Excuse me while I vent about Microsoft, and specifically Xbox. My two boys are avid gamers and we have had just about every game system going (except the Playstation series). There are many things that drive me crazy about the gaming industry, including the fact that until Nintendo Wii, each new system that comes out is incompatible with the earlier one. Thus all the money you have spent on games (and it’s a lot) is immediately down the drain.

So, here we are with Xbox. The original version basically died on the boys some time ago, and they saved up their money and bought Xbox 360. (It’s already been in for repairs, but that’s a whole different rant.) There seemed no point in trying to get the old machine fixed so it’s sitting in Game Central gathering dust. So I e-mailed Microsoft to see if they have some sort of environmental program whereby they take back old systems and properly recycle them, as HP does.

Of course my e-mail is a non-standard inquiry, which Microsoft doesn’t know what to do with. It generated what I guess is their usual response. “Thank you for writing Xbox Customer Support! Thank you for your inquiry! And I do apologize for the inconvenience. I understand that you have questions regarding the repair process, warranty status and the repair cost of your Xbox console. It will be best for you to call our phone support number so that you will be properly assisted.” Ha, ha.

I did call just to see what would happen. The phone support is not set up for a question like mine either. On top of that, they have the annoying voice-activated response system, which is about the LEAST customer friendly and most unhelpful system around. By telling “Max” that none of his options would help me, I was eventually transferred to a human (and then a second human) who had a real problem understanding that I wasn’t calling for a refund or a repair. I just wanted to find out what Microsoft is doing about the enormous amounts of electronic waste generated by their non-working machines. Apparently nothing, so I suggested it would be a good program to start. Human #2 suggested I e-mail my suggestion. And thus the circle closed.

Halton Region has a program finishing Saturday that collects electronic waste at no charge. Guess I’ll be paying them a visit!