Where to Go When You Have a Screw Loose

Last week I opened my laptop –  something I do multiple times per day. On this particular occasion, the lid lifted with a shimmy, while my ears were met by a clunking sound. Those are things you never want to experience in reference to a computer. While still open, I placed my finger against each hinge, one at a time, and wiggled the lid. The hinge on the right side shifted ominously. I’ve had a laptop with a cracked hing1197107206400036309metalmarious_Laptop.svg.mede in the past. It’s a bad thing because not only does it affect the way it opens and closes, but very delicate wires run through those hinges to power the screen.

I was preparing to send my laptop in for service, knowing it would be weeks that I would be computer-less. I live on my computer – it’s where all my writing is done, my promoting, my correspondence with event organizers …  everything! My writing career hinges (pun most definitely intended) on my laptop. I was facing a crisis of major proportions! I was seriously frightened of losing the two books I’m working on, plus files and files of notes for other possible novels, not to mention the amount of time that would go by with no e-mail, facebook or pinterest! To avoid putting any stress on the hinge, I left my laptop open until I had everything backed up in more than one place.

After doing everything I could to get ready for the upcoming ordeal,  I finally decided it was time to close the lid and pack up the laptop to take it in to those service techs who send shivers up my spine. Do they really know what they’re doing? Do they play around on my computer when I’m not looking? What if they send it away, and it never returns? The last time I took my laptop in for the same problem they returned it with a new hard drive – thankfully I’d backed everything up that time! I never did get a good explanation of why they felt they needed to replace the hard drive.

As I carefully closed the lid, I just happened to have my index finger resting along the right side of the keyboard. My finger was promptly pinched by the case as a gap opened, then closed along the edge.  Surprised, I turned the computer over and walla! The problem wasn’t a bad hinge, but a missing screw on the bottom corner right next to the hinge.

My first course of action was to see if I could find the screw online – thank goodness I still had a computer to look it up with. I found that loose screws are a common issue with this model laptop. The originals are defective, the threads were machined too loose/open, and they will fall right out. It turns out the computer maker is more than happy to send me an improved set of replacement screws, in which the threads are much tighter, for $33.00!

I have to say that I have an issue with the company charging me anything to replace something that was defective to begin with, much less $33.00 for some screws! Since my laptop is still under warranty, I called the store where I bought it.  Sure they could repair the laptop, but it would take 10 -14 days! FOR A SCREW!

I found the best solution of all. It turns out the screw is actually a stock,  run of the mill screw. One new screw from True Value Hardware – 25 cents and the nice gentleman who worked there tightened all the rest for free! I decided to splurge and spend $3.99 for my own screwdriver so that I can tighten them as needed.

I haven’t had a” true value” like that in a long time, and it was certainly better than getting “screwed” by the computer company!