>Ah yes. The role of the salesperson. Particularly in computer stores. One would think that if a customer was in essence telling you exactly what they needed, the salesperson would sell it to them. Seems to me to be easiest sale of the day. No work involved. In essence, I’m pretty lazy, so I’m all over the fact that there’s no work involved.
As I blogged last time, I and some other gentlemen are involved in a venture to file the new tanning tax online. Accordingly, we needed a computer we could dedicate to transmitting these returns to the IRS — talking to the IRS and to the customers all the time connected to the internet. We had some pretty specific requirements, one of which was that we would not be running a Windows operating system, so any machine used would be stripped of the existing hard drive and have two brand spanking new drives installed (running mirrored for backup) and using Ubuntu.
(For those of you whose eyes are now rolling back in your head, I promise that’s as technical as I’m going to get. Come back toward the light…)
So one of my partners and I went to Micro Center. We got hold of a salesperson, George, who, bless his heart (and I mean that with all Southern inflection), didn’t appear to be quite on the ball. We told him what we were doing with the computer. He had sort of the same glassy-eyed reaction I imagine many of you did at the paragraph above (keep in mind what this guy does for a living..). We made the mistake of saying the word “server” — at which point, like some demented Looney Tunes cartoon, you could literally see his eyeballs replaced by dollar signs as he eagerly steered us to some of the most expensive boxes in the store.
Uh no. Listen to me, dude. I’m telling you exactly what we want.
Much to George’s chagrin, we ended up purchasing a much lower end box — and then he had to call in more help when we told him specifically, in excruciating detail, exactly which hard drives we needed. Down to the manufacturer. Evidently dear, befuddled George couldn’t guide us to that bin on the hard drive aisle. We threw those, a monitor and a UPS in the cart and beat a hasty retreat to the cash registers — but not before a manager blew past us in the hard drive aisle without even an “excuse me”. Rude.
This was Thursday. On Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday, hubby did everything he could to get Ubuntu installed on this machine. Wouldn’t run. He tried multiple versions. Wouldn’t run. With each version he tried, the computer had difficulty talking to various parts of its innards.
On Sunday morning, frustration had taken over in a major way. I decided that desperate times called for desperate measures: time to buy a whole new box — and not from George. After church we went to Office Depot, where I’d had luck buying machines before and which had a Lenovo machine that looked like it would fit the bill. Told ’em I’d take it.
There was a hold up. Turns out they had to verify the virus software.
Excuse me? I just told you I wasn’t using that Windows hard drive. I’m taking it out of the machine. I don’t care about virus software (and seriously – last time I bought a computer that had McAfee installed I had to remove it because it slowed down the system something fierce).
Oh no, their corporate office prohibited them from selling a computer on which they hadn’t verified the virus software. So they finally bring me the computer. In an open box.
Now, I’m a little ticky about things like that. If I’m spending hundreds of dollars on electronics that are brand new, I want the box to be sealed. I want to make sure that I’m the first person playing with them. (I’ve checked around too. I’m not the only person who feels that way.)
Office Depot couldn’t sell me a computer in a sealed box. Evidently it’s against their corporate policy because they have to check it for my own good. Or it’s against their religion. Either way, it wasn’t working for me so I left.
Across the street to Best Buy, where I tell the guy that two people have already pissed me off, and I’d really prefer it if he weren’t the third. Asked him if he could sell me an HP computer in a sealed box. He didn’t have a problem. We took it home. Installed Ubuntu. Worked the first time.
…which left me with the box from Micro Center, which I put in the car and took back on Monday. The conversation with the customer service department began with “You might as well just get your manager now, because I’m not paying the 15% restocking fee…” – before I set into the litany of what had happened. Frankly, I think I scared the guy, but I got my money back.
So we now have a bright, shiny new HP computer with dual 500GB hard drives and a static IP address that will be conversing with the IRS on a regular basis. I’m hoping they’ll be more reasonable with the computer than they are with most of our clients.