Dell: the next GM?

Online they are calling it "Dell Hell". According to the University of Michigan American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI, "Dell's customer satisfaction rating dropped a steep 6.3% to 74 out of a possible 100-the biggest drop among the major PC makers." http://www.consumergripes,com/Dell.html From friends and associates I am hearing that Dell is receiving poor reviews for performance and service. My own experience is no different. I purchased a high-end Dell workstation in November, 2005. Problems were immediately evident, including an incorrect peripheral sent and missing parts. It took five weeks for Dell to agree to pick up the peripheral. Worse, I began having multiple screen dumps (seven at last count) and constant alert messages about voltage and heat problems. I have now spent over a dozen hours on the phone with Dell, being shifted from person to person (when I wasn't on hold), have exchanged roughly fifty emails with their "escalations" department, and have performed forty-eight hours of uninterrupted Dell diagnostics. A Dell technician has been here twice,and has replaced the same hardware twice, to no avail. The machine cannot be booted without crashing: "Alert! Hardware failure. Shutting down." That was yesterday. Today it can't even be booted.

General Motors is learning to their dismay what happens when you produce inferior products and treat customers with contempt. Is Dell going the same route?

On the brighter side, I refer you to a publishing website with independent voices and creative titles. Prickly Paradigm Press out of Chicago has some wonderful books and pamphlets that you won't see elsewhere. Try "Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology" by David Graeber, which asks questions like: "Is it necessary (or right) to publicly condemn someone who assassinates a head of state? Or can assassination, especially if it prevents something terrible, like a war, be a moral act? When is it okay to break a window?" Or states that "Stalinists and their ilk did not kill because they dreamed great dreams...but because they mistook their dreams for scientific certainties. This led them to feel they had a right to impose their visions through a machinery of violence." You might also look at Magnus Fiskesjo's "The Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon, The Death of Teddy's Bear, and the Sovereign Exception of Guantanamo." Many of the pamphlets are only $10. USD. Some of the older ones can be downloaded and read for free. You'll find all this at

One more fascinating article may appeal to those of you who love reading about the history of photography. Richard W. Gadd, Director of the Monterey Museum of Art in Monterey, California, has written a compelling study entitled "Photographic Views of Meiji:A Portrait of Old Japan". This in-depth description of Japanese culture as revealed in photographs is an important addition to our knowledge of the history of photography. The reproductions are taken from Gadd's personal collection of photographs. You will find the article at

c.Corinne Whitaker 2006