When the computer arrived, I tried to install Windows95, but it always (at least forty different attempts) caused that to fail. When Dell Tech Support was finally involved, they LAUGHED and said that there was no possible way that the Dell Dimension 2400 computer could work with Windows95! I then mentioned that the Dell salesperson had said THREE TIMES that it would work fine with Windows95. He laughed again and then told me that NO Dell salesperson would ever have said that because they all knew that it was impossible! Essentially he was calling me, a Christian Pastor, a liar! But then he described that Dell BUILT the computer where it could NOT use ANY other operating system other than the Windows XP that it came with. He said it was due to a contractual arrangement between Dell and Microsoft.
I then said that the computer was therefore unusable by our Church. That didn't seem to bother him and he simply told me to tell the Church to get up-to-date and use the Windows XP. (So this time he insulted our Church for not being capable of making its own decisions!) He then said that there was nothing wrong with the computer and that our Church would have to learn to live with it!
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In any case, the unused (but new) computer sat in the Church office for some months, and I continually took criticism for WASTING $800 of the Church's money on a "doorstop"! Week after week, I heard that. Our Church was always very small, and $800 was a huge amount of money to us.
One of the Church Board Members eventually confirmed that we would NEVER have any way of using the computer. The Board was adamant about NEVER using Windows 2000 or WindowsXP, because those newer operating systems seemed to always be in the news as being victims of endless hackers. Their reasoning is probably very sound, that since the Church used Windows95, an operating system that is not compatible with the newer Windows operating systems, they all felt it was inconceivable that any hacker would spend a lot of time in creating files that were meant to damage Windows95! And the evidence seems strong regarding that, as the Church has NEVER needed to buy nor use firewalls or Anti-Virus programs, but has never (yet) been infected! One even said that he did not believe that the Windows95 would EVER be infected in the future, a statement that is probably correct!
And how could this have cost Dell Computers $300,000 of business?
Well, after many months of that (new, unused) computer taking up space in the small Church office, one of the Board Members laughingly brought up a silly thought! He said that they had been CALLING it a doorstop for many months, so why not actually USE IT as a doorstop? So, beginning that Sunday morning, when Church attendees came in for the Service, they saw a prominent (new) DELL computer sitting on the Church step, holding the Church door open. And, at first, the Church Board felt it necessary to use a magic marker on a poster to describe WHY an $800 new computer was holding the door open!
It quickly became the largest subject of gossip! And various friends and relatives and neighbors of Church attendees were coming to our Church, just to see the (new) Dell computer being used as a doorstop.
Now, one would expect that after a few weeks, attention on this would have faded. But the Dell Computer company felt it necessary to MAIL new promotional literature to the Church, roughly four pieces of mail every week! And the Board Members were so incensed at Dell for "stealing" $800 of money from our small Church, that they felt it necessary to scotch tape all of them to the computer. So every week, all attendees would see NEW literature, all with the Dell logo very prominently displayed, taped to the doorstop computer.
The computer held the Church door open every week even in rain or snow! And the product name Dell soon became a laughingstock. I even tried to get Dell to remove our Church's name from its mailing list, which I tried by phone, by mail, by e-mail and by messages to their web-site. If anything, they started sending our Church MORE literature! (Dell had NO idea how bad that idea was for Dell!)
As a result of all of this, I have personally been told by at least 200 people that they will NEVER buy any Dell products ever again! And in the following five years, there had certainly been many hundreds of computers bought in the local community, and people seem to make a point of confirming that the computer they bought was NOT a Dell!
Many of THOSE people do not even attend our Church. They had simply heard the stories, or driven by and seen the computer propping the door open. Our impression is that at least a thousand families, and at least 50 businesses, have all decided to boycott Dell.
And the fact that Dell would NEVER remove our Church's name from their mailing list, made sure that all those people were reminded of Dell's very bad behavior. Which is still true to this day.
I even mailed letters to Dell's Corporate Offices and even the President of Dell, and never got any response to them either!
IF Dell wanted to establish a point regarding their concern for their customers, they certainly have around here! It is UNIVERSAL that many hundreds of people assume that Dell does not care in the least! And most of those people have eventually learned that BOTH the Dell salespeople and the Dell Tech support staff seem to share that attitude. Many say to me that they will never buy anything from Dell BECAUSE they would want to believe that if they had any problem, that someone would help!
Since Dell STILL chooses to keep mailing out promotional literature to our Church, this seem likely to continue forever!
