Tuesday, May 06, 2008


With moving, marriage, and such over the past few months, there has been ample opportunity for things to go awry. These are the things that bring out my curmudgeonliness, as most derive from simple human carelessness -- which, these days, is abundant.

What follows, then, is a simple cataloging of the major mistakes that have befallen me in my recent move from Indiana to Minnesota, for your reading pleasure.

We'll start with the firm that moved me from Indiana, which did a relatively decent job -- with a few exceptions. First, they moved three halogen floor lamps as-is, without first disassembling them; the result was three very bent and twisted floor lamps. In addition, they lost/broke/misplaced the coasters underneath my dining room table, requiring a makeshift repair on our end.

The firm that moved my wife (less than a mile down the road) did a much worse job. Their mistakes included somehow breaking the mechanism on my stepson's futon bed, as well as losing all the screws and related hardware for my stepdaughter's daybed and refusing to make good on the replacement, necessitating the purchase of a new unit.

Then we have the furniture, of which we purchased a bunch. Of the two swivel chairs we purchased for our new sun room, one arrived with a broken/missing caster; the rather inefficient fix was not to replace the single caster, but to give us a completely new chair.

We also ordered a new desk for my office, which took almost two months to arrive. When it was delivered the left-facing return we ordered was actually a right-facing one packed inside a box marked for the left-facing version. It took another two weeks for the correctly labeled return to arrive.

A similar mislabeling occurred with the 125-gallon saltwater aquarium we purchased. We ordered the whole setup in black, but when the fish store owner opened up the stand marked "black," he discovered an oak-finished stand inside, instead. We're still waiting for the black replacement.

We had two home theater systems installed (upstairs and down), as well as smaller systems installed in my wife's office and our bedroom. When one of the installers went to connect the audio receiver in the bedroom to the new in-wall speakers, he discovered that his fellow installer had forgotten to actually install the speakers; the grilles were there and the speaker wire was run, but there weren't any speakers behind the grilles!

The worst situation, however, involved my beloved Media Center PC, which houses my 1300-CD music collection in digital format. It was the very last part of our main home theater system to be connected, and when we plugged it in it went "poof." (Literally, that was the sound it made: "Poof!") The home theater firm sent it back to Niveus, the manufacturer, who confirmed that the power supply had gone bad. They also told me that the power supply had taken out the mother board with it, and that the mother board was an older type no longer available, and that that meant we had to replace the audio card, video card, and so on along with the power supply and the mother board -- easily a $2500-$3000 repair. (Although they also offered to let me trade in my old model on a current one for just $5000 --what a bargain!)

Given that this was the second bad power supply (and the third problem requiring factory repairs) in three years, I decided against the repair, instead opting for the home theater firm (Connect Home Theater) to custom build me a newer and more powerful model for just $2499. While I appreciate what Niveus was trying to achieve with a fanless, totally silent living room PC (and also appreciate the help they've given me over the years), I think their model is flawed; a fanless PC simply runs too hot, resulting in premature component failure. For me, the whole situation means that I'm now two months into the move and still don't have my music system up and running -- although I will be $2500 over my initial budget.

I'm sure few of you care about my little annoyances. That said, they are annoyances, and most could have been avoided with a little bit more in the way of quality control. And that's why they're so annoying.

But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.

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