A Trip to the Rainbow
frequently chides me over my tendency to bash the competition. She says I am
far too negative when I talk about Gateway, Compaq, Dell and the rest of the
"package" computers. She also thinks I should lighten up on computer
stores like Fry's, Comp USA and the rest.
day a customer overheard Nome chastising me for a comment I made about Dell's
lack of customer service. He said, "If you think Paul is bad you should
hear "Cactus Jack," up at Rainbow Computer. Paul can't hold a candle
to "Cactus Jack" when it comes to bad-mouthing the competition".
Nome decided that we should pay a visit to "Cactus Jack" at our first
opportunity so that I could see how unattractive competition bashing really is.
"A dose of my own medicine" she called it. The following Saturday we
drove up to see "Cactus Jack"
is a dusty little ranch country crossroads community about 30 miles north of
San Diego. The sign said "RAINBOW COMPUTER EMPORIUM -- If we ain't got it,
you don't need it". We walked up the steps and across the wooden porch
through the door. "Cactus Jack" scowled at us from where he sat
behind the cash register. "What the hell you want, can't you see I'm eatin
my lunch". He waved a half empty whiskey bottle at us and belched. He was
a short stout man with a drooping salt and pepper mustache and a sweat stained,
misshapen cowboy hat. I knew I was going to like him.
whispered, "Be quiet and listen, I'll do the talking".
Mr. Jack", she said pleasantly,
"we've been computer shopping and want to know how your computers
compare". Jack squinted at her suspiciously, "Compared to what?"
"Well," she hesitated, "how about compared to Gateway
Computers?" Jack rolled his eyes. "Them meadow muffins wrapped in
cowhide don't deserve to be called computers. Folks that's stupid enough to buy
em wind up callin em "Gatecrashers."
blinked and took a step backwards, "What about Compaq?" Jack leaned
forward and smirked, "Compaq's you say? I hear the folks at the factory in
Texas call em "Comebacks." They say that every one of them suckers
gotta comeback to the factory three times before they work right"
met his smirk with an innocent smile. "And Dell?" she asked. Jack
snorted "They sure knew what they was doin when they named it to rhyme
with Hell. You cain't even get the case off'n one of them hogs without bustin
somthin loose, not that there's anything worth looking at inside of em
continued, "How about IBM and HP?"
Jack stood up and leaned forward across the counter toward Nome. His
pale blue eyes barely showed through his squint. "Whar I come from if'n a
man ain't proud enough to go by his rightful name he ain't considered to be
much force. Don't trust nobody that goes by initials."
said Nome, "the people at Fry's said" - Jack interrupted "That
second hand junk store. The only thing they know how to sell is service
contracts." What about Comp USA?" Asked Nome. Jack spat into a coffee
can on the counter and wiped his mouth with his sleeve "Them buzzards is
owned by TeleMex and they don't even have phones in their stores. Try to call
your local store and the phone rings straight through to their headquarters in
shot a triumphant glance at me. "So I gather that you would recommend we
buy a Computer made here at Rainbow Computer." Cactus Jack glared at her.
"I don't know why you'd jump to that conclusion. We ain't no better than
anybody else. Here lately I've come to think we might be worse than some."
With that Jack belched again and sat down hard in his chair. He was winded.
started backing toward the door. I told her to go on ahead and I would be out
joined Nome in the car a few minutes later and as we pulled out of "Cactus
Jack's" parking lot she asked, "what on earth could you possibly want
to say to that terrible man." I looked in the rearview mirror.
"Cactus" was standing in his doorway.
"I just had to kneel down and kiss his ring. We were in the
presence of greatness."