My Turn

Having Fun at CompUSA

Joseph Rosensteel
2001.03.22

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Have you ever been to CompUSA looking for Mac stuff? Several people like myself have. It has been the general consensus of that - to put it eloquently - they suck. (I'm sure that there are exceptions to the rule, but I have yet to find any.) Chances are you know more about the Macs they're selling than they do. It's been my experience that you can stump them with one to three questions.

I never actually ask them questions anymore if I want any intelligent help. I go to Low End Mac or browse around the Net for help. I go to CompUSA only if I know what I'm looking for, or if I just feel like having fun.

I know that people think it's horrible to torture these poor sales clerks, but I just have this insatiable urge. I have actually had to correct them when they were talking to customers and giving out incorrect information. Imagine a million George W. Bush clones running around talking about computers. I think it's very scary.

Following are some funny stories, both mine and my friends'. If you have any that you'd like published, I'll be happy to post them in an article with other stories that people want to share. If you work at CompUSA and are actually one of the bright ones, I would be more than happy to post your stories about stupid customers. I'm an equal opportunity guy.

Remember that this is just for fun and shouldn't be taken any more seriously than a stand up comedian. This is humor, not hatred. Make peace not war. :-)

RAM? What's this RAM you speak of?

I went into a local CompUSA and approached the upgrade desk, I told him that I needed RAM for a Power Mac 7200. After he figured out what a Mac was and who sold them, he flipped through his trusty book. Sure enough, it was listed. He disappeared in the back for about ten minutes and returned with some EDO RAM for a Power Mac G3. He told me that it was all they had in stock for the Mac, so I said thanks anyway and took a ride to another CompUSA.

After I waited eight minutes for them to figure out that there was someone standing at the upgrade counter who wanted something, they finally approached me. They asked what I was looking for, and I told them the same thing I told the guy at the other store. The guy then looked through his book a few times and said that they never carried it at any of the locations. After I calmly thanked him and left, I went home wondering why I bothered.

Networking Macs? Who thought you could do that?

At my school, I'm the technical editor of the yearbook. It's kinda like the tech-help guy. Well, we wanted to network three G4/450s. I researched it a bit, because I had never set up a network before. I then went to the local CompUSA and told the guy I needed a hub and RJ-45 ethernet cables to network three G4/450s. After the panicked look on his face disappeared, he got his supervisor. They kindly directed me to what they "thought" I needed. It continues to be an interesting experience to look back on, but at the time it was really annoying.

I set up the network without a hitch, and I wanted to add the two 7200/120s that were there. My teacher said she would pick up the extra cables one day after school. When she gave them to me a few days later, she told me that she had told the CompUSA guy about it, and the guy said that the network wouldn't operate without a bridge. She was a little concerned, because she only knows how to use computers. I told her that the guy was wrong, and I showed her how the network functioned five minutes later.

People shouldn't give bad computer advice to poor unsuspecting customers. It's just not right.

You want to put PC Word files on a Mac with Word? You'll need a really expensive program.

This is by far my favorite. My friend Jason and his dad were at CompUSA picking up ethernet stuff to set up a PC network in their house. Jason is a PC user, and I wouldn't convert him, because that's unnecessary. I have taught him the basics so he won't look like a putz. But I digress....

There was a guy in a heated conversation with the clerk over transferring Word files. Jason's dad told the guy that I "knew everything about Macs," which was a bit of a stretch. Jason gave the guy my number, and I went over to help the customer.

His wife owns an iMac SE, and he owns a brand new PC that he's probably never touched. The guy wasn't exactly the sharpest pencil in the box. Apparently he's really rich, so he never actually has to do work, which is kind of sad. His wife was almost as bad. When they wanted to send Word files from his PC to her iMac, they just emailed them from the PC to the iMac. They just didn't know what to do after it got there. I quickly remedied that. I found out that the clerk they talked to at CompUSA told them to get MacLink Plus or they wouldn't be able to do it. Needless to say, it's still in the box.

Only the elite can hack an Apple demo

I was at the local CompUSA about two years ago, and I wanted to look at the functions of the iMac they had on display. There was this stupid Apple Demo playing, and there was no visible way to get out of it. I looked around and saw that there was no one there to help me. I force-quit the demo and started looking around and playing with AppleWorks and Nanosaur. One of the clerks came by and was a little unsettled by this. He didn't say anything at first; he just looked at the screen like he could have sworn that there was supposed to be a demo running. I looked at him and smiled. Then I quit the programs and when back to the demo. I walked away still smiling. The guy wasn't quite sure what I had done, so he didn't do anything about it.

I do not encourage you to force-quit the demos. In fact, I think the new demos have a way to leave the demo. I would just like to say that it's fun to do. In fact, some bozo at BestBuy almost reported me to the manager for doing the very same thing. Do it at your own risk.

Signing off for now....

Remember, to have fun, live every day to the fullest, and see the humor in every situation. Spread the Mac gospel, and educate people mislead by uninformed clerks. Just don't be a psycho - no one likes psychos. Not even CompUSA.

Share your perspective on the Mac by emailing with "My Turn" as your subject.

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