The Big Store

SCENE: The endless aisles of a CompuDepot ElectroEverything SuperDuperStore. A customer looks vainly for someone who can be of assistance.

First Encounter, 2:00
Excuse me, but I was wondering if you could…

Sorry. I’m with another customer.

But there’s no one for miles.

Gotta go.

Hey! Don’t run off. I need to…Damn! There goes another one.

Second Encounter, 2:23
Hi. Do you work here?

Uh, I’m not sure. Wait a minute while I check with a techie.

But you’re wearing a funny red vest.

Yeah…It is kinda funny, isn’t it?

I’m looking for one of those $799 computers I saw in your ad. Where can I find them?

Computers? Computers? They’re, uh, in the next aisle over…right there.

Those are mice.

Really? Boy, those things are getting small. What kind of mouse are you looking for?

I’m looking for a computer.

A computer. Right. Uh, we don’t carry them.

But this is CompuDepot ElectroEverything, the Computer SuperDuperStore. You sell computers. It says so right here in your ad.

Oh, cool. Okay. Yeah. Now I remember. We sell computers.

And you have a model you’re selling for $799?

…A model what?

Computer. An P-MMX 200.

Yeah, man, right.

How big is the hard drive?

The what?

The hard drive? How big is it?

Why? Ya got a small car?

Do you know anything about this computer?

It comes with a CD player, man. Really rocks!

And what speed’s the CD player?

That depends on the music, man.

Maybe I should see that technical person.

Hey no, man. I can answer your question.

Okay; tell me this about your $799 P/MMX-200: How much RAM? How much video RAM? What’s the size of the L2 cache? What’s the size of the monitor? What’s the footprint? Is the hard drive formatted in FAT32? Has it ever been known to whistle Dixie on a foggy night?

Uh. Let me get you that techie.

Third Encounter, 3:04
Excuse me. Are you the “techie?”

I’m sorry. What did you ask?

I was talking to a sales rep about half an hour ago. He went off to get me a “technical person.”

Was the sales rep a skinny guy with sleepy eyes?

Yeah, that was him.

That was Harry. He asked me to talk to a customer for him about twenty minutes ago. I guess that was you.

I guess so. I’m wondering about your…

Sorry. My shift ends in about an hour and I have to wind down.

Fourth Encounter, 3:28
Good afternoon. Can I help you?

I’m sorry. Were you talking to me?

Yes. You look like you could use some help.

You work here and…you’re trying to help me?

Yes. Do you need help?

Sorry. Just a little stunned. Yes…yes, I do need help. I saw your ad for MMX-200 machines selling for $799, and I have a few questions.

Well, I’ll be glad to answer them.

Amazing. How big is the hard drive?

6.4 gigabytes.

Wow! And you can sell them so cheap! IDE or SCSI?

SCSI is available as an option. The SCSI adapter is an extra $675, as opposed to the IDE, which is only $650.

Wait a minute. The drive is included, but I have to spend another $650 just to plug it in?

$659.95. The connector is separate.

So now we’re talking about an $800 computer that actually costs more than $1,400.

We prefer to think of it as a $799 computer with optional peripherals.

What about the monitor? Does it come with one?

It’s store policy not to answer that question until the last possible minute.

I understand. So, what kind of monitor doesn’t it come with?

A very good one. A seventeen-inch multiplex with built-in picture tube and a refresh rate.

I don’t think I need something that fancy. Does the system not come with a cheaper monitor?

Well, I suppose we could sell it to you without a fifteen-inch monitor, but that could void the non-existent warranty.

How much is the fifteen-inch monitor?

About thirteen inches.

I mean, what does it cost.

$299 without the power cord, $399 with it.

So let me get this straight. The computer comes without the fifteen-inch monitor, and the fifteen-inch monitor comes without the power cord. Now, if I…

Actually, the computer comes without the seventeen-inch monitor. To buy it without the fifteen-inch monitor costs extra.

I thought buying it without the fifteen-inch monitor would save me money.

Only if you leave out the CPU.

What if I leave out the customer?

That could save you a lot of money. However, you’d be missing out on the deal of the century. After all, you won’t be able to buy a computer like this for $799 two years from now. You’ll probably be stuck buying a 500MHz Pentium 8 for $500.

Fifth Encounter, 12:32
Excuse me, but the pick-up window is over there.

I beg your pardon?

The pick-up window is over there. Before you leave, you need to take your receipt to the pick-up window and pick up whatever it is you just bought. That’s why they call it the pick-up window.

Thank you, but there wasn’t anything here that I want to buy.

That’s ridiculous. Why would you pay for something if you didn’t want to buy it?

But I didn’t pay for anything. Why should I spend money in a store like this?

Security! Security!

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