My last visit to Fry’s
I write with a heavy heart, but it’s just not as much fun anymore.
Maybe it’s me. I admit it, I’m not as techy or geeky as I was. I used to love to walk the aisles of tech stores and see what was available, what was new, what could I just not leave without. Calculate gigabytes or, ahem, megabytes, and what I could (should) get with my money. The latest screen, the fastest processor, maybe something even cutting edge.
My dad and I would go, even my mom liked it. This is crazy and possibly hard to believe, but my mother-in-law and I would go and we’d both think it was great fun. She’s a little techno geeky as well. It was fun.
Disclaimer: I use Fry’s in this example, but take an example of any shop that your family has something of a (dorky) tradition in visiting.
Amazon has had a huge influence on the shopping experience in most brick and mortar stores. I’ll check their prices versus the one I’m standing in front of. If it’s significantly lower, chances are that I’ll buy it at Amazon. If I’m in a mom and pop shop, I want to give them my business, but if the price is just too different, you have to weigh your finances.
We’re also spoiled with other brick and mortars. CostCo has such an excellent return policy that you don’t worry about purchasing something as you know it’ll be easy to return. I once spent at least an hour trying to return a printer for the second time. That was after I had returned it the first time. It was just broken twice and I didn’t want the printer anymore. I just wanted my money back. I couldn’t even get that, I got a gift card.
Which I held onto for the past three years.
Finally, yesterday, I had to get rid of it. I had a hard time spending my $176. I wanted an AirPlay-enabled speaker system. They had a choice of 4, 2 of which were the floor models. One was a Bose system, which was beautiful, but also $400. The others looked OK and I did a quick review check on, duh, Amazon, to see that they got decent reviews. The Pioneer system I finally decided on didn’t even have a power cord (we searched the shelves for one and found one) or an AUX audio cable (dug one of those up, too) and we tested it and it sounded great. When I got home, without a box, manual or anything, I found the online manual that mentioned a remote control. Oh well. Other than that, it was a good price and the sound was excellent. AirPlay works well and the the bass was booming.
I still had $70 and found a microphone I’ve been wanting to get to record the Li & Lu audiobook series. Found a beauty of a microphone after two sales staff told me that they didn’t really have microphones other than headsets for gaming. I stumbled on the microphones as we were near the refrigerators as my mom was looking for a replacement water filter (which they didn’t have … which she ordered on Amazon later).
Got the mic, crossed my fingers that the $176 three-year old gift card would still be valid (it was), walked out into the heat of the parking lot and bid the crazy architecture, the cavernous warehouse, and hours of my past technical wanderings goodbye. I wish it weren’t so, but it is goodbye.