Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hewlett Packard

Almost a year ago, whilst still in the Magic Kingdom, the Gnomad bought a gift (one amongst many) for the Gnomadette. Said gift was a Compaq laptop (or "notebook" as the industry prefers to call them). Apart from the fact that the laptop came with windoze vista (not the Gnomads choice but nothing else was available in the Magic Kingdom at that point) it has worked very well indeed.

that is up until about three weeks ago when it stopped charging. The Gnomad has a Hewlett Packard laptop which, fortuitously, uses the same battery and a very similar charger. So the batteries were swapped and tested and both worked, so that was not the problem. The chargers also were checked and they were both functional so the problem must be internal to the compaq. Eek! Expense!

As anyone in the Middle East will suspect a warranty in the Magic Kingdom is worth no more than the goodwill of the sales assistant one speaks to, and on the Compaq's documentation it only said 3 months warranty in any case. However, on examination of the casing there was a little sticker, in English, saying that there was a one-year warranty with the laptop.

On the advice of a knowledgeable and trusty friend (thanks Steve) the Gnomad looked up the various numbers, service tags etc of the laptop on the HP website and, according to them, there was indeed a valid warranty with a month still to go. Okay, nothing to lose thought the Gnomad, I'll contact Hewlett Packard (who own Compaq) and see if there's anything that can be done through the warranty.

The Gnomad (G) and Hewlett Packard Customer Service (HPCS) exchanged emails which can be precísed thus:

G: I have this problem with my laptop

HPCS: Thank you for contacting HPCS, please do this diagnostic

G: Here is the result of your diagnostic

HPCS: thank you for taking the time to do the diagnostic, please also do this diagnostic.

G: Here is the result of your second diagnostic

HPCS: thank you for taking the time to do the diagnostic, the notebook will need an internal repair. Please advise when it would be convenient for our representative to collect the notebook.

G: Friday this week would be good

HPCS: We have arranged for our representative to collect your notebook on the afternoon of Friday, repairs will take between 10 and 15 days.

Friday arrived and so did the HPCS representative. The laptop was taken away and a receipt left behind.

The following Wednesday arrived and so did the laptop, fully repaired and working with all programmes and data still intact! That's three working days only! No charge for collection, repair or delivery!

Now it may be that the Gnomad had got used to Middle Eastern Customer Service but the Hewlett Packard Customer Service was very good indeed by any standards.

To recap:

Within two weeks of being notified of the problem, Hewlett Packard's UK operation had collected, repaired and returned the laptop under warranty at no charge at all, even though it had been bought in an entirely different country, arguably a different continent.

Hewlett Packard has the Gnomad's Seal of Approval for Customer Service.

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As seen on the Grumpy Goat's blog (link in sidebar)

The Omnivores Hundred

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Add comments to taste
5) Optional extra: Post a comment at Very Good Taste (

1. Venison Very good roasted fresh, even better hung for a few days or in a pasty, but best of all sliced very thin and marinaded in Port!

2. Nettle tea

3. Huevos rancheros

4. Steak tartare interesting but not my favourite

5. Crocodile, had a fabulous crocodile tail curry in Zambia, very yummy indeed

6. Black pudding. A traditional part of an English breakfast, sampled as often as possible

7. Cheese fondue on many occasions, most memorably: in the company of several dozen friends when camping. Fondue made in a pair of five gallon cauldrons over an open fire, one a blue cheese and elderberry wine fondue, the other, smoked emmental with white wine

8. Carp

9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush hated it, double yuk!

11. Calamari stuffed with garlic, onions and capsicum and fried, served sizzling hot, mmm mmm!

12. Pho

13. PB&J (peanut butter & jelly) sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart, I’m with Crocodile Dundee on this one, tastes like $#it but you can live on it

16. Epoisses de bourgogne.

17. Black truffle.

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes More than you can imagine, used to get it delivered mail order from Lurgashall Winery (

19. Steamed pork buns

20. Pistachio ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes.

22. Fresh wild berries. Many, many, varieties, I am a hedgerow hoover when in the UK

23. Foie gras

24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn.

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper, In a salad, raw onion, raw jalapenos and raw red scotch bonnet chillis in roughly equal quantities, sliced, mixed with a good mayonnaise to make hot-slaw (looks very like coleslaw if done properly , and can be very, very funny if left unlabeled on a buffet at the right kind of party)

27. Dulce de leche

28. Oysters was very much like trying to swallow cold snot, yuk

29. Baklava

30. Bagna càuda

31. Wasabi peas

32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl.

