Tales of Idiocy and Woe...But Now I'm CRAZY in California!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

And the Golden Gong award goes to...

Real conversation excerpt...no lie. Behold!

Customer: I saw a flyer in the paper that showed that you have some notebooks on sale. I want a cheap one with Windows XP.

Me: Okay. Well, we have a great little unit that I think you'd like. It's an IBM (model number and specs).

Customer: Oh. I'm not interested in buying a Mac. I need something with Windows.

Me: Uh, that's an IBM computer, both in brand and format. It does have Windows on it. Maybe I wasn't clear when I said that. My apologies.

Customer: It does have Windows? Oh. I thought IBM made Macs. I'm no much of a computer expert...(chuckles)

Me: (Chuckles as well) Oh really? Well, don't worry. I'm here to help you out... (conversation continues)

Okay. Now that takes the cake for today. I've never heard that one before, so customer "X" gets the covetted "Golden Gong" award. I'm so proud...Until Next Time,

The Armchair Award Presenter

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I got your nuthin' right HERE...

Okay. Another stupid rant on a HOT day (I know I said I don't have net but I'm doing this after from work...HA!). It's hot enough to deep fry a Winnebago in Sylvan Lake today. No kidding. Okay. Onto my rambling...

I don't have a clue what goes on in the minds of comsumers, but I don't understand where some people learn to shop. I'll give an example of something that sets apart computer customers from the rest of the cognitively functional world. It seems that computer customers cannot, I repeat CAN NOT, get it through their heads that items cost money. Yet ironically, they're shopping...a process that historically is established around the exchanging of money for items. This comes up in two different places:

1. Getting upset about price. This is so freaking annoying. A person will want product 'X', which will have 1024 of something and yet they'll come into my store with a quote for product 'Y', which only has 256 of the same thing. Then, they'll question me why my product 'X' is more money than their quote for product 'Y'. Or worse, they'll have a quote for a different product and then wonder why my price is either higher or lower. People cannot seem to process the basic concept of "more is more", not "more is less". If you want a PIV 3.6Ghz with 2048 megs of RAM and a 400 gig Hard Drive, don't bring me a quote for a PIV 2.4Ghz with 256 megs of RAM and a 60 gig Hard Drive and then wonder why mine is more money. And if you're that dimwitted in the first place: BUY A MAC.

2. Asking for absurd things for free. I get this all the time with people. I'm talking with a customer, they like the product, and then they try to 'barter'. I'll get lines like "Give me a free extended warranty" or "Include a bag and a router" or "drop the price by two hundred and make that taxes in" (I actually have got that line before). I mean, just because you're dropping $900 in my shop doesn't mean I can give you $200 of stuff for 'free'. Believe it or not, even when something is 'free' it's not 'free'. The cost of the 'free' item is factored into the price of the item you're buying. In most retail items, there's a markup so the sales person can make a percentage of that markup as his/her wage. That's called 'comission', and many sales positions work on comission. So when you're asking for 'free' stuff, you're asking me drop my comission in order to pacify you, in order to make a sale. So you're asking me to give you some of my own money so I can make more off you...money that is being set aside for my son's chemo treaments. So when you ask for free stuff you are actually communicating that your saving money is more important than my son's health. You're a jerk.

But for real. The price is the price, and if I like you, I'll maybe drop the price by $50 or give you a 'free' cheap backpack or something...but I don't like you. You don't want my son to get his chemo treament. So the price just got marked up...it's the 'jerk tax'.

