So I call Dell. I'm eventually speaking with Bombay's finest - one Annand, who basically kept asking, "Where did you get this coupon?" "It says the coupon is invalid, please try again..." or "Did you get this coupon in a flyer?"
The call was a major joke because of many 30-second pauses where Annand would say "Yes" and then leave me at a loss as to what to say next. Umm... shouldn't he be the one taking charge of the call and making me a deal on a laptop? Geez, even $50 would have been appreciated. I didn't have the balls to suggest such a thing myself because of his overall braindead angle.
At one point I asked him "When those new low-voltage Core 2 Duo chips come out, will that change the models and pricing a bit?"
"Um... um... yes. ... ... Well, we- No, we have the latest technology Intel Core 2 Duo on our systems now. There is no waiting. You can have them now."
"Oh, yes, yes, but I mean the new chips of that kind..."
The call went on like that until I feigned fatigue. I did get one useful piece of information out of him when I casually mentioned Windows Vista - he said that Vista pre-installed probably wouldn't be going until April. That makes sense; Dell is going to need time to make sure the final bits work correctly with what they want to put in their systems. But that was a lousy call. If it were me calling me, I would have been like, "Gee, it's too bad that particular code doesn't work - if you don't mind, would you care to hold the line for a moment while I find one for you that does?" When there's $1,500 at stake, this sort of stuff should matter.
Honestly, right now I don't think I'm going to get a laptop at all. That Lenovo still looks OK, but there's no latch on the lid, the display is said to be dim, and you don't get dedicated cursor control keys. Plus it's Core Duo, not Core 2 Duo, plus you get 512MB or maybe 1GB of RAM if you're lucky. And some people say it won't run Windows Vista in Aero Glass. $1,100 could get me an open-box system, but that sketches me out. Plus I'd definitely need to buy the other 512MB RAM wafer, which is a good deal compared to getting one that's just outfitted with a gig, but the memory is hard to find and isn't for sale at a Canadian outlet.
Like OMG really guys, isn't there *anything* out there in my price range without a bunch of gotchas? (The Dell Inspiron 6400 doesn't have these gotchas, but a humane configuration with Core 2 Duo, 120GB HD, 2GB of RAM and XP Pro is $1,500 before tax - the absolute upper limit of what I can spend, and I'd like to spend somewhat less.) Almost every system I've seen so far has either a glaring, glaring flaw - some, like the Acer, which would be like buying a car with windows that didn't roll down - or the system has an astronomical price tag.
But I think even the rich people out there would be interested in this debate. A $1,200 *good* laptop should be of interest to all walks of society. Think of the increased productivity! The standards adherence! The accessibility! Everybody wins.
Or, maybe I could write Dell a letter...
Or maybe I can drop the RAM down to 1GB - that would save $150, and an aftermarket upgrade put off some months might be cheaper - do I really need 2? ... Yes, yes, I do. Especially the way I multitask. Hmm, something to think about anyway. Right now I don't want to reward Dell for their outsourcing. And what if, God forbid, I had a problem? Not everyone in Calcutta can understand a Maritimer!
More immediately, maybe I could drop by Greenlyph in the south end. At least I'd have someone to talk to. I'm armed with more information about laptops and price ranges and components than I ever, ever cared to know, so I'll be able to have an intelligent discussion. And it's within walking distance of Saint Mary's. And they have a laptop I might be able to live with on their front page. Mmm... okay, no, but they might have something else. So, yeah, I'll do that.
And hopefully I'll come to some kind of decision before I start losing LJ friends by the bucketload.