Friday, September 29, 2006

A rant about our surround sound system . . . and Jeers AND Cheers go to Best Buy.

Okay this may not be too interesting to anybody, but I have got to vent. I am SO frustrated!!! We have done everything except jump through our butts to get our subwoofer on our surround sound system working. This has gone on for MONTHS!! Best Buy, where we originally purchased the system with an extended warranty, has been part of the problem, but in the end came through for us. Of course, we had to jump up and down and stand on our heads and stomp our feet to get them to do something. But just when I thought we'd solved the problem, here we are, a few days later with the SAME PROBLEM!!!

Okay here's the story from the beginning . . . if you don't want all the (possibly boring) details, skip to the last couple of paragraphs.

I think it was right around the time Bill and I got married (summer of 2004), we purchased a REALLY NICE surround sound stereo system. It has five speakers (two surround sound rear, two surround sound front, and a center channel), and a really kick-ass Klipsch subwoofer. We bought a high-end Yamaha receiver to drive the speakers, and a nice 400-slot CD/DVD player. It was GREAT and provided amazing sound. When we watched movies on it, it felt like we were in the theater!! It was fabulous!!!

Early this year (Feb. or so), I noticed that we were starting to have problems with the subwoofer. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. I was so caught up in my studies that I didn't have time to think about it or deal with it, and I hardly ever listened to music, which is when I really missed the subwoofer. Music just isn't the same without that deep bass supporting the sound. It bothered me more than Bill, because I am the audiophile in the family. (audiophile = pain in the butt picky LOL). I want to have clear high notes and deep, rich bass notes and I don't want either sound to step on the others' toes. I spend hours balancing the speakers until Bill wants to scream! But I know what I like and if we are going to spend big bucks on a system, I want it to sound right! (I am Leo-Virgo cusp, and that is the Virgo in me!!) LOL

Well, when we got back from Phoenix, I finally had time to deal with the subwoofer problem. It had been coming and going, and by then was finally not operating at all. The first thing we did is KISS -- Keep It Simple, Stupid! -- and we bought a new cable for the sub. Start with the simple stuff, right?? Well, it didn't work -- still had the same problem!! So, Bill and I took the sub into Best Buy (thank goodness for extended warranties!) and they tested it with their receiver, and it worked fine! (of course, that is the problem; it always works for a couple of days after being hooked up; then it quits or comes and goes after its in place!)

Anyway, after they tested the sub, they said we'd need to bring in the receiver and they'd have to send it out for service. (ARG!!). We went home and Bill unhooked 4,295 wires from the back (geez, its amazing how many wires are involved!! The speakers (6 of 'em), the TV the DVD the TiVo cable box.... wow!!!). So Best Buy sent it out for service and said it would be two weeks (count 'em -- TWO WEEKS!!!!) for it to come back from Service. Yikes!! Meanwhile, we couldn't figure out how to hook up the Cable DVR box to our TV, and Comcast wanted $35 to send a tech too hook it up.

. . . Oh and that's another story!! We called Comcast to walk us through how to hook up the box directly to the TV, after explaining that our sound system was in the shop and we just temporarily needed to connect it directly to the TV, and would they please walk us through it? Well, guess what??? They hemmed and hawed and pretended to not know how to hook it up and kept on pushing that $35 tech visit. OMG!!! It would have taken them five minutes on the phone to walk us through it -- this cable goes here, this one goes here -- those SOB *#(*&%(*&#!!! (deep sarcasm here) Oh okay, its not enough we pay $90 a month to have digital cable with DVR in the living room, and digital regular cable in three bedrooms, that they had to try and make us pay $35 for a tech visit. I DON'T THINK SO!!!! I was so angry with Comcast. I even investigated satellite TV, that's how upset I was. Are you listening, Comcast?!? You're not the only game in town -- its not a good idea to piss off your customers!!! ARG!!!!!!!!!!!

So . . . you go to Paris, France, and . . . (you must be a Steve Martin junkie to remember that line from a record (yes I said RECORD, not CD!!) that he made in the 70s (okay yeah I know, I'm dating myself, but I figured I wasn't fooling anyone anymore after posting about my 30 year reunion. Not like I could say I was a child genius and was only 6 when I graduated . . . hee hee) ).

But I digress . . . again . . . .