Okay...I don't have a son, but you get the idea. Stop being stupid and pay the price for the item. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Commissionaire


I've been off for a while and my absence will go on a little longer as I don't have internet access right now...but I hope to be up and running within a week. Stay tuned for some great stuff coming up. Be back soon,

The Armchair Geek

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Okay. I have a question for the masses. I'm wondering why everyone and their dog, and their uncle's dog for that matter, somehow find the need to always give me a disclaimer before we start talking about a propsective computer sale or service interaction. I'm not much of a statistics nut (and everyone knows that statistics reveal that over 90% of statistics are unreliable...) but I'd have to say that around 80% of people I talk to, for whatever unearthly reason, arrive at the conclusion that they have to say one of the following 2 statements:

1. I'm not a computer expert.

2. I'm not looking to spend a whole lot of money.

First off, I assume that you're not a computer expert. Pretty much nobody is. I'm not even close to being a computer expert. I most likely know more about computers than your entire extended family, but I'm not an expert. Saying that you're not an expert doesn't help me know anything about you that is useful. I mean, do you say the same thing when you go to the dentist?

"You know Mr. Mitchel, so you're hear for your anual checkup? How about some flouride treatment today?"

"...Woah woah! I'm not a dentist! Take it easy!"

See? It sounds idiotic. And so do you when you walk into a computer store and announce that you're not an expert. They guys working there aren't experts either. Neither are the technicians. So STOP SAYING IT. Tell me what you want your computer to do and then let me try to find the best system for your needs, then buy it. That's all I ask.

Secondly, believe it or not, I don't suspect that anyone comes to any store, anywhere, with the intent of spending their life savings. That's what a casino is for. I, on the other hand, work in a computer store. Telling me that you don't want to spend money is like informing me that you have a full set of teeth. Hooray for you. Start a club and get t-shirts made. It's not like I expect everyone to be living like Richard Pryor in Brewster's Millions. So stop saying that too. Please. In fact, the next person who comes in and doesn't inform me that they're not an expert and don't want to spend a lot of money will get a discount, simply for not driving me one step closer to electro-convulsive therapy. Tell your friends and spread the word. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Griping Nancy

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Hooray! My First Conspiracy Nut!

After one customer I had in my shop today, I have two words to say:

"FBI mind control in league with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Adrian Carmack in an effort to manipulate the public using Windows XP."

Okay okay...that's more than two words. I admit it. Guilty as charged. None the less, that's somewhere along the lines of what seemed to be going through the mind of a guy who entered my shop today. The conversation went somewhere along these lines:

Me: Good afternoon! Welcome to (store name)!

Customer: Hi. I'm wondering if you have any athlon computers with no operating systems.

Me: Oh...uh, well, pretty much all of our systems have operating systems.

Customer: Crap. Well, how difficult is it to remove XP and install Windows 98?

Me: Uh...I'm not sure. I don't really know anyone who's ever done that. I'm sure it wouldn't be that difficult...?

Customer: Well, I can't have XP on my system. I won't put up with XP.

Me: Okay...Well, we DO have some great deals on Athlons.

(We both go over and look at some Athlons. The conversation progresses until I can't hold back my curiosity. Ten mintues later...)

Me: I gotta admit something to you. I'm curious why you want to get Windows 98 instead of XP. Almost everyone I've ever talked to wants to do the opposite...?

Customer: Well, 'they' can track your software with XP. 'They' can know what you put on it, where you go, and on and on. I don't want 'them' seeing what I'm doing on my OWN computer. Privacy laws exist, but 'they' make the computers that enforce those laws, so 'they' are functionally above those laws. I don't want to give 'them' access to know what I'm doing on the computer. It's not like I'm hacking the Pentagon every day, but I know 'they're' trying to keep track of what I'm doing and I'm not going to give 'them' an inch. I mean, Windows XP takes up like 10 gigs on your hard drive, but Windows 98 is only like 400 megs. What's all that extra 9 and a half gigs of stuff? You tell me. Nobody knows. What kinda stuff needs an extra 9 gigs of space? I'll tell you what kinda stuff: the stuff 'they' use to monitor you. Everything that goes on in your computer, 'they' can see and 'they' keep a record of. Most people may as well have a microchip in their brains. Not me. NO SIR! I'm not going to play into 'their' hand. They can take their Windows XP and smoke it. When it all hits the fan, I'll be safe and under the radar!

