Eric Hodel (drbrain) wrote,
Eric Hodel

A Journey to CompUSA

I'm cleaning my parents' computer (a Dell 444MHz Celeron system) and noticed that it has a measly 64M of memory. This, combined with a mouse with a dead left-click button, and a keyboard with a dead 'm' key prompted a journey to CompUSA.

I walked up to the first sales guy who smiled at me and asked for two 128M sticks of PC100. While he was guiding me to the expensive hardware counter he asked if I was shopping for myself or for my business (do I get a discount for that? I should have asked). Once at the counter, I repeated myself to the "A+ technician", asking again for two sticks of 128M PC100. She took a moment to process that, then proceeded over to the rack of memory behind the counter and proclaimed "We only have SDRAM...", to which I replied "That's OK, they're the same thing." Don't they teach these people what SDRAM is in A+ school?

Now, memory in hand, I proceeded over to the aisle of keyboards and mice. Looking at the various keyboards, I was asked if I needed "assistance", which I politely declined. Browsing, I spotted a keyboard with no "multimedia buttons", and I thought it would be a perfect fit. I then picked up the box and noticed that it had the funky-shaped enter key.

In case you know, there is only one correct layout for the right side of the keyboard. At the top you have the Backspace key, which is immediately right of the plus/equal key. Below that is the pipe/backslash key, immediately right of the close curly brace/close square brackey key. Below that is the enter key, immediately right of the double quote/single quote key. Below that is the shift key, which is immediately right of the question/slash key, which is immediately right of the close angle bracket/period key.

The only two keys on the keyboard allowed to be more than one row tall are the plus and enter keys in the number pad. Furthermore, there are only nine keys allowed above the arrow keys. Left-to-right, top-to-bottom, they are: print screen/sysrq, scroll lock, pause/break, insert, home, page up, delete, end, page down. Power, sleep, and whatever else are not allowed.

After picking a "multimedia keyboard" that had the correct keyboard layout, but a bajillion useless buttons to control everything from your USB waffle iron to the volume of your speakers, I proceeded to examine mice. This is when a saleslady wandering buy asked if I was shopping for my buisiness (was there a decree that anybody shopping at a computer store in a tie is there for their buisiness?), to which I tried to dismiss her by saying I was just browsing. (Its awful hard to be "just browsing" with a keyboard and two DIMMs, but she got the picture and moved off.)

Just about every mouse is wireless these days, which I think is not because customers want wireless mice, but because wireless mise "look cooler" than regular mice. After fending off *another* sales person, I settled on a Microsoft Basic Optical mouse. I then managed to escape the store without being bothered by another salesperson.

Next time I'm not going to be "polite" and am instead going to leave my headphones in, whether or not I'm actually playing music.


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