Beavis and Best-Butt-Head … aka the Story of HART’s Misadventures at Best Buy
Here is a nice long bedtime story .. highly recommended to read before you go to sleep, because it is so boring and long, it will put you to sleep .. no need to use any artificial sleeping aids tonight! Just read this blog entry!
Once upon a time, in a land far far away in the Great White North .. an individual named HART lived there … and used to have the bestest ever computer system around! During the 1990’s it was always important (as network administrator and being known as ‘that techie computer geek guy’), that he be able to recommend great computer systems and environments for both his employer and for his clients. It seemed normal that HART would want to recommend only the top state-of-the-art systems for the workplace and network, with his workstation having the most goodies. In the latter part of the 1990’s, as E-file co-ordinator and post-Win95 era, it was even more important to be up and aware of all the great stuff that could be out there and put into your desktop computer.
HART would go home at night, after a long day’s work, and lived comfortably with the knowledge that his own home computer system was superior to any working system recommended to his clients, or employer.
I have been using computers for many years (I wrote earlier about HART’s computer background in this blog) and have always tried to experiment with computers. I remember I was the first person on my block to own an AMSTRAD PC .. remember those? Amstrad was supposed to be the biggest computer computer, outside of North America – which, if I recall, was the European I.B.M equivalent (?) – and I was a fan. I can’t recall what model I started with and the progression of updated purchases that I used to have, but I remember giving away my final store bought computer – the Amstrad PC-1600 Computer along with my Amstrad DMP4 Printer. I wish I could find a picture of that old computer .. I liked it. I did manage to find two models though .. the PC-1512 (1986 era) and the PC-2086 (1987 era) .. I suppose it looked something in between these two..
I couldn’t find any pictures of my Amstrad DMP-4 printer for this blog entry. After my AMSTRAD days .. I moved to the Citizen line for my printing needs, and I started to just build my own computer pc .. starting with the “Laser” brand, because that was the first non-Apple Non-IBM Non-Amstrad and my first No-Name computer that I purchased. One day I will try to recall the actual progression of my computer purchase and upgrades, but I will leave that to the historians who will one day look back into history and review all my records, receipts and stories and rebuild the truth and story of my progressions.
I can say that I remember it had something to do with “SX” models … If our computer at work was an “SX-25” version, I would get an “SX-33” or something. When later on a “DX” model seemed better, I would get the “DX-33” upgrade. When our office upgraded to a “DX-33” I would upgrade my computer to a “DX-2/33” or something like that. I think once an upgrade was made to a “DX-2/50” by the office, so to keep up with the JONES I would have upgraded my computer to “DX2/66” .. I think that’s the last of that series that I can recall. The next natural progression would be the upgrade of the processor speeds, to 200 mhz all the way up to 750 mhz .. experimenting with different chips, expanding memory, CD rom drives, modem speeds, video cards, hard drives, networking etc.and a variety of sound card upgrades and gaming add-ons, although I was never really into the joystick and upgrading my first purchase. I can honestly say that I had pretty much the same computer from 1994 to the present, and this computer was HART’s Super Computer.
It all changed in 2002 however, because when I decided to upgrade this computer .. my next logical step was a new and improved motherboard, and it just did NOT fit that case. I opted to lease a brand new computer through http://Dell.ca and now my main computer is the Dell Dimension 8200 .. customized into an even better super computer. It’s what I am typing on right now, and what I use as my main business computer. Here is what it looks like:
The specs are basically that it’s a Pentium-4 with 2.8ghz processor w/533mhz system bus, 512 L2 Cache, 1g PC800 RDRAM memory, 120gig hard drive, all the other standards including CDRW/DVDRW combo drive and other goodies. I can’t believe that the ‘lease price’ was based on $4,412.00 CDN plus taxes, but I am writing off 100% of the computer lease payments in my business. The lease expires in July 2006 so, I probably will be writing about another super-computer purchase (probably a laptop) in this blog.
NOW IT’s TIME TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS STORY ..
MEET HART ..
