Friday, January 21, 2011

An Adventure in Queretaro

Every gringo who lives in San Miguel, or Matzalan, or Merida or......wherever in Mexico, has one or probably more of these stories but the stories always make me laugh and think, yes, I am in a different culture. Not just because it happened but also because of my response to the situation. In the States I'd get all demanding and outraged but here, at first I get frustrated and then polite and then totally proud of myself for having gotten through it. I'm also thankful that I have Ned along because he is always calm and polite. If he goes through my frustrated/outraged stage I don't think anyone knows it. Me, I'm like an open book. The Mexicans probably know I am not a happy camper. But I'm getting ahead of the story........

I had a paper jam in my printer and after clearing it I started getting a message that read, Service Call Error 1224. I found out on line that the error had to do with the paperfeed mechanisms being out of synch. I couldn't fix it. On October 13, 2010 I sent a Customer Care request to Epson in Mexico City asking where I could find a authorized repair center for the 3880 Professional Wide Format printer. On November 19 (over a month later) they answered and told me that ALL of the authorized repair sites were on their website. The list had not been there the month before. Yea! I started down the alphabetical listing and there was one in Queretaro which is about 40 miles away from us.

Ned called them this week. He was prepared to do the call in Spanish but he asked if someone spoke English. Yes! So he told them the problem and he made sure to tell them that this was one of the professional wide-format printers. Yes, they could fix it. He asked for directions. The person he was talking with said just a minute and passed the call on to another person who gave him very detailed directions IN ENGLISH.

So yesterday with the detailed directions in hand and also our map of Queretaro we headed out with the printer. Everything was working perfectly...exit the freeway, be in the middle lane not the left-hand lane, don't turn until the second bridge, turn at the Pemex. Oops, immediately after we turned at the Pemex we were in the right lane of a one way street and the repair place was on the left so we couldn't turn in. This is always bad news. The way the streets are laid out here it is not possible to "circle the block" and come around again. Some 10 or 15 minutes later we were finally able to circle back to the front of the shop and parked the car.

We walked in and told the man at the front desk that we had a Epson 3880 to be repaired. He told us in Spanish that they did not repair the professional printers. We asked him if anyone spoke English. He said, no. No? But Ned had talked to two people who spoke good English. We check with him that the number Ned called was the number of the shop. Si. But no one speaks English here? No.

This is when my frustration and outrage begin to show up. Not Ned. He keeps talking and he finds out that there is another shop in town that handles the professional printers. Ned gets him to draw a map and even go look up the phone number for us. So off we go again.

Just forget about the two people who spoke English on the phone with Ned. We will never know the answer to that one.

We are able to drive directly to the new place without having to "circle back around." As soon as we start to tell them the number of the printer, 38..., they complete the number 80. The man who is helping us is smiling and shaking his head, Si, they can repair the 3880. He goes with Ned to get it out of the car. This printer weighs about 45 pounds and is roughly 20x30x17, plus it is in a box that allows for it to be packed with styrofoam buffers. It is large and awkard to carry. But no problem for this man. He puts it on his shoulder and comes up a tall spiral staircase with it. Amazing!

About this time the Director General, Engineer Carlos Velasco, comes into the shop. In Mexico engineers are addressed as we would a doctor in the States. Ingeniero Velasco. He speaks some English, so we have one of those English/Spanish conversations with him. I have confidence in Ingeniero Velasco. We leave the printer.

When we get home I go back to Epson's website to the alphabetical list of all the authorized inkjet repair places in Mexico. Sure enough, Ingeniero Velasco's company is listed but it is near the bottom of the list since the name starts with an S. There is no way of knowing which of the companies in Queretaro would be authorized to repair the professional printers. We had called to ask the first one and been told Si.

Now if all goes well, in a few days I will get an email from Ingeniero Velasco telling me what is wrong with the printer and what it will cost. A week later it will be repaired. But as all of you who live in Mexico know, this may be only the first half of this adventure.

13 comments:

Calypso said...

Amiga - I have a stack of electronics waiting to9 head to the U.S. for repair - more likely they will be discarded there ;-0

Billie said...

Calypso, this printer can't be discarded. It has to be fixed and I really think it will be fixed here. If I had bought it in MX, Epson would have sent a repair guy to my house to fix it. Of course the initial cost would have been more too.

Steve Cotton said...

I love these stories. They are a good way to teach us the true meaning of grace. And I, for one, have to keep learning.

Billie said...

Steve, me too.

Dennis Fagan, Austin said...

cool story, love this blog, Billie

Dennis Fagan, Austin said...

cool story; love this blog, Billie

Billie said...

Thanks, Dennis. There are a million stories like this in MX but yesterday this one was mine.

Nancy said...

I love your story, Billie, and you're right, we all have those kind of experiences... but I will never stop shaking my head and laughing, as it is just the way things are here! I really hope that it is repaired on the timeline you gave, most of my situations like this involve the dreaded "fifteen days.....!"

Billie said...

Nancy, I'm trying to be optimistic but as you notice I left it open to the other 1/2 of the story.

Sam and Bob said...

I'm sure you would have enjoyed a glass of wine and a nice prime rib dinner at that point!!

Billie said...

A prime rib dinner would have been lovely but all I got was a Costco hotdog!

Jan said...

Oh, we have those stories too and they are all funny. Bruce used to get mad and I used to remain calm. I can be calm about everything but dealing with the banks. It's all part of life here. However, I have some horror stories of dealing with US companies too! Good luck.

Sarah said...

Why aren't we as graceful and flexible with people Stateside?
People are people.


Sarah