When you can’t solve a problem…

you find someone to complain to. Right?

I just lost two hours of my life that I can’t get back, and the problem still isn’t solved. How do you handle frustrations like this:

Buy HP deskjet black ink cartridge for my printer at home. Bring it home. Install. Print 10 pages just fine. Go to sleep. Try to print 2 more the next morning but the black ink is first faint then gone. Take out cartridge and shake it. look at contacts. Determine they are just fine. Try several times. No luck. Determine I must have bought a bad HP cartridge. Call the 800 number. Listen to the options and find none really fit. Choose the printer problems. Describe my printer. Get told its ancient (born in 2000) and not covered. Explain, patiently, that I don’t have a printer problem. I have a defective cartridge. Get transferred, Wait…., explain it all anew to the next person. Get transferred again. Wait….., start explaining it to the new person only to be disconnected somehow.

Call back after dinner. Do the same thing as above (less patiently), get put on hold. Put phone on speaker phone. Do dishes, clean kitchen. After 1 hour, hang up and go swimming with my son.

This morning. Do the hp.com chat with a tech. from a local coffeeshop (I only have dialup at home). Describe the whole thing. Another hour later after less patiently telling them that I KNOW it is a defective ink cartridge and would they please just replace it, I’m asked to find some small print on the cartridge that tells that it expired in 2007! I should go back to Walmart, says the tech, and ask for a replacement. If I don’t get satisfaction, I should call back and they will kindly redirect me to the right dept.

Problem. I can’t from the recpt from last Friday. I probably threw it away and thus threw away 2 plus hours of my time and the 40 dollars for the cartridge.

I’m happy that I didn’t curse. I was respectful but firm and direct with the hp.com person. But I’d like to tell SOMEONE off. It would seem hp has done a masterful job at getting people to follow protocol, but that means they stop thinking.

Of course, my complaining here probably shows some immaturity on my part. In the scheme of things this isn’t a problem. I have food and water and no one is trying to kill me. I can afford another cartridge…


Filed under anger, conflicts

12 responses to “When you can’t solve a problem…

  1. FWIW–Do you still, perchance, have the box? Walmart is pretty good about letting you return things for store credit without a receipt.

    On another note, this is a profound statement and is relevant on a much wider scale than HP (airport security is the place I see it most blatantly, but it pops up in a lot of places): “[They have] done a masterful job at getting people to follow protocol, but that means they stop thinking.”

  2. Scott Knapp, MS

    I chalk experiences like that up as “Romans 1:18 moments.” (OK, I’ll wait while readers look up this one……………………….and wonder what the heck I’m talking about!) Dr. Jay Quine taught a class at PBU on Romans several years ago, and we were tackling exactly what “the wrath of God” that was “revealed from heaven” could be. Like many may, we thought of the large scale, very visible displays of rage from God in the OT, and thought that was possible what Paul was talking about…except none of us could honestly say we could walk outside and see that kind of “wrath” being “revealed from heaven”, toward which we could point the non-believer and say, “see! there it is!” Dr. Quine enlightened us. “Wrath,” he revealed, need not necessarily be equated with an emotional response (rage, violent destruction), but it was a steadfast commitment on God’s part to stand against letting life “work” apart from Him. God’s “wrath” was reflected in the purpose of the Genesis curses, and in every large-scale and subtle act of thwarting independence from Himself. Some acts of “wrath” involved the decimation of entire civilizations, and some acts of “wrath” involve the small and sometimes insignificant incidents that remind all of us that a) we’re not in Eden, b) the world is fallen, and c) we’re powerless to get back into Eden and undo the Fall on our own. The steadfast, “stubborn” commitment of God to stand against any attempt to make life work independently from Him drives me absolutely nuts when it’s reflected in what I consider “stupid pain” and “senseless inconvenience” in my life…and those I just chalk up to the “Romans 1:18 effect” in the world!

  3. jenny

    Ah, another pertinent post from Wise Counsel. Thank you for sharing your experience – I sympathise. Thanks also to the commentators – excellent, especially Mr Knapp.
    Yesterday I nearly blew a neural gasket responding to two incredibly frustrating examples of poor customer service, which, combined with both organisations hiding behind ‘no reply’ email addresses, no fax numbers, no contact means at all… led me to be very angry!
    Pounding the pavement on the way home, wondering how I would be able to deal with my feelings, I got the idea to forgive every single person who had stuffed me around, not done their job, misused my credit card details… I tried it. It worked, by the grace of God. I realised for the first time in my life that there is much power in forgiveness – I used to think not forgiving gave me the power. Instead, I felt I had the power in the situation – I was forgiving them!
    Anyway, back to the post and the comments… Excellent reference to Romans 1:18. Yes yes yes! Just like my shed example a few days ago – this world is imperfect, and I’m imperfect. God is in control.
    Wow. Thank you so much for this.

