N. Renee Brown

Part-time Author, Full-time Book Junkie

How hard is it to buy a laptop anyway?

So this weekend, after talking with Day about the issues I’ve been having with Elsinore Pearl (my laptop) we decided it was time I got a new one.
The issues with Pearl (as I call her) started with her inability to keep an Internet connection in the house to save her life or mine and have spread out to the power cord. The power cord is the bigger of the two issues. When I plug her into the wall the connection between it and the plug is not exactly right so I’ve got to wiggle and jiggle and futz and putz until her little green “let’s go” light comes on to say she is charging. Well, ok fine. Day and I decided to tape the plug to a power strip in such as way as to make sure it was always in the right position. Well, that worked fine until the connector at the computer started getting loose. So now not only do I have this crazy taped power cord attachment that I’ve got to lug around but if I don’t push and pull and twist and shout and hold my tongue JUST RIGHT my screen flickers from bright to dark bright to dark bright to dark bright to dark. Then I start getting a headache and soon afterward I’m crabby and want nothing more than to get AWAY from my computer.

This is not a good thing for a writer. My computer is my best friend and most faithful…ok, let’s be honest and cut the flowery crap. I use the computer every day, it is the workhorse that gets my words out of me and into a coherent organized form, and it is the home of all my photos and host to most of my pod/videocasts. This is the storeroom of my creativity! It is also, much to my shame, the home of my greatest distraction and best relaxation: World of Warcraft (For the horde!). All this means I need a computer that is not going to make me hurt when I get done using it. What I do need is a computer that is going to make me enjoy the work I am doing and encourage me to do more.

Thus we are looking for a computer with a large screen, enough memory to hold all our media, a graphics card that can run WOW, and a DVD player…and all for less than $1600.
Well, we went to Best Buy in Rockville…where we looked around with half the population of the WORLD and waited for an assistant to become free. We discussed various models and after some waffling I made my choice. An HP (which I swore I’d never own again because of a previous bad bad bad experience), with 3GB memory, 250 GB hard drive, and a GeForce 8400 graphics card…oh and a cool copper shell.
After waiting FOREVER with no help in sight Renee decided she could no longer take the dog staring* and the general public milling around. We went to Trader Joe’s to get some groceries, where the crowd was even more dangerous as it had a lot of dog weaving* going on…but the point was to get food and we got that in spades. After leaving Trader Joe’s laden with everything but the corn salsa I was yearning for, we drove back down to Best Buy to get the laptop I had decided on, a laptop with a decidedly male demeanor who was just about to get the name Scorch.
Back at Best Buy, the crowd was thin enough to be bearable and we only had to wait a few minutes before someone offered some help. We pointed out our happily glowing friend and joyfully said, “We’ll take it.”
To which the response was, “Ugh, let me see if I have any.” Dear readers, remember this saying. Just trust me.
He ran off to discover any wayward Scorchy computers lying around of which there was exactly none. When he came back, I rolled my eyes at the lack of customer service I ALWAYS get at the Best Buy in Rockville and asked him if any OTHER stores had that model in stock. Really it should have been something he offered up. Well, there were not…and funnily enough he didn’t try to sell me a similar computer; he just let me walk away. I am so confused by this selling technique, utterly baffled but it is not my store and I am digressing. (BTW, my choice for electronic purchasing will always be the Tyson’s Corner Best Buy, the one across the street from Containers and More. Flat out the most consistent, wonderful service ever.)
BUT WAIT! There’s more!
Day and I drove down to Circuit City in Rockville, which I loathe with a passion because not only do we never get offered any service there the one and only time we did purchase something from them the cashiers ARGUED about who would get “stuck” ringing us up…the cashier did not say one word to us the whole time she grumpily checked us out…and they locked the doors on us and did not point us to the only unlocked door in the place until we went to the back of the store to get someone.

Ok, so I was ready for the bad service. The whole time we were there not one person walked up to us and asked us if we needed help, and that was expected. All the floor crew gathered in the cashier area, doing God only knows what…also expected.
It didn’t matter. I was there to buy a laptop dang it! I looked at all the computers; I lusted after a few of them. I finally came to terms with the fact that I wanted the bigger more expensive laptop and Day convinced me it was ok to buy it…btw, it was a blue/black model that didn’t really have a lot of personality but was most assuredly a big bull of a computer, perhaps Blu (like the ox)…Ok, now to buy it. We had to track down an associate like hunting big game in the jungle, but we finally tagged one only to have him say, “Ugh, let me go see if I have one in stock.”

HA! Told you! And no he didn’t have one in stock.
So here I sit on Miz Pearl with her screen flickering and her wireless coming and going and I curse at a world that makes it so hard to buy a laptop. Then again being the optimist I eternally am, I am convinced I was thwarted for a good reason…now I just need to figure out what that reason is.

Just Peacey,


*dog staring: the act of watching a working guide dog as if it were some alien. There are two different types of dog staring, a) flesh eating alien and b) cuddly Ewok alien.
*dog weaving: the act of veering away or toward a working guide dog while in a very busy store directly into the path of an oncoming cart wielding woman that has little or no tolerance for such actions putting both cart wielder and dog weaver in danger of collision.
computers, Writing

    3 comments already | Leave your own comment

  1. 2/25/2008 | 1:57 pm Permalink

    After we got home, and while I was writing this blog post Day got it in her mind that I was going to have the laptop I wanted come hell or something else. She got online and ordered me a CUSTOM BUILT computer with a faster processor, better graphics card, and more hard drive space than either of the other 2 computers we looked at. We ordered it and tried to buy it but NO it could not be that easy (we were going to finance it but they only ad 90 days free, so I had to discuss buying it outright with Day so we hung up. When I called back they had lost my profile, so I was going to have to rebuild the computer from the ground up again. I was going to have none of that so we hung up and called back AGAIN and got someone sane who found the profile that had been there the whole time. Sheesh, what is it with me and buying laptops!?!?!?). Well, finally after all the trouble we had we purchased it. I should get it March 4th. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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  2. 2/27/2008 | 12:15 pm Permalink

    Hey there lady!

    This is why I have been totally seduced by Apple. Their stores rock. My last purchase was a total whim. I went to look at the new iPodTouch. As I was happily fondling it (they have multiple models out for touching) and seeing what it could do, a sales associate appeared asking if I needed help. [Note: The apple store, especially after the release of a new product is swamped. And ocean of people all wanting to touch the shiny toys. Yet, the sales people get around to everyone to assist.] My response was, I want one. He got one, rang me up on the spot, and I was the proud owner of a new iPod. No standing in line. No hassle. No receipt even, it was e-mailed to me. I love apple. Best customer service EVAH!

    But congrats on the new computer! I’m happy it all worked out in the end.

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  3. 2/28/2008 | 10:52 am Permalink

    You know, I’m going to try the Apple store next time. It always looks so clean and happy in there.
    Actually, my next purchase is going to be an IPOD…I’ll have to let you know how the experience is. đŸ™‚

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