Category Archives: Shopping

Beware of Newegg’s Return Policy

If a policy is wrongheaded feckless and corrupt I take it personally and consider it a moral obligation to sound off and not shut up until it’s fixed. – David H. Hackworth

So, I ordered an ASUS ZenBook Pro on January 5th, and it’s one of the most disappointing experiences in recent memory.  It arrived on the 9th and I was impressed as soon as I opened up the box.

First off, the thing is absolutely gorgeous.  The entire thing is aluminum with a brushed circular texture that looks and feels great.  The display is beautiful and the NanoEdge Touchscreen has an extremely thin bezel.  The whole effect is stunning.

The keyboard and touchpad both feel great, too.

The specs are off the charts for a laptop this size:

  • Intel Core i7-7700Q CPU
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB PCIe x4 SSD
  • GTX 1050 Ti GPU (4GB GDDR5)

Total size & weight – 14.4″W x 9.9″D x .74″W, 3.97 lbs.

Price – $1,699.00

I ran benchmarks on this and compared it to an HP Omen and an HP Spectre x360.  It blew away the Spectre, but didn’t compare that well to the Omen (but that was a full-on gaming rig with an NVidia GTX 1080 in it).

The end result was I was super thrilled with the laptop and looking forward to having it for a few productive years.  Once I buy a laptop, my first general step is to purchase a second AC adapter for it; I keep one under my desk and one in my backpack.

First Disappointment:
Try finding an extra power brick online. I dare you. Don’t bother asking ASUS either… they just tell you to check with online retailers.  The part number is ubiquitous with a couple of different variations, and finding one with the correct plug on it is pretty much impossible.

I attempted to reinstall Windows so I could use my own Windows 10 Pro license. Booting into the BIOS utility is a challenge and when I did, getting the BIOS to boot from the USB drive was impossible without some help from ASUS support. The instructions were nowhere to be found otherwise. I did an online chat with ASUS support and, to their credit, they were online within a few seconds and gave me the instructions I needed.  I’ve documented this process in case you need it.

Unfortunately, this led to….

Second Disappointment:
When you attempt to reinstall Windows, the keyboard mappings are non-standard. It ends up that the ‘0’ key, for example inputs an asterisk (*) and the ‘p’ key inputs a forward slash ‘/’. (I may have those backwards).

For this, ASUS support could only suggest updating the chipset drivers and installing another of their drivers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help when one is in the setup program and can’t change the drive partition size to the value one wants because the zero key produces an ‘invalid input’ error. ASUS support recommended I send it in for repairs. Instead, I RMA’d it to Newegg who cross-shipped me a new laptop.

Third Disappointment:
This laptop had the exact same issue with keys not mapping correctly.

Once I saw that was the case, I booted back to the pre-installed OS and updated the chipset drivers and other ASUS driver before I did anything else. At that point, Windows Update could no longer finish an update it downloaded and the laptop basically went through that attempt and failed every single time you shut it down.

After a day, it would no longer even shut down; only reboot. If the power key was held down until the power was off, it would start again as soon as the power key was released. If a shutdown was attempted through Windows, it would just reboot.

So, with a ton of regret, I decided to return the second defective laptop.

Guess what? I was out of my return window.

Fourth Disappointment:
Newegg screwed me over.

Newegg’s clock for my 30 day return policy apparently started ticking the moment I hit the “Submit” button on the order, and not when I actually received the laptop.

Here’s the timeline:

January 5 – Ordered the laptop with ShopRunner 2 Business Day shipping
January 9 – Laptop arrives
January 24 – RMA for defective laptop
January 25- Replacement laptop ships
January 30 – Replacement laptop arrives
February 6 – I’m told I can’t return the second laptop because I’m 2 days past the return window


1. The first four days of the return window, the laptop was in transit.
2. Worst case, my return window should have started January 9th, when I received it.
3. The first laptop was defective.
4. The replacement laptop was shipped on January 25th.
5. The replacement laptop arrived on January 30th… five more days of shipping
6. The return window wasn’t reset when the replacement arrived

If I had not asked for a replacement, I would have gotten a full refund. I could have then ordered a new one and gotten a new 30 day return window.


I guess I won’t be buying big ticket items on Newegg any longer.  That sucks… I’ve been a customer of their’s for years.



Shopping at IKEA. Or “The IKEA Game: Find the Hidden Utfart”

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkein

For the first time in my life, I got to experience the wonder and joy of shopping at IKEA. Here are a couple of impressions:

The IKEA Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too

Is everybody in Sweden three feet tall? The first couch I sat on made me feel like a giant! Granted, I’m not a small guy – I’m 6’2″ – but, still. My knees were up at about chest level, while the coffee table stood right below mid-shin. It was comical. Then, when I stood up, my head went straight into the hanging light fixture above the coffee table. The entertainment center was about 18″ tall and put the different A/V pieces about 10″ off the floor which is perfect for your remote control if you’re lying on the 7″ tall coffee table. I was waiting for Derek Zoolander to walk in:

Derek: “What is this? Furniture for ants?”
IKEA: “I’m sorry?”
Derek: “How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read… if they can’t even fit into these tiny chairs?”
IKEA: “Um…”
Derek: “This furniture needs to be at least… three times bigger than this!”

Free With Every Visit: Rosetta Stone Swedish!
I may not be the brightest bulb to come out of the tulip garden, but I’m not THAT stupid. However, I have absolutely no idea how to read the product signs in the store. Here’s an example (my apologies for the picture quality):


Is Grundtal the brand? The design? Is it Swedish for “Rail”? Is it Swedish for “HA HA! Made you squint and cock your head to the side like a confused dog!”?

And of course, no Grundtal is complete without a few Fintorps:


I may not have a clue what those words mean, but I think – I’m not sure – but I think the Fintorps slide onto the Grundtal prior to installation so one can Hänga one’s Mätning Koppar and Redskap.

In the Hedge Maze…
Remember that scene from The Shining (the Kubrick version) where Jack is chasing Danny through the frozen hedge maze? It’s not that walking through IKEA reminds me of Jack run-limping through the maze with an axe… it’s that watching Jack run-limp through the maze with an axe reminds me of how I felt trying to find the damned exit (Utfart. No.. really. Utfart.). You know what really sucked? We walked in and decided we wanted a fountain drink. There’s a nice – really nice – cafeteria at the entrance. And they had no paper cups (Pappersmuggar). Just cups for use in the cafeteria (Cafeteria). Guess where the paper cups are? That’s right!! At the exit! So, we had to walk the entire length of the store 12 times on each of two different levels to find the exit. Fortunately, the cobweb-draped skeletons we saw along the way helped show where dead ends might be (ba-dum-dum!). Once we had our drinks, we were ready to look at furniture.. which, of course, meant going outside and back into the entrance. By the end of it, I was run-limping through the store looking for an axe.

So, there you have it. Shopping at IKEA is fun. It’s good exercise. Now, if I could just figure out if that Lixtorp Kitchen I liked is the style, the color or package.