Me: Excuse me...I've gotta answer that phone... (I back away while still keeping eye contact, strafe over to the ringing phone, pick it up and start talking very softly, while maintaining eye contact. Customer turns and quickly walks out the door.)

***I'm so proud to be a Canadian. In the US, those kinds of people are rounded up and confined to a compound with all their horded machine guns and concubines...at least until the DEA and FBI show up for a 7.62mm pow-wow. Not here in Canada...We're accepting and tolerant of the socially eccentric and encourage their integration into the general population where they can, without fear of reprisal or even any social stigma, present their amusing delusions in the public school system to our impressionable children. Oh Canada! We stand on guard for thee! Until Next Time,

The Armchair Informant

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Lions and Tigers and Freebies, OH MY!

Well, it seems like "the bus stops" at my store every day. Here's today's gong ringer. The conversation is true to the original but has been shortened for readability:

Customer: Hi. My computer is REAL slow and I'm wondering how to get it faster.

Me: Okay. What kinda computer is it?

Customer: Well, I'm not like an expert or anything...(*note* - I'm constantly amazed at what constitutes an 'expert'...if a question requires any skills above recognition of colors and shapes, you need to be an 'expert'...?!)...but I brought my computer in my car.

Me: Oh? Well, can I get it for you?

C: Sure.

(I get customers' computer)

M: Okay. Let's set this puppy up and see what she tells us. Hmm...this thing IS kinda slow. Well, no worries. I'll figure this out in a second or two. (a minute passes).

C: Well, it used to be my mom's computer but she gave it to me for school.

M: Oh? A hand-me-down. Well, how long ago did she get it.

C: I don't know. I did have a guy put XP on it. He said it would run better with XP.

M: Ah! I was wondering why you had XP on a system when the liscence on the side says that the system came with Windows 98. (All of a sudden, the saloon pianist shifts to a minor key)

C: Well, I paid the guy $150 to throw on XP for me. It's SUPER slow now.

M: Hmm. Well, let's check your system profile and see what kinda of...Oh boy... (Saloon pianist transitions into the 'enter the villan' song)

C: What?

M: Uh...you're system would be struggling with Windows 98. I thought XP required 64 megs of RAM to even boot...I guess you learn something new every day.

C: So it needs more RAM? How much money is that?

M: Well, it's not just the RAM. See that number with the 'MHZ' beside it? Well, the new ones have a similar number with a 'GHZ' beside it. That means that they're like literally 10 times faster, if not 20 or 30 times faster (I know...clock speed is not a straight across measure for 'faster'...shut up!). Having more RAM would only partly help. You're processor is struggling a LOT with XP. In fact, I'm surprised that it even runs.

C: Yeah. It's kinda slow.

M: No kidding.

C: I'm so mad! Well, what would a new, fast one cost?

M: Well, you'd be looking at around $500 to get going.

C: WHAT? Man! I already spent $150! Holy crap! I didn't know getting a computer was going to be so expensive!

M: ?! Well, you got this computer for free. That's a pretty good deal. And spending $150 on getting XP, along with install, is a pretty good deal. I'm sorry that it's not a system that is not doing what you wanted, but then again you didn't actually pay anything for it.

C: Crap! I cannot believe I'm going to have to spend another $500...

M: Well, you don't have to do anything. It's just an option.

C: I'm so mad at my mom. Her computer is a piece of crap!

M: Uh, it DOES run fine...I mean, if you put Windows 98 back on it, it would probably run all right.

C: Then I'm going to have to pay MORE money! This is useless! ARGH!

M: I'm not sure what to say. If you don't want to spend money, you won't get products that meet your needs.

C: I'm going to go have 'words' with my mom! Oh BOY!

M: I'd be mad too if I got something for nothing. The Nerve!

C: Okay. Thanks for you help.

M: Have a good day.

