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Hey Zune and Microsoft - You *almost* got it right....

I was piddling on Friday.  The boys from Navasota Valley Electric had just about every inch of the driveway filled up with service trucks as they tied me to the grid so there wasn’t a whole lot I could do.  My daughter emailed me from Italy and said she had finally made up her mind to change from an iPod to a Zune music player. Well Glory Be!

Zune left  -- iPod right

Zune on the left -- iPod on the right

Regular blog readers will remember I am a Zune Fan;  you have probably also caught on to the fact that my daughter and I share a love of music.  For over a year now, I have been trying to get her to ditch the iPod and the expensive iTunes marketplace and get the Zune so we could “socialize”  within the Zune environment and share music.

It isn’t easy to find something you can really share and be passionate about with a grown child.  It is even harder when that child is 5000 miles away in Italy and you get to see her and her family once a year at best.   So maybe writing about music and Zunes and seemingly inconsequential issues is trivial BS to be putting in the blog.  .  .  . or maybe it is the most important thing I have written in several weeks.  You have to “feel the force”  – you either get it or you don’t.

Saturday morning I have an email waiting for me  — “Got my Zune and it’s PERFECT. Except the fact that the Zune Marketplace are a bunch of anti-military hippies. I’m about to call and yell at them” . ; She says to email her when I get up – 8 hours time difference between Central Texas and Italy. You need a Zune Pass –which is a monthly subscription for the Zune to work as it is designed. Sounds like that is  where the problem lies.

Well, the Zune implementation has not gone all that smooth… I will let her tell you what happened. Umm, and yeah, she tends to be very direct and outspoken.

I needed a Zune, I just couldn’t go without one any longer. I hate supporting the socialist liberal agenda that is Apple Corp. and I NEEDED music. I refuse to be a dirty music stealer, because I actually love music and the people that make it. So enter Microsoft and their elusive mysterious Zune.

An Air Force Zune in Italy

It came in the strangest box I’ve ever seen and was small enough to put in my purse. I felt like I had a freakin’ golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s music emporium! Get home, download the software, so far so good. Put the baby to bed for his nap, did the chores I needed to and set out on my quest for music world domination (classic rock, americana, folk music, rock music, emo, hip hop, techno, Britney Spears- I could get it all if I wanted to (which I don’t, I want the good stuff)!)

Get my Zune Pass, there’s an issue. Doesn’t have AE as a State choice for the billing address. No problem, you run into it all the time as military stationed overseas. You learn the ways to fool the system “APO,NY” No dice. “New York, NY” No dice. Old address that I don’t even use anymore. No dice. REALLY? Deep breath, and a forum search- nothing but a few things about “Poor me, Zune won’t ship me a Zune Original” (APOBOX.com and quit your bitchin’)

It had to be a glitch right? No one would seriously be ignorant enough to leave out the thousands and thousands (millions now with the downrange folks) of servicemembers out of an American product, right? RIGHT?

So I called them. I waited on hold with bad music blaring, and some guy comes on that I’m pretty sure didn’t learn English as a first language. He seems genuinely concerned “Other than this, how’s your day going?” Well it’s going fabulous Punjab, my husband’s gone on TDY AGAIN, my kid threw up in the middle of the grocery store, I don’t have a clean uniform for Monday yet, my house is wrecked and I just bought a $280 paperweight. “My research team is telling me that the Zune marketplace isn’t even launched overseas yet, so even if you had a Zune Pass you would not be able to download music” Strikes 2 & 3, Ashish! I sat in the fabulous Hotel Desiree over the summer and fell in LOVE with all things Zune watching my dad download music from a wireless Italian internet connection. In Italy. In Europe.  It worked.

On hold. Again.

He’s back with more bullshit excuses, so it’s time to escalate it. More on hold, before the “manager” I’m assuming, named ‘Alexis’ who didn’t sound male or female, nor like she had come from a family that would have named him/her Alexis. Alexis tells me there’s nothing she can do, they just simply “don’t accept” APO addresses. “You must live in the United States.” And this is when the temper flares and I start crying. “But I *do* live in America! I have a Texas state driver’s license, I pay taxes. I buy my kid clothes from the Gap, I watch NASCAR and football for god’s sake. I’m overseas because of the United States.”

“I understand how you feel. My father was a soldier..”

Oh Alexis, shouldn’t have played that card. First of all- not a soldier, I’m an Airman, thanks. Second of all, I don’t know what godforsaken country your office is located, but I’m pretty sure that the last time I checked, my country (America, if anyone’s keeping score) had the greatest, biggest, and best military in the world. Time for the ultimatum “I want a Zune Pass NOW or I want a refund.”

On hold. Again. Imagine my surprise. This time it’s for over 10 minutes, long enough for me to calm down and long enough that they figure I’ll probably hang up. Maybe they’ve never had an angry, independent Texas woman call?

“Ma’am, I’m sorry. There’s no way that I can give you a Zune Pass today (like if I call back tomorrow it’d be a different answer?) Maybe you could buy a prepaid card or get someone in the states to buy you a Pass (I could do that, and it solves the problem for me, but it doesn’t solve THE overall issue!) blah blah blah, more talking points..blah blah”

“Yeah thanks Alexis, you guys helped a shit ton. I’m glad I wasted my hard earned money to call from Italy and dance all day with you . Oh, and before I forget, thanks for being anti-military and pointing out that even though I bought the Zune from an AMERICAN Air Force base, with an AMERICAN debit card, and with hard earned dollars from the AMERICAN government- that it’s not good enough for you.”

There’s a solution to everything, and there’s always a workaround. But that’s not the issue here. The issue is the kid downrange that has been working 15 hour days and just spent his money (earned in blood, lots of sweat, and some tears he doesn’t let anyone else see) on a Zune which he then probably had to send to his mom’s house, and then wait weeks or months to get in the mail at some godforsaken FOB (Forward Operating Base) on the border of Afghanistan. And now, whenever he does find the time and the stars align enough to get a decent internet connection, he logs on to register for a ZUNE PASS. Something so insignificant in the scheme of things, but maybe he wants to listen to a song that reminds him of home, or maybe download something to rock out to with his buddies tomorrow. And all of sudden, after all those things come together- he’s told NO by an American company, because he’s in the military. Like his money isn’t good enough and the fact that he is 18 years old and in harm’s way is HIS bad.

We deserve better, Microsoft. Don’t make me go buy another iPod.

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Hey Zune and Microsoft - You *almost* got it right...., 8.7 out of 10 based on 7 ratings
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1 comment to Hey Zune and Microsoft – You *almost* got it right….

  • I use an iPod, I’m on my second one, and I haven’t bought anything from that iTunes store in years. I use amazonmp3.com. That’s the way to go, no matter what player you have, IMHO. Of course, I’ve never used it anywhere but Tejas, so it might not work anywhere else, for all I know. Worth trying, though…

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