The difference between bad and great service

September 6, 2010

Das Keyboard Ultimate Model S

A few weeks ago, I bought a Das Keyboard from directcanada.com to add to my mechanical keyboards collection. I was so eager to get my hands on it that, in order to cut down on the waiting time, I  had it shipped to my work place. The keyboard arrived two days after I placed my order online. I immediately opened the box, pulled the keyboard out, hooked it up to my PC, and started to type. Everything was perfect, the keys (Cherry MX Blue switches) felt wonderful and the sound they produced was very soothing. I was in love until…I had to use the semicolon key. For some reasons, that particular key was very different. Even though it did produce a click when pressed, the tactile bump was not very noticeable. Therefore, I had no other choice than to request an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorisation) and ship the keyboard back. Unfortunately, I had to pay for shipping again.

A few days later, I got an e-mail from directcanada.com telling me that they tested the keyboard and that they did not notice any difference. I called them and explained to the person on the phone why I returned the keyboard, once again. He kept repeating that the person who tested the keyboard could not find any problem with the semicolon key. I told him that I clearly mentioned in my RMA request that if one were to just press on the key slowly, one will not notice a big difference. However, if one were typing at a high speed, then one would notice the difference when one pressed on the semicolon key. He then told me the stupidest thing, “Sir, it’s perfectly normal for a keyboard to feel different when typing at a high speed.” I then asked him how he would explain that only one key felt different, to which he replied, “the tester did not find any problem with the key.”  I was so angry that I told him to just process my refund and to charge me for the 15% restocking fee because “I returned a perfectly working” product.

After that, I e-mailed Metadot, the OEM, and told them what happened. They quickly replied telling me not to agree to the restocking fee, if I had not agreed to that yet, and that they were willing to talk to their reseller. I replied back saying that I did not really have a choice since I had to ship the keyboard back and that I was too far from the reseller to go in person to show what I meant by the semicolon was defective. Directcanada is in Vancouver. Then came a big surprise. Metadot told me that, although they do not ship internationally, they would send me a free keyboard to make up for my bad experience. Now, this is what I call great service.

I was not looking for anything in particular when I wrote to Metadot. I just wanted to let them know that mechanical keyboard buyers, in most cases, know their stuffs. When they decide to buy a particular keyboard, they have usually read a lot about it, about it’s switches, its controller, etc. And when they report a problem, the problem exists in 99.99% of the time. Therefore, telling us that the problem does not exist when it DOES exists (I had someone else tried the keyboard as well) is like an insult.

Credit to Metadot though for making the right move. It’s a win-win situation.

Update 1 November 2010

I received my Das Keyboard Model S today and started typing a few words as soon as I got home from picking it up from the UPS depot. All the keys worked as they should and the typing experience was very very pleasant. I can see this keyboard becoming one of my favourite ones if not my favourite. It has everything I like in a keyboard: blue Cherry MX switches which are plate mounted. Two keyboards, both equipped with blue Cherry MX switches, will feel different if in one the switches are plate-mounted whereas in the other they are PCB-mounted. It is my current keyboard at work for the time being.


Linux distro for old computers

February 23, 2009

I’ve been looking for a Linux distro that will not bring an old Toshiba Satellite equipped with a Celeron 1.1 GHz to its knees like Ubuntu (and Gnome) does for a while now. I think I have finally found it: VectorLinux 5.9 Light. I’ve only spent about 1 hour on it so far, and I’ve already noticed a big difference. It’s not Ubuntu nor Fedora for sure, but I can actually use the laptop to do some productive work. How much productive work I will be doing on it remains to be seen, however, since most of my stuffs are on my MacBook. Maybe the only reason why I installed VectorLinux on this old computer is simply because I can 🙂


New Toy

February 6, 2009

Photobucket

This is my new toy. It is “old” looking, heavy, and loud. But, it is a pleasure to type on and I love it.

There are three kinds of mechanical keyboards: buckling spring, Alps switches, and  Cherry switches keyboards. Of course you also have keyboards equipped with fake Alps or Cherry switches. That does not mean that they are not good keyboards, just that they are not equipped with the original switches.  You can find tons of information about keyboards here. I thought I was crazy about keyboards, but there are people out there who are even crazier than I am.

So far, my collection of mechanical keyboards is at its infant stage. I’m currently using a Unicomp Customizer 104 (bought new a few weeks ago) which is a buckling spring keyboard based on the old IBM Model M keyboard, I ordered a (new in box) Dell AT101W (Alps switches) from eBay for $10 yesterday. I can’t wait to test it, even if I have to use a USB-to-PS/2 converter. All I have to do now is find myself a keyboard equiped with Cherry switches and I will happy  for a year or two,because…there are various types of Cherry and Alps switches to try.

Here is a video I shot this morning using my MacBook’s webcam. It is not of the highest quality though. I still have to learn to touch type on the numbers row.

Update  25 March 2009

I was finally able to acquire a Cherry keyboard from geminicomputers.com. However, instead of being very happy, I am experiencing what Barry Schwartz calls the paradox of choice. According to Barry Schwartz, too many choices do not make us happy but unhappy. When I’m using the Customizer, I want to use the Cherry, but when I’m using the Cherry, I want to go back to the Customizer. Thankfully, the Dell AT101W stays at the office, otherwise the problem would have been worse.

That being said, I’m still on the look out for other keyboards. I guess it is safe to say that I have keyboard addiction.