Anyway, my old ‘super computer’ was just a second computer. The new leased computer had all the memory, so my wife was able to enjoy playing SIMS and SIMS2 on it … meanwhile, I was able to work on the 2nd computer. One day last fall 2005 my memory died in that super computer, and I needed it to be replaced. What I did was go onto http://Ebay.ca and I was able to find the required memory RAM boards that matched my computer. When I received it .. because this was an old computer and had gone through lots of upgrades, usually by myself .. I can’t believe what happened next
* I installed the newly purchased RAM boards – backwards
When I turned on my 2nd computer .. well, if it could speak it would have spoken french and said … ~le peuf~ I have yet to be able to turn on this machine since. But that’s okay, because my main desktop computer works fine. And when my wife wanted to play SIMS2 ?? I would just go downstairs and make a pot of coffee and watch a movie, or catch up on my sleep, or go to the Gym!
Anyway … now comes 2006 and I am really busy at work. My blogging has definately suffered because of my ‘daytime job’ and my sleeping habits have been affected. Most of the jobs that I have been working on, have not been money-generating jobs. In addition to the stress trying to catch up or get ahead, most of the jobs that NEEDS to be done, well .. I probably won’t get paid for several months (or longer) after I complete the work and present a billing. So sad to say I have also been concentrating on the ‘cash’ or ‘C.O.D.’ jobs to basically live, financially.
I recently had the opportunity to hire an individual to help me input the raw data. I decided to offer a pretty decent hourly rate, plus be a little generous (travel time, coffee and feed this person lunch salads or whatever is available in my fridge at the time) on the condition that this person can wait until the job is completed .. billed .. and collected. It might work out great for me! If I can get caught up on the ‘drek’ work for the NOW … my stress will go down. Today was this person’s first day. I was going to get this new employee to work on my laptop, (which I still haven’t sold but has been sitting for about 4 months) but when I turned it on – I got the dreaded blue screen. I trained the employee, cleaned up my desk and after this employee finished today, I decided that the time was NOW to hire somebody to fix my 2nd computer – buy new RAM and just get it working. This way, this person can work on the 2nd computer, I’ll have my network backup computer available again and all will be well in the world we live in.
NOW IT’s TIME FOR THE STORY OF …
I took my 2nd computer to the Geek Squad and had planned to leave the computer there in the repair department .. and just explain what I did to cause the problem (that I thought I did anyway), and request for types of recommendations and cheaply upgrades to get this computer back to being a working and reliable backup computer. Well, after about 15 minutes .. the general conclusion that was presented to me …
(1) First of all, they don’t make that type of RAM anymore
(2) If the motherboard is fried, it wouldn’t fit in that case anway (reason why I upgraded to Dell Lease)
(3) Even if they could get it to work with another used motherboard, RAM, etc .. the cost would probably run between $450 and $600 CDN
(4) I can probably buy a brand new computer, without the monitor, for about $600-$700 CDN ..
(5) Even if I donated that computer to a school or charity, they would probably hate me because of the costs to repair it.
I immediately jumped on board with the thought of point (4) above .. Heck .. why should I go on a 2nd computer and let my wife play SIMS2 on my desktop? I could just buy her a new computer .. that can play SIMS2! If it can play that game, then it would be good enough for my business needs and software that I use, for my new employee to use, and it can also be a safety net for network backups – in case this desktop ever dies on me. So, I head off to the computer section and try to compare features, prices etc. Keep in mind, that I could still just get another computer from DELL .. or look for a used one somewhere, or repair the existing one. But, the balance on my Best Buy credit card was zero and, for a small admin fee I could term out the purchase over 12 months interest-free. I could just make minimum payments each month, or lump sum just pay it off.
