Archive for November 2013

Sony has no idea when I’ll have a working PS4 (updated—they kind of do now, but we’re looking to console #3)

Update – 18-12-13

I suppose it’s time for an update anyhow. The short version is that today, I finally got a replacement PS4… and it did the exact same thing the first one did.

The longer version. When we last left things, I had been told by a Sony rep that he could absolutely not tell me when I would receive the box to ship my defective PS4 in for service. I gave it a week for them being “backed up” and an extra two days for shipping. So we’re now at Friday, Dec 6. I decided it was time to call back.

Thankfully, I got a rep who sounded like she gave a damn this time (as the first two had sounded, I have to say), and we went through the whole process again. It seemed absurd to me at the time, but as we went through my information, we found that my address had been incorrect. Again. After two separate people had read it out, character by character, completely correctly.

We also found out that my name had been recorded incorrectly, and since my email address is just my name, that was wrong too. See, I had sort of wondered why I didn’t get the email I was told way back at the first phone call would be sent, but some people in the Sony forums had mentioned theirs were coming in late, so I thought little of it. I’d also gotten one “random” feedback email sent to my correct address, so as far as I knew, everything was fine. That’d be the reasonable conclusion, anyhow.

So we fixed it all up and I was apologised to again, and apologised to regarding the third phone call the previous week. Then I was, for the second time, asked if I wanted to buy the extended warranty as some deal was about to expire. I asked if there could be some way that this offer could be extended for me given that I had yet to enjoy a working product and make an informed decision regarding whether it was something I would like to purchase, but no dice.

I was told a fourth box would be sent (my question regarding the status of the third box having gone unanswered, but I assume it sat in a Purolator centre for a few days and was returned/garbaged).

The phone call ended, and a few minutes later I received an email.

I’m having trouble typing this as it seems like there could be no possible way, after three different people on three different days all read out my address, character by character, absolutely correctly, but the address that the email claimed my fourth box would be sent to was… incorrect.

So was my name, still, though my email address had thankfully been corrected successfully.

I called right back and got a new person. We got it fixed, I stayed on the line until I confirmed the email had the correct information this time, and we confirmed that no, the fourth box hadn’t already shipped in the five minutes between the calls. You know, just in case.

This, hopefully, would be it.

Of course, then the weekend got in the way, the box assumedly wasn’t shipped until Monday, but on Wednesday, I checked my voice mail to find a message from Purolator informing me that they were holding a package for me. Surely, this was the fourth box.

I should say, as an aside, that I tweeted about this, and the fact that the box was fifty blocks away, and minutes later a Purolator rep tweeted back offering to see if there was a better location. There isn’t, as I’m just awkwardly between two of them, but I appreciated the offer. It’s more electronic response than I’ve received from Sony, and they at this point were responsible only for sending me a box.

Anyway, I was busy that Wednesday, Dec 11, so I couldn’t get to Purolator until the next day. I took the console with me, picked up the box, got the package all ready to go in the car, and walked back in.

I got the same guy who gave me the box.

“This one of those PS4s?” he asked.

I confirmed, asking if he’d seen a lot of them. Indeed he had.

I was past the cutoff time for next-day delivery, so the console wasn’t received at Sony until Monday. Still, true to their original timeline promise, they took a day or so and then sent one back, as I received another voicemail message from Purolator today, Wednesday, Dec 18.

It’s a bit of a mystery, I suppose, why I didn’t get any previous automated messages from Purolator. You’d assume that if they find a package undeliverable or someone at the address has no idea who “Ryan Bromsgrobe” is and they have your number, they’d give you a call to come collect it. Anyway…

We cut into some Christmas shopping time to swing by and pick it up. We came home, I plugged it in, telling myself there was no way that I was the one of 10,000 people who got two defective consoles (going off the upper limit of Sony’s less than one per cent claim).

Lucky me.

I called back again, explained my situation, and dared the rep to guess what happened after I plugged it in. So we set me up a fifth box to send the second console back in, and while “5-6 days at the very most” isn’t awful, this is peak Christmas time, and I’m planning to be out of the city for a few days and, frankly, too busy for this shit anyway. The rep did tell me that once I have a working console, I could call back and they’d hook me up with a free first party game for all my troubles, so that’s cool.

To their credit here too, the only thing throughout this whole mess above the basic service that I’d asked for was an extension on the extended warranty deal, and only because they’d tried to sell it to me twice (seriously, they might as well be saying, “nice broken console we sold you there. Be a shame if the replacement were to break outside of your basic warranty period now, wouldn’t it?” I only say this because it is a good gesture in the face of my continued struggle to just be a Carribean pirate, and a better gesture because it wasn’t demanded or asked for.

