Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stolen Laptop!

Someone stole my laptop yesterday. I had two customers in the store and while I was helping one of them, this shady guy made a bee-line for the game center, which was empty at the time. When I went over to him, he was finishing zipping up his jacket. I figured he may have stolen a terrain piece, but what I've gathered happened is he quickly used the side door to the office, swiped my laptop, and zipped it up under his jacket. That door is locked from now on, but geez, the nerve of some people. I filed a police report and the staff knows to look out for him.

This was the old laptop, the creaky Thinkpad that I decided to replace this week. There was no customer data on it, and all my business data was synchronized to the server that morning. The only data I lost were some Army Builder and E-Tools files; army lists and characters. No big deal. The annoying part, besides getting ripped off for the second time in four months, is that I had to cancel my Dell order. It was still three weeks out and I needed a laptop.

Fry's Ordeal
I went to Fry's, since it's so close. Within about five minutes I found a Fujitsu A6030 laptop that met all my requirements. I commented to the salespeople how effortless this process had been, considering I spent an afternoon configuring my Dell online before the hassle of buying it.

Then the ordeal began. Their inventory control system had the laptop in stock, but nobody could find them. They tried to sell me other laptops, never asking what I really needed. There were big ones, small ones, fast ones, slow ones. Eventually I offered to buy another one that didn't exist. Then the floor model. Then they finally found the original one in the return department.

The laptop was 5% off the retail price because of the open box, but in typical Fry's fashion, I had to stand in line to get a sticker. Their Person-In-Charge (PIC), the only one authorized to use the sticker machine apparently, was nowhere to be found. Having played Flames of War, I asked for the 2IC, but they didn't get it. After fifteen minutes, the PIC arrived and gave me a new price sticker. It was $1.50 more! Outrage ensued and arguments about what a retail price and reduced price and open box price meant. Eventually, needing this thing and having invested my time, I bought it anyway.

On the way out, the guy who squiggles highlighter on receipts, a failed art major or something, asked if everything was alright. I was still angry, so I gave him my $1.50 story. He assured me that it was a mistake and I shouldn't be paying that extra $1.50. I told him enough of my time had been wasted and I wasn't going to go through another line for a freakin' $1.50. However, he was insistent, no sir, he tells me, we must fix this. He walks away with my receipt mumbling about a form he needs to fill out. I'm not about to leave Fry's without a receipt, knowing the merciless nature of their returns department. Ten minutes later he returns as I'm standing there highly annoyed with this open box laptop with three conflicting price stickers on it. He's satisfied, but I don't even get my $1.50.

On the positive side, this laptop is fantastic. It's fast, clean, solid, and I bought it with a cable lock so it stays with me for a while. The only trouble so far is Windows Vista, which I find infuriatingly obtuse. I've had to open up DOS prompts to find what I'm looking for. So far I haven't found the option to restore it completely to something familiar. XP had the option to make it look like Windows 2000, but I think Vista only makes it look like XP (which I always dump within minutes of setting up a new PC). I came from IT, and I'm even Windows XP certified from Microsoft (an MCSE requirement), so I like knowing what I'm doing. Vista feels much more like a Linux shell than Windows. I'm assured by my IT friends that Vista has greatly enhanced stability over XP, so perhaps it's worth it.


  1. Fry's and Microsoft - places that are evil to customers, and just lousy to do business with...

    ...yet we still do.

  2. I only do business with Fry's when I'm reasonably sure that the only interaction I am going to have with them is at the checkout counter. In other words, no big ticket electronics which I might have to return.

  3. Oh yeah, and see my "monopoly" comments two articles up for why we still deal with Microsoft. OS X and Linux are options for the home, but chances are you'll still have to deal with Microsoft at work.