Dealing with shipping damageWritten on May 19, 2009 by Richard Millard
You've probably seen that old clichéd scene a thousand times - some guy is putting the finishing touches on his house of cards or stack of dominoes, and then someone sneezes and ruins the whole thing. We have pretty much that same feeling we get when a brand new computer gets roughed up during shipment. Even though we analyze hardware with specific concern for safe shipping, test each component for proper installation, and use specially designed packing materials, sometimes we still see a damaged computer.
Your typical shipping damage might include an unseated video card, or even a dislodged processor heatsink. However, the package we just recieved back takes the cake!
To give you some specific context, this system was packed in foam, placed in a box, packed in further foam, and then finally into another triple-walled exterior box. There's roughly 3 inches of cardboard and insulating foam between the computer and the world around it. My first guess was that the box fell off a truck and then got run over, but UPS tells me that it got bound up in their conveyer belt system. Yikes!
Obviously, we feel pretty frustrated when something like this happens. That feeling is even worse for the customer who may need his system on a tight timeline. That was the case with this particular client, who had ordered his system from us with a deliberate goal of having it by the weekend. When he saw that UPS was returning the package to us due to shipping damage, he was pretty bummed out.
When we heard about the damage, we went into action. Thanks to our production team, and especially Matthew who spent a majority of his day frantically building a replacement, we had the new system built, installed, benchmarked, tested and delivered by the next day! Despite the bad luck with his first system, we were able to divert resources and have a new one out to him before the weekend.
To be truthful, we got pretty lucky that we weren't missing any replacement hardware. With custom systems there's no way to guarantee that we'll have every part needed on any given day. That was part of the concept behind our workstation system - the Puget Obsidian - to offer same-day advance replacement on defective systems.
Now we need your help! We don't know what to do with this ruined computer! I'm taking any and all suggestions! Do we give it a viking burial in Puget Sound, or maybe something more contemporary?