I narrowed my choice to two possible machines. Both machines offered a $56.00 USD mail-in rebate. Both computers came with keyboard and a normal ‘ball’ mouse, no monitor, but a dual layer DVD burner, lots of USB 2.0 ports and those newer camera card 8-in-1 insert ports. One was $659 CDN before rebate, with 512mb RAM, and a 128mb NVIDIA graphic card. The other was $799 CDN before rebate, with 1gig RAM, a 256mb NVIDIA graphic card, and XP Media Center. I couldn’t care less for the media center but preferred MORE ram and MORE graphic card. I called my wife. We had discussions. I went back and did more research and asked questions. I was happy with my choice. I figured – since the lower priced computer can play SIMS2 .. let’s not get carried away. For the difference, I could get other supplies .. some DVD-RW’s, a Flash Memory Card, maybe something else (I would have to look around).
I tell the Rep that I’ve decided – the $659 model – and I will pick out a flash card and supplies. He comes with me, and I end up picking out a 1GIG flash memory card that was priced at $74.99 CDN but there is a $25.00 USD mail-in cash rebate. For the net price, it was the smallest and the cheapest with the most space. I already have a 40-gig pocket Toshiba external hard drive that fits in my shirt pocket .. I wanted one that fits in my pants pocket. They had these 2GIG and 4GIG flash drives, but there was no rebate and they were a little pricey .. plus I remember reading somewhere on the internet (so it must be true!) that flash drives are not optimal over 1GIG in size. I also pick out a 5-pack DVD-RW box and figure.. that’s enough for today. I state that I will be looking around in the cameras … if he could bring those supplies up to the front customer service where my old defective 2nd computer was sitting .. I’ll come up shortly and pay for it.
The Sales Rep guy now finds me in the Big Screen High Definition part of the store, and gives me bad news … “Umm … actually, we do not have any more E-Machines in stock .. just the demo that is out for display” .,. GEESH .. after all that deciding back and forth – while he was there – he just realizes now? Okay .. Let’s Make A Deal! I inspect the demo closely, and it looks okay – but very dusty .. especially the keyboard. It’s obvious that this is an old display model, and tell the guy that well, I think I’ll just pass – or, at best – come back when there is new stock coming .. by the way .. “When is new stock coming?” I asked… 3 months he said.
So, he REALLY wants me to walk out with a computer today. I told him, regardless – I probably will – because my old 2nd computer is up at the front waiting for me to take out because repair department thought it would be too costly to fix and upgrade. Then – he starts trying to push some ‘power warranty’ option on me .. If you ever shop at Best Buy they have two types of ‘professional’ plans – 3 year and 4 year. I’m sure they are okay in their own way and if there are major problems, they could be golden. Except – they are like $300 -$400 CDN! The Sales Rep tells me that with the $56 USD rebate, it’s really only about $50 per year .. How Can You Go Wrong? …///
SHADDUP!! (I said) … Let me tell you one thing straight up (I said) .. I will never buy your warranty plan. If my computer screws up in the 1-year warranty, I will ship it to the factory and have it repaired. If this computer fails after that – I will destroy my Best Buy Card and never shop here again. That’s your gamble – not mine. Are you telling me i NEED to get a warranty because you sell faulty equipment? (I said)
I continued … Listen – you stood next to me selling this machine, and now you want me to take the demo store model .. you are going to have to kick in something if you want me to walk out of here with a new computer. He starts crying, because there are too low margins on computer blah blah blah if I only buy his performance 4-year warranty they can do something good for me .. I said to him, that listen .. just throw in these DVD’s ($13.99 CDN) and replace that ball-mouse with an optic mouse. The Sales Rep goes to discuss this with his superior commander-in-chief or supervisor..
The Sales Rep comes back to me, and informs me that they are willing to throw in the DVD’s .,.. but not the optical mouse .. with reasons that it is just no margins to do that. I didn’t understand. We go over to the mouse section and find the identical logitech mouse that came with this E-Machine .. $19.99 .. then find an optical mouse .. $19.99 .. AW C’MON! Geeeesh .. You know, besides wasting my afternoon (I said) .. now I feel like you are petty to me. I came in here to repair my computer, and get corralled over to the computer section, and end up buying a computer .. but there is no more computers only an old demo display model .. and you can’t exchange a friggin mouse of equal value and toss in $14 of blank DVD’s?
