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discount dell laptops -- the sordid *real* story

  (and if you're totally bored with this thread, well, talk to the
hand and use the 'DEL' key.)

  ... and while it sounded like a good idea at the time and i'm sure
some folks even got a super deal on a dell laptop, i thought
explaining how i got jobbed by dell might make some folks a little
more cautious about dealing with that company from now on.

  (side note:  yesterday, i actually posted how i *did* get a shiny,
new 600M.  well, sadly, that was a case of premature anticipation.  i
had assumed that, since i made it to the check out page, all i had
left to do was say 'buy'. ha ha.  such a fool i can be.  and, even in
light of what happened, i'm still grateful that thomas passed on that

  when i first read about the discount, i thought, hot diggety, i've
been thinking about getting a spiffy new 9100.  so i was a mite
disappointed to notice that the 9100s were not part of the discount.
ok, moving on ... let's try an 8600.  ok, that looks like it's
eligible, so let's wait till we get home, build a system, and put in
an order.  get home, log on, design my system and ... whoa, no longer
eligible for the discount.  WTF?  read the pop-up dialog --
apparently, because of "unexpected" customer demand, dell has pulled
the 8600 from the discount program.

  (so, by this time, not only am i even more pissed at having wasted a
1/2 hour online, but i can't imagine how any company can offer what is
effectively 1/2-price on laptops, and be surprised when they get an
avalanche of interest.)

  ok, with my annoyance growing, i phone dell, talk to a sales rep,
express my frustration, but am told, sorry, they just had too many
orders for the 8600 (despite the fact that nowhere in the promo was
there a limit mentioned.)

  fine, i think, i tried, enough of this, and i'm in the process of
saying thanks, getting ready to hang up the phone when the rep snags
me, says, well, you should consider the 600M instead.  still a good
laptop, light, mobile, that's still eligible until 6 AM central time
tomorrow morning.

  well, i don't really want a 600M for myself, but i have a friend who
could really use something like that so, what the hell, thank the guy,
back to dell.com, spend the next 1/2-hour designing a reasonable
model, go to check out and (yeah, you know what's coming, don't you?),
due to overwhelming demand, the 600M is no longer available.  (the
8600 was pulled at 3 PM CDT yesterday, the 600M survived until 6 PM.)

  son of a ... !!  now, i'm back on the phone to dell, in a very
pissed state of mind, pointing out that i am in fact a *regular*
customer, currently owning both a 7500 and 8100 inspiron, and i'm
thoroughly unimpressed with this whole promo, *particularly* since the
sales rep *explicitly* suggested i look at the 600M and *explicitly*
promised they would be available until the next morning.

  the woman who i was talking to, to her credit, was *entirely*
sympathetic and admitted that what happened to me was totally
unacceptable.  she gave me the 1-800 number for online sales, but i
haven't called yet, wondering whether i want to pursue this.

  and is any of this relevant on this list?  i think so since dells
generally have a good rep for running RH and fedora, but if i were
you, i'd be really careful at taking anything dell says at face value
anymore.  frankly, thinkpads are starting to look really appealing.


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