33. Salted lassi. Prefer it plain.

34. Sauerkraut

35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar

37. Clotted cream tea A particular favourite

38. Vodka jelly

39. Gumbo Fresh it’s really, really good, the tinned stuff is always very poor indeed.

40. Oxtail. Especially good as a soup with dumplings.

41. Curried goat. Another favourite, had this in different incarnations in the Middle East (Arabic and Indian style), in Zimbabwe, and in the Philippines, very good in all cases.

42. Whole insects In Thailand, only once, and not entirely sober at the time.

43. Phaal. Makes my eyes water and my nose run each time I have it but I enjoy it all the same

44. Goat’s milk. Especially in the form of cheese and yoghourt

45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120. Not nearly so often as I would like

46. Fugu

47. Chicken tikka masala Of course! I am British you know! This is now one of my own signature dishes

48. Eel jellied and curried, the former was very nasty, the latter was OK

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut Far, far too many of these for my own good.

50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi slightly nasty but more-ish in a peculiar way.

53. Abalone

54. Paneer , not keen

55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal. Far too many of these, unfortunately. For example, having convoyed across Europe (UK to Italy) in 24 hours in company size packets as part of a British Army exercise, it seemed that the only food available at the stopping points were MacDs. Ugh! (shudders) even compo rations would have been better.

56. Spaetzle see currywurst

57. Dirty gin martini

58. Beer above 8% ABV Does it come weaker than this then? (laugh)

59. Poutine Does chips wi’ gravy (thank you, the Mac Lads) count? Perhaps not....

60. Carob chips

61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads (mmm! These Korean meatballs are the mutts nuts....!)

63. Kaolin. Mostly in medicine.

64. Currywurst In Germany, in every British Army establishment where I have ever been stationed and most notably in the Austrian Tyrol, bordering with Ital. There I had currywurst served with sauerkraut and what I thought at the time (in my ignorant youth) was spaghetti, but turned out to be spaetzle. Surprisingly delicious and satisfying.

65. Durian pleasant enough but I can’t see what the fuss is about.

66. Frogs’ legs I actually quite like these, when done well and nicely seasoned

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis with neeps and tatties, preceded by soused herring and washed down with whisky at the Edinburgh festival, delightful.

69. Fried plantain A nice garnish on the right kind of curry

70. Chitterlings had this in the Philippines too, didn’t make it through the first half-spoonful, Blech!

71. Gazpacho , got a funny look when I asked for a shot or two of vodka in mine, Gazpacho Mary being a lot less well known that her bloody namesake but just as pleasant
72. Caviar and blini overrated if you ask me.

73. Louche absinthe Does ordinary absinthe count? liquid, alcoholic aniseed balls mmm mmm

74. Gjetost,.

75. Roadkill I refer the learned gentlemen to my previous answer (item 1) but the repairs to my friends car meant it would have been cheaper (and a lot less scary) to have got it from the butcher.

76. Baijiu

77. Hostess Fruit Pie

78. Snail both in garlic butter and as a main ingredient in a Nigerian chicken and snail curry, neither will I do again Yuk!

79. Lapsang souchong again overrated in my view

80. Bellini

81. Tom yum One of my very favourite things to eat mmm mmm.

82. Eggs Benedict

83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. Perhaps when I am very, very wealthy

85. Kobe beef grilled in thin slices with fried shallots seasoned with soy and wasabi yummy!

86. Hare. And rabbit and anything else my late uncle (a gamekeeper) could shoot in the early mornings

87. Goulash An all-time favourite, especially in its Austrian incarnation Goulashesuppe with added caraway.

88. Flowers in many salads, pink rose petals and nasturtiums being favourites.

89. Horse mostly as revenge, but tasty none the less.

90. Criollo chocolate

91. Spam.

92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa

94. Catfish

95. Mole poblano

96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor.

98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, I used to get this from Taylors of York until it became too fashionable and therefore exorbitantly expensive (up from only very expensive)

100. Snake

Note that nothing is crossed out, one should be open to try anything once (except, of course, for incest and folk dancing - Thank you, Oscar Wilde)

70/100, possibly 72/100 if your interpretation is generous.