  4. Amy

    I don’t have any smashing spiritual insight to share with you, but I think venting is healthy and human. Knowing that you, one of the people I admire, gets pissed off about the same crap that I do, makes me feel a little better.

    My HP printer is acting up and it’s a year and a half old. It’s the black ink cartridge always, so I think we’re going to get a new printer. Blowing $40 on a piece of junk *IS* really frustrating…and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with ranting.

    I’m sure as you read over the post and even read these comments, you’re thinking, “Gee, why did I get upset?” I bet you’re not mad anymore or planning a bomb strike against HP (and if you are, you really need to talk to Diane). God knows we all do…sometimes just to Him, sometimes to friends/family/anyone within 5 feet of us, and sometimes to our readers.

    My tip: buy your ink at Staples. You can get $3 for used cartridges (and you can redeem 3 in one purchase, which if you go for double packs is one heck of a deal) and they take back defective cartridges.

  5. Thanks for the moral support. I did return to Walmart after my lovely wife searched and searched for the recpt–but with success! The customer service personnel first said they couldn’t take the return because it had been opened. But, she trooped off to the electronics section and came back with a “we’re not supposed to…but I will because the date on it was expired.”

    I think it was my cute son who helped as she commented on his haircut. Thank you Walmart.

    As to venting Amy. I think it is fine to share our frustrations with another but I’m thinking the test of whether it is good or not has to do with whether I slander, speak hateful words, become swelled with pride, etc. Hopefully, I did not.

  6. Eclexia,

    Yes, the TSA is a perfect example!

  7. Jess

    Since I’ve already delurked to comment on “bonny and buxom” (hmmm… what does THAT say about me?), I thought I’d comment on this as well.

    I was very grateful for this post. Without stuff like this, there can be a tendency to think that these types of frustrations happen only to us when, in fact, they are universal.

    I have a question, though. What should we as Christians do when we feel like Phil did… that we’d like to tell someone off? Since we can admit that that happens at times, what should our course of action be when we find ourselves in that place? I’d be interested in hearing what folks think…

    What do we do when cognitively we know the truth about our current problem (ie., “In the scheme of things this isn’t a problem. I have food and water and no one is trying to kill me.”) and yet we still feel quasi-explosive?

  8. Jess

    Errr… that wink was unintentional.

  9. S ott Knapp, MS

    Jess, I read a good book awhile back called “The Cry of the Soul” by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman. They suggest that any emotion we experience can be used to tell us something, not only about ourselves, but about God (since we’re made in His image). They suggest that often we try to simply extinguish “bad” emotions (or master them, at least), and try to prolong pleasant emotions (or arrange to re-experience them as soon as possible). Moments of rage/frustration/irritation like those could be opportunities at some point later to reflect upon what they mean for us, and what they tell us about God and our relationship to him. If all that sounds like psychobabble therapist crap, I’ll confess that I actually have gotten into the habit of reflecting on my moments of frustration in that way! In those moments I become aware more acutely how much I hate being “out of Eden,” how much God hates that I’m out of Eden, but how much my selfish heart can refuse to love well when I’m in pain. The harder it is for me to love well during those moments, the farther I am from acting “in His image”…so that’s what I do with those moments, and they help me prepare for the next one, and also help others think about these things when they’re in them.

  10. Lana

    Hi Jess, This is my own opinion, but when something like this happens to me, in my best “hour” I rant and rave to Jesus and get it out of my system (he understands and also has the knack of calming me down); then I have to ask Him for wisdom to either drop the matter or become “pleasantly persistant” and pursue the matter based on principal. I did that once for a cheap, but wrong parking ticket.

    And Phil, yes, your son may be cute and all, but the Walmart employee was misleading. Any store that sells a product that is expired is in the wrong. They weren’t supposed to sell it in the first place and therefore was “supposed to” replace it for you! This happens in grocery stores, etc. I just saw a store manager apologizing to a customer the other week for having a product on the shelf past the experiation date. What if medications were given out that were past those dates? A lawsuit would most likely be slapped down.

    Kudos to your wife for her obvious love and committment to you. Searching for lost receipts is no fun. 🙂

  11. Jess

    Thanks, Scott and Lana. Scott… yes, I’ve read that book, too, although it’s been a while ago now. Good stuff. I understand what you’re saying about the “out of Eden” angle and that is helpful and relates well to your Romans 1:18 post.

    Lana, I like the “rant and rave to Jesus” idea. 🙂

    Thanks for the thoughts, everyone…

  12. Scott Knapp, MS

    I support the “rant and rave to Jesus” angle, as well…lots of practice over the years! 🙂 Good stuff, Lana!

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