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Old 02-15-2005, 04:40 PM   #1
esteeven
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Friends and colleagues wasting money -- a semi-rant


I am suddenly very disturbed by the number of friends and colleagues that ask me for my advice about which computer to buy. I always ask how much they want to spend and what they want to do with their computer. Often, I'll suggest activities that they hadn't thought of. Then I spend hours going through computer specs with them --- reams of paper printed from the net. They print it and I comment.
" Errr!" I'll mutter, "This one hasn't got a monitor. That's why it's cheaper than the Dell deal I showed you last week."
"But," they say confidently, " Look. There's a picture of a monitor. You must me wrong." So we go back to the net and look together. "Illustrations for visualisation purposes only" we are told.
I try very hard to listen and suggest sober choices. Usually, for their needs, the computers they are choosing are overpowered. How on earth do you get this point across to people?
I make a list of what they want to do ; [1] use a word processor [2] surf the net and send mail [3] store their digital photos [4] use that thing called Skype that they've just heard about [5] watch DVDs etc. They roll their eyes and sigh.
"What about the FUTURE?" they shout.
"What about it?" I ask.
"Will I be able to do everything I want to do in the future? With this PC?" I roll my eyes and smile.
"Yes," I say. "And no! It very much depends."
"On what?"
"On you."
"That's the problem," they sigh, "I don't know what I want to do now and I am unsure about the future."
This is when I introduce the idea of a lower spec (I am talking Plll 128mb RAM etc), often second user, box for a tenth of the price. The boxes are guaranteed and I have bought umpteen of them for work to be used as donkey workhorses (my goodness. how are they bred?) in the office. I point out that they can have EVERYTHING (DVD-RW more RAM etc) for very little money. I point out that even if they last a year they will have paid for themselves and given everyone a chance to think about what they really want to do with their computer. I point out that these boxes come with Windows 98 installed (or if they are lucky, they have ME ) and I offer to install Linux for them as an alternative. Hell. The shop will do that!
They go away, saying they'll think about it and talk to (delete as applicable) husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/mother/father/themselves/some god or other etc and get back to me. I know they haven't got much money because they work where I do ........
What am I supposed to do? These are my friends. I want to save their money.
 
Old 02-15-2005, 05:31 PM   #2
ShakyJake
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I agree. I tell customers that at this point in time don't worry about processor speed. Unless you are planning to play high-end games or do intensive mathematical stuff like 3d rendering, etc, then just get a Celeron or Sempron system. Just make sure and get plenty of RAM if they're running WinXP.

However, one thing I stress is support. Sure, you can get a crappy Dell cheap, but the support is going to blow. I highly recommend going to a reputable local computer company instead of settling on a big box like Dell, HP, Gateway, etc. Computers are NOT like TVs or toasters. Unless you are computer savy (which, if you are, you wouldn't own a Dell, etc. anyway), you WILL need help in the future. And with tech support all being sent over to India nowadays, I recommend avoiding that frustration and going with someone local.
 
Old 02-15-2005, 05:34 PM   #3
thorn168
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Well have you ever heard of the Phrase: "You get what you pay for?"

Obviously these people do not what there money can buy.

So the measuring stick they use is: You get what you pay for", the more you pay the better it is (is the logic that people use.)

Because you know what money can buy computerwise you know what to suggest. Wether they listen to you is another matter.

Maybe you should go to the library and look up book on marketing and sales. Read about the techniques and use them the next time one of your friends asks you to help them select a computer to purchase.

Thorn
 
Old 02-15-2005, 08:43 PM   #4
Micro420
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Makes me want to go into computer sales and rip people off
 
Old 02-15-2005, 10:10 PM   #5
J.W.
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Hey man, just ask them how much they want to spend, what kind of functional requirements the PC needs to have, then collect the money from them and buy a suitable machine that meets those requirements. Anything leftover would be a "commission".

I hear you though about people whose "requirements" entail checking Email, playing CD's, and surfing the Internet but who "need" a Pentium 4 @ 3.2Gz with 1G of RAM, a pair of 100G hard drives, and a DVD dual layer burner. As they say, "no good deed goes unpunished" -- J.W.

Last edited by J.W.; 02-15-2005 at 10:12 PM.
 
  


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