Friday, 16 January 2009

Welcome to the Xbox Hospital

On the 30th of December, my barely used Microsoft Xbox 360 finally gave up the ghost and developed the "red ring of death" (RROD [ruh-rod]), or to use the Microsoft terminology "three lights flashing red on the Ring of Light". I'd just got back from being away for Christmas and I suspect it may have caught a cold. We turned the heating off while we were away, and returned home to find out flat had been replaced by an ice box and I can only assume that my 360 caught the sniffles. May had contracted the winter vomiting thing, so while she was in bed I figured I'd rinse through Gears of War 2. Unfortunately, this was not to be as my 360 started displaying psychedelic chequerboard patterns and freezing, before finally refusing to start at all and displaying the RROD.

After filling in Microsoft's online form, I got an email advising me that there are three methods for returning consoles (electronic label, paper label, pre-paid shipping box) and that I would be assigned one of the methods. A little later my electronic UPS label arrived by email so I packaged up my console and checked out where the nearest UPS depot was (Eastleigh: 7.2 miles). After ensuring May had adequate supplies, I dashed out to the UPS depot on New Years Eve, arriving about 40 minutes before they shut for the day. After ringing the buzzer, the chap who came to the door took one look at my parcel, and opened the door saying "Welcome the the Xbox Hospital". A bit of quizzing revealed that my delivery was his 10th of the day for New Years Eve, and also that he gets an average of 40-50 a week. Pretty staggering given that I was using one of three shipping methods.

My console arrived back today, 16 days later, seemingly repaired but running in hilarious 640x480 resolution. I was all ready to phone Microsoft and complain about the fact I'd been paying for Live while my console was away but not able to use it, but I have to confess I was quietly impressed to discover they'd pre-empted me by putting a 30 day Live card in the box with the return.

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