Beavis goes back to his commandant
The ‘boss’ will not give me the optical mouse, with the understanding that if he did that – then he would have a demo mouse that belonged to an E-Machine, that had no computer to attach to it. Instead, he is willing to reduce the price of the computer from $659 CDN to $625 CDN .. for a $34 CDN savings, and I have to buy the DVD’s .. I tell him I have to think about it.
I flip a coin, it comes up tails – and I decide to buy the demo display model computer, provided they clean it up a little and air dust and clean the keyboard and mouse ball. I go get the kingston “Data Traveller” 1 gig USB flash drive for $74.95 CDN with a $25.00 USD rebate, and a box of 5 DVD-RW’s for $13.99 CDN, and head up to the front with the sales rep and pay for the items. There was an error in the recording of the bill, because I wanted it financed over 12 months, which is an extra admin charge of $59.00 CDN .. So, I had to sign the original bill and the reversal of the original bill, and then again the revised bill .. with the admin charge. Before I signed the new bill, I noticed that charged me $8.02 CDN Interest. I asked why they would charge me interest .. if the $59.00 ‘admin charge’ was to cover the cost of interest free payments over 12 months? Call a spade a spade and a rose a rose .. but this sure stinks.
Oh .. that’s because we deferred your bill for 12 months .. only the computer was eligible for the interest free option. Because your statement will not add the interest (unless it’s not paid off in full at the end of 12 months, where they will add 100% interest from the date of purchases – which is fine) .. they had to adjust the interest on the flash drive and DVD-RW disks for 12 months.
ARE YOU FRIGGIN KIDDING ME? ARE YOU FRIGGIN MAD? ARE YOU FRIGGIN IDIOTS? I mean – just post it as two separate receipts .. I’ll pay that off on my credit card immediately .. Geeeesh … So, they now have to reverse the revised bill .. (needing signature) and do two more receipts .. one for the termed out computer, and another for the non-eligible stuff on credit (needing two signatures). Then, they have to print duplicate receipts and ‘Rebate Copies’ of the bills for the two mail-in rebates. Now .. I have 6 bills. Whatever. Just pack it up and I’ll go..
NOW they tell me … That they will clean up the computer and get everything ready for me .. and it should be ready in two hours.
TWO HOURS? The whole FRIGGIN point of this deal was to have me walk out of here with a computer – and now you say I can’t walk out of here for two hours? WHY? PLEASE TELL ME WHY? WHY? OH WHY?
*sigh* The demo computer has the ‘Best Buy’ demo software installed. They have to completely unistall that demo, and wipe the computer clean and reinstall a working operating system, and make a full recovery disk. I think .. and actually, that’s not a bad idea. I mention .. with the advent of these new flash drive pocket cards .. you never know who might come lurking around and just install a virus on the demos … Yes! Clean it up! Wipe the hard Drive! Get me new recovery disk … I don’t want any best buy screen savers or demos on my computer anyway. Fortunately, yesterday was thursday. My wife goes to a double work-out after work and won’t be home until 7pm anyway, when Survivor starts on TV. I could just go downtown to my favorite Mongolian Stir-Fry place and get a decent dinner, and come back in an hour or so .. the day was wasted anyway, as long as I was home by Survivor because we have a pool going on and we always watch this show.
I leave the store, and just leave everything there.
Mmmm .. that was yummy .. I head back into the store and I know they said two hours, maybe 1-1/2 hours, and I’ve only been gone for less than an hour, maybe I can speed it up.
Guess what. The ‘tech’ guy (same guy who initially looked at my old computer) did not have a happy face on. He has ruined 3 CD’s because it wouldn’t burn properly. Evertime in the middle of making a recovery disk, the infamous blue screen happened. He did a diagnostic, and one of the 256mb RAM cards – was defective. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any 256 mb RAM cards for E-Machines. Well, he did have brand new ones, but he wanted to replace from an already displayed module for easy replacement back to the ‘headquarters’ or wherever they ordered it from. But, he did have one 512mb RAM card .. and asked me if that was okay ..
