April 11, 2009

Shopping Spree.

070.365, originally uploaded by iMachias.

So today Earl and I headed to the lovely Capital District of New York State (Albany) and went on a little bit of a shopping spree. Earl likes to say that we stimulated the economy during our travels today, but I think he just likes to say that word “stimulated”.

I know that forking money over to a clerk several times made my heart race.

I have been feeling a little behind the times at work doing the Network Operations Center Technician thing when it comes to Windows Vista. Living in an all Mac house (aside from one Linux laptop that I revived this morning), I tend to think as a Mac Geek and I have to admit that Windows Vista is the one version of Windows that I’m least familiar with. More and more of the customers we support at work are using Vista (I know, it’s a little shocking) so I thought I should invest in a new PC that had Windows Vista on it so I could get myself back up to speed. After all, the new commercials from Microsoft made it look wicked easy to accomplish this fact.

I try to pay as little money as possible in the way of sales tax to the county we reside in, mostly because we have the highest sales tax in the state and also because I believe our county government is beyond being described as corrupt, so we drove to Albany to take a look at the offerings there. With the recent demise of Circuit City and the earlier demise of CompUSA, this leaves us with Best Buy in this area. Best Buy knows they’re the only game in town and quite frankly they’ve let themselves go to crap as far as selection and service go.

I browsed the selection of desktop computers that were on display. I have to say that the displays were less than appealing; there were monitors not connected to computers, computers missing keyboards, mice missing balls and areas of the display where it said “place sale placard here”. Nevertheless I navigated through the busy area and found a computer that fit my expectations: an HP desktop with a quad core processor, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive and a 24-inch widescreen monitor. The entire package clocked in around $1125. I thought the specs were sweet and I felt confident in the purchase.

I flagged down a person wearing a Best Buy shirt. He said he’d find someone to help me. Apparently that was not destined to happen because no one really paid attention to me after that, but I did have the opportunity to listen to another salesperson assist a customer with a laptop purchase.

Said customer wanted to buy a laptop to do some video and music work, edit his photos and surf the net. The customer showed the salesperson the computer he thought he was interested in. It was then that I discovered that something was just amiss; the salesperson proceeded to tell the customer that he had switched to using a Mac five months ago and would never recommend a Windows computer again.

This is a guy that sells Windows based computers at Best Buy.

Now, to the salesperson’s credit, this particular Best Buy did sell Apple computers. They had a very old 20″ Cinema Display and one lonely iMac that was marked as a clearance item but still $200 more than a more powerful iMac that could be found at the Apple store in the same mall.

I took this all as a sign that I shouldn’t buy a Windows based computer. So we left Best Buy.

Earl and I then walked around the mall a bit and found ourselves in the Apple store. We looked over the iMacs and found some pretty good deals, but I wasn’t feeling the urge to buy another computer (and besides, the online financing deals are much better than the ones found in the store) so instead we bought a couple of other goodies for the house: speakers for a couple of rooms with an additional Airport Express so we can stream music from our computers pretty much anywhere in the house, an iPod Touch 16GB for Earl, new ear phones for the both of us and a couple of other Mac-centric incidental items.

Thoroughly famished after all this flinging of money around we grabbed one of our gift cards and headed to Carrabba’s in nearby Latham where we followed our tradition of eating at the counter that flanks the kitchen area. I struck up a conversation with the surly pizza and dessert girl that was working. By the end of our stay I had her smiling. The picture at the top of the entry is Earl and I sitting at the counter.

I have been alcohol free (aside from 1/2 a beer a couple of weeks ago that I didn’t really enjoy) and I must say that I feel much better for it. I have been inspired to remain this way and I think it’s been a good decision.

After Carrabba’s we made the obligatory stop at Target, though I’m not sure if it was *the* Target where the iBears are usually found, as I didn’t find any bears nor did I find a dolphin. Nevertheless we picked up a couple of things and then headed home – taking back roads for the 90 or so miles back to the house.

All in all it has been an excellent day.