i gave circuit city another chance…

I rarely shop at the big box stores. I even rarely bite on something on sale at a big box store. When I was in college, I opened a Best Buy store when they came to Atlanta. To make a long story short, I felt like I sold my soul to the devil. Since I had worked there, it has been very hard to bring myself to shop there. I know how the employees were treated and I knew the story of the people I worked with. To put it in simple terms, Best Buy wasn’t for me. I wasn’t into selling something someone didn’t need or selling extended warranties, (yeah, they’re a waste of money: pure profit). I don’t want to get into that since that’s not the point of my post. My point is that I understand somewhat the mentality of the retail sales person having been there myself.

As I said, I rarely shop at the big box stores. But my wife has been saying she would really like a laptop. I tried to hook her up with a 1Ghz Ubuntu Dell laptop and it was okay for email, but just a hair beyond her tech level. She wanted Microsoft. Okay, I thought. Now, tomorrow is our 10th anniversary.

I scoured the hot deal websites and found a nice $399 laptop at Circuit City after rebates. This wasn’t a monster laptop but it would be excellent for what she wanted to do; email, surfing, editing, etc. Any real heavy lifting would be done by our home-built XP desktop so this would really just be a satelite.

So I checked online for instore stock and made a special trip to a Circuit City that still had the laptop I wanted in stock. I found it on display and took it for a test drive. I don’t know anything about Vista but I know enough to tell if the laptop would be fine. I thought it was a good deal.

I waved down some slack-jawed EMO kid and told him I wanted a laptop. When I showed him the one I wanted, he went, “Oh…” and then the conversation went like this… (btw… he was identified as a supervisor on his name tag).

EMO: “Oh, so you want this one. What are you going to do with it?”

Me: “Surfing, email… that sort of thing.”

EMO: “Are you planning on upgrading it?”

Me: “Yeah, probably.”

EMO: “Oh, well you can do that. 512MB of ram is barely enough to do anything. In fact, 2GB is barely enough to do anything on this laptop.”

Me: “Yeah? I think it will be okay for what I am planning on doing with it.”

EMO: “Yeah, well.. the processor isn’t fast enough to run Vista.”

Me: “I’m sure it will be fine.”

EMO: “Okay, here’s the details on the return policy… blah blah blah and being slow isn’t a reason to return it.”

Me: “I am willing to accept the risk.”

I was so mad at this little punk. Obviously, he doesn’t know me from Adam, but I think I do know a little about computers. Clearly, he was trying to up-sell me into something else. Thankfully, he didn’t bother asking me about the extended warranty because I would have walked out. I was fuming.

So I paid for it and picked it up. Everyone else at the store was really nice. As I left the parking lot, I began doubting my purchase. Maybe it wasn’t good enough…or I should have gotten more bang for my buck. Then I realized that was this kids job… to cast doubt into someone’s decision to purchase something. When I made that realization, I felt like I had been violated. I swear, I was 10 seconds away from walking out of that store and have them loseWeight Exercise my sale because of this kid. I would have but that was the only store within my area that still had the laptop in stock.

What would have happened if this kid tried to talk to me and told me why he liked another laptop (similarly priced)? He could have opened with, “Yeah that is a good deal on that laptop, but maybe you should consider one of these because…” instead of trying to scare me. Like I said, I felt violated and doubted myself. Maybe I was more mad at myself for letting him get to me.

As a gut-check, I stopped at an Office Depot to see what they had on sale. I still maintain I got a good deal at Circuit City and I am sure it will be great for my wife. I might upgrade the RAM but I’ll wait for a deal on that.

The point of my post is that, no wonder people are afraid of computers and technology because you got chowder-heads at these stores trying to scare people to spend more money. Having been a Best Buy employee many years ago, I am familiar with the sales tactic of F.U.D. and I hate myself for almost falling for it. Grrrr!

the unattended garden

After a most excellent weekend, my thoughts are heady and deep. Yeah, I did have a great weekend, thanks for asking. Today, on the wind down, I was listening to Ian Brown and Massive Attack. They both sound so good on my new receiver. The guy across the street let me borrow the Ian Brown CD and I was telling him how good Massive Attack was and that he should check out the “Lemon Song” by Led Zeppelin. I used to forward people websites as a way to introduce people to new things. But I backed off of that since many of my reference websites have been left to wither, or as Nick Cave refers to in “Bring it on” an unattended garden.

My case in point. Check out the once awesome and mighty Massive Attack website:

When I first saw this site, I was awestruck. It was one of the more advanced and ellaborate flash sites I had seen. Now, you can’t help but be distracted by the xanax and Viagra spam. Now a days, it isn’t rocket science to block this pharmaceutical spam, but obviously no one in charge of the site gives a rats ass or even is aware of the current state.

So this brings me to my next point. For the last year, I have been cultivating an online presence. As I mentioned before, this was a conscious shift in my thinking. Up until this year, I tried to remain more or less anonymous on the Internet. Then I decided to change things around when I decided to look for a new job.

Some of the fuel for tonights post came from the latest issue of Details Magazine, (no, I would never subscribe to this myself buy my wife got me a free subscription). There was an article about networking in it. The article didn’t have anything new to me or any secret knowledge, but it was a reminder how much networking is an important activity for anyone in the job market and arguably any professional.

What does this mean? Well, if you go through the effort to have an online presence and have it mean anything, you got to care and feed and water it. Now a days, that can be a small chore. Personally, I’m on the following sites to make me look like I actually know something:

All of these are important components of what makes my online presence. Yeah, I know potential employers might be looking at this so, so I try to keep it somewhat clean, but I want to make sure it is an accurate representation of who I am. I can do that without being smarmy and cursing without due cause.

I am surprised to find out that I really enjoy this aspect of the Internet. I guess it really is like taking care of a garden and making sure it grows. You got to make an effort to keep all of it up to date. Actually, it’s not that bad if you enjoy doing it… and i do.

Keep the weeds out and make sure your online presences it lookin’ good. I’ve been at the same company for 12 years so I consider myself to be a n00b when it comes to networking, but I am getting more and more clearer on how it is all supposed to work. I love talking to people so this is a great extension on who I am. Part of it is a little about me growing out to be more of an extrovert, or at least a little outgoing.

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a couple of minutes of fame

Tonight, I had the sheer pleasure of being in the live studio audience for a TV special.  If you live in Georgia, you might know who Clark Howard is.  He’s great.  I’ve been listening to him for years and think he’s a great person that has helped a lot of people.  Tonight we taped a show for next Monday’s airing of a real estate special.  My sister-in-law and I were picked to be in the audience.

Some of you know that I am a real estate investor, property manager, and  agent.  My sister-in-law is my broker and we have worked together on a couple of interesting deals.    I have intended this to be my “Plan B” but as you might know, now is not the best time to fall back on this… maybe just not yet.

Anyways, we both enjoyed the show and the message Clark had to say.  If anything, I am more convinced that my philosophy on real estate is definitely solid and on track.  So, that’s a good thing and I am looking good, (if I do say so myself).

I don’t want to take anything away from the show so I won’t post pictures or what was discussed until the show airs.   The show airs on 9/10 @ 8PM Eastern on Channel 2, WSB.  Be sure to set your TiVos’.