November 13, 2006 spout

Costco + Busted Xbox 360 = Happiness

After a scant 6 months of service, my Xbox 360 yielded up the dreaded to play this disc, put it in an Xbox 360 console” error (where do you think I was putting it?!?), which indicated a problem w/ the DVD drive. Ironically, this only became an issue after playing Gears of War for an hour or so (OMG is that a great game), even though it was happening consistently across my entire game library.

Calling 360 technical support yielded an offer of a repair, if I was willing to pay $140 (+ shipping) and wait 10 days for transit time. Having invested more than $1000 into my 360 and taken it into my home as a family member (ranking just below the kids but well above the dogs in the pecking order), I couldn’t abandon it. This part of my experience yielded a very important lesson:

Lesson #1: Modern-day consoles should be treated like PCs, not VCRs, and warranteed appropriately.

I’m so used to refusing the warranty when I purchase a piece of consumer electronics (and normally it is just a scam), that I didn’t even think to get the warranty on this one. On the other hand, I warranty ever Dell laptop I buy w/o a thought (and it has paid off many times). The XBox 360 (and I imagine the Play Station 3) are useful enough, that it’s worth the warranty fee when things go wrong and complicated enough that things are much more likely to do so, like your average laptop.

Luckily, my clever wife remembered that she’d purchased the 360 at Costco (she’s the one that brought it home — how cool a wife do I have?!?), which has a very liberal return policy. So, Costco took back my broken 360 and in return gave me:

  • a brand new XBox 360 (which plays Gears of War consistently wonderfully)
  • one extra controller
  • one extra game (Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1)
  • my old HD w/ our saved games (instead of the new one)
  • a $15 credit

You read that right — not only did they give me a new Xbox with more stuff in the bundle, but because the bundle was now cheaper, they refunded me the difference. I’m now hoping my 360 breaks every 6 months til they’re paying me to take the new one home w/ me… All of this leads us to lesson #2:

Lesson #2: Costco rocks.

In fact, Costco is such a great store, that I can ignore lesson #1, because I know that they’ll replace my Xbox again in 6-12 months if it breaks again.

P.S. I’m in favor of legalizing marijuana (although I’ve never smoked any myself)

P.S.S. I put in that postscript because I don’t want readers to think that I was scared off (or wised up, depending on your POV) from the response to my last post. : )