So, we finally just hooked the cable from the wall into our TV while we waited for the receiver to come back. This meant no TiVo and we didn't get the digital channels (like my beloved GSN and TLC) but at least this was prior to the new seasons, and everything was in reruns, so no harm no foul. (Our fav shows are on the networks, so we COULD have watched 'em without relying on the TiVo -- but, well, if you have TiVo (or DVR service), you know what I mean!!! But the fall season was coming up, and I was getting anxious about missing our fav shows and their season openers (hey, we have our favorites -- doesn't mean we're TV addicts!!!). I know, overcoming denial is the first step . . . ***sigh***

So, ANYway, when the receiver came back from Service, they said they had serviced it but found nothing wrong. Hmmmm. How could that be possible?!? We shrugged our shoulders, picked up the receiver from Best Buy, and paid to have them come out to the house and hook up the surround sound properly, so we could be sure everything worked, and that everything was hooked up into the proper places in order to get the most of our system. Well, it took another week of finagling to get a time arranged for them to come out. Of course they could only narrow down the time frame for mornings or afternoons, so I took a half day off work to meet them at the house.

Soooo....they came out and worked over two hours to get it to work, and guess what?? It STILL DIDN'T WORK!! No subwoofer sound!! ARGH!! They pulled the receiver back out and took it back to the shop with them and said they'd send it in . . . AGAIN . . . to service. Another two weeks. BUT, the good news is, that they took the time to hook up my DVR cable box to our TV. YAHOO!!

Do you hear that, Comcast?!? We got it hooked up anyway! Without having a service tech come out and pay your lousy $35, you cheap bastards!!!! I am not above saying it so here goes -- (you need to sing in your head that melody line from that schoolyard taunt) "NYAH NYAH NYAH NYAH NYAH NA". Phhhhhhhttttttt. That's me sticking my tongue out and making a raspberry noise. SO THERE!! Ha! Okay I'm done with my childish little tantrum now.

So, we got our DVR hooked up. We were on the cusp of the Fall TV season by this point, so I was thrilled, needless to say, that we weren't going to miss the season premiere of those shows that left us at a cliffhanger last season. CSI, CSI NY, Bones, Without a Trace, Numb3rs, Ghost Whisperer (what happened to Medium?!?) Cold Case, etc. etc. You know, good stuff!! So at any rate, I keep digressing . . . I was thrilled to have at least the DVR working, even though without the receiver, we had no DVD or CD player. Phhhhhhht. Drives me crazy. But I wasn't listening to CD's without the benefit of the sub anyway, so . . . what's another two weeks. Right?? **sigh**

After two weeks, the receiver came back in and we brought our sub with us to the service dept. (service dept?? I would call it the receiving dept., since they actually do no service in-house!) and they hooked our "fixed" receiver up to our sub, and voila! Sub works. Imagine that. Of course. Kinda like when you take your car to the mechanic, it quits making the noise it was making not two blocks down the street . . . . So, we had to arrange for the techs to come back out to the house and hook up the "repaired" receiver. After much ado about nothing, they finally came out and hooked it up. Had trouble getting the receiver to push the sub, but get it they did. Voila'! Yes? Oh no . . . it all went so sadly wrong . . . .

Following its usual pattern of behavior, the sub worked for a day or two, then, started doing its sometimes-works-sometimes-doesn't routine. *sigh*. By now, I'm ready to tear my hair out. I called Eric at Best Buy (oh yes, I'm on a first name basis with the electronics department manager by now), and I'm sure he was just THRILLED to hear from me (NOT!). At this point, he just said to bring in the receiver, and they'd give us a new one. Yahoo!! Finally!!! It was with great anticipation that we picked up the new receiver, figuring that at last our travails are over!! We hooked up the new receiver (by now, Bill could get a job at Best Buy as an installer!). It worked beautifully!! OMG what a sound! All the speakers sounded so great. Of course it meant setting up the receiver with all the settings that the other one had, which has been an exercise in patience. It was truly an amazing thing. We picked up the new receiver on Tuesday the 26h.

So, yesterday, Thursday the 28th, I got home and went to turn on the system. Mind you, this was two days after receiving the new receiver, which is the usual time frame from the shenanigans to start. Its not difficult, dear reader, for you to figure out that -- yes, the SUB. IS. NOT. WORKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Believe me, I don't have a hair left on my head, as they are all torn out!!! AAAAAAAAAAAGHGHGGGGHHHHHHHHH

I'm sure Eric at Best Buy will be just THRILLED to hear from me . . . NOT!!!What the hell could it be????? THe only thing left is . . . the sub itself. Hell, we may end up with a new sub at the end of all this, too!! Could it be that the cable we originally replace it with was bad, too?? We will try another cable before I call poor Eric and ruin his weekend. If the new cable doesn't work, then we will return said cable, and call Eric for another round of "send the sub in to service for two weeks". Homie don't play that, and I vote for a new sub. What say you?!? If it were me, I'd have voted them off the island at the Tribal Council!!! (No I don't watch Survivor -- ick!).

Well, if you have made it all through this long and tedious expose on Best Buy and their (lack of) service but excellent customer service, I commend you! And I wanted to thank Eric at Best Buy for all he has done for us, and it looks like we will continue to be a scourge in his life. He's gonna hate to see us coming . . .