(Saloon pianist plays an ornate cadence and the curtains fall)

***Wow***. I don't know what to say. I mean, I cannot understand how such basic 'commerce concepts' escape people. "You get what you pay for"? I mean, I can only imagine what would happen if someone went into a car dealership with the same attitude...I have to pay MONEY for something that I want? Hokey Smoke! Until Next Time,

The Armchair Merchant

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wear Tear Repair Fair...

Okay. Today's been a pretty good day. Only one kinda dinglenut in the shop. But for what we lack in quantity, we definitely make up for in quality. Here's how the conversation went, as far as my mind remembers:

Customer: Hi there. I bought this backpack case for my laptop a while ago and the seams are kinda tearing here and here and in this pocket. See?

Me: Hmmm. Yeah. I see that. Have you been using it lots?

C: Yeah. I've been taking it to school, but I have only had like 2-3 textbooks in it and some pens.

M: Okay. So how can I help you?

C: Well, I'm not very happy with it. I bought it a while ago and it's not lasting very well.

M: Well let's check out when you got it...Hmmm. It seems you bought it over 3 months ago. Well, none the less, what's on your mind?

C: Well, I don't think I need it anymore and I need a printer.

M: So you want to buy a printer? I can definitely help you there. As for what to do with the bag, that's not really my call. You'll have to talk to the manager.

C: Well, I was wondering if I could trade the bag for a printer.

M: Um...I don't have anything to say about that as it's not my call. If you have a seat, our manager will be with you shortly and he'll have some idea of what can be done.

***Now that's it. That's where the conversation stopped. I then went to get the manager and didn't listen to the conversation because I didn't want to hear it. Honestly. BUT, here's how the conversation continued on in my imagination:

Manager: Hello. I'm told you're unhappy with your purchase and I'm wondering what I can do for you?

Customer: Well, I bought this bag 3 months and a bit ago and it's started to tear some seams. I thought it would last forever, much like everything else I've ever bought. Apparently it doesn't, so I want to trade the bag for a printer.

Manager: I see. Your bag is victim of use and you're no longer pleased with it's mutability so you'd like to trade it for a printer.

Customer: Yes. I need a printer but I don't need this bag anymore, so I'd like to trade it.

Manager: I see. Has your adult shopping experience ever given you the idea that you can buy things and return them for more expensive items months after your purchase?

Customer: Uh...

Manager: I'm curious if say, Levis' would let you return a $40 pair of jeans after 3 months and trade them straight across for a $60 pair of jeans?

Customer: Uh...no...but I'm not really pleased with...

Manager: (Interupts) Yes. I know you are not pleased. I'm also not pleased that you think I'm an idiot who will give you something for nothing. So what should we do?

Customer: ...if you're not going to give me a printer, I'm going to take my business elsewhere.

Manager: Don't forget your bag. Have a nice day!

(Customer leaves)

Until the next crazy conversation,

The Armchair Stenographer

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Coffee and a Slap in the Face...

Well, three posts in one day. What does that mean? The computer business is slow today and the customers I DO have, I wish I didn't. So here's a question I get a lot: "Can you do a better price?" I got this one a short while ago, and as I sometimes do, I tried to have a little fun with the customer. Here's my dramatic re-inactment, entering after I faxed a quote to a local tiny business owner (coffee shop) and he called me back to complain:

Customer: Okay. I got your quote and I must say that it's not very tempting.

Me: Oh really?

Customer: Well, I need all that stuff but the price is way to high for me.

Me: Okay...I mean, taking a $770 deal and dropping it down to $660 would usually be considered 'dropping the price unnecessarily'. I don't think you would get $110 off at any other store in town.

C: Well, 'Such and such' store can sell me a compter package for $500.

M: Yes, but the package they quoted you is a totally different computer with half the power, half the ram, half the hard drive and an older operating system. I can sell you a similar system to theirs for around $450...

C: But I need something that has more power and a better operating system.

M: Which is why I quoted you something that is along the lines of what you communicated to me your needs were.

