I have strived, valiantly, to contain my sighs and eyerolling when you have a lineup of five people and only one cashier running, while someone in customer service was scratching his/her butt.
I have managed, barely, to avoid grinding my teeth and pulling my hair out when I have had to stand at the customer service desk, where two questionably brave souls have done their best to handle a throng of annoyed consumers, while someone standing behind the cash was just twiddling his/her thumbs out of boredom.
I never, once, slapped someone, nor drop-kicked them, nor attempted to throttle them, when I've been seeking help in locating a DVD that is apparently in inventory, yet not where it is supposed to be -- and, upon not being able to find it for me, said person has decided to go about their business and not return to customer service to let me know they weren't able to find it, either, sorry.
For Christmas '02, my dear parents bought me a very pretty DVD player. She would all but do my laundry for me. She was lovely. She said "Welcome" to me when I turned her on, and said "Good bye" (surely with a hint of sorrow) when I turned her off. Yea verily, she was a thing of beauty.
Listen: this thing survived a shelf falling on it back in February '05. A gorram shelf fell on it and it lived with little more than a scratch.
Sadly, this past Christmas season, on the evening of the 22nd or so, I was watching an episode of Babylon 5 season 3. Then I went and did other things, as I am wont to do, being a fickle sort of girl. The following morning, I pressed "power" and she said, "Welcome" and then said click. "Pardon me?" said I. Click said she. "Frell," said I. No more was she to load any discs for me. Yea verily, she would say click click click click, but no more would beautiful pictures flash across my TV screen.
Truly, she was borked.
I decided to wait until the new year, and ventured in on January 2nd armed with the four-year PSP warranty thingy that my parents so graciously purchased. "No problem!" said the chipper girl behind the customer service counter after I waited twenty minutes with my poor, dead player in my arms. "I'll let you know that if it takes more than thirty days, or the cost of repairs would be more than buying a new unit, we'll give you a replacement--equal or better--as per your PSP."
I check my calendar. 30 days takes us to the 2nd of February. I wait. Finally, this morning, I called. The customer service girl said she tried to call once yesterday, but my line was busy. "Um," thought I, "but I wasn't on the phone at all yesterday and who calls just once if the line is busy!?" She told me to gather up the manual(s), cord(s) and controller, and stroll on in -- it would have cost too much to repair the unit, so they're going to give me a replacement.
Armed with the bits and pieces, I went in to Future Shop. Waited for 15 minutes at the customer service desk, to be told I had to go to somebody in DVD player section so they can pick out the appropriate model.
Now, there was a bit of confusion. At first, I was thinking equal/better value. The previous player was $199. The one the Future Shop guy handed me was $89. "!!!" I said. "What about the missing $110, man?"
"No, no," he assured me, "we're looking at the features. This one is pretty well the same, but it's Progressive Scan, rather than interlaced, so you're getting something better. Sharper, clearer picture." He uses a very slow, calming voice, because I'm a girl, obviously, and undoubtedly don't know the difference between Progressive and Interlaced. Sigh.
Another half hour or so later, and I get to finally bring the player home. It's cute -- streamlined -- rather like the difference between the original PS2 (which I'd been sorrowfully using as a DVD player for the past month) and the new PS2.
Armed now with all that story, here we go into why I'm so very full of woe.
1) The audio is distressingly quiet. On my previous model, the volume was the same as the television. With this one, I have to jack up the volume by about 10 decibels. Hm.
2) Modes for picture enhancement (EPM). This player has 1 EPM adjustment -- brightness and contrast. Which, um, can also be adjusted via my TV menu. The previous player had about 4, maybe 5, EPM presets to adjust picture quality/colour levels/etc. I didn't play with them much, I admit it -- I found one that worked quite well for me, and stuck with it.
3) Modes for audio enhancement (EAM). This player has one setting -- "3D" -- which simulates surround sound on a 2-speaker setup. The previous player had 4, maybe five, EAM presets, which are like the preset equaliser states for media players. These, of course, would allow for maximising one's audio experience. And, incidentally, I have a 5.1 speaker setup. The "3D" setup is as good as useless to me. I have more audio control just through my stereo (which is hooked up to my TV). I would not have chosen this for myself at all.
4) Resuming playback. As is standard for DVD players, the new model allows DVD to be stopped (with that handy stop button), and playback resumed right where it left off (with that handy play button). However, my previous player would resume playback if the power was shut right off, but the DVD not ejected. I liked this -- I could, say, watch half of an episode of ______ while I ate lunch, and pick up right where I left off the next day at lunchtime.
5) My favourite. Ignoring disc damage. I lovingly thought of my previous player as a "tank". She could run right over damage on discs. Because of this, I purchased the vast majority of new release titles several weeks later used, rather than buying them brand new, or after renting it and discovering I liked it. Thus, many of my DVDs have the inevitable scratches that dumbass renters inflict from not handling the discs properly. The replacement model? Oh, yes, my friends. She skips and the picture goes all pixelised at the slightest bit of damage on a disc.
Colour me annoyed. "Oh, it's better!" I was assured. So frelling what if it's progressive scan rather than interlaced? Give me a bloody interlaced player if you'll just give me back my options, my resume playback, my power to play anything that hasn't been abused with a hacksaw!
Basically, this DVD player is no better than using my PS2 to watch movies, because it doesn't do anything differently, which isn't a particularly glorious DVD experience. My beloved, late DVD player was much, much better than using the PS2. Yeah -- the only difference between this, and the PS2, is the progressive scan tech. Whoop-de-frellin-doo. D:
Dear Future Shop:
I officially hate you. And I hate the fact that Best Buy is owned by the same people who own you, but at least it's not loud, at least it's clean and tidy and you can find DVDs on your own, and at least they have more people manning the customer service desk. :(
I hope someone pees in your cheerios tomorrow morning.
The frelling end.