I just want you all know that I had planned to write an article on gaming and sex; specifically, how gamers could have better sex. Tips based on my experiences living in Amsterdam, going to a Catholic girls' school, being a gymnast, and the year where I shared a house with a gaggle of flight attendants. I'm talking serious sex tips - sex tips so hot that it's quite possible I could cause server meltdowns.
But I'm not going to do that now. And do you know to whom the blame should be attached? Do you? It's EA Games, that's who. Because they have made me quite angry, and while some women are yummy and sexy when they are enraged, I am not one of them. I'm more of a "you die, the girl dies, everybody dies" kind of woman when I'm angry.
And oooooh, I am annoyed right now. Partly because the situation is so bizarre that it almost defies rational thought. Let me give you some background. I received a copy of Sims2 as a gift about eight weeks ago. "Yay!" I thought, as ripped into the virgin cellophane and peeled the security stickers away from my newest acquisition. Since I couldn't install it right away, I decided to do something I almost never do, read the manual.
Opening it revealed that there had been an error at the printer, because 16 pages, 8 in front, and 8 in back, were missing. Having published comics and other magazines, I know how binding mistakes can happen. It's annoying, but people run presses, and neither people, nor presses, are error free mechanisms. I figured it was no big deal; there was probably a copy of it on the game disk. There wasn't. (There's a manual for a the BodyShop, but not one for the game itself.)
And thus began my quixotic quest for customer service at EA Games. Never, in my life, have I seen a more byzantine method for trying to reach a company. I started at the Sims2 official site, clicked their help link and was presented with pages of FAQ headers, but no method to actually contact anyone. (They've since added a sub-help link, which goes to a prettier front end of the EA "support" site.)
So I wander over to EA Games, click support, click tech support, realize there's no contact information at this site either, register for a "support account", and start a thread on the message board to report the problem with the manual, and asking if they could email the pdf or postscript file, or mail me another manual. Now, the next bit takes place over many, many weeks"…as the speed of EA Games customer support response time can be measured in eons.
Customer service rep A.R. eventually responds by giving me a phone number in Redwood and tells me that they'll take care of it. Ok, cool. So, I call California, and burn minutes waiting to talk to someone, trying not to listen to the synthetic pseudomusic, when I finally reach E.K. E. K. tells me that I need to go back to the message board, because his department "doesn't do defects". Only the grace of being southern stopped me from mentioning that the department was obviously full of mental defects.
I go back to the forum, where I am told that if I will send them five dollars, they will replace the manual. To which I responded, "Surely you're joking." They closed the topic as answered. At which point, it became the principle of the thing. I was going to stick this out and see how long it took for them to fix this problem.
And after a series of events, seven weeks have passed, and I've now been told that they can't do anything for me unless I'm willing to post my full name and address on the message board.
Let me restate that: EA Games will not replace a manufacturing-related faulty product unless I either A.) pay them to replace it, or B.) publish my personal information for every stalker in the world to google for the rest of my life. Now, the CS guy knows I'm not going to leave information like that on a public forum, but because I'm "refusing to comply" with the request, EA can close the issue.
Now, did I need the manual? Of course not, but that's not the point. The point is that EA Games had an opportunity to spend five minutes of support time to email me a file and gain the appreciation of a customer, or spend weeks of support time to have a customer so annoyed that she will avoid EA games like she avoids muddy puddles, dog poop, and anything Peter Molyneux ever does until he apologizes for B&W.
And you should be mad at them too. After all, it's their fault this wasn't a thousand words about sexy stewardesses.