C: But it's too much money! I could get a computer for way less than that at other places and I'm not above shopping around.

M: Well, to be honest, I could sell you a total piece of garbage. It would be useless, but it would be CHEAP as borscht. Price isn't the only factor in making a purchase. If you can find a similar system to the one I quoted you, bring me a quote and I'll beat it, as well as buy you supper anywhere you want.

C: Look. I know your mark-ups are huge. I know you could do a WAY better deal than this. Now either give me a better deal or I'm taking my business elsewhere.

M: Hang on a second here. I tell you what. What should the price be?

C: What do you mean?

M: I'm allowing you to tell me the price. What should it be?

C: Well...Uh...

M: I'm doing something crazy here. I'm giving you the once in a lifetime opportunity to tell me whatever price you want to pay.

C: Uh...Well...I don't have a clue.

M: Just say any price and I'll do it. What should it be?

C: I don't know. I don't care. If you cannot do way better on the deal then I'm going to (names other store).

M: Well, You DO realize what I'm saying. I'm giving you the opportunity to choose your price and give yourself the deal of a century. I've never experienced this myself in any store ever in my entire life...ever. BUT, I'm giving you this opportunity because I'm feeling crazy today. Name your price and then we're done.

C: Well, I'm not interested.

(Customer hangs up)

M: I'm willing to take $50...Hello? Hello?

I mean, come on! What the heck? Some people think that I owe them a deal simply because they were born. And worse, some people have less of a sense of humor than a senate review board after the 'files' disappear. What gives? I don't know how some people survive without personalities. Well, later Playas,

The Armchair Sales-Machine

How to Mod an XboX with pictorial...

Okay. Last night, I'm on XBOX live playing Halo2 with some friends. I have one friend who's a techie dude and seems to know his stuff, but either way he's a good lad and fun to play with. Back to the story...

I'm in the pregame lobby and some random kid jumps into the lobby and starts asking me how to mod his XboX. All of a sudden, another 4 people emerge from the woodwork and we have a full on conference. Now the thing is, I've never modded an XboX and I don't really know how. But I do love an audience and I have a pretty quick mind/tongue (And my other friend is the same).

So these kids, who talked like they were 2 score short of an adam's apple, were listening intently. I privately messaged my friend as to my gameplan and the hijinks ensued. I won't bore every reader with the details, but let's just say that when we were done, there will be 4 kids feeling like idiots at Circuit City tomorrow when they're looking for ModChips, along with the SATA interface and the 3DFX Voodoo instruction chipset. I mean, if you don't understand XboX component names ("What's a Pentinum? I think my uncle has one of those?!") of or what a hard drive is ("That's the box, right?"), you should NOT be thinking about soldering things onto your motherboard, rodding your hard drive and changing your O/S. I wish I coulda taped the conversation. Later Playas,

The Armchair XboX Masta

I'm published!

Well, I'm published in Maximum PC this month! August issue, page 8. It's not much, but I won the June photo caption contest. Awe Yeah. Later playas,

The Armchair Celebrity

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Line of all Lines...

Real Conversation. No kidding. I have been laughing about this for hours:

Customer: Hey. Who do you do financing through?

Me: (says company name)...

Customer: What? SH*T! Those guys F*cking hate my guts! F*ck! (slams down phone)

Me: Hello? ...

Until Next Time,

The Armchair Geek

Sunday, July 10, 2005

My First Top Ten...

Okay. After the last few mind-numbing days here, I've got my first top ten list. These are the top ten comments that reveal that you are a n00b. Enjoy:

10. Wait a minute! I was just at 'store X' and they had a computer (lists something of completely different and inferior specs from a different manufacturer) for 'price Y'. Why is yours more expensive than theirs?

