Just over a week ago, on a fine Saturday afternoon, I mixed myself a stiff drink, turned on my Xbox 360, and sat down for some Modern Warfare 2. It’s a favorite pastime of mine, mixing drinks with games. However, while scratching my nether regions and waiting for the map to load so I could get killed over and over again by kids with too much time on their hands, the screen froze. This happens on the odd occasion, so I reset the system, took a sip of my drink, resumed scratching (I should get that looked at) and got comfortable again, but it was not to be, the system froze yet again.
Now you can’t own an Xbox without knowing what the Red Ring of Death (RRoD) is, and no, it’s not that ring-like rash on your nutsack, a souvenir from the Vietnamese prostitute last summer. You see, the Xbox was made with a very serious flaw, and when that flaw is exposed, the system goes kaput and three quarters of the front facing green power ring turns red (see above picture). However, despite my Xbox freezing up over and over again on that particular Saturday, the ring was not red. I phoned customer support and the Customer Support Rep told me that my Xbox’s 3-year warranty had expired, unless, of course, The Red Ring of Death came out from its hiding place and reared its ugly face, because that demonic baby, he said, is covered under extended warranty. His advice, wait till I got the Red Ring of Death and then phone back so I don’t have to pay for the Xbox to get fixed. Pretty honest advice that you might not expect from a large corporation. So I did as he said and as soon as I turned the system off and on again, the Xbox opened its evil red eye (again, not unlike the Vietnamese prostitute).
“Satan, we finally meet,” I said, unsheathing my … phone?
So I phoned Xbox Customer Support back and they emailed me a UPS slip lickety split (who says that?). They instructed me to detach the hard drive so all of my game data, achievements, and records of dorkiness, like my high school retainer sitting in my bathroom drawer, would be preserved, then pack up the Xbox in a cardboard box, haul it to UPS and slap the UPS slip on it. Upon completing these tasks, my Xbox would be returned to me in 2-3 weeks and the Red Ring of Death would be vanquished. 2-3 weeks sans videogames is a lifetime to me, but what could I do? So on Monday evening, I did as they said and then I waited.
On Wednesday morning I received an email at 10:23 AM just to let me know the Xbox had arrived at their service center. Why is 10:23 AM important? Keep reading, you’ll see!
At 2:04 pm of that very same day, I was delivered another email letting me know the Xbox had said its goodbyes to Bill Gates and was returning home. Already! I was elated. I danced, sang, and laughed, and because of this, was ejected from my work meeting. As I breakdanced out of the meeting room I showed them my briefcase and threatened my co-workers with a well-aimed predator missile that would be arriving shortly after my departure. Nerdy gaming revenge — HuZZaH!
So on the Friday after work I had a hankering for some gaming and I prayed to the video game gods (Mario and Luigi?) that my Xbox be waiting for me at the apartment, exorcised of its demons. And I got my wish, an Xbox arrived, but I was surprised to read on an attached note that this was not my Xbox. Whaaaa? This was a replacement console. I checked the manufacturing date on the back and was thrilled to see that this Xbox was 3 years newer than the one I had sent, which meant that the regular wear and tear endured over the years of me owning it had been erased. On top of that, Xbox gave me a month free of Xbox Live as a way of saying, “Sorry we made a system that breaks easier than a used condom.” <--That might explain the itch and red ring on the sack...
While I agree Microsoft messed up in the manufacturing of the Xbox, they did a fine job scratching and tickling my red-ringed nether regions to keep me happy. 6 days total without a working Xbox and only 4 business days to get it back. Fairly impressive.