Cheap for a Reason

Maybe there’s a reason a place like Future Shop can sell you a computer for well under $500. The reason, my friends, is quite simple. It’s because such computers simply don’t work.

I still don’t regret my move downstairs back in March. But the one (and just about only) thing that hasn’t worked out is setting up my office in the smaller bedroom. The sunlight is too direct and I have to close the blinds all afternoon until sunset if I plan to work in there, and opening the door to the balcony—a necessity to let in some air in the summer—also lets in too much sunlight. The brightness glares on the monitor and it gets too hot in the room. Also, I’d like the flexibility to change rooms once in a while to break the monotony of “computer = go to the office.”

I have the perfect alt.home.office set up in my living room, but the problem is that I don’t have a computer there. Well, I do, but it’s a mid-1990s dinosaur whose operating system is (get this!) Windows 95. I don’t even know why I keep the damn thing.

Ever since I’ve moved in here, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a router and a really cheap computer for my alt.home.office, but I’ve been reticient to make the move due to cost. Lately, however, Future Shop has been advertising a computer with a flat computer monitor for $699. I checked out their website and found there were even cheaper deals if I didn’t mind recycling my old monitor.

So off I went to Future Shop this evening with Stephanie, and while I was looking online, she found the computer I had spotted earlier online for $60 less than what’s posted online: not $409, but $349! I mean, fuck! Even if it’s slower than or not as good as my main computer, who gives a good goddamn! It would provide the change of scenery I desperately need.

I bought extra RAM and a router, and before the mail-in rebates (about $100 in total) but with taxes, I spent $630. I got home, excited at the prospect of setting up my new computer (minus the router, which Steph will help me with tomorrow). But it didn’t go well. At all.

The first time I turned it on, it churned and churned for what seemed like foreover before it finally just seized. The second time, it booted as far as the manufacturer’s preliminary set up program, but after I pressed “Next” on the second screen, it churned a bit and then started to reboot. Although I found that odd, I figured it might need to do that and the third time would be the charm. But no. Three or four times I reached that second screen and it would reboot again. Then finally, Windows spewed out one of its infamously unhelpful error boxes—something about bad memory 30958x;j on 12sdg4w8 cannot “write” to memory. So, before I take the computer back to Future Shop tomorrow, I’ll ask Steph to double-check the RAM she added for me. Maybe IT’S bad and causing the grief, in which case I’ll only need to replace it and not the whole computer. But for some reason, I suspect the problem is with the computer.

So all this to say that perhaps the reason why a place like Future Shop can sell you a computer for $349 is because said computer doesn’t work. Which is a pity, of course. And a pain in the ass. If you can’t deliver goods that work at that price point, then don’t bother getting people’s hopes up. I wasn’t expecting a killer gaming machine. I wasn’t even expecting something better than my two-year-old TextStyle1. I only expected a computer that worked reasonably well.

{2} Thoughts on “Cheap for a Reason

  1. So spend a couple nights next week dancing if you need the extra $$ and get yourself an iMac. 😀

    Or, if you really only want to spend under 1k, get yourself a Mac Mini.

  2. Dancing?

    I must admit I saw some pretty cheap (non-Mac) laptops, too, but my goal is to stay very far from the 1K mark. I just want a cheap box that works and gives me the flexibility to work in the living room.

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