Della – Dell netbooks for women?

I recently opted to replace my first generation Asus EEE 701. It’s very convenient and mostly functional, but I decided I wasn’t finding it the best thing in the world for really Getting Stuff Done™ outside of sending a few emails.

I chose to get one of the new Samsung NC20s. I highly recommend it – it’s really on the netbook/laptop border, but the larger screen size and resolution is worth that little bit extra weight (and at just under £400, it’s a bargain too).

When I was selecting my new ultra-portable, the kind of things I had in mind were battery life, weight and form-factor (for carting it around to events), the specification (can I code and run photoshop?) and reviews of it’s performance. The one thing I wasn’t particularly interested in was whether it went with my handbag or shoes.

So why exactly have Dell opted to create their new “Della” site, which appears to be about specifically that one aspect?

The site is clearly aimed at women since it features lots of glossy photos of groups of ladies chatting over coffee and standing in fields staring thoughtfully off into the distance (or on the beach – because sand and cooling fans go so well), but it appears to assume that they’re not interested in the specifications or technical features of the laptop – merely how pretty they look and how they’ll help you lose weight or some other inane Heat magazine-esque topic. I’d call this patronising at best.

Perhaps they could be making a bigger deal of their “nipple” cursor controller and getting a few more blokes buying their mini range, just to be fair?

Oh, and my NC20 is an always classic little black number.

Update: Sounds like Dell have had a turn-around on the marketing campaign, pulling the name “Della” just days after it’s launch (although a sneaky look at the website’s mark-up still shows the della references throughout).

DHL and City Link are incompetent

Blogging can be cathartic, I hear. Let’s have a go.

Delivery companies. All a bunch of muppets, or is it just me?

I ordered myself a new computer recently from Dell. I also picked out a shiny new monitor from OverClockers. Both delivered via a different company. Both, apparently, completely incompetent.

Dell first. They delivered my box via DHL. Dell offer a snazzy “this is how far your order has got” type page. On this page, at the last stage, it states that when your order is ready and has been passed to the delivery company, the page will update within 24 hours to let you know who that company is and a tracking number, so you can see it’s on the way. Did that happen? Nope. I was under the impression that the order hadn’t been shipped yet, so imagine my surprise when I find a card letting me know that I’d missed my delivery. Annoyed. So, okay, I’ll arrange to work from home on a Tuesday, and they can deliver it then. DHL say “no problem, Tuesday is fine.. we probably couldn’t have got it to you on Monday anyway.” Coolios! So, what do they do? They deliver it on Monday. Fantastic, idiots. Thanks for listening to my request. Fortunately, my ever-thoughtful flatmate was home and signed for the box and I have that now. Slightly miffed that they ignored me, but a happy Frances is a Frances with new toys and I’ll forget about it for now.

OverClockers and City Link have been far worse. I ordered the monitor on a Friday and thought I’d like to reduce my amount of work-at-home time and I’ll pay the premium for a Saturday delivery. Did it show up? Did it hell. The tracking notified me that a delivery had been attempted and no one was home. No – only 4 people with their hearing still intact were in the premises that morning. Apparently we must not have heard our very loud intercom buzzer that morning and the card he was supposed to have left must have mysteriously vanished into the ether.

I phoned OverClockers that Saturday afternoon, because City Link was closed at noon, and was rudely told by the girl on the phone that there was nothing she could do until Monday. At which point, rather than taking my name and order number, or evening apologising, she simply hung up without another word. Beautiful.

Pretty annoyed at this, I arrange for them to deliver the parcel for Tuesday on the Monday morning, since I’ve already arranged to stay home for the Dell delivery (read up, those with short attention spans).

Tuesday morning, and I sit patiently in my pyjamas, doing some documentation jobs, and I think I’ll just have a look at the tracking and see where my parcel is (this is at 9:30am). Oh, lovely. Apparently delivery was attempted at 9.03am and I wasn’t home. Did I die or something? Am I actually in the after-life and I just think I’m living, but to the rest of the world, this is but a ghost-flat?

So I phone OverClockers who phone City Link. Apparently the driver is “very good” and wouldn’t have left a card if someone had been there (well no, he’d have delivered the parcel I’d hope, and also note the distinct lack of said card). I state I’m slightly concerned that this driver is lost and has the wrong address, but I’m assured it’s okay, but at this point I’m assuming by “very good” they mean “can’t operate a doorbell”. She gives me the number for City Link, and I phone them. City Link inform me that the driver doesn’t have a phone, but they’re sending him a message some other way (carrier pigeon? smoke signals?) and that if I don’t have my parcel by around noon, I should phone back. Any one want to roll the odds on me being on the phone at noon?

What gets me the most is how on Earth is it beneficial for these companies to be so bad? It’s not like they get to keep everything they fail to deliver. It costs them more time, more money (petrol, man-hours etc.) and they have companies and customers calling them all the time to ask them why they’re so incompetent.

Additional: 2 phone calls to City Link later (one of which involved a very sarcastic lad who was adamant my husband had phoned earlier and told them I’d “popped out” – hint: my salutation is “Miss”) and another to OverClockers and the parcel finally arrived at just after 4pm. The cardboard box was a bit bruised, but fortunately the monitor works a charm. OverClockers are also refunding my Saturday delivery charge. Well, it’s the least they can do, right?

Additional Two: OverclockersUK have failed to refund postage and are no longer responding to my emails. Lovely!