By Eli Green
March 4, 2009 - 17:45
IGN, Kotaku and a few other gaming related sites have begun fervently covering a recent story from The Consumerist entitled Microsoft Tells Broken Xbox Owners To Find Their Own Shipping Boxes, under the popular consumer blog's Recession Watch section. The story follows the news from one of their readers, Zach, whose Xbox 360 has fallen victim to the Red Ring of Death, officially known as the Three Lights Flashing Red (not exactly as snappy as the Red Ring of Death, now is it?). Zach reports to The Consumerist that he called Microsoft to submit a replacement request and a shipping box for his now-broken console. To his dismay, Zach was informed by the Microsoft support representative that he would need to find his own box for shipping the console to the repair and replacement centre.
Zach writes to The Consumerist, “My Xbox red-ringed for the second time this weekend.
In response to this, The Consumerist says, “This might not seem like a big problem-it's just a box, right? Yes, but the problem that Zach had, the Red Ring of Death, is such a notorious failure in the Xbox 360 that Microsoft extended its warranty three years for RROD repairs. It's enough of an inconvenience that Zach's console broke from a design flaw and will be inoperable for several weeks; now he needs to track down a box and packing supplies for it?” And Kotaku, playing off the assumption that this has something to do with the recession, writes, “Sounds ominous. And, given these tough economic times, somewhat plausible...”.
The only issue with this entire story is that it's nothing new, and has nothing to do with the recession! Microsoft was already making Xbox 360 owners send in their broken units in their own boxes since, at the very least, last August, when we sent in our Elite to be replaced. Since it is highly unlikely that ours was the first case of Microsoft doing this, we can assume that it had been the case for some before that. With all this in mind, the insinuation that this has anything to do with the recession is ridiculous. Maybe that was the point (I guess I might not read The Consumerist enough to know if it's joking or not). However, to say that Microsoft stopped sending out boxes because of the recession is to say that Microsoft knew the recession was coming well before it hit, and no offence to Microsoft, but it's not exactly known for planning in advance for huge problems (ever watched the unveiling of Windows operating systems?).
Finally, so what if you have to send the system in your own box? Is it really that difficult to pad it properly for shipping? We padded our box with other boxes when we sent our unit in, and Microsoft gave us no issues. If you're really that worried about the job you did padding the box, you probably didn't pad it well enough, or you could take a picture of the properly padded box or film yourself padding it so you've got evidence of what a good job you did. Can't find a box to ship your system in? Go to a retail store and ask them if they've got any open boxes that you can have. They usually will. If you go into a video game store or retailer that sells video games asking for an empty box for shipping your dead Xbox 360, they'll probably be even more helpful.
other words, don't be so lazy!