A Member of our Church recently mentioned that his cousin was a Reporter for a newspaper. He thought that it would make a great story! IF he ever does that, it seems likely that TV cameras of the Chicago Stations would then soon be taking videotape of a (new, unused) Dell computer being used as a Church doorstop. I can't even imagine how much additional business Dell will lose if that happens!
Customer Service??? Isn't that something that large corporations all brag about? Dell has certainly proven their Customer Service to a few thousand people around here! And it seems unimaginable that they will ever sell many more computers anywhere around the region. Maybe even the entire Chicago area, if those Reporters get involved!
Yes, I came off as a fool for believing that the Dell salespeople had told me the truth. But I suspect, in the long run, Dell has come out of this all FAR worse than me!
There is apparently a Class Action Lawsuit against Dell in the Courts right now. This is beyond belief! Apparently, internal Dell documents confirm that Dell has INTENTIONALLY designed their laptop computers to gradually overheat and self-destruct, in order to ensure additional computer sales in the future! The documentation that the Courts are apparently looking at involve Dell computers COUNTING the number of times that the laptop was turned on, and each time it was, the amount of current flowing in the computer and/or the allowed maximum temperature of it were intentionally re-programmed to run hotter. After a certain number of times the laptop was turned on, it would stop booting up in warm rooms, and then even in cooler rooms! Apparently, there are many stories of people who own Dell laptop computers having to put the computer in their refrigerator's freezer to cool it down sufficiently where they would be able to use it for a little while!
It seems astounding that a giant Corporation would INTENTIONALLY make a Corporate decision to hurt their own customers in this way, just in their incessant pursuit of larger and larger future profits!
One would want to believe that NO company would have such lack of ethics to intentionally do such things! But it certainly matches the ethics and principles Dell exhibited regarding cheating our Church!
Apparently, Dell got Intel to make computer motherboards that LOOKED IDENTICAL to many other motherboards in popular computers, BUT WITH ONE DIFFERENCE. The metal printed circuits which connected to the connector for the power-supply cable had wires interchanged! And the Dell power-supply and power cable also were made nearly identical but with the wires interchanged. That might sound innocent enough, but it ranks with the intentionally overheating laptops described above! Why?
Our Church still uses a computer that had been manufactured in 1997, an antique, which the Church got when a Member gave the computer to the Church around ten years ago. Recently (Oct 2009) that computer failed when its power supply failed, but other than that, the computer was fine. So I bought a used ATX (industry-standard) power supply from around 1998. Logically, plugging in an IDENTICAL power supply should have immediately fixed the computer and the Church would again have been able to use it.
But, in a way that Dell executives had clearly realized in 1996, AND INTENDED, when that computer was repaired OTHER than with DELL repair items and by DELL technicians, the specific way that the wires had been interchanged caused 12 volts of the (new) power supply to feed into where the motherboard was expecting 3.3 volts. It immediately and permanently destroyed the (Dell) motherboard, and simultaneously destroyed the power-supply which I had just bought, which failed because it was shorted out.
Of course, I had no idea that Dell had INTENTIONALLY caused the Church computer to self-destruct so completely, and at first, I thought I had done something wrong. But in visiting the Internet, I quickly found HUNDREDS of people who also had their computers totally destroyed in the identical way. Some even said that they only realized that there was something wrong when they saw FIRE through the slots of the computer case!
Trying to ensure extra profits by forcing customers to use Dell technicians to repair Dell products is one thing. Trying to force them to also only use Dell manufactured repair products is another. But to INTENTIONALLY design their computers to use POWER-SUPPLIES and CONNECTORS which APPEAR identical to industry-standard items, but then intentionally re-wire them to always cause such total destruction of computers, seems beyond credulity!
These items regarding Dell Corporation are certainly CONSISTENT! They indicate that Dell really has absolutely no interest or concern for even their own customers, and it seems they would certainly sell their grandmothers if there was sufficient profit in it for their Corporation!
Even though Dell brags about selling so many billions of dollars of computer products, apparently even thinking of giving up $800 that they never deserved, for a brand new computer which was never used, is simply unacceptable to them!
I have certainly learned some surprising things about the Dell Corporation in these experiences!
And, since our Church community is pretty close, so have a lot of other people who say that they will never buy any Dell products ever again. I wonder if Dell Executives still enjoy using that $800 that they cheated our Church out of!
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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago