Monday, April 21, 2008

Aggravation You Just Don't Need

So any of you who read this blog on a semi-regular basis probably know that I'm a tomboy and like power tools - have worked on engines and can build decks with the best of them. I am also a tech writer for a software company and in my previous job, one of my duties was to head up IT. So I have a fairly good background with computers - hardware and software.

Well, a week ago my laptop started to crap out. The screen was going and you guessed it, to replace the screen cost more than I'd paid for the entire laptop. So I figured I'd switch that laptop to run off a hub with a flat screen monitor and I'd have to get a new laptop. Laptop shopping - fun! I had simple requirements - I wanted something small, less than 14" and it had to have a simply fabulous keyboard. When you spend as much time typing as I do, the keyboard is key. So I looked and looked and there was a remarkably small selection in the smaller screens unless I wanted to do something illegal to afford them.

But finally I found an absolutely fantastic HP - it's 12.1" screen, fits in my big blue purse/briefcase and the keyboard is the best I've ever typed on in a laptop. Of course to get these two things I had to have, I ended up purchasing a bunch of stuff I might not ever use, but I have to admit, it's cool. The screen is touch activated and if you rotate it all the way around and close it, it becomes a tablet and you can write and draw. It also has some spiffy dvd burner thingie and a built-in webcam, fingerprint id to log in and god know what else that I haven't even discovered.

So I got home with the new laptop and got it running, then it was time for the software loading olympics. I had to buy a new copy of MS Office and was thrilled to find out that now you can buy the student/teacher addition retail. So no more $400 for a package of software when all I wanted was Excel and Word. So I decided I'd load the MS first then deal with the internet connection and load the virus software. But there was one problem with that idea.......

I couldn't open the box.

I know what you're thinking - huh? But unless you've seen the box, I don't think you'd get it. It's plastic and there is no discernable way to tell how to open it - it also doesn't come with directions. So I spent a good twenty minutes trying to figure it out and was just wondering if I ought to take it out to the garage and introduce it to my power tool collection, when I decided to go ahead and get the internet hooked up and google it.

I felt like an absolute fool googling "how do I open the MS Office 2007 box." After all, I am a reasonably intelligent person and I'm thinking "it's going to be something simple and you're going to have to hide yourself away in shame."

Boy was I wrong.

Here's just one article I found written on the subject of the horrid MS packaging. And here's a blog providing a link to online instructions, with photos on how to open the box. And that's just the beginning. If you take the time to read some of the comments on blogs, etc., you will find that people have called the box everything from "ridiculous piece of s*^%" to the anti-christ.

And even funnier is reading some of the stories about how people DID open the box. Some smashed it with hammers, some cut it with power saws and I found one guy who actually took a crowbar to it.

I felt instantly better.

Then I watched the tutorial on how to open the box and proceeded with my surgery. Ten minutes later the box was open and I popped in the disk to install the software. Now, since it's a new computer and ultra fast, and the office only has the two software packages, it loaded really fast - like two minutes fast.

So that put me at 32 minutes to get my office up and running - 2 minutes to actually install the software and 30 minutes to open the box.

This is aggravation we just don't need. Thank you Microsoft for wasting time in my life that I didn't have and can never get back.

Deadly (Disgusted) DeLeon


Anonymous said...

If you really want aggravation consider this. I've worked in retail for almost thirty years.
I know from experience that the average shoplifter can open that box by gently snapping the corner with a forefinger. :(

Jana DeLeon said...

lol bm - you are NOT making me feel any better.

Christie Craig said...

Oh, my gawd. I so know how you feel. It wasn't with same package, Jana, but what is it with companies trying to make opening their products do dad-blasted difficult. My daughter actually ended up getting stitching trying to open a package.

Thanks for the chuckle.

Crime Scene Christie

Michele L. said...

How aggravating as all get out! It sounds like the frustration of getting that dang plastic wrap off CD's only 3x worse! I know what you mean! I have purcahsed things from the grocery store where the item was encased in a plastic container that you had to cut to open it. I would like to know how senior citizens cope with all these stupid packaging ideas that these companies come up with? That is my complaint for the day, thank you!

Jana, you are so not alone in your feelings! Been there completely!

Michele L.

Jana DeLeon said...

Christie - I can definitely see how that could happen. I've gotten those huge plastic paper cuts trying to open things before. Ouch!

Jana DeLeon said...

Michele - I don't understand it either. And god forbid you buy something thinking you're going to open it before you get home.....or a hardware store. :)

Keri Ford said...

Me as I read your post:

I'm laughing with not at. I don't even try anymore with the plastic packages. I go straight for the heavy duty kitchen scissors. I personally think it's a scam thing with companies. If you rip the packing to bits you can't take stuff back easily.

My biggest complaint on packaging:
The new (well, not new NEW, just the newest) wrappers on candy bars. Yep. My biggest complaint on packing is chocolate wrapping. Remember the wonderful olden days of chocolate coming wrapped in a neatly folded peice of foil and then secured together by thick paper. now you have to follow directions hidden under the fold down the back.

Traci Flowers said...

"I had to buy a new copy of MS Office and was thrilled to find out that now you can buy the student/teacher addition retail. So no more $400 for a package of software when all I wanted was Excel and Word. "

Your a fraking genious! Why didn't I think of that. I need ms office sooo bad but only need it for word and excel. I Heart You!!!

Jana DeLeon said...

keri - I've found similar packaging on protein bars. Heck, by the time you've got it open, you've had an aerobic workout - but then maybe that's how they really promote weight loss. Hmmmm

Jana DeLeon said...

lol traci - for a long time if you didn't have a teacher id, you weren't buying it. I was thrilled to see I didn't have to waste another $250 on stuff I don't use.

Go forth and buy with a smile. :)