Friday, July 27, 2012

Disappointment Delivered In An Amazon Box

Doctors are masters of delayed gratification. While all our high school buddies were hooking up with the cheerleaders, we were busy cramming for our SAT's to get into a good university. Then while our college buddies were hooking up with sorority girls, we were spending nights and weekends taking Kaplan courses to ace the MCAT's. As we challenged our brains in medical school to see how much knowledge one can possibly squeeze into a three pound mass of neural tissue, we kept having to make excuses to miss our friends' engagement parties and weddings. After that we could only gaze enviously at their new babies while we were too exhausted in residency to contemplate even making any.

But eventually it is our turn to enjoy life and all its blessings. I can't believe it's been over two years since I wrote about my desire to acquire a 3D TV after we bought our house. We remodeled the family room to specifically fit a large flat screen television. I never could find a model that I liked though. They were either too expensive, or had poor picture quality, or poor 3D rendering. Even when our old LCD TV broke, I didn't go out right away to replace it with an awesome new one. Remember, I'm an expert at delayed gratification. I could wait.

Now at last, I found the TV that fulfills my every desire. The price is right. The size is good. The reviews are excellent. I took a deep breath and clicked "purchase" on Amazon. I'm now the owner of a brand new Samsung 65" 3D TV. After all the years of waiting, the feeling was rather cathartic. I no longer felt that sense of emptiness and longing I had every time I surfed the electronics pages or walked through Best Buy. The months and years of anticipation will be fulfilled with a knock on my front door in one week.

On the day of the delivery I took time off from work to welcome my new TV. The courier company gave me a delivery window that was smack in the middle of my work day so I had to take a whole day off. My wife was aghast. "How much money is this TV really going to cost us?" she asked irritably. But I didn't care. Years of waiting are now about to be sated and no amount of money will keep me from enjoying the fruits of my hard labor.

I could hardly sleep the night before the delivery. I set my alarm clock early so I wouldn't oversleep the expected delivery time. After a fitful night, I got up early before the alarm and waited anxiously for the rumble of a large truck to stop in front of my house. Eventually I heard it. I quickly swung open the front door before they even had a chance to ring the doorbell. And there it was, an enormous flat box with my new love being carried inside by two burly guys. They brought it into the house and even set it up on its designated spot. I signed the paperwork and shook their hands as they left, leaving behind a grown man with his (expensive) new toy.

My hands were shaking as they sought to plug in the power cord and the HDMI. Now to turn on the electronic love of my life. Shoot, these new TV's don't even have a power button. I have to use the remote control to even get this thing to come on. This I do. With the sense of wonder that Luke Skywalker must have felt when he first fired up his light saber, I pushed the big red button on the remote and watched my TV come to life.

Except something is wrong. There are these funny black streaks across the top of the picture. The right side of the screen is festooned with lines in rainbow shades. I've never seen any TV screen like this before. Maybe it just needs to warm up and they will go away. I start the initiation process of owning my brand new TV. Televisions are no longer as simple as plugging it into an outlet and attaching a cable line. Now when you turn on a TV you have to enter the date, time, language, and in this TV, the log in information for the built in wifi.

Do you see any problems with this TV?
It took about fifteen minutes to input all the data the TV asked for. After that, the lines were still there. If they're supposed to go away, it should have done so by now. Crestfallen, I desperately searched through the user manual for an explanation and hopefully a solution. Okay, here's something. In the "Menu" option there is a selection for picture diagnosis. This will tell me what to do. Using the remote, I went to "Menu" and found the picture diagnosis. I clicked on it and a bright picture of a beach scene popped up on screen. On the bottom were two choices: is the problem still there, yes or no. Yep it's still there. Black streaks across the top and rainbowed streaks down the right side. I clicked "yes". Instead of giving me a solution, it directed me to call Customer Service. Damn. Even though the TV packaging didn't have a blemish on it, seems like perhaps my TV at one point may have gotten dropped or the panel warped during transportation from Korea or wherever it was assembled. This is not going to go away by itself.

Instead of calling Samsung Customer Service as directed, I called Amazon. That's the great thing about Amazon. They have the best returns and customer service in the world. I quickly explained my problem. The agent didn't even ask for any picture confirmation. He just gave me instructions on how to return the TV. No hassles. No delays. Unfortunately they're sold out of this particular model. It will take a couple of weeks before they get a new shipment. Sigh.

Now I'm sitting at home with my brand new broken TV, awaiting the couriers to come back to pick it up and return it to Amazon. This is a tough lesson that I should have remembered from Christmas mornings of childhood--the anticipation is always better than the receiving. This delayed gratification is going to be drawn out a few weeks longer.


  1. *probably* is the TV, but did you try a different HDMI cable, in case that's the problem.

  2. The HDMI cable is the same one that I unplugged from the old TV just minutes earlier. I also tried plugging the cable into all three HDMI inputs on the back of the new TV. Same results. If there is a problem with the cable I doubt it would affect only a portion of the screen. It would most likely cause the entire image to fail.