Thinking Differently

We were in the market for a new computer and I was hearing great things about the current Mac mini with Apple’s new M1 chip. The video reviews I watched were mostly enthusiastic for Apple’s entry level desktop computer so I decided that I would head on down to the local Apple store to pick one up.

That was my first mistake.

The Apple store requires customers make an appointment in order to purchase their wares. You have to ask permission in order to spend money. I think if I walked into a car dealership, they would be happy to talk to me, but not Apple.

So I called Apple and set up an appointment. Two o’clock on a Saturday afternoon was probably a stupid time to set up an appointment, but it’s an appointment. So I assumed that the time was carved out for me. I would be expected. Nope. The place was packed and it took a while to grab the attention of one of the clerks. When I finally did, I was assured that someone would see me. So I waited. So much for setting up an appointment. Eventually my 2:00 P.M. appointment was honored and I told the clerk what I wanted, and that was my second mistake.

They had the base model Mac mini available for pick-up, but the late, great Dan Love who was my technology guru always told me to never settle for a base model. In other words, don’t be a cheapskate. Ordinarily, I would have gotten that basic machine and upgraded the memory and hard drive myself. I’ve done it before. Sadly, that option is no longer available. The memory and hard drive are soldered into the motherboard. Getting a computer with all of the upgrades and extras one could afford would future proof the machine and maybe squeeze a few more years out of it. Okay, I would play Apple’s game. I wanted to max out the memory and bump up the hard drive. No problem — right?

That’s a special order, sir. You’ll have to order it online.

Okay, I’m here now. So why don’t you order it for me, and I’ll pick it up when it comes in.

You’ll have to order it online.

What if I wanted to pay cash? I have cash.

You’ll have to order it online.

I can’t pay cash?

The clerk wasn’t having it. I can’t say he was rude, but I had reached the limits of his programming. Whatever input I offered was going to be met by the same subroutine: You’ll have to order it online. The NPR version of The Stepford Wives wanted me out of his minimalist market so he could sell phones and watches which probably have a better mark-up.

So I plodded home and fired up my 2010 Macbook Pro to order the new computer online. Then I remembered Bundy Computers. Bundy was one of those mom-and-pop computer stores that sold Apple computers before there were Apple stores or i-anything. Before computers existed, they sold typewriters and were known as Bundy Typewriter. They opened in 1919.

Bundy Typewriter Co.

I remember passing Bundy’s shop for years marveling at the monitors ablaze in their windows, but did they still exist? I took a look on the internet and found that they were indeed still operating which is remarkable for a small business in Philadelphia in this economy. They only have weekday hours. I decided that I would make a special trip to Bundy’s so I cancelled my online order with Apple and opted for the little guy. Ultimately I know Apple wins. I’m still buying an Apple, but I don’t want to set up an appointment to be politely told to go screw myself. Bundy’s, it is!

That did not go so well either.

The problems I had are not Bundy’s fault. Ordering the computer probably took ten minutes. They were happy to see me and happy to take my money. No appointment necessary. What more could I ask for? The problems started after the order. Both retailer and I, the customer, fell victim to supply line shenanigans and possibly perfidious package deliverers. The first order was lost by the shipping company. After a fruitless investigation, another order was placed, and I waited and waited and waited. Eventually, the order did come in — sixty-eight days after I placed the order.

So I have the computer and I’m running it through its paces. So far so good. It is speedy compared to everything else I have so we shall see.

Stay tuned.

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