For some reason, unknown even to the people who worked there after much investigating, my computer was not allowed to be repaired. Not "not able to be repaired", which would require actually checking it out, not allowed to be. Repairs were discontinued on that model or something.
Like I said, even they didn't understand and they gave it their best shot.
In the absence of repairs my warranty covers replacement. Thus: replacement.
At which point there were more problems. They didn't have a comparable computer in stock. They couldn't order a comparable computer because the only comparable computer (how can there be only one? I don't know) was even out of stock online.
Searching thus began. What's closest to comparable?
In the end it came down to basically two choices. Both were a step down on the disk drive (but ... external disk drive.) One was better than what I had, one was worse. If I got the worse one then, since it was cheaper than the one it would be replacing, some of the savings could be put toward a new warranty. Also it was available at the store so I could walk out with it right then.
In every imaginable logical way of looking at the world I should have gotten the worse one.
I chose to get the one that, instead of being a step down from where I was before, was a step up.
I don't have to pay for the computer. I don't have to pay for the external disk drive to make up for it having a worse internal one than my old one. Woo, warranty! (Seriously, that truly is a great deal.)
I do have to wait about a week and a half for it to get here, but repairs usually take two weeks so I was expecting to be without primary computer for longer than that anyway.
The problem is: what happens if something goes wrong with the new computer? The warranty doesn't carry over. On the one hand, that's understandable, on the other hand they should totally have the option to buy a protection plan that ensures you have a working computer for the duration, even if that means replacement. My family mixes with technology the way potassium mixes with water, but surely not everyone has such problems.
So I had to buy a new protection plan. Except... remember back when I got the now-old computer? Remember what the plan was? The plan wasn't for the computer to be replaced in a year. That was, very much, not the plan.
The plan was to get any problems repaired for the duration of the warranty and then keep on using it for as long as fucking possible afterward. My old-old computer was held together with screws from Home Depot and ran off parts ripped from computers other people dismissed as junk because, after the warranty on that ran out, fixing it was left up to me.
That was the plan for the computer I've now parted with. Which meant that I bought one of much higher quality than I normally would so that it would still be able to run decent programs in whatever technological environment we found ourselves in when I was holding it together with improvisation, faith, luck, love, 4-40 machine screws, matching nuts, a drill press to make holes for them, and a hacksaw to cut off the excess screw length.
The warranty on such a computer, and thus the warranty on a replacement, costs more than a low end computer.
Also: data migration. It's not free.
So I have a new computer on the way, with a new warranty to protect it, and negative 500ish dollars at more than 20% annual interest.
Because what I really needed was more debt.
The people at the store were impressed by the highly noticeable damage to the hinges. I care about working hinges, but Brin's right, hinge problems can be managed. My primary concern was that the damn thing was crashing unpredictably without so much as a blue screen and with such speed that it seemed like I'd yanked the battery while it was unplugged.
I can fix hinges myself, I've done it before, I can't fix computer problems. Hinges are a mechanical problem.