[thechat] how do you buy a PC?

David Kaufman david at gigawatt.com
Fri Jan 9 12:20:38 CST 2009

Hi Erika,

"Erika Meyer" <ekm at seastorm.com> wrote:
> In concept, I thought Dell might be like Apple... that there would be
> some kind of place where I could take the sick machine, that they would
> know and deeply understand the machine's unique issues.  Someone I could
> thank, question, or yell at.  Nope.  Maybe it was so at one time, but I
> found out that all Dell stores closed down... Dell told me go to
> Staples.. they were useless.

No there are no Genius Bars for PC's! -- just Geek Squads :-)

Kidding aside, the big box computer stores (those that haven't gone 
bankrupt in the last quarter, that is) do tend to have great PC service 
departments.  I have a close freind (unnamed here since he may read this 
list, or google me someday) who bought a Compaq desktop from Fry's and took 
it back there *many* times over the life of its 3-year bumper-to-bumper 
warranty, to make them fix things which, in many cases (at least, I 
suspect) he broke all by himself.  Upgrading drives and otherwise monkeying 
around inside, adding RAM, miscellaneous PCI cards sourced from dubious 
after-market sources (think: flea markets -- I kid you not!), cramming new 
fans and heatsinks in, shorting stuff out and then practicing his 
playing-dumb face to show at the service desk when he demanded they fix the 
lemon once again.  Nice thing about this is, not being Compaq, they didn't 
really have an extensive database of the exact components that were inside 
when he bought it, nor particularly intimate knowledge of Compaqs in 
particular -- they're PC generalists, so they, like he, simply fixed 
whatever was broken with off the shelf commodity replacement parts.  That's 
the nice thing about PC's, as opposed to Apples of course -- instead of 
having to buy all your replacement parts and upgrade components from one 
source, you have about 2 million vendors competing on price, performance 
and convenience for your business :-)

> Apple w/ Applecare is like that nice hotel with a jacuzzi and
> super-cushy bed and a maid that puts mints on your pillows and gives you
> a toothbrush.  Dell is Motel 6.

Heh, exactly.  But the hotels are only in select cities and cost 5 times as 
much, while motels are everywhere, and vary wildly in price, service, 
cleanliness and, uh... neighborhood ambiance.


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