History of our computers… A text from 1994 suggesting places where to buy a computer… well, everything has changed from those time forever gone…
The Best Places to Buy New Computer
There is no end of choices. Here’s how to get the best deal
Mom and Pop computer shops, massive computer warehouses, second-hand dealers, mail-order houses – you could fill a New York City phone book listing with all the place that sell computers. So, where’s the best place to buy the computer of your dreams? That depends largely on your preferences, disposition – and budget. Here’s a quickie guide to the main computer stores, arranged by type, and their advantages and drawbacks.
Retail shops: You probably live close to one of these living-room-sized store fronts. The chief advantage: You’re likely to get attentive service. You will probably find that sales staff is happy to load the requisite software into your new computer and check to make sure all the components are in working order before you bring it home. Local shops frequently have repair technicians on hand too, so if your computer misbehaves, you can drop it off to be fixed, rather than shipping it to the manufacturer. Of all venues, retail stores tend to be the most expensive and least comprehensive in terms of shock. The staff might be willing to order computers or components for you, but you’ll have to pay for that service.
Discount Warehouses: These are the supermarkets of computer sales. Computer discount stores carry most of what you see advertised in magazines and newspapers – and at bargain prices. If you have a good idea of what you want before you go in, you can get a great deal. The downside is that you aren’t likely to get the kind of service that you receive at smaller stores. But since most computers come with all the software and manuals you need to get up and running, the lacj of sales support is not a big problem.
Stereo and Home Electronics Shops: Many are beginning to sell computers and computer equipment. It’s possible to find a bargain computer here, but make sure to buy a well-known brand name and a sufficient parts and labor warranty. The staff at these stores may be able to hook you up with an amplifier that’ll make your Jimi Hendrix riffs scream, but you shouldn’t assume tat they’ll be able to fix your hard drive.
Mail-Order or Direct Market Houses: Some of the best in the market – including Dell and Gateway – built their empires via mail-order houses. The easiest way to track down the names and numbers of mail-order houses is to scan the ad pages of computer magazines. Not only can you get computer at great prices, but you can also ask the mail-order people to custom build you one according to tour specifications – at no extra charge. Your machine will be sent to you via UPS, usually within a couple of weeks.
Of course, there are a few caveats. Because you can’t just drop by a mail-order house to get your computer fixed if it ever breaks down, you need to be sure that you buy from a reputable company. Ask friends about their dealings with various houses. Also, prepare a list of questions and call up the company’s technical support hotline before you talk to the sales staff. Take note of how long you have to wait before a live person helps you and how responsive the support staff is – good indicators of the service to come.
Used Computers: If you’re on a budget, don’t need the fanciest system on the market, and don’t care about warranties or service with a smile, consider buying a used computer. Since computers have virtually no moving parts, they’re not as risky to purchase used as, say, a car. You can find real bargains, if you’re willing to do some research. You might also try calling the American Computer Exchange, a service that matches computer buyers and sellers.