9. Why would anyone need 160 GeeBees of Ram?

8. Will it work with my e-mail?

7. I'm looking for a new computer but I'm only willing to spend $200. What do you have for me?

6. That's a nice 17 inch computer...what is that box for?

5. Can I remove windows XP and install Windows 95?

4. Okay...that's a nice price. Now drop it $300 with taxes in and I'll take it.

3. Does this come with the internet?

2. It's nice, but do you have it in Black?

1. Well, I won't need extended warranty because they're a scam. Everyone knows that if electronics don't break within the first 90 days, they'll last until the second coming of Christ.

Well, them's the truths as I sees 'em. I love being entertained by n00bs, but I hate dealing with them. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Geek

Saturday, July 02, 2005

What?! The ficticious conversation...

This just happened. No kidding. Well, not entirely. This conversation is a collection of various conversations I have daily with customers at the computer store that I work at. Ever comment in here I've actually received, but this conversation is actually ficticious. The contents of this conversation have been shortened, changed to make it a tad more funny and the names of the individuals have been changed to protect them...

Customer: Hi. I'm calling about you add in the paper. How does it work? (I get this question, in this exact form, daily)

Me: Uh...I'm guessing you're interested in buying a computer?

C: How do I buy one?

M: You usually give me money.

C: What kinda computer is it?

M: Well, we have a wide variety of computers for various prices. The $27 a month in the add is the price of financing a $599 system over 36 months. I'm guessing that you're interested in financing...

C: I guess so. That's the monthly payment thing, right?

M: Right. Well, we do financing through (company name) and it involves (details). So do you know what youre current credit history is?

C: No. I don't know about my credit history.

M: So, have you ever done anything through credit?

C: No. I've never done anything through credit.

M: Do you have a credit card?

C: No. I don't even have a debit card.

M: ?! Okay. Well, seeing that you don't have a credit history, you might need a co-signer for getting financing...

C: Can you co-sign for me?

M: ?!

C: Can you?

M: You don't know what I'm talking about, do you?

C: No.

M: ...maybe you have a friend or a family member who can co-sign for you.

C: I have a sister. She has a computer.

M: That's great. Maybe she could co-sign for you and you could use her credit to get your own personal credit history rolling.

C: She's got a nice computer. She bought 6 months ago from Dell. The people on the Dell phone talk funny.

M: Great. Well, I'd talk to her and ask her to co-sign for you.

C: Do you have a computer like her's?

M: I'm not sure what she has, but I'm sure I have something similar. Let's talk about your employment status. Where are you currently working?

C: ...

M: You're working, right?

C: No. I have a student loan though.

M: Uh, a student loan is not technically a "source of income"...that's why it's called a "loan" and not a "job".

C: I get like $600 a month from it.

M: But that's not technically a job.

C: I'm not working. I'm a student.

M: So that means you don't have a job...? It helps to have a job when you want to borrow money from a financial insitution. When you have 'zero income', it makes financial insitutions suspicious that you won't be able to pay them back the money you borrow.

C: Okay. Well, can I get financing?

M: I'm sure you can, but it would help for you to have a job and a co-signer. I can try to apply for financing for you, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to go through seeing as you have no credit history and you're unemployed. Also, if you get rejected on a finacing application, it hurts your credit history. It would most likely be wise to sort out those issues before jumping into the deep end.

C: Gee. Thanks. You know a lot about this stuff. You should be a financial planner or something.

M: ...uh...?!

C: Have a good day.

M: Thanks. You too.


Sadly enough, this conversations occurs daily at my place of work...Minor changes, but same bizarre goofy conversation. Around 4 times a week I have to explain to people why a 'loan' is not a 'job' and why having no credit means you have no credit. Also, people are not always so polite or articulate. I'm surprised that Saskatoon is not heavily involved in the aerospace field, seeing as there are apparently so many rocket scientists in this city. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Geek

This Blog...

...Seeing that disgruntled tech posts have overrun my other blog page, I've made a new blog for rambling about the crappy tech stuff and stupid people stories that happen in the computer industry. If you want more theological/life content, check out Thearmchairtheologian@blogger.com for that. For bitter and hilarious venting, come back often. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Geek