Archive for the 'Adventures in retail' Category

Point of Sale

Good afternoon, and welcome to Uncle Vlad’s House of Chocolates, Computers, and Little Paper Novelties. Can I help you?

I hope so. I bought this sound card from you, yesterday, and…

Oh, yes, the Sound MindnBody IM-RU2. An excellent choice.

Except that when I opened it up, there was a modem inside.

A what?

A modem.

Of course. Every Sound MindnBody IM-RU2 comes with a free modem.

Well, I’d rather it came with a free sound card.

Honestly, sir, if we gave away free sound cards, would you ever buy a modem?

I’m not asking for a free anything. All I know is that I paid $150 for a sound card, and I got this.

Hmm. Let me look at that card. Edge connector, lots of chips, little metal dohicky. What else can it be but a sound card? Look, there’s even a little speaker attached.

That’s a modem.

Well, it looks like a speaker to me. Would you like me to remove it?

The speaker isn’t a modem. The whole card is a modem.

Come, sir, the whole card can’t be a modem if the speaker is a sound card.

Look, here’s the documentation. See what it says? “Congratulations on buying a Sound MindnBody IM-RU2, one of the finest modems available.”

Well, sir, it’s a very…sound modem. Well-built.

It’s only 1200 baud.

What a bargain! Comes to less than ten cents a baud.

Look, I didn’t buy a modem…let me rephrase that. I didn’t intend to buy a modem. I don’t need a modem. I’ve already got a 14.4 modem.

Only 14.4? isn’t it time you upgraded to a 1200?

I’d have to work out the numbers first. Do you have a slide rule?

I’m sorry, but I don’t think we carry slide rules anymore.

I don’t want a slide rule. And more importantly, I don’t want a modem. It isn’t what I asked for. In fact, the only thing I want now is a full refund.

Is the card defective?

Of course it’s defective! It’s a friggin’ modem! You try playing TuneLand on a friggin’ modem and it’ll be defective for you, too.

Oh, that’s the problem. The Sound MindnBody IM-RU2 doesn’t support TuneLand.

Well, I need something that does.

Have you considered getting a CompuServe account?

Look, just take this back and return my money, and I promise I’ll never darken your carpets again.

So you want a refund?

No, I want to marry Prince Charles. But before I do that, I want to return this stupid modem.

I’m sorry, but if it’s not defective, we can’t take it back. Our return policy is at the bottom of your receipt.


There. In the five-point type.

I see. “Uncle Vlad’s Return Policy Concerning Computer Software: Uncle Vlad cannot accept back any item of said computer software unless said item of computer software has been proved to be defective by a reliable source in the employment of Uncle Vlad’s, the original manufacturer of said item, or a fully-licensed and recognized member of the Teamsters’ Union. If said item is deemed defective by said source, the original purchaser of said item shall get a replacement unit of same said shipping product, and charged only for Uncle Vlad’s shipping, handling, and legal fees.”

So you see, we can’t possibly take it back.

This policy is for software.

Yes, computer software.

This modem is hardware.

Hardware? Impossible. See, we keep it on the shelf between Word for Word for Word for Windows and the Maynard G. Krebs Screen Saver.

Do you know the difference between hardware and software?

Of course. Software goes in our Computer Department–hardware’s on the fifth floor, between the hammers and nails.

I was afraid you’d say that. Look, suppose I wanted to buy a personal computer?

How about a Uncle Vlad Impalement Special: A multimedia-ready 486SX with 2MB or RAM and 20MB hard disk. A great bargain at $1698.

I’m sure it i…What makes this Special multimedia-ready?

It has room to install a CD-ROM drive.

No sound system?

Not anymore. We used to include speakers, but customers had trouble plugging them into their Sound MindnBody IM-RU2s.

Tell them to try RS-232 jacks.

Thanks. I will.

Can I ask you a hypothetical question?

You just did.

If I had bought a copy of Ami Pro, would I be able to return it?

If it’s defective, yes. But you’d have to convince our technical support department–he comes in the third Wednesday of every quarter.

What if it came with a horrible, data-destroying virus?

Did the virus actually destroy any data?

Uh, hypothetically, yes. Let’s say it wiped my hard disk.

Then there’s no way you could call that virus defective.

Okay. What if I wrote to all the local papers, telling them you sold me the wrong product and refused to take it back?

We’d ask for five million in damages when we sued you for libel.

What if I stopped payment on the check I gave you yesterday?

We would call a collection agency.

And I would report you to the Better Business Bureau.

And we would never let you into this store again.

It’s a deal.