The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Corporate Responsibility? Try Returning a Phone Call

There are few things that upset me any more.

Stress, as reported, is a killer and I can attest to the toll it can take on a person who considers it a necessary part of their life.  I have learned to employ "The 24 Hour Rule".

Whatever it is, whatever is bothering you or causing you angst, simply ask yourself one question.

"What bearing will this have on my life in 24 hours?"

To my experience, the majority of perceived problems or worries will have zero impact within the next 24 hours.

But there is always the exception...that one nagging thing that stays under your skin with an insatiable itch.  Let me set it up for you.

A few months back, a social worker from Dell Children's Hospital called HeliOS and asked if we could supply a laptop to one of their financially disadvantaged patients.  Valyncia has been beaten badly by multiple illnesses.  From a previous blog:

"Three weeks ago, I accepted a reference from the Dell Children's Hospital to deliver a computer to a 12 year old girl.  Valyncia is an A and B student and home schooled.  She is home schooled for a good reason.

She has a rare, incurable and terminal blood disorder.  She won't live to see her 15th birthday.  On top of that she has Cerebral Palsy and she lives her waking hours in leg braces." 

I met with Valyncia's parents the next day and delivered the laptop.

It wasn't long after that, we began receiving calls for other kids at Dell Children's Hospital, asking for desktops and laptops.  I had advised the social worker to pass our name around for others who might qualify for a HeliOS computer.

In a phrase, we were slammed.  It wasn't long before we ran out of laptops.  I called the social work office at the hospital and spoke to another social worker and advised her that we were out of laptops and we couldn't take any more referrals for them at this time.

While I was talking to her, it occurred to me that the Dell Children's Hospital might be better served by contacting, oh, I don't know....maybe Dell?  I don't think Dell runs out of laptops.  I mentioned it to the social worker and she laughed.  She said she hadn't thought of that and we ended the conversation.

Three weeks later, I got a call from another parent wanting a laptop for their child,  I again explained that we were out and I would take her number and call her when we had more in.  I then called the social work office at the hospital to remind them not to furnish our number until we called them and informed them that we had more laptops.

In that conversation, I also asked if she had contacted Dell about maybe supplying hospital kids with laptops.

She said that she had, on numerous occasions and with numerous people but as of yet, had not received a call or an email back.

This is old news to HeliOS.  We have been contacting Dell since 2008, hoping to form some sort of partnership with them.  To date, we have never received a call or email back from anyone.  We're talking over 50 calls and emails to 21 different people.

It was a sales service rep attending the 2011 Texas Linux Fest that finally drilled down into the problem and emailed us an answer.

Dell is contracted with a refurbishing company and all old equipment, either decommissioned or broken, must go to them for repair or disposal.

Now how friggin' easy was that?

Case closed.

Problem solved.

Answer received.

Stress alleviated.

I think what chapped my nether regions the most is that we have gone through the correct channels to partner with Dell Youth Connect or the predecessor to that program.  We've done so twice a year since 2008.

Nada.  Not one answer, acknowledgement or response.

So as we found with Acer, not only do companies become too big to fail, they can also become too big to care.  They see "global need" because it is politically expedient but they refuse to look right under their own nose.  And I no longer give a flip about Dell calling us back.  It is obvious that we've been put on hold for an indeterminate period.

Cue Musak.

But when Dell won't even answer inquiries concerning questions from their own sponsored hospitals....

There's something wrong there.  But hey, they're taking care of kids in Kenya and India...and that's all well and good.  They are doing good work.  Possibly that is more important to them than tending to the garden in their own back yard.

Or maybe, the politics don't add up for them to do so.

All-Righty Then...


Anonymous said...

While I was talking to her, it occurred to me that the Dell Children's Hospital might be better served by contacting, oh, I don't know....maybe Dell? I don't think Dell runs out of laptops

You sir are a master of the subtle dig. Kudos.

Amenditman said...

I think these huge corporations are intentionally trying to make use feel small and meaningless.
We have a duty to ourselves to constantly remind them that we are customers, not consumers, and insist that they treat us as such.

Gavin said...

Well, heck, I cannot remember if I have EVER given Dell money, so I guess it makes sense that they would not listen to someone like me. ;) In fact, I have been a sort of anti-customer to them for over a decade, recommending against them and slamming them for that non-standard ATX connector.

The lack of care they put into their hardware (since 1998) is indicative of their corporate attitude, IMO. Too big to care, indeed.

Although, what the heck, I will throw them a bone here: too big to be effective. There, not quite so antagonistic now. :P