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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

July 31, 2008


In light of today's ruling in a California court that Sprint (and other cell phone carriers) cannot charge early termination fees because they are probably against the California Constitution, I thought the time was right to print the following:

Extended Warranty Available
(for a Nominal Fee)

I was shopping for a present for my wife. You see, it's her (date withheld) birthday and I wanted to get her a gift she might not want to return. On a recent trip which required an airplane ride, she noticed a watch one of the stewardesses (or whatever they're called these days) was wearing. It had a wide band with rhinestones and a white face with easy to read dark numbers. In other words, it was simple purchase.

Or so I thought.

Just as if I were in McDonald's having a Big Mac and the pimpled-faced kid behind the counter asked me if I wanted fries with that, the salesgirl (sales woman, saleslady, salesperson) behind the watch counter at Macy's wanted to know if I wanted an extended warranty with my purchase. I did not, nor did I even want the watch any longer.

My trip to the mall saw my watch hunt go from Macy's to Nordstrom's to Lord and Taylor (a store I swore I would never purchase from again due to a past credit card scam, but that's another story). Unfortunately, my new target gift, a Coach bag, was on close-out at L&T, so I bit my lip and purchased it.

At each location the watch counter had a similar sign reading "ask about our extended service plan".

I decided not to ask.

At the moment of refusal (when I decided not to purchase the watch), I thought about all of the other things I purchased in the past few years that required, but should have included a decent warranty but didn't. I have three cars, all of which have extended warranties which I had purchased for a grand sum totaling about $3,200 of my hard-earned cash.

I have purchased "extended coverage plans" on other devices as well, from my televisions to my cell phones, which cost me an additional five dollars per month per phone.

In my day job as a Network Engineer, I purchase and install many electronic and computer-related devices. No matter what I purchase for my clients, each and every one of those devices comes with an optional warranty. When I started in this industry some ten years ago, a simple replacement part, such as a hard drive, came with a lifetime warranty. Some of the original hard drives I had installed are actually still working. However, in more recent times, I have installed new hard drives and many of them, just outside of the "included" warranty (usually 90 days to one year), have failed. Without the extended warranty, my clients would have to purchaser a new one time and time again.

You IPOD users will know exactly what I'm talking about. (I don't own, nor do I wish to own one.) Purchasing a new IPOD without the extended warranty will require you to purchase a new IPOD probably just after its first anniversary of the date you brought it home. So far, my brothers and my son have each had to buy new IPODs because Apple didn't recognize the reasons that the failed IPODs failed as valid replacement reasons. However, when the new device was purchased, along with the optional extended AppleCare Plan warranty, they replaced the failed devices without question.

And they all failed.

(Just a note: The IPOD AppleCare Extended Service Plan only covers your IPOD an additional year. However, not purchasing it gives you a decent chance of replacing your treasured IPOD year after year after year, etc.)

We live in a world of planned obsolescence. The manufacturers like it that way because it keeps you coming back. An come back we do. Instead of looking for the item that might make it one day past its planned, and covered expiration date; or an item which includes a satisfactory warranty, we jump at the latest and greatest thing and pay the additional ransom to get it.

Today, I promise to do my best not to pay this extortion from now on, no matter how much I want that new gadget, accessory or do-dad. Sure road hazard warranties on tires is a good idea as well as other extended "break and fix" warranties. But I'm not going to pay a manufacturer's or a big box store's extra profit for something that ought to be included.

I will look for the car with the best warranty. I will look for the hard drive that comes with at least a three year warranty. I won't succumb to their extortion anymore.

At least until that new gadget comes out that I just can't live without.

Check the Sunday papers.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "McCain, for his part, has even suggested now that his opponent's (Obama) timetable is "pretty good". He finally realizes that to suggest an open-ended war financed by the American people at a time when the dollar is worth pennies and our jobs are being preformed by overseas workers is just plain stupid," Robert Scardapane writes:

McCain now says he never meant a timetable. He's fallen in line with Bush's terminology - a time horizon. First, McCain was against it before he was for it. Now, he is against it and just waiting for another moment to imply he may be for it. So, this is leadership?

McCain is the same as Bush ... thus he merits the name of John McSame ... a serial flip flopper by any name.

I think we should now call The Ex-Maverick "John McShame". -NG

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-Noah Greenberg