Now just imagine you buy a notebook with an external floppy/cd-rom-drive. Some people do things like that. The notebook comes with Windows 98 preinstalled and boasts a nifty utility that lets you connect and disconnect the external drive without having to set your computer to sleep, or turn it off altogether. Joy, joy, joy.
After a while, you decide to upgrade the operating system to Windows 2000. Some people do things like that. Suddenly, the nifty utility is no more. The nifty homepage of the manufacturer doesn’t provide any information on this issue. You call the local customer center which first advises you to check out the manufacturer’s US homepage. You do that. Nothing. You call the customer center again, which, as you find out in the process, isn’t really as local as you thought it was, being located in the north of Germany whereas the number you dialed lead to a location in the south of Vienna.
Geography aside, the man on the phone takes about 30 minutes to get all your data together, including the 30-digit serial number of the notebook printed at its bottom. Then he listens to your problem. He puts you on hold, enquiring with a colleague. The colleague tells him, and he tells you, that there is no possibility to connect and disconnect the external drive under Windows 2000 without chloroforming the computer. Great, you answer. Perhaps, you suggest, this information could be provided somewhere on the homepage. After all, you add, there must be many people calling in on this issue. Upgrading operating systems is certainly not such a rare occurrence. The man on the phone laughs. Oh well, he says, the guys from the homepage certainly wouldn’t do that. Why, you ask, full of innocence. Because it’s bad promotion when something doesn’t work anymore, he says. But isn’t it even worse promotion when people find out by themselves that upgrading their operating system results in downgrading the user-friendliness of their machine, after having searched the manufacturer’s homepage completely in vain? Wouldn’t they get even angrier about not having been informed? Oh, but at least you have such a nice voice, the man on the phone says. Now that is not going to help your computer either, you say. Both of you laugh. What fun it is to be a supported customer.