Well, naturally I was disappointed .. and suggested that it had two RAM cards in before, he may as well insert two RAM cards now .. so, feel free to add another 512mb RAM card! Well, he didn’t go for that. I suggested that he could always just replace the included ball-mouse with an optics-mouse of same value and I would be happy. I gave up shortly asking for stuff – he wasn’t budging. I now start to browse the the CD music section
Oh No! It wasn’t the RAM chip .. there is definately a problem with this display unit. The tech guy just isn’t comfortable selling me that demo and stops what he is doing. I will have to pick another computer out.
? ? PICK ANOTHER COMPUTER OUT ? ? ? I’ve now been here for 4 hours, and not only had I ‘picked’ my computer, it was bought and paid for. Well .. we bring back the original Sales Rep guy and he’s also miffed … (who cares, right!?) .. and then he asks me what I want. I told him, that if he remembers our previous encounter, I only wanted two choices. But, I rejected the higher priced one for good reason – I didn’t want to spend $799 CDN plus taxes. Why don’t you just throw it in as a replacement to compensate for this mish mash? I’ll even take that demo model. (I said)
He wouldn’t even do that – but said he will have to talk it over with his boss. The only thing was .. that his boss’es shift ENDED at 6pm. He’s gone. Left the building. Vamoosed.
This is what I said next … This is getting tiresome already. I’m getting tiresome. I’ll just have to disappoint my wife and tell her she can’t play SIMS 2. I tried. You tried. The tech guy tried. It’s obvious KARMA like that EARL show .. it’s probably not in my stars to buy a computer today. I’m going to go get a refund of everything I bought today and just take my computer home
Well, one thing you should know at Best Buy is .. there is always another supervisor or someone with more power available at all times. This sales rep BEGS me to hold on while he gets the HEAD Supervisor (don’t ask – although my question would have been to ask what supervisor he asked before?) and this young guy probably just out of elementary school (lol) stands by while both this sales rep and myself tell him the sob story. He suggests to give him a few moments, and he’ll see if he can think of something ..
Believe it or not – this Head Supervisor comes up with an alternative computer .. currently priced at $649.95 CDN (the other E-Machine was priced at $659.99 CDN) .. It was an intel celeron chip versus the AMD chip the other had, but it had a 200gig hard drive instead of a 160gig hard drive. Oh yes .. one other problem – it was a micro computer.
Micro Computer .. it was the size of a toaster. They also didn’t have any of these in stock, but there is a demo display unit and they would match the $625 CDN cost as the other one. This Micro Computer was traced as being put on display recently where the E-Machine was probably there for months and months.
Meet HART’s New Machine #Two … HP Pavilion Slimline Model S7220N
Actually, this slim size is attractive to me .. and will give more desktop space. I only agreed to take this machine, if there was no 2 hour wait. We stood over the machine, inspected it closely and examined all the programs .. it was VERY clean and had no software from Best Buy on it, because it was running from a DVD. So, I go to the cashier, they have to now do another bill to reverse the last one, and create a new bill with this new machine (two more signatures). Plus they have to print all of the rebate copies over again and remove the old E-machine rebate copies.
Allright! All the bills are printed .. and a totally new guy says to me … Alright! We’ll pack all that up for you as soon as we clean it up .. it should be ready tonight .. we close at 9pm but it should be ready by then
BEAVIS! SMARTEN UP! I’M NOT WAITING ANOTHER TWO HOURS FOR THIS! C’MON! WE JUST CLEANED IT UP AND CHECKED IT. IT WAS A DVD. THERE ARE NOT BEST BUY PROGRAMS. I’M GOING TO MISS SURVIVOR!
I insist that a manager comes by and I ask them to page everybody that has been involved, and “Let’s Have a Pow-Wow” … They all come to the front (amazingly) and finally – this new supervisor seemed to be sympathetic to how my afternoon went .. He said he has rules and procedures .. and they still have to run a few things, but I was right, it was a DVD so, it should only take a half hour of time. I told him .. he’s going to have to play “Let’s Make A Deal” .. because quite frankly, my afternoon was wasted. I was corralled into buying a machine. The machine was out of stock. I agreed to a demo model. The demo model didn’t work. I agreed to another model. I want to go. Now. What will he do? Or, do I just reverse the bills (again) and get a refund?
