Dear Sony - A Break Up Letter

Dear Sony,

I recently purchased my fourth Sony Vaio - a custom FW390. It cost over $2200.00 by the time I upgraded to 80 gigs of RAM, a high speed processor, advanced graphics card and other features.

I thought you were a smart move. We had already dated for five years - and you were my fourth Vaio. You were sleek, handsome and you had a battery that could last a lifetime. And sure, maybe we weren't the ideal fit -- but a Mac with similar configuration would have been about $4,000. You were slim but powerful, reliable and a great traveling companion.

But then, you betrayed me. You made yourself over into a dysfunctional mess. Your new design proving to be an inconvenient, non-ergonomic nightmare of cables and irritation.
  • All USB and audio ports are located at the front right of the machine, interfering with the opening/closing of the Blu Ray disc in back, as well as my mouse..
  • This thing is designed so there are cables shooting out of both sides of the computer - which also takes up valuable workspace (Video cable is in the front third left of the computer? Duh.)
  • The control buttons on the screen are about 1/8 inch thick and wide - with counterintuitive labeling - they are hard to distinguish and impossible to read.
  • My energy saving LED display already has an artifact in it - squiggly red line
  • NO DOCKING STATION available - so I have to halfway shut my screen to use my 25 inch monitor.
When I got the computer I did call to express my disappointment. You told me "if you don't like it, call it quits and send it back".  My only option was to return it.  After a week of research and two weeks of extended business travel - I did have an extra week on the 30 day refund policy to return it and I didn't.  Shame on me.  Perhaps I just hoped I would get used to it.  Now, I'm left with regret, and the bill.

I did write Sony Style on Twitter to provide some helpful feedback -- and got no response. I put my feedback in a customer satisfaction survey also and heard nothing back. Perhaps an acknowledgement of the problem, a little sympathy, apology - proactive response would have kept me around for one more chance.

...but it occurs to me that your lack of response only underscores what I feared:  that you really don't care about me after all!

I feel a little silly, Sony. I mean, I write about brands and customer experience for a living. I wanted to love you -- I wanted to be your friend. But it dawns on me now that if you really cared, not only would you respond to my complaints -- you wouldn't have shown such disregard for the user when you designed this machine.

So, after more than a decade of being your friend, I am breaking up with you.

I've met someone new -- we dated several years ago -- and he knows how to deliver. His name is Mac and suspect we will be very happy together. I realize you're under warranty.

You might feel bad -- and you should.  It's not me -- it's about you! You shouldn't have taken me for granted -- especially in a down economy when every customer counts.  But cheer up.  Maybe you will find someone else, just as hopeful and clueless as I was. I hope she reads this letter.

Good luck,


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I’m Leigh Durst, a 20 year veteran in business, operations, customer strategy, ecommerce, digital & social media and marketing. Simply put, I’m a strategist that helps companies (start-up to blue chip) achieve business shift, create more compelling online and offline experiences. I also write, speak and teach about experience design and next-generation business. I’m a futurist, visionary, strategist, doer and connector with a passion for people and helping others. When I’m not on the road, you’ll find me in the San Francisco bay area, working, beaching it and hanging out with my family and dog.


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