23 November 2008

Why do my power cables keep blowing?

Now, that's an interesting question. After the first two power cables fried, we put an expensive surge protector and made certain that the electronics were on that.

In addition, because we had had the weird power surge that was the reason for the 2nd power cable loss, we had an electrician out to look at the outlets that had the surge who said that there was no problem with the electricity at all. However, after that I noticed (was freaked out and angered by) that whenever the lights were turned on or off in the hallway, the outlets on the shared wall inside the living room would receive a power surge. This surge did not set off the surge protector at all, but I wonder if it contributed to the failure of this second MacBook charger cable? I do know that it must have contributed to the failure of our 4th power cord, the extremely expensive adapter charger that the Dell was running on. Man, this is just amazing, isn't it?

However, on Friday, after this happened, I threw the computer and the charger into my bag and when the babysitter arrived and the German and I left to meet friends in Prenzlauer Burg, we stopped at the Apple store on the way.

It was a typical German customer service experience. When we walked in, we took a number (electronically) , which is a far sight better than one can expect at T-Com. Then, when we were called the German explained what had happened to the clerk. The clerk misunderstood, thinking that he had purchased a new cable a few weeks ago while what had really happened was that they had given us one (warranty replacement) and it did not go through the Kasse. But the clerk sent the German to the Kasse to get paperwork (which was not there) and when he came back without any, it was not in Ordnung.

At that point, I started to become concerned because we were starting to get late for our meeting (we were still 30 minutes from the restaurant). So I asked what the problem was. When I explained the situation it became clear that the process the clerk had started was incorrect so he changed to looking at the bar code on the computer, determining that I was correct in believing that I still had 4 years left on my warranty, and then telling me that it would be 4-6 days until I would be able to get a new cord: Apple would want to look at the cable before issuing me a new one.

I looked at the clerk in disbelief. In measured tones I informed him that in this country and city where I do not speak the language, that my computer is my life line. I suggested that if they did not have a cord to give me (hard to believe, as they sold computers there!) that he loan me one. (We had already had the conversation where I indicated that I was unhappy with the failure of two cables and he had informed that that it was not his fault and that he worked for Gravis, not Apple.) He told me that the company only had four loaner computers and that they would almost certainly be all out.

I asked him to please check the status and I would wait to be angry until I found out if therewas a reason to be. Then I smiled at him.

When he came back, he gave me a new cord.

That was nice.

More tomorrow about what happened at the restaurant...


Anonymous said...

Despite that electrician saying otherwise it does sound like there's something wrong with your apartment's electrical set-up. There should be a fuse blowing before it gets so far as to cause a fire hazard.
Any neighbours with similar problems?

MsTypo said...

Good for you for remaining calm but still standing up to the clerk! So will this be "your cord" or will you have to see what Apple says about your other one and swap it later?

I agre that you may want to get someone else to look at yoru electrics. Something sounds wonky back there!

christina said...

Hmm. I second Ian's opinion, it may indeed be the set up in the apartment or in the whole building, even. The apartment we lived in when I first moved here had really crazy wiring and things would explode all the time. Scared the heck out of me.

And good for you for standing up to the guy and making him actually do his job instead of giving you excuses. Sometimes you just have to stand there and say "Well I'm not leaving until you have solved this problem to my satisfaction" and voila! They make an effort.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got your replacement cord. In this country I find it usually works if you state what exactly it is you want and expect them to do. Sounds like I'd soon resort to murdering a few clerks if I were living in Berlin.

Anonymous said...

Good for you getting the cord! I had a similar blow out with my mac (not 4 though) and when I brought the cord into the I also had a hard time swallowing the wait time. They ended up comping me some plug adapters, which isn't much (but actually a lot for Germany).

Ersatz Sobriquet said...

Does your power cord look like this?

I had this problem as well while I was in Germany long before I could find a store to replace my faulty cord. It was hell.