Back on October 16th Microsoft opened up the pre-order window and people around the world jumped on the bandwagon and pre-ordered a Surface RT. I jumped on the pre-order and had mine submitted and in the system shortly after the site when live, which was about 20 minutes before the scheduled release. I ordered a Surface RT 64GB version with an additional touch cover in cyan. I found the checkout process to be incredibly easy and fast. It’s powered by your Live ID (now a Microsoft Account), so they already had my credit card and shipping address. It was awesome – so great, that I really wished that I could pre-order unlocked Windows Phone devices through the same system.
During the whole check out process, I kept wondering if this was the right move. After all, I live a short 30 minute drive from one of the Microsoft pop-up stores. So getting to a store on October 26th and picking a Surface RT up in person was certainly a possibility. There was 2 extra benefits that the pre-order got me: A) no line ups! Do I ever hate standing around waiting in lives. The pre-order meant I could avoid that, which is a win in my books. And B) a guaranteed unit on launch day. There is some risk that I might not actually get a device on launch day if I went down to the store and stood in line. Since the check out repeatedly indicated that this was a pre-order for delivery on October 26, I figured it was a win-win and there was nothing to lose.
But then came the first heart-break. That night at 11:00pm I received an email from the Microsoft Store telling me that my order was delayed and wouldn’t ship until November 2nd. Delivery a full week later meant I no longer would have the product on launch day – which is the primary purpose of pre-ordering anything. Other than a little complaining on Twitter, I resisted my urge to cancel the pre-order and try my luck at the store. I figured that I should wait until Monday and give Microsoft a chance to respond with a reason for this change.
Just got an email from Microsoft bumping my pre-ordered Surface back by a week! How does that happen?
— MikeTemporale (@MikeTemporale) October 20, 2012
The morning of the big announcement, and just over 24 hours from availability I get my tracking number and the Microsoft Store charged my credit card for the full amount. I watched the Windows 8 announcement and the Surface announcement – both were very good events. Although, I do have to say that the Surface announcement had much better energy. As the 25th came to a close I started to wonder if I would actually get my Surface on the launch day or not. The tracking number was still returning a warning message that the request was generated, but that they did not yet have the parcel in their possession. Now, typically a tracking number is generated and sent to the customer the same day that the parcel is to be picked up by the courier. So within 12 hours or maybe 24 on the outside, you should see something in the system.
Launch day – October 26, and my tracking number was still showing that the package had not been picked up by the courier and my hope of having a Surface on launch drops to near zero. I kept a vigil at reception for the entire morning, just in case. Just as lunch hit, I received another email from the Microsoft Store and this time things were getting a little confusing. According to the latest email, it was somehow made clear at the time of ordering that customers in Canada would received their Surface between October 26 and October 30th. Huh? No it was not! But, to make up for any confusion, they provided everyone with a coupon for $50 off your next order.
Well, it was Friday, and clearly it wasn’t going to arrive before the end of the day. So 26-30th, is really a 3 business day window (26 = Friday, 29 = Monday, and 30 = Tuesday). There’s little I can do about this over the weekend, other than running out to a store and buying one. But then again, I do have a tracking number and what if it actually ships over the weekend? I could have 2 on Monday morning and have to deal with returning one. With a busy weekend ahead, I figured I could live without for a couple days.
24 hours turned into 48 and then 72. Still my tracking number indicated that the parcel was not in the couriers possession. But then it finally happened – 84 hours after they originally sent me the tracking number! My Surface was now in the couriers hands and on it’s way to me. The estimated delivery date is October 31st – WHAT?
Now I fully understand that there is a lot of logistics that go into ensuring that customers get their product on time. I’m certain that Microsoft knows this as well. But to promise delivery on a given day, change it, then apologize for the change and revert back, then claim everyone else is mistaken and provide a new delivery window only to miss that?! Well, that’s just plain sad. If there had been any indication that delivery would be so screwed up, I would have taken my chances standing in line on launch day. On the grand scale, the Surface appears to be doing pretty well, and same with Windows 8. It’s too bad that one piece of the puzzle screwed things up and left a bad impression with customers.