October 14th, 2005

Thanks, Bill!

In this day and age, we are constantly told that huge corporations don’t care for us. To them, we are nothing but money-dispensing automatons, their only concern: how to get us to dispense more money faster. That’s what we’re told, anyway.

Me. I’m mostly fine with that. I’m an “unabashed capitalist,” so if a company is making something I want, I’m fine paying them money so I can have it. Sure, I think some things are too expensive, but my wants/needs aren’t the same as yours, so we’d probably have a hard time deciding between us what things ought to be cheaper. Letting the market decide seems to make the most sense. People aren’t buying your product? Mark it down until they are. Too many people buying it? Raise the price. It seems to work, for the most part. (For reference: please watch The Hudsucker Proxy. You should anyway, but there’s a section in it about this exact thing. As a bonus, it mocks Big Business at the same time.)

Anyway, since I’ve had this point of view crammed down my throat for as long as I can remember, imagine my surprise when I received a package from Microsoft the other day.

Some history:

Back in February, Microsoft sent out a notice to anyone who owned an Xbox. “Please check the manufacturing date on your Xbox! If it was made between [some date] and [some other date], it could have bad wires and yadda yadda yadda, you could burn up and die. If you have one, tell us and we’ll send you a replacement power cord for free.”

So I, being the responsible, quick-acting person that I am, put the letter in a pile on my desk.

A while later, I got another letter with the same warning: “Seriously! We mean it! You could even spontaneously combust your own self! We’re not kidding around! Go check the dates! Have we mentioned that the replacement power cord is free?!?”

Into the pile it went.

It’s not that I’m not concerned about my personal safety, because I totally am. I’m extremely nervous about doing even semi-dangerous things. I’m aware of the philosophy that says “You take a chance getting up in the morning, or crossing a street, or sticking your face in a fan,” but I just don’t want to push it by, say, driving 80 m.p.h. while bungee-jumping from a motorcycle and drinking Mountain Dew. That’s just not me. I call it “being safe.” You call it “being boring.”

So I really have no reason why I didn’t check the dates on my Xbox. I just didn’t do it. Laziness, most likely.

Then I received this package from Microsoft. They sent me a replacement power cord and a letter that said, “We hadn’t heard from you and our records show that your Xbox was made between [some date] and [some other date], so we thought we’d send one out to you so you don’t burn up and die. We’re worried about who might feed your cats if that happened.”

They had gone through all of the trouble of sending me a replacement cord, so I figured the least I could do is use it. Turns out that was a good idea – the minute I removed the old cord and tossed it aside it burst into flame, writhing around, hissing my name as its dying epithet.

While I realize that Microsoft’s main motivation was to not get sued, I still thought that was pretty cool of them to send me a replacement. Thanks, Bill!

…though I’m curious how you got my new address, because I don’t remember filling anything out.

3 Comments on “Thanks, Bill!”

  1. Brian Arnold says:

    Credit records, man. Addresses propagate faster than you'd imagine.

  2. anonymouse says:

    Bill knows nearly all, as the Anti-Christ should.

  3. Josh says:

    Perhaps just my mood, but this was my favorite post ever. Many laughs.

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