How Not to Run a Company

Pronunciation: \a grunt articulated as a syllabic m or n with a voiceless onset, or as the syllable ˈhə or ˈhəⁿ, often ending in a glottal stop, and uttered with a range of intonations; often read as ˈhə\
Function: interjection
Etymology: imitative of a grunt
Date: 1608
—used to express surprise, disbelief, or confusion, or as an inquiry inviting affirmative reply

I am confused.
I am angry.
But mainly I am confused.

What has confused me now you ask?

Dell Inc.

Why has Dell confused me you ask?

I'm glad you did.

On Dec 5, 2009 I ordered a Dell XPS 8000 computer and 2 monitors. On Dec 14, 2009 at 10:23 am I received at my door 2 Dell monitors. This is beautiful, this is commerce in the 21st century, and this is the beauty of the internet and one man's vision (Michael Dell) all working as it should.

However, no computer.

After a review of my order confirmation email from Dell I discovered that the estimated delivery date for the computer was Jan 4, 2010.


I give them a call to see what the hold up is. After listening to the call menu I select the right number and sit on hold for a very long time. No problem it’s the Christmas season and I'm sure they are very busy. Finally I get an answer from a person who asks me why I'm calling, I explain, she then says she will put me through to the right department. I am then placed on hold again.


I thought that’s why I listened to the menu when I first called in. So I would be placed in the queue for the right department. Now I wait some more.

Finally I get another person who asks me again why I am calling. I explain again, she puts me on hold again and says she will check into why this computer is taking so long to build.

She comes back on the line and starts reading a script that is supposed to reinforce Dell's commitment to deliver.... blah blah blah.


I interrupt her "reading" and ask again as to why it is taking so long to build and deliver this computer.

She then returns to human form and suggests they may have run out of something.


I spend the next few days clinging to my order status on Dells website. While there I discover a discussion forum with a lengthy discussion regarding delays in XPS computers.

These people also seem angry and confused.

Now I'm becoming somewhat alarmed that I may have made a rather large mistake with this attempted purchase. I decide that I should send an email to Dell and ask again as to why this is taking so long. This I feel will start a paper trail and may be of some assistance to me.

My email simply states "Why is it taking so long to ship this computer?"

The response was rather vague, although they did inform me that "one of the prime reasons for the lead time on this product is because we build the product depending upon your needs".


Don't you do that for all the computers?

Oh and they also informed me that the estimated delivery time is no longer Jan 4, 2010, it is now Jan 20, 2010.


So let me summarize. Dell is a business that sells computers mainly through online and telephone sales. That is their model, no bricks and mortar. Good idea, wonderful actually, works great for Amazon and has worked well for Dell.

Now if you sell most of your product on line and have been doing that for quite a while you would think that your IT systems would be very robust in keeping track of an order's progress and informing your customers as to what is happening with their order.

You would think.

Let's use Amazon as an example, we ordered quite a few items from Amazon for this Christmas. We received email confirmations of the order, our online account kept us up to date as to the status, and the items were shipped and delivered very quickly. However some of the items were not in stock, Amazon told us this while we were creating the order, they shipped the items they had in stock right away, and kept sending us information as to the status of the other items.

Now let's look at Dell.

When I ordered the Dell XPS 8000 they made no mention of the fact that it would take 46 days to actually deliver this computer.


If I go to my account at Dell and ask to see a list of my orders it tells me I don't have any orders.


If I access my account via the email they sent confirming my orders I do see my orders in my account. The order status for my monitors which were delivered Dec 14, 2009 says they are in transit. There is a delivered status available but apparently Dell still does not know that they have been delivered. The courier’s site says they have been delivered with the exact date that I electronically signed for them. Apparently the courier’s site does not communicate with Dells site.


The on line estimated delivery date for the computer still says Jan 5, 2010 in spite of the email from Dell on Dec 17, 2009 telling me that it is now Jan 20, 2010.


How can a company as large and relatively successful as Dell, which derives the vast majority of its sales on line, not have information systems that work?

How can that be?

Would you not think that Dell would have the finest IT sales and support system that the world could produce?

I have sent an email to Michael Dell asking these same questions, to date I have not received a response. I did get a phone call from a nice lady who informed me that they have run out of mother boards for the Dell XPS 8000.


All of this leaves me dazed and confused, and still waiting for a Dell XPS 8000.


daytrader233 said...


And I checked the message boards and found many angry (former) customers that cancelled their orders due to the long wait.

Thanks for the heads up. I had planned on buying my wife's son a new Dell gaming PC once he graduates Marines boot camp in March. I'll have to reconsider getting it from Dell however.

Hope it shows up on your doorstep sooner than later.

longandwrong said...

You are stuck in what is termed "Dell Hell". They are nice machines, but only when they arrive.

2 monitors? Like a *proper* trader?! ;-)

Solfest said...

Some day I'll have 12 like you. :)

KC Trader said...

I wonder if Michael Dell realizes that his business model isn't Dell's problem, its logistics. You have to wonder how Dell flawed their Just-in-time inventory method when they cut cost.

Solfest said...

That is what I can't believe, this is simple stuff.

If one of their suppliers has let them down then all Dell has to do is communicate this with their customers.

Tell us what is going on.

That and stuff like the on line account not updating the order status is just unbelievable for a company the size and stature of Dell.

Maybe Amazon should buy them and show them how to run an on line company.

TST said...

As I had thought it easier to buy and to upgrade later, I bought my custom-made trading PC from regular PChardware store which completed within only 2 hours of waiting. The only problem the CPU fan quite noisy but easily rectified later by aftermarket part... Really sorry for your bad exp with Dell.

Jules said...


I'm sorry Solfest. I can't help it. You might be really really angry (I would most definitely be, and would be screaming expletives at the 2nd person that put me on hold), but you still make me laugh LOL!

I realize now why I ALWAYS only order laptops from Dell (ALL my laptops are Dell laptops). The monitor and the mothers and fathers all come together in one piece :-)

My PCs have always been built from scratch by D. I suspect that's the reason I chose him. I know I will always be pc illiterate. LOL!

I'm thinking, you might just get your PC after chinese new year....ie. in Feb 2010..I think...

Solfest said...

This has changed my whole life.

Wake up, make coffee, check order status with Dell, drink coffee, read news, check order status with Dell, open charts, drink more coffe, check order status with Dell.

The order status with Dell is like the Christmas holiday charts, it never moves.

Solfest said...

Dell is now showing the computer has been shipped.


I popped over to the courier's web site and they tell me they can't tell me anything on line.


I have to phone them to find out where the shipment is at.


Oh well at least its moving.

I think.

Solfest said...

My trading computer has officially died. Well not really dead but stripped to its core and left out in the cold.

My new trading computer is in Calgary. I know this because I can now track it on the courier’s web site.

I however am not in Calgary.

I am watching flat meaningless markets from my kid's computer.

2010 is off to a great start. :)

FX said...

Most amusing post of 2009. isn't about trading but about computers.

Solfest said...

FX I am currently drawing charts in the snow with a hockey stick.

It gets a little hard to read when the wind blows.

Kind of like reading one of LW's charts.

Solfest said...

The Dell XPS 8000 has arrived.

It even has all the bits I requested.

Seems to work fine but do I ever have a ton of stuff to download.