So here I am, a full month to the day after I received my original console, and I still have nothing to show for it. And worse, Christmas shipping stands between me and actually getting what I ordered way back in June. Let’s end it here for now with everybody’s favourite: numbers.

Number of phone calls: 7

Number of days I expected to wait for box: 2

Number of days waited for box: 24

Number of days I expected to wait for a working console: 7

Number day days currently waited for working console: 30

Number of additional days I expect to wait: 7+

Number of boxes required: 5

Number of boxes undeliverable: 3

Number of cardboard PS4 retail boxes I now own: 2

Number of times address recorded incorrectly: 5

Number of times address recorded incorrectly despite being read back, character-by-character, correctly: 3

Number of attempts to correct single incorrect letter in name required: 2

Number of times ‘friend’ Justin has bragged about Assassins’ Creed 4 to me: 4? 5?

Number of fucks given: 0.5

I increased my fucks given count by a half because at this point, while Assassins’ Creed 4 is still basically the only next-gen game I want to play until… February? it’s gotten kind of annoying, the drives to Purolator are lengthy, and I want it to be over. But if I’m that one in 1,000,000 people who get three consecutive defective consoles, expect the count to increase to an entire fuck.

Original words below:

I knew there was a risk with purchasing a launch Playstation 4. I’m not enormously upset that mine was dead on arrival with the flashing blue light problem, but what I’m really not happy about now is what Sony’s doing about it. Because right now, the console I ordered in June and received last Monday has been sitting on my floor for nine days and neither Sony nor I know how long it will remain this way.

Along with my original order, I decided to pick up a second controller and the camera. Given the length of the last console generation, I’m settling in for the long haul here and might as well get the extras at the start. They arrived, tantalizingly, about two weeks before the console release.

Most of the launch games don’t actually appeal to me (a contributing factor to not being too crestfallen at the console not actually working), but I’m a fan enough of Assassin’s Creed that I picked up the $130 collector’s edition of Black Flag for PS4, with a pirate flag and everything, in advance of the console’s release so that I could plug it in whichever day it arrived and get playing.

Things weren’t looking too bad after I plugged it in, found it not to work and called them to explain. After a twenty to thirty minute wait and a quick explanation of my problem, I was told that a box would be overnighted to me to send the console to them in, that it’d take around a day for them to either fix or issue a replacement, and one day to ship a console back to me. I would have a working Playstation 4 by Friday, he said.

Wednesday came, and with it, no box. I gave it until the evening, and then called them back to find out if anything had gone wrong, as I’d been told in no uncertain terms that I’d have the box by then. The person I talked to this time told me, in no uncertain terms, that it should have arrived by then. I asked him to check the address, and found that they had recorded my street as an avenue.

Okay, easy mistake I suppose, not a huge deal. He ordered a replacement box sent, and so I expected to receive the box Friday, send the console in that day and maybe get a working one by Tuesday of this week.

Well, Friday came, and with it, no box. I gave it until the evening, and then called them back to find out if anything had gone wrong. I was told by this person that yes, the box should have arrived by then. I had her read out my address, and wouldn’t you know it, the street number had a couple of extra digits added to the beginning.

So I read out my address, as it was on the box Amazon delivered the thing in originally, character-by-character, and confirmed that the information had been transmitted correctly when she read it back to me. She also disappeared at some point to talk to someone, assuring me that the problem had been noted and that this should solve things.

Assuming that nothing happens on the weekend, the box should have shipped Monday and arrived Tuesday. Tuesday came, and with it, no box. I left my phone at work that night, so I waited until I had a chance on Wednesday afternoon before I called.

I had him read my address. This time, despite having read it back to me character-by-character previously, they had somehow mixed up two digits in the street number.

But before I had a chance to wonder how on Earth this happened a third time, he told me it was okay because the box hadn’t shipped. I asked him why the box hadn’t shipped, and he put me on hold to go talk to an account specialist—whatever that is.

When he came back, he explained that there was a backlog of service requests that they were working through on a first-come-first-served basis.

I should mention that I’d been really patient on all of my calls up til this point, because I don’t want to yell at someone on the phone who didn’t personally screw anything up, but this is where we leave the “looks like Sony has a decent and fast return policy but just managed to get my address wrong a few times” terrority and enter “well, I guess either Sony gave me false information three times or this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

I asked why I’d been told previously, three times, that the box would ship right away and he couldn’t answer. I asked how after nine days and three errors in my address it could be that a box won’t be shipped right away, and he said that there were people who’d called on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, before going off on what I assume is a scripted explanation of how this is only affecting fewer than one per cent of consoles, like explaining how small the issue is juxatposed to how backlogged they apparently are is going to do any good.

