My computer is four years old. It’s just a simple Compaq laptop that I use to write documents, browse the internet and send emails. Nothing complicated or fancy. But because it’s just a basic computer it runs sluggish and slow whenever I access a large file or want to do anything that requires some snappy graphics.
I could live with it at first but lately the spinning blue wheel and “not responding” notice has been getting to me. So I proceeded to fumble through the Settings and System in the computer. Not being a technologist it was all gibberish but I saw one line that stood out — How to improve the performance of your computer.
Amazingly, it took me 30 seconds to make the computer run smoother. All I had to do was change a button from “Best Appearance” to “Best Performance.” Just like that the computer began to run better. Flush with technological success I went even further.
Someone had told me that I should clean up my desktop, empty the trash, and clean up the disk. Those things I could do so I did them. There wasn’t a big or noticeable difference but I imagined gears turning faster and data flowing unencumbered. But I still wanted more computer verve. I was ready to add RAM because I had also heard that would juice up the system.
While I can do carpentry, some plumbing, and even car repairs with a degree of certainty and calm, the thought of opening up the computer and messing with its insides gave me weak knees and cold knee joints. What was I thinking of doing?!! I downloaded the product guide and printed out the pages associated with removing the battery and the old RAM. Seemed simple enough. Now I needed the RAM.
So I went to the Compaq contact info. I found that Compaq is now Hewlett-Packard. The most I knew about Hewlett-Packard was their former CEO who had been publicly fired, Carly Fiorina, was now trying to become the President of the United States. What running a computer company and running a country have to do with each other, I don’t have a clue but I wasn’t interested in politics just my computer’s performance.
After six phone calls to Hewlett-Packard, yes a half dozen, I got through to a pleasant sounding young man who assured me that yes, he had RAM and yes, he could send it to me in 5 business days, and yes, he could fulfill my order right over the phone. Sounded good. Then I asked him how much this added RAM would cost? He clicked a few buttons and said 4 GB of RAM, delivered in 5 days, would cost me $148.
I might not know a great deal about computers but $148 sounded steep. Very steep. Like side of the Rocky Mountains steep. I told him that I would think about it but he persevered like a good sales person should.
He said he would call me back in a half hour and I could place my order then. Hanging up I decided to call Best Buy. With one phone call I got through to a sales person who checked their inventory and said that they did have the 4 GB of RAM I needed. It was in the store now and it would cost $28.
$28 versus $148!!! For the same 4 GB of RAM. I told the Best Buy person that I would come into the store that day.
The moment I hung up the Hewlett Packard sales person called me back. I knew it was him by the Caller ID on my phone. At first I was just going to ignore the call but I couldn’t resist.
Answering the phone I cheerily greeted the sales person. I told him that I wouldn’t be purchasing Hewlett Packard’s $148 RAM because I had found the same item for $28. The HP sales person didn’t even try to talk me into buying his RAM. I suspect he knew this sale was lost.
I thanked him for his efforts and I should have just hung up and been done with it but I had to get in one last comment. I said to him, “Guess now I know why Carly Fiorina got fired.” Mr. Enthusiastic Sales said to me, “Who?”