It's dead, Jim. (part 3)

Apparently there's a little problem with the wireless racing wheel as well. Something about them smoking when plugged in. Microsoft is taking information from people with the wheel so they can send out a "retrofit kit" to correct the problem. Although they have a form for mailing or faxing, I called instead, so I could be sure they got my information. Besides, without a 360, it's not like I don't have anything better to do than sit on hold with 1-800-4MY-XBOX. I called on Friday, and a very nice young man got my information in the system and got a manager to approve it's addition to the retrofit kit queue (the devices aren't ready to ship yet, so they're building a list to send to when available). This apparently took some effort, as he spent a long time trying to get a hold of a manager, but he repeatedly took me off hold to tell me he was still trying, apologizing up and down for the delay. (In retrospect, I suppose he could have just been going out for a smoke instead, but I saw no reason to suspect anything. He certainly had a very helpful attitude.)

Anyway, on Saturday, my wife got a call from the Xbox Service Center, and they left a message requesting I call 1-800-4MY-XBOX. I did so that night. The recorded answering voice recognized my phone number and told me my pending Xbox repair order was open and had been received at the service center, the same status it has been in for a week or so. (Handy feature, since their website is flakier than a pie crust.) I got connected to a live person, who told me the reason for the call was to tell me that they had received my information for the racing wheel, and they don't have anything to send out yet, but rest assured, when they do, I'll get one. Oh...kay... nothing I didn't already know, but... uh, yeah.

Fast-forward to today. On a lark, I hit the service.xbox.com site. I don't know my serial number off-hand, but I was pretty sure it started with a sequence of three zeroes and a nine. But, the serial number registered to me started with one zero and a nine. Sure, I could've been mistaken, but I wondered. Was this an indication that a replacement console was on its way? Others had noted a change in serial number on the web site before they received a replacement. Nothing in my email about a status change or a return tracking number...

I got home, and there's a message on the machine asking me to call 1-800-4MY-XBOX with a reference number. Could it be...? The reference number is different than the one for the original console repair. Don't tell me they're calling me about the wheel again...

The recorded voice tells me that it recognizes my phone number, and that my console has been repaired and should be back to me in up to 5 business days. Well cool. If it takes the same three days it took the coffin to get from there to here, and three days it took to get my 360 from here to there, then I'm thinking it will probably take three days again to go from there to here. The lack of an email with a tracking number is a little unsettling, though. Have they sent it yet? Is it coming? Or is it just "in process", waiting to be put in a UPS box with a tracking number assigned? If I had a tracking number, would I just see "Billing Information Received" for the next few days while they get their act together?

Oh, yeah, the call was about the wheel. "We have your information, we don't have anything yet, we're working on it, please be patient." Be patient? Come on, you called me.

And, I was right. The serial number is different. I remembered the "0009" correctly; the new serial number is very different.

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