working on. One industry that is unlikely to come to mind is retail sporting goods. [More]
Gone are the days of going down to the local convenience store to buy a piece of hard candy with your well-earned dime. Now, kids could purchase 500 pieces of hard candy, because they are rolling in the dough when it comes to allowance. [More]
Sometimes it seems to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. And by then it’s too late and you’re smacking yourself in the head for putting off that Killer Klowns From Outer Space theme party because it’s no longer streaming on Netflix and there’s no Blockbuster around so you’re out of luck. That and a whole slew of other movies will be unstreamable in the New Year. [More]
Paul opened up Dell’s “November Gift Guide” earlier this week and saw a great deal on a digital SLR camera (and lens!) from Nikon. It cost only $499. He wanted to take advantage of this great deal, so he hopped right on Dell’s website to buy it. That’s when he learned that the prices in the November gift guide only applied for a fleeting moment, possibly before he even received it in the mail. Update, 11/20/12: Hey, look at that! The price suddenly fell for some reason that we’re sure had nothing whatsoever to do with this post! [More]
James got to play with a Dell Latitude 10 tablet at a trade show, and wanted one for himself. When he saw the tablet available in Dell’s online outlet store with a big coupon, he knew it was time to bring it home. He did. He didn’t realize that ordering from Dell’s outlet meant that maybe the packaging wouldn’t be as fancy as a new tablet. He didn’t realize that Dell would send him a system with an insufficient installation of the wrong operating system, and no product key so he could just go reinstall it himself.
Tommy is trapped in one of the more tragic outer circles of Dell Hell. His sin? He’s not entirely sure, and Dell will not tell him. All he knows is that his Alienware laptop won’t charge, his account is mysteriously “on hold,” and no one at Dell will talk to him.
There are many ways to define “Dell Hell,” but Todd’s situation certainly is a perfect example. Every time Dell gets hold of his computer to repair it, things get worse. It began with a simple battery charging issue. When it came back to him, it wouldn’t accept half of his RAM. After another motherboard replacement, the fan went rogue and the keyboard wouldn’t light up. Dell sent Todd a refurbished replacement computer, which wouldn’t turn on at all. At this point, he probably wishes he only had trouble getting the battery to charge.
We all had a good chuckle back when frost-tipped, backward sunglasses-wearing celebuchef Guy Fieri opened his Times Square Restaurant, Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar. He had “donkey sauce” on the menu! Tee hee! Etc. But despite the maelstrom of media surrounding that restaurant’s opening, it seems Fieri or someone on his team forgot to do a very important thing — purchase the domain name of the restaurant. [More]
Some of our younger readers may not recall the “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” television spots where an extremely knowledgeable college-aged guy intervenes during shopping trips to talk parents into buying Dell PCs for their kids. The spots ran from 2000 to 2003, and were pretty memorable. (Memorable enough that readers still refer to them, ten years on, when complaining to us about Dell.) As Dell’s sales and reputation have fallen, they’re considering going private, and even Microsoft might invest. But maybe there’s another solution to the company’s woe’s. Bring back the Dell Dude. [More]
When we first heard from Dan a few weeks ago, he had been sent to endure punishment in Dell Hell for his sins. His principal sin, of course, was purchasing a computer from Alienware, a once-beloved company now owned by Dell. The products still look cool, but it’s Dell providing the technical support, with all of the competence and generosity that implies. His computer continued to fail. Dell sent a replacement, which was supposed to resolve this, Instead, he reached even more advanced and frustrating levels of Dell Hell. Finally, through persistence (and maybe having his story appear here on the site) he was able to make a deal with Dell and escape with his soul. And a refund.
Reader E. has encountered an interesting problem with Dell. I always thought that the point of purchasing a computer online was that you could place the order yourself, with a printed confirmation page and the ability to check all of the numbers carefully before hitting the “submit” button. In E’s experience, though, Dell representatives insist on taking your order directly over web chat or over the phone. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but it became one when she was quoted one price over web chat and charged a different one, and had no evidence of this because Dell redacts numbers from chat transcripts.
Remember Travis, the college-bound student whose touchscreen Dell laptop keeps moving the mouse pointer around on the screen, among other problems? When we last heard from him a week ago, he was waiting for the computer to return to him from Dell’s repair depot after two in-home tech visits, and he hoped the problems would be fixed. They weren’t. All Dell did was replace the wireless card. So he turned to the advice we gave in the post, and wrote to Michael Dell. This got him a new laptop for his trouble.
There are many circles of Dell Hell. The difference between Dell Hell and Dante’s version of hell, though, is that Dante imagined sinners consigned to different levels of hell according to what they had done wrong in their lives. Your fate in Dell Hell is assigned pretty much at random, according to which model of computer you own, which technical support representatives you happen to encounter, and pure good or bad luck. Apparently, Dan’s first sin was buying an Alienware computer less than a year ago. His second sin, apparently, was having technical problems slightly out of the ordinary.