Thursday, September 6, 2012

PCB Fab, Teil drei

My phone is set to speak the name of an incoming caller, or the number if it's not in my phonebook. When it announced an incoming call starting with 353, I was a bit confused because I couldn't remember ever hearing of that area code, and when the number of digits in the number exceeded 10 I was really confused. As it turns out, there isn't an area code 353 in the USA; it's the country code for Ireland.

The call was from a pleasant young woman from Beta Layout, the folk behind PCB-Pool, calling to let me know that they had indeed shipped my board Wednesday, and that I should expect to receive it Friday. This made me happy on several levels: it's great customer service, especially when you consider that I'm a hobbyist and unlikely to place an order for 10,000 boards anytime soon; it means that I'll be able to spend far too much time playing mad scientist in my basement this weekend; and like many Americans, I find hearing from a woman with a pleasingly foreign accent to be a day-brightener.

Lastly, her call reminded me of the not quite a week I spent in Ireland in 1996. The company I was working for at the time had a customer service office in Shannon, and when I had to visit Portugal on other business I made a case for visiting Shannon to give them some training and a chance to interact directly with a product developer. They, of course, insisted on taking me out to the local pub in the evenings for a pint or two. When I explained that Guinness wasn't to my tastes, they insisted that the problem was that it didn't travel well and it was far better nearer the source. I gave it a fair trial, and they celebrated my open-mindedness even if I still couldn't stomach the stuff. It was a great experience and I plan to visit the country again.

Tracking the package containing my board through the FedEx website shows that since yesterday afternoon it's taken a scenic tour of Shannon, Cork, Paris, New Jersey, and Virginia. And since I wasn't expecting it until tomorrow I didn't leave a note waiving the signature requirement, and the delivery attempt they just made failed because I'm at work. *sigh*

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