December 5, 2009

Marlborough, Mass.

Tree., originally uploaded by iMachias.

We are in Marlborough, Mass. for the night. It is our annual “get away from the regular mall” holiday shopping excursion. Every year Earl and I go to a mall that we are unfamiliar with to knock out the bulk of our shopping list. Even though the stores are usually the same as what we have in our general area, the different scenery and such makes for a fresh look on things that we see on a regular basis back at home. The mall of our choice this year was originally going to be in Hagerstown, Maryland, but we didn’t find any excitement to head in that direction so we opted for the Natick Collection in Natick, Mass. instead. We are staying in Marlborough because I’m very familiar with this area and Earl has spent the night in this hotel before.

The Natick Collection is part of the old Natick Mall. I used to go to Natick Mall back in the late 80s to eat at York Steak House; it has changed considerably in the past 20 years. The Natick Collection is quite nice and on the upscale side. There was a nice blend of people shopping and the mall wasn’t so packed to be uncomfortable but it was busy enough to keep it interesting.

We decided to buy a netbook but didn’t find any store selling them at the mall so we went to a nearby Best Buy in Framingham. We found a really nice one on sale for $249.99. When we went to the checkout, it ended up ringing for $299.99 with an additional charge for $140.00. The additional charge was a courtesy fee because “The Geek Squad” had wiped out all the software that came preinstalled on the netbook and had brought it back to the bare bones.

This fee wasn’t mentioned anywhere on the signage around the netbook.

For $439 we could buy a decent computer if we wanted to, so we decided to opt out of the purchase and headed back to the display to find a netbook that hadn’t been modified by The Geek Squad. All of a sudden all the customer service people swarming around the computer department came up missing and no one seemed like they wanted to help, so we said screw the deal and left empty handed.

Last week I tweeted that the Ithaca, N.Y. Best Buy gave me the best Best Buy experience ever. Their evil twin store is in Framingham, Mass. Major suckage.

We didn’t let the bad Best Buy experience ruin the day. It has been a great shopping experience and day all in all. Mother Nature is giving us some snow to make it all festive tonight. I forgot how amusing it is to watch folks in this area drive in the snow. They go slow but they’re not unreasonable.

A stop at the fairly new P.F. Chang’s topped off the experience on a pleasant note. All in all it has been a very good day.