Some stories are just too ridiculous to be believed. Kim and Blaine Galleher of Nome, Alaska, have been through an unbelievable Xbox 360 “red ring of death” runaround. Blaine, who contacted me after a newspaper wrote about it, insists that it’s true.
As reported by the Seattle Times, the Gallehers bought an Xbox 360 for their 13-year-old son. It died in mid-February of the defect problem which we’d reported as a pervasive problem last September. Since Microsoft replaces defective boxes under warranty, it should have been a simple thing to replace it. It wasn’t.
The Gallehers live in a part of Alaska where the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t deliver. Their home address isn’t recognized in shipping databases, and they pick up their mail at a P.O. box. But Microsoft’s representatives repeatedly told the Gallehers that they can’t deliver to a P.O. box. The Gallehers patiently explained the problem on every call, only to be called back by another shipping representative and told it wasn’t possible to ship to the P.O. box. Repeatedly. The Gallehers live in the town where the Iditarod sled dog race ends. But apparently this is just a little too far out of the way for the shipping companies and Microsoft to handle.
Kim Galleher (pictured holding her Xbox 360 at the Iditarod finish line) launched a crusade to both get the empty box in which to return the broken Xbox 360 and get the repaired Xbox 360 sent back to her.
In her letter to Microsoft games chief Robbie Bach, she wrote, “You guys at Microsoft ought to be embarrassed and ashamed that a group of women at Victoria Secret can figure out how to send a bra to me via UPS and yet Microsoft can’t figure out how to send an empty box.”
David Dennis, an Xbox spokesman, said in an emailed statement to the Seattle Times, “For this specific situation, there was a process breakdown with our agents regarding the validation of the customer’s address. We’ve spoken to the customer and are in the process of resolving the issue.” Dennis declined further comment to me.
The Seattle Times referred to this as an Abbott and Costello routine. It reminds me more of the absurdist play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Blaine Galleher said that 20 phone calls later, they have an empty box now, but not a repaired console. The story has gotten wide circulation across the web in the past few days. Blaine says, “The whole thing stinks to high heaven.”
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