The Computer Buzz
||November 15th, 2007|
Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Factory
It's a Dirty, Rotten Business
The PC business is stuffed with charlatans from top to bottom. There is no other product in such wide distribution that is so little understood by its users. This creates an environment where any claim made by a seller, no matter how outlandish, goes unchallenged by an uninformed public. Microsoft advertises its deeply flawed "Vista" as the greatest advance since applesauce, Dell proclaims "award winning" service then routes your calls to India, and Fry's names its bottom of the line house brand PCs "Great Quality”.
Since most prospective PC buyers have no real concept of what constitutes value in a PC, buyers are usually forced into one of two basic strategies. Either they rely on retail clerks to guide them to the right decision or they simply use the "lowest price" strategy. Both strategies are fraught with peril.
Almost without exception, retail clerks are driven by financial incentives to sell to you what makes the best commission or bonus for them. They rarely care about what you really need. Their needs come first. Retailers Best Buy and Circuit City have come under increasing fire in recent months for abusing their customers by conning them into exorbitantly overpriced upgrades and unneeded services.
The "Lowest price" strategy is just as risky. In order to attract shoppers, PC sellers advertise "bargain" PCs. These cheap and cheesy PCs are the modern day equivalent of the old $3 transistor radio. Underpowered and poorly made, whether desktop or laptop, these "bargains" are jammed with advertisements and trial-ware and destined for a short lifespan.
Last week one of our customers asked us to check out a new Acer laptop purchased at Best Buy. This laptop with an AMD Turion, "Vista" home premium and 768Mb of RAM came with the usual ACER installed "crap-ware" plus screens full of tacky ads for Best Buy's goods and services. With all the paid commercials imbedded in its operating system, the poor thing consumed two thirds of its RAM resources just to get to the desktop. That left a scant 200Mb of RAM to run all of the user's applications. Disgusting!
The PC business, like every other business, is driven by the profit motive. Whether an employee or business owner, we all work to earn a living. We all know that Firefighters save lives and protect property. That's their job and they do it well.
The job of a retail clerk in a computer store is to sell the stores goods and services. The more the better. The problem in our industry is that most of the retail clerks who sell computers are neither technically competent nor financially motivated to help customers find solutions or solve problems.
Here at the Computer Factory we know that our customers pay us to provide solutions and solve problems. It's what we've been doing since 1995 and we do it every day for people who live in our hometown and the surrounding area. If we blow it, there's no place to hide. We can't blame an employee, a boss, quit or transfer to another store. We either satisfy our customers or take our lumps and that's the way we