Beware When Buying from Computer Superstores

May 1998
by Reid Goldsborough

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If you’ve never bought a personal computer, it can be a scary experience. Your friends or coworkers will probably fire off strange technical terms in giving you advice. The money is sizable. And walking into a computer superstore-the most common way new users buy PCs-can be overwhelming. I recently followed the experience of a new buyer, Wendi Jackson, a 29-year-old tennis instructor from Devon, Pennsylvania, who gamely agreed to share her story. Her buying experience may shed light on what you, or a friend or family member, will likely go through, and what you should look out for. Wendi wanted a computer primarily to “get on the Internet.” She asked her friends for advice and decided to buy a Windows 95 machine from CompUSA, the world’s largest chain of computer superstores. Wendi is fortunate to have an interested and generous dad, who offered to pay for the computer. Her father, Harold Jackson, is a businessman from Havertown, Pennsylvania. He did research by talking with people he knew and checking ads in the local newspaper for three weeks. Wendi and Harold decided to buy a Compaq Deskpro, which CompUSA was advertising for $999, along with a Hewlett Packard color inkjet printer. They went to the store on a Sunday at 2 pm.

Weekend Wackiness

“It was a nightmare,” said Harold. “The store was so crowded, it felt like entering a zoo where everybody was running around not knowing where to go.””The computers were really close together,” said Wendi. “It was hard to know…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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