I asked how long it would take the box to ship so that I could at least know when I should call back to see if there are any problems, and he refused to give me any sort of timeline whatsoever.

Let’s add everything up. Somehow Sony managed to get my address wrong three times. Somehow, in the last nine days, Sony has gone from assuring me of a very specific timeline of having a working model within five days of my first call to literally refusing to estimate when the box I can send the broken console in will even be shipped to me.

It’s not the fact that I got one of the “fewer than one per cent” of broken consoles. Yeah, I paid for something that isn’t working as advertised—in that right now it’s just a bulky blue flashlight—but as I said, it was a risk that I was prepared for. I can even handle that my address was taken down wrong once, twice, even three times. But giving a customer a solid timeline three times, failing to meet it three times, and then leaving them completely without a timeline as to when they will actually get what they paid for is unacceptable.

Before this afternoon, I’d have recommended the PS4 to people, knowing that while there’s a risk they get a broken one, Sony seems to be fixing it efficiently.

But now, absolutely not. If you’re one of the thousands who buy a new Playstation 4 and find that it doesn’t work, there is, apparently now, no promises that can be made with regards to when you’ll get what you paid for. A fewer than one per cent rate of failure is arguably acceptable at a console’s launch, but three phone calls of assurances followed by one of “I will not make any promises as to when the box will ship” is not.

I mean, either this fourth guy and the account specialist he talked to don’t know what they’re talking about or the first three people I talked to consecutively didn’t know what they were talking about. Or somebody was outright lying somewhere along the line.

The guy asked if I wanted to talk to a supervisor, and unfortunately I didn’t have the time to this afternoon—though assuming a box doesn’t arrive by Friday, I’ll be calling again and asking to be put directly through to one. Instead, I asked if there was an email address I could address my dissatisfaction to, because I honestly don’t want to yell at anyone on the phone and would much rather compose my thoughts in a format that allows for more clarity. The quiet removal of support email addresses from large companies is an odd trend that I think I’ve been noticing as the internet matures and offers more… ‘convenient’ options such as Sony’s live chat support option that has been down every time I’ve checked over the last nine days.

No, he said, but I might get a customer service feedback email after this call through which I can enter my concerns with the knowledge that management will take them very seriously.

Well, I didn’t, but looking back through my Friday’s emails, I did find one that was sent after my third call. There’s a few drop down menus and buttons, and a text field. There’s also a message that this is merely one-way communication and that I will not get a response.

So I’ve decided to just make my feedback public and throw a URL to this blog post in that box.

If you got this far, Sony management, here’s my feedback:

Fix my problem, get my address right, and give me an email address to contact you so that a complaint like this can be a two-way conversation rather than something that, for all I know, disappears into the same ether my attempts to give you my address did. Oh, and don’t give me false information.

The assumedly true information that the last guy gave me leaves me with the impression that you don’t really care that, nine days after receiving a broken Playstation 4 and after correcting my address three times, I have no idea when the second step in solving the problem will take place. It’s not like in the age of the NSA knowing when I poop that you don’t have the capability of checking your own “first-come-first-served” list, referencing that against your boxes-shipped-per-day rate (for which you should have a more than a week of data), and giving me a range of dates as to when the box might ship.

Nevertheless, if you actually can’t and that’s the truth, I’ve been told a non-truth three times which left me, three times, with a false sense of optimism—the breaking of which has made my impression of your handling of the situation even worse than it would have been if you’d simply told me up front that you had no idea when the box would ship.

I just want to be an assassin pirate.

I’m just not comfortable with poppies

When I was in school, there was a protest against the war in Afghanistan. I didn’t go.

It was during a break, as maths crept closer, that a murmur spread throughout the kids that we were all going to go out behind the gym and protest the war, surrepticiously timed such that class must be skipped.

I’m sure some of them cared. But a lot of them didn’t. They just wanted to not go to class. I know this because they told me. I decided that if I was going to protest a war, I wasn’t going to do it beside people who wanted to exploit the occasion of our country becoming complicit in murder of its own people and others for no good reason to skip maths.

In a class of maybe thirty, there were no more than four of us who didn’t go to the protest.

I live in Canada now, but this was in my first country: the United Kingdom. Going back further, come November, all the other kids started wearing poppies. I was a conscientious young child, I cared about other people’s suffering, I heard it was about World War 1, so I got one too. It felt like I was doing the right thing.

At some point, it no longer felt like I was doing the right thing, at least for me. It was probably whenever I realized that what’s normal isn’t necessarily what’s right. It was probably also after I realized that World War 2 was not the exception to the idea that WW1 was “the war to end all wars.” It was certainly by 2001.