FINALLY! He exchanges the ball-mouse for an optical mouse .. and suggests that if I LEAVE the original computer that I brought in for repair in the first place, he’ll waive the diagnostic fee of $40.00 CDN .. (I assume he hopes I’ll get suckered into upgrading that computer too). I agreed – I figure … maybe I can get that 2nd computer to work and can give to my brother or maybe for a dedicated host provider if I ever decide to be my own server … at least I would like to know what I did that stopped it from working.
They now have to reverse the original bills, and rebate copies, and redo new bills to show the optical mouse as an included part of the machine. So, I get 2 new bills for signatures and new rebate copies.
Everything is packed up and I’m off to leave the store. Now get this – they won’t leave the store until they review your receipts and they compare that to what you have in the bags leaving the store. While that sounds reasonable, I had almost an inch of receipts because all Best Buy receipts with computers or rebates are about 20 inches long. By the time the ‘Doorman’ reviewed all of my receipts…
…. out of the store, into my car .. on the way home.. I get home at 7:55 pm .. and CRAP .. I saw the ending interview of the person voted off Survivor tonight … I just ruined it and spoiled it … as my wife was recording Survivor … Oh Well
On Saturday, April 1, 2006 I got that HP Pavilion Computer home and my wife installed SIMS2 latest versions (Night Life) …. and guess what … the game kept crashing. It turned out that the 128MB video card in the HP Pavilion .. was incompatable with SIMS2. I just let it sit since last weekend otherwise I would have a fit, and take that computer back and throw it at someone.
They found out what was wrong with my old computer .. apparently a wire crossed another wire near the RAM area and the power supply fried .. not the motherboard. All it should need is another power supply – $40. CDN .. They left me a message on Tuesday .. but I never called them back until yesterday evening – when I knew that same salesman would be working that day.
I called them up, told them that this machine does not play SIMS2 .. and immediately, everybody knew what happened and something has to happen to “fix” their mess. I was on hold for about 30 minutes (I don’t mind, when I’ve got a speakerphone!) .. but they now have a NEW DEAL for me … I will return the HP Pavilion Slimline computer and keyboard (I get to keep the optical mouse) … and they will replace it with that $799 computer (the 2nd choice that I originally was looking at) .. It’s a Compaq with AMD processor .. it also has a 256 ATI Radeon 8500 video card, 200 GIG hard drive, and all the same stuff the others had … But they can only go down to the cost of $699 .. I will have to pay the difference from $625 CDN to $699 CDN plus taxes.
I agreed and will do the exchange on Saturday. I won’t mention that I’ve already mailed in the Rebate form .. unless they ask .. and just play dumb and get the heck out of there with my old computer and the new computer .. and see if there is also a rebate on this exchange.
UPDATE #2 – April 8, 2006
It’s Saturday Evening and I must say that I am finally pleased. I did do the upgrade – but they only charged me the difference between the reduced price on the new computer $699 and the retail price on the first computer $659 .. plus taxes … for an additional $45.60 CDN.
My “2nd” computer is … COMPAQ PRESARIO SR1750NX, Media Center PC … and SIMS2 Nightlife works!
However, apparently it’s not “as good as HART’s Dell” but, my wife forgets that I had built a supercomputer from Dell! She can tell that in the background of neighborhoods in SIMS2, on the Dell computer, you can see other houses and Sims peeps walking around their property. On this new computer .. all you can see is hazy blue around the edges of the screen.
FINAL COST: $758.20 CDN less my $56 USD rebate that will come .. plus I coughed up an additional $59 CDN “admin fee” to get it “interest free” for 1 year. I plan to use it extensively for backups and DVD burns in the meantime .. while a part-time employee helps me with some accounting stuff and my wife plays SIMS2. I think it turned out for the best. This DELL was first purchased as a Lease in October 2002 … Time’s running out!
Thanks for listening to my story. I know it must sound real boring, but it helped me vent without punching walls and stuff ~