Does that come with a samosa?

On Sunday, I finally decided that I needed a new toy. Being impatient when it comes to getting new toys, I logged onto to find out when I could expect it to arrive. Dell surprised me when my order number returned a status of “No order was found that met the search criteria”. My first reaction was amazement and I was all “Whaaaaaaaaat?” I retyped my order number and customer number, thinking I’d made an error, but I hadn’t. I got the same result.

I tried again on Tuesday and received the same error. I checked the status of the credit card transaction and Dell had definitely taken the money from my account. I was concerned, so I called Dell’s customer support. After navigating through the menu system, a woman’s voice told me that Dell had no record of my order number, but if I’d placed my order in the last 24-48 hours, it might appear online or in the automated service. I grumbled but accepted that because I fit (barely) into the 48 hour window. I waited.

Yesterday, I checked online again and received the same “No order was found that met the search criteria” message. I didn’t think Dell was just going to steal my money, so I called for an explanation. After navigating through the now tedious menu system (note to Dell: when I push the button for order status, I do NOT want to be rerouted to K-12 sales), a woman put me on hold while she directed me to the right destination.

Eight minutes later, I arrived in that destination, which turned out to be India. I have little problem with outsourcing jobs because I believe that, although there are economic swings to each extreme, capitalism works effectively to restore equilibrium. Outsourcing will not be the death of the free market. However, that telephone call sounded as though the customer service representative and I were holding tin cans with a thin thread stuck through the bottom of each can. I made that call on December 8, 2004. (It was December 9, 2004 in India, which means I called the future. Time machine!) No business call should sound like that. I intend to give that call a 1 on the 1 to 9 scale when Dell asks me to fill out a survey. Behold the corrective power of the free market.

P.S. She found my order and gave me the details, but she couldn’t resolve the reason why my order was non-existent on the web and the automated phone system. Alright, so that’s not entirely true, since she did offer a theory. I quote: “It was probably just some error on your part.” I smacked my head and said “why didn’t I think of that?”