Patience is a virtue, or so it is said. It came in handy with a local seller who was selling a 1991 Apple “for parts” (as the ad stated). It was a small nostalgia and collectibles store that seemed to specialize in music, bikes, and anything else that caught the owner’s eye.
The proprietor was asking for a grand total of $40CAD, specifying that it was on their shop floor. The screen didn’t work, so it was a parts computer. The photos revealed a dirty, blue non-Apple Macintosh carrying bag, as well as a dirty old Apple mouse.
I took this opportunity to make an offer of $25CAD, $15 less than the asking price, but I was confident the owner would see it my way. He refused, saying that it was worth at least $30 and that I could have it for that amount if I came down and visited his shop.
As I already have many Macintosh computers, I didn’t consider this non-functional one a priority. I’d simply save the ad and hope that he would re-contact me after discovering that the market for these old computers is quite small and offers don’t come every day.
About a month later, I decided to visit his store during a day off from work. At the very least, I thought to myself, I would see some interesting curiosities. I drove to the store with my family but went inside alone.
Immediately I was struck by all the vintage pop culture pieces scattered about. Old lunch boxes from the 1980s, toys, vintage speed bikes, as well as hundreds of carefully placed records, lined the shop. I took my time, inspecting the various items, yet nothing was exactly matching my interests.
Out of the corner of my eye, I then spotted it: a big blue bag. Not wanting to show the owner my interest in the item (as the price would most likely go up), I carefully continued inspecting his business. After a quick rummage through some books and magazines, I slowly walked up to the bag, knelt down and carefully unclipped the fasteners.
I then asked the shop owner what this was. He informed me it was a Macintosh computer that was non-functional. I pulled it out and set it down. Physically, it was in great shape. Slightly dirty, but no scratches or chips on the machine that I could see. That was when the sudden smell of marijuana wafted from the owner, who started making his way towards me.
Whether it was the fact that he was running out of room in his shop, or the positive vibes coming from the illegal substances swimming in his bloodstream, his tune changed when it came to the price. He told me that he had it listed online for $40 but if I took it then and there, he would sell it at $20. He simply didn’t have the heart to throw it away. As quickly as I could, I took out a twenty-dollar bill, paid the man, strolled out of that shop, and hurriedly returned to my car.
Once home, I carefully unpacked the machine. It came with an Apple Desktop Bus Mouse, Apple Keyboard II, and an Amazing brand mousepad. From my research using the fantastic iOS app Mactracker, I learned that this machine used a Motorola 16 MHz 68030 CPU (twice the power of the Macintosh Classic), had 2 MB of built-in system memory, and came with either a 40 or 80 MB hard drive.
I connected the power cable, clicked the power button, and heard the familiar whine of the old hard drive. Slowly the screen came to life and, just as quickly as my hopes were raised, they dropped. Black lines and some odd gibberish was all over the screen.
I knew then that this was either going to be another conversation piece in my home or perhaps a project for a later date.
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