Australia Will Send Help to the Philippines

The Philippines was featured in the news on Australian TV these past few days because of a landslide in Leyte that buried an entire village in mud last Friday. The tragedy was appalling considering that something similar has already happened in the past in the same area.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of those confirmed dead or still missing under the buried village. I just wish the whole incident could have been avoided.

Thankfully, there were nations that gave their support and aid including Australia. According to an article on The Age newspaper’s website, Australia will “send a team of engineers to help asses the damage” caused by the devastation as well as provide a $1 millioin aid package “for immediate relief and medical assistance”.

Published in: on February 20, 2006 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

A laptop of my own

I’ve been looking to purchase a laptop since late last year when we learned that we could salary sacrifice for it at work. I’ve been researching the net and visiting electronics shops to compare prices and features but nothing could beat the offers from Dell’s website. Gj bought an Inspiron from them late last year and aside from some difficulty with the mousepad (which could be easily remedied), I must say that the thing works well. Still, I have been hoping that I could buy a decent laptop made by Toshiba (heard that their laptops are tops) in my price range. Several trips to various stores quickly changed my mind as I compare price and specifications. Other brands also pale in comparison when I consider that I could get a better machine at the same price from Dell with the added advantage of being able to customise its features.

Late last month, I finally conceded that I’d most probably buy from Dell and signed up to be included in their mailing list for promos and discounts. At that time, they were offering free hard disk (from 80GB to 100GB) and memory (from 512MB to 1GB) upgrades plus free delivery. Sounds good, but I wasn’t decided yet so I’ve let the promotion period pass and regularly checked their site for other offers. I figured I could always wait a few more weeks to see if I could get a better deal and saw several combinations of free upgrades and other items go by (free spare battery, free leather carry case, free DVD upgrade, free memory upgrade, free hard drive upgrade, free delivery). However, the offer of a free hard disk upgrade coupled with the memory upsize was the most useful to me and I’ve been waiting for it to come back for some time now.

Finally, a visit to the site last Friday bore fruit. On a 4-day offer that would end today, they are giving free hard drive and memory upgrades, a discount of $200 and a free carry case with free delivery! I quickly chose the specifications for my system, took note of the price tag (which was still almost $150 over my budget) and saved it the shopping cart for later reference. I had the intention of having Gj look over the specifications over the weekend and finalise it once he gave his approval. Of course, with all the household chores waiting for my attention, I forgot all about it and only remembered about the saved shopping cart last night. Good thing the promo ends today instead of yesterday or I would have missed out again.

After going over the specs, hubby made minor suggestions (for the wireless connection and hard drive partitioning) and commented that the offer is a pretty good one. Then he asked if I’ve seen any coupons on the Dell website (which, according to him might lower the price even more). In all the times I’ve been looking at their site, I never once saw a coupon or a promotional code and I told him so. He remember using one when he bought his notebook and searched high and low for it by navigating through Dell’s site and even using Google. We didn’t find any coupons but I came across this forum thread where several guys are discussing how they love their Dell machines. In one post, a guy mentioned that you could get a further reduction in the online price if you create a shopping cart online and call the customer service number. Hmmm… interesting notion, that.

Now, I’d be the first to admit that I avoid calling customer service whenever possible as my stress levels seem to go up everytime I’m on the phone with them. I rationalised however, that in this rare instance, I actually may get something of value for my trouble. So I drank some water, took a deep breath and dialled the number. I got through to a lady with an Indian accent and I told her that I’m looking at buying a laptop and have even created a shopping cart. She asked me to quote the cart number, my name and phone number and transferred me to a sales rep.

“Hello, this is S-. How may I help you?”

“Well, good morning! I’m interested in buying a laptop and I’ve already created a shopping cart online. I’m just wondering if there’s any way to er, perhaps, reduce the price?”

“Ok, what’s the cart number?” I quoted the cart number again.

“Hmmm… the price you have at the moment is a very good price already. Could you hold on for a moment while I see what I can do for you?”

“Ah, sure,” all the while thinking that the tip from the forum might have worked for them but it’s looking like it won’t do any good for me.

“Hello? Well, I could only go down to (price less $39.10). The price you got is already quite low for this configuration with all the free upgrades.”

“Can’t you do it for (price less $79.10) to make it an even amount?”

“No, I could only give it to you for (price less $39.10) as (price less $79.10) is already too steep for me.”

“Uhm, okay. I’m happy with that.”

She asked for my credit card and shipping details, told me to expect the computer on or before 03 March then we swapped contact numbers and hung up. A few minutes later, I got an order confirmation by email. Well, what do you know? The tip worked! It may not sound a lot but a discount of $39.10 is better than nothing. Besides, that amount could buy a good meal for hubby and me in a decent restaurant. Not bad at all, considering it only took a few minutes worth of my time talking to someone at the other end of the line.

Published in: on February 20, 2006 at 12:38 pm  Comments (3)