I learned about other wars. About how WW1 led to WW2, and about how WW2 led to the Cold War and it’s countless proxy wars, And Korea. And Vietnam. And true, my country wasn’t necessarily involved with them all, but they still happened. After the trench warfare, poison gas, and completely wasteful slaughter of WW1, war kept happening. Maybe here or there from the perspective of the allied forces or “the West” or “our side” you could justify this one or that.

And then it finally happened. A war broke out and I was old enough to follow it. My country leapt into Afghanistan with the United States. Yeah, 9/11 was not a good thing, but the answer to terrorism is not additional killing. I was 13 and could figure that out.


Afghanistan turned out to be a drag, but it just wasn’t enough for the warmongers. On claims that at the time were dubious at best, and later were found to be completely fictitious, and against the wishes of the United Nations, we later went ahead and unseated Saddam Hussein. By no means was he a saint, but the collatoral damage we so deftly provided makes us hardly better.

I don’t want to get bogged down in recycling the “Afghanistan and Iraq sucked you guys” arguments everyone’s heard a million times before. This is about poppies. The point here is, at 13 and 15, I concluded that these wars were unjust. And those who started and supported them wore poppies.

As a child I was taught empathy. To think about how I would feel should somebody do a certain action to me. When I was a Christian, it was what Jesus taught. When I was at university, it was what Kant taught. It’s not a perfect principle, but it’s as good a rule of thumb as anything else.

How would I feel if someone stronger than me were to take something of mine?

How would I feel if a country stronger than mine were to take mine?

I thought about how I would feel if—yes, I were living under an awful regime—a bunch of foreigners started bombing my city to free me. Especially if, you know, those foreigners had propped up the awful regime I was living under up until the point that war was more convenient for them. And then enforced a democracy with no regard to the culture or history under which I was living.

Democracy acknowledges that in matters of governance, physical strength should not determine power. In the countries I’ve lived in, citizenship and the age of 18 entitles you to the exact same power as anyone else. I’m grateful for this.

We don’t want a system whereby the person with the biggest army gets to rule. We tried that, but sooner or later, somebody with a bigger army comes along, and a lot of people die. Particularly, lots of who we used to call peons, peasants, serfs, commoners. On the whole, in the West, we’ve decided (and not without a small degree of dragging those previously in power kicking and screaming with us, and certainly not without lingering and new problems) that everybody gets the same basic say in government, at least on paper.

This goes out the window on the world stage, despite the United Nations and despite the primate chest beating about the importance of every country being a democracy. You’d think that any country so commited to democracy that it decides to impose it upon others would first get the democratic approval from other equal players to do so. But no. The people with the biggest army decide what happens. We could stomach giving people a direct say in their representation in government on the nation state level. We could not stomach having that be the case internationally.

The U.S. has never pretended to be an equal player. It’s a schoolyard bully that punches you in the face, steals your lunch money, spits on the teachers for good measure. He’s stronger than anyone else, so nobody can do anything. We’re just like, “well the friend of the guy he’s beating up scratched him earlier so it’s okay, r-r-right guys?”

But forget the U.S. for now. I’m talking about poppies.

My point here is, every November, every politician in both of my countries, every media person, and almost every public figure who graces the TV screens, wears a poppy.

Including all those fucks who decided that even though soldiers died for our democracy and our freedom, that democracy doesn’t count on the world stage. All those fucks who decided that we should go to war and kill more people without justification. All those fucks who decided that in the name of security, we all get spied on by our own and foreign governments, we have our property confiscated at airports, and we pretend that the “post-9/11 world” is a real thing rather than a sick measurement of Osama Bin Laden’s success that we contintually tick higher and higher and higher.

Not all politicians, public figures, and media, supported the wars. But so many did. And these fucks wear their poppies proud and smiling like they never did a thing wrong.

I don’t think ill of your everyday person wearing a poppy. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’re not slavering warhawks hankering for the next big one. They want to remember and publically acknowledge that people fought and died for the freedom they enjoy, and for the freedom of others. Perhaps they’re veterans themselves remembering their fallen friends. They may also want to remember the civilian slaughter that accompanies war. Whatever it is and whatever the colour: great. And for the record, though I don’t wear a poppy, I do remember myself, and not just on November 11.

But I refused to stand beside the disingenous protestors, and I refuse to be in the company of those who would take us to more war and sign away what was fought for, desperate for the veneer of nobility like people won’t notice their sins.

When or if the War on Terror ends, and civil liberties are respected once more, I’ll wear the poppy. And if it’s a “when” rather than an “if,” the next time we march to war or strip away rights, it’s coming right back off.

Yes, our veterans fought and died for our rights. Disrepect to the veterans is not an individual turning down a poppy. It’s the representation of a society signing away those hard-won rights while wearing one.