It will become apparent, as you read this, that the title of this post is a terrible pun. I'm not even going to apologize because this situation is so stupid that it deserves a terrible pun.
Yesterday marked the 10th of the 7-10 business days that the computer place downtown was holding my laptop hostage before they looked at it, so I called them to see what was what. They had indeed looked at it, and they put the guy who worked on it on the phone to talk to me. Remember how I was afraid they were going to tell me that parts weren't available to fix the broken hinge? Well, that didn't happen. The part I need is available, and I can have it fixed if I want. That's the good news.
The part is a whole new LCD screen. And it costs $900. Plus $27 for shipping.
Can you believe that shit?
We bought this laptop just over two years ago, in July 2003. I have used it a lot, that is true -- it has been my primary computer and I'm on the computer almost constantly. I have not, however, even toted it around all that much. 99 out of every 100 hours I've used it have been right here, sitting on my family room couch. I don't let my kids use it unless it's absolutely necessary -- the wear and tear isn't worth it. I've tried to take care of it, I really have.
I know I've said this before, but it works perfectly. It's speedy, even with all my stuff loaded on to it. It's never crashed. I can't remember ever having had any kind of technical, computer-type problem with it at all. But the hinge is completely fucked, and the little speaker thingy that holds it down on one side is detached. The computer is totally useable, except you have to hold it at a certain angle to be able to see the screen properly. And that's damn inconvenient.
We paid $1800 for this thing just 2 years ago, and now the physical structure of it is so broken down that it would cost half that again to fix it properly. That makes no sense, since I could probably replace it for very close to the total of parts and labor.
I'm sure I sound hopelessly naive about all of this. I don't mean to. I do understand how the computer industry works. I know that whatever computer you buy is going to be obsolete practically as soon as you get it out of the box. I know that, regardless of how much you spend on a new computer, the company that made it is out to make more money from you. When I went in to pick up my laptop from the repair place yesterday, the guy who'd worked on it sympathized with me. He said, "I don't know why they make it so you can't just replace the hinge." I said it was obviously so it would make more sense to just buy a whole new computer. He agreed -- and then mentioned that they had several new laptops there in the shop that someone could show me if I was interested. Building something to last -- why would they want to do that?
I understand all that. But just because we all know that that's the way it works doesn't mean it isn't utterly ridiculous, and insulting to those of us who drop our hard-earned dollars on their products.
When I brought my laptop home last night, I told Reasonable Man that I wanted a new one -- an Apple this time, because I've heard good things about they way they're built. But you know what? I'm not replacing it. I'm not going to respond to this situation in exactly the way I'm expected to -- by going out and buying a new laptop computer -- when this one works perfectly well and we spent almost two grand on it only two years ago. That would be a ridiculous response to an asinine situation.
No, I'm going to use duct tape and whatever else I need to to rig something up so that I can use this one comfortably for another few years. I'm going down to the hardware store today to see what they've got. And when I get it fixed up -- guess what? It's going to look really stupid. I know that. Just like the driver of the junker you see cruising down the street, primered and Bondo-ed to all hell, I'm going to use a computer that looks like shit, and I'm going to do it with pride. And I'm going to feel better about it than I would if I bought a whole new freaking computer.
And you know what else? I'm even springing for a whole new role of silver duct tape today, because that'll match my computer a lot better than the red kind I already have.
And I'm also never again buying a Toshiba anything, EVER, as long as I live.