Journal - 6 September 2000: Crappy Computer Stores, cont'd

Continued from 4 September 2000

I knocked on the glass door, and a man who was either an apathetic merchant or a very unskilled thief sauntered over. Thief or merchant, either would be fine with me, allowing that I got the hardware I needed. The door opened before me, and a man who looked better suited to working at a convenience store than a computer store accumulated the necessary energy to say "hey." Not capitalized "Hey"; one could tell from the sheer apathy in his voice that it was a lower-case "hey." "Are you open or not? Your 'will be back' sign is set for two hours ago." A soft grinding sound was audible as my host thought about my question. And thought. And thought. "Yeah, come on in." So far, so good. "I need a 3.5 inch disk drive." Wordlessly, he sauntered off into the back room. At this point, I'd like to point out to the reader that the bare minimum for a disk drive at wholesale is $8. It has been for quite some time. He returned, and listlessly requested "make me an offer." I looked back at my cohorts, and returned slyly with a statement of "Five dollars." The shopkeeper let out what can best be described as a Beavis and/or Butthead laugh, and said "sure. i'd have sold this for fifty cents." I blinked. "Ok, I also need a keyboard, PS/2, with a windows key...I'll pay fifty cents for it." He wandered away and returned with a near-brand new keyboard. "ok. fifty cents." "Finally, I need a PCI Ethernet card." Again he wandered away and returned with what I wanted. "we can just round that to six even." I must point out that the keyboard retails for $10, and the card for at least $20. In any event, I retrieved the necessary six dollars. The usual tradition of 'Ringing me up' consisted of the man stuffing the bills into his blue-jeans pocket, and waving goodbye as we ecstatically took our 85% off merchandise back to the car. Once in the vehicle, the general consensus regarding the situation was, "What the hell was that?" Whatever that man was smoking, I am satisfied in knowing I got what I needed. So whenever you need upgrades or components, do not go into the stale glow of a Best Buy, seek the dimness of your local strip-mall computer store.


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