Saturday, March 10, 2018

Does It Work?


Someone recently responded to a computer I have for sale with


“Does it work?”

I was terribly offended! All the hours I work, fretting over every detail…

Does it work?

Working 6 days every week, little pay…

How rude, I thought.

This is not a rant so stick with me here till I’m done.

I recently went to eBay to find a computer to build for myself for some new work I’m taking on. It had to be pretty new so I didn’t get caught in that “sorry, your computer is older than 5 years...” nonsense and miss out on some regular income. I did my due diligence and found THE best deal from a dealer with perfect feedback that had a regular company with 45 employees that rescued computer equipment, checked it, and resold it. Awesome! Right?

Well, then I got my package.

OH! The joy of a new (to me) computer! This is the newest desktop computer I’ve owned (I think).

I installed my graphics card, RAM, and wrestled to get the new SSD mounted. I had to modify the case slightly to get the third monitor hooked up to the graphics card, but this was not my first rodeo.

Time to power on!

“ALERT! Air temperature sensor not detected”

Do what?

I went through ALL of the BIOS setting and couldn’t find any override, but I did find that this error had been reported and recorded several times before I received the computer. So, if the seller truly goes through every computer, they knew there was a problem.

After a few hours of research I confirmed that yes indeed there is supposed to be a temperature (thermal) sensor mounted to the chassis front, but this one was MIA.

I discovered the next problem – the Microsoft Windows COA (license key) that was included was no good. Thankfully I own (at great expense to myself and wellbeing) a set of Dell service disks and was able to get the COA issue rectified legitimately.

I contacted the seller and explained the problems. The response was to send it back. I did not want to spend $35-$50 for return shipping. They said they would pay. I asked them for a thermal sensor. They said they didn’t have one.

So, do I undo everything I have done to this computer, (except for the new COA [free to them now at my expense]), send it back and get a refund?

This is where reading the fine print is imperative; yes they will pay return shipping, yes they will refund my money, but my refund is less a 20% restocking fee.

And a quick scan of eBay shows that the least expensive replacement with similar specs will cost at least $60 more, and new problems won’t be revealed until receipt.

So… am I supposed to lose $100+ because someone either dropped the proverbial ball or just misrepresented their product? Since the money trees I planted last fall failed to sprout, that wasn’t going to happen. I just need to push through, but leave appropriate feedback at eBay since this joker isn’t worth a 100% feedback rating…

… and eBay fails to accept my negative feedback. Yep, it just keeps getting better.

So, how did it turn out in the end? I’m typing this right now on the aforementioned computer. It’s not done yet, but the final part (thermal sensor) will arrive Monday. The part itself was not terribly expensive, but the hours of research, reading, finding part numbers, and so on are “non-billable”; that means all that time and effort made me $0. Being a sole proprietor, I cannot work for free; every minute counts. If my minutes are not spent making money, then I am losing money.

Does it work?”

I understand now.



Buying used things is risky business. People sell you broken junk, but it’s your fault, not theirs. I have tried really hard to find local sources for computers and parts, but it ain’t happenin’ captain. Broken palmrests, power supplies that go “POP!” and ruin my test equipment, WAAAAAY overpriced

Does it work?”

Ya; I feel ya’.

But you have to realize who I am; I’m the guy that fixes that stuff. You got broken stuff? I fix broken stuff. I can fix anything. My only limitations are economic feasibility. Some things are too expensive to fix; they’re just not worth the expense.

I’m the guy that fusses over stuff until it’s right. Yes, I quoted you $XX and I worked on it for 3 days until it was right… and I only charged you the $XX I originally quotes… I’m that guy.

Ya, okay, maybe I am ranting… a little.

Does it work?”

Yes, it does; and I work harder.

Maybe if people were a little nicer, maybe if people were more considerate, maybe if people weren’t so dishonest…

Okay, I’m dreaming now.

Remember, I’m the guy that fixes stuff…

- -

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