Computer RAM…or GOAT?

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?”

True story.


About nhbrownlee

Advertising copywriter, Creative Director and state of New York college professor. I love true stories. Who doesn't?
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