First, Do No Harm

7 August 2003

I’ve never really wanted to inhibit a company’s success and progress though I’ve predicted the demise of some that were unprepared to do business. I find myself torn between a 29-year loyalty and respect for Hewlett Packard and the wrath I feel toward them now.

Thus begins a saga on July 26, 2003.

I was mired in a power outage in Memphis, TN resulting from a powerful straight-line wind that came through at 7:35 a.m. on July 22, 2003. That was a Tuesday.

By Saturday the 26th I felt like I had to start being productive again. I had been helping neighbors while attempting to provision for nights with no lights and Deep South summer heat with no air conditioning. I had gone four nights without power.

That Saturday I realized I must take care of a warranty repair on an HP notebook computer I bought in July of 2002 or risk losing the warranty. >From the moment I purchased the computer, it required 15 to 20 restarts to get to a stable Windows XP desktop. Each restart would progress a bit further before locking up. My travel needs changed about the time I bought it, so for many months I was content to leave it on to avoid having to shut it down only to endure that repetitive start-up process.

Now, with no air conditioning, no Internet access and no power, it seemed a good time to send that laptop back to HP for warranty repair. So, I placed ”THE CALL.”

THE CALL has changed my life and my outlook profoundly. When I think about it in the context of Memphis Light Gas and Water (the local utility company) behaving like the monopoly they are along with local media outlets cheerleading for their ”phenomenal efforts” following the storm, I realize just how significantly my outlook has changed. HP, the local utility company and the local newspaper altered my view of commerce.

This category of entries called ”THE HP WAY” is here to record the failings of HP and the failings of MLG&W during the great power outage of 2003. This entry marks Volume 1 in the series. As we begin, MLG&W has restored my power. It’s now August 7, 2003 and HP has NOT returned my laptop PC. In fact, they can’t find it.

More later.

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