There are two types of salespeople who are universally disliked all over the world; car salespeople and computer salespeople. When I lived in the US, every two years I would buy a new car and a new computer. I had the car part taken care of. My ex-husband is a car salesman, so I know all their tricks. The computer part was easy, I was in the business. All I had to do was call distribution, order the parts, and one of my guys would put it together.
Six years later here I am in Buenos Aires. I don't have a car and I don't want one. I did need a new computer. Mine has been acting up for about 6 months now. It was time to give up the ghost. I joined the ranks of those at the mercy of computer salespeople, only I had to do it here, in Buenos Aires.
I had a pretty good idea of which chip and motherboard I wanted. I knew all the things I wanted installed. The only thing I needed was to find someone to give me a good price, put it together and deliver it. It sounds like it should be a simple operation, but oh no, no, no, no.
I decided to start in my barrio. I went into a local computer store. There were a few customers talking to the tech/salesman. I patiently waited until he finished. I looked at the stuff he had on display. When he was done with the other customers (all guys) he came over and asked "Que necesitas?" (What do you need) I told him I was looking to buy a computer. I saw him roll his eyes a little bit. He seemed a little irritated. I can't imagine why...
A little impatient, he asks me "Do you have a computer now?" You know I really cannot stand these kind of stupid guys who think they know everything. "I have 3." I told him. You would have thought that would have made him think a little harder, but he had already made up his mind. He picked up a paper and said "This system is perfect for you." I barely glance at the paper. "How do you know?" I ask him. Now he looks really irritated that I challenged him.
He tells me what the system has. An AMD Sempron chip. Exactly the chip I do not want. "You see," he says, it has everything you need." "I don't want a Sempron chip." I tell him. "Why not?" he asks, "It should do everything you need it to do." I tell him again, "I don't want a Sempron, I don't like the design. I was thinking more like a Phenom." "You are confused." He tells me. "You don't need a Phenom chip." Maybe I don't need it,but I want it. I have the $$. Who is the one that is really confused? So hasta la vista to you Bozo.
Somehow I got connected with salesguys who only work via MSN Messenger. The men in this country would die without Messenger and text messages. I am chatting with one online and he asks me why I want to buy a new computer. I tell him how I think mine is slowly dying, it is 5 years old, the hard drive is almost 8 years old, and I want a new one.
He immediately tells me I should have him look at it. He can fix it. I let him know that I used to work in computers, and that I would just prefer to buy a new computer. Why is this so hard to understand? He tells me it would cost less to have him fix it. I tell him again that I am not interested in putting any money into this computer. I want a new one. Finally he gets it, but does not agree.
I tell him I want a quote for a new computer. I give him a rough idea of what I am looking for. He sends me a "sort of" quote with a Sempron chip. "I don't want the Sempron chip." I tell him. Immediately he starts to disagree with me. "It will do everything you need it to." "And what is that?" I ask him, since he never asked me what I am using the computer for. "Email and Messenger." he writes to me. "And?" I write back. I guess this was a trick question. There was no answer. He asks if he can call me.
He calls my cell. We have a heated discussion, where I once again tell him I do not want a Sempron chip. I give him all my reasons, which are technical and should make an impact on his little button brain. But noooo, he tells me it is cheaper. I tell him I don't care. I don't want it. I also don't want any of the AMD kits either. I tell him again exactly what I want. "How did you know that was a kit?" he asks me. I tell him the AMD website is not exactly a secret society. I tell him to send me a written quote to my email for a Phenom chip.
I get a quote for a Sempron chip, and in a format that would have left me with no clients in the US. He should be ashamed of himself, for more reasons than one. No wonder people don't like computer salespeople. Ugh, what a pain. What is wrong with these guys? I want to give them money. All they have to do is give me a good price for the system I want instead arguing with me.
Finally I email one of the techs that used to work with me in the Bay Area. I don't read technology 24 hours a day like I used to. I want to make sure I am on the right track. I tell him I want to buy a new computer. What would he recommend. I love Greg. No Sempron chip. He knows better. He comes back with the same motherboard and chip I am considering. I might be blond, and a girl, and not work with computers any more, but I still understand them.
I decide to check out Mercadolibre our version of Ebay. At least I can get an idea of what prices are. Amazing, looks like I can buy a system with a Phenom II chip for the same price as those fellers were quoting me a Sempron chip, imagine that. Blondie does the Internet. Dangerous.
Armed and dangerous I head for Galeria Jardin. This is a shopping cener of technology stores. You can pretty much find anything here. I wander in. I decide I will go into as many stores as will talk to me. In the first store they ignore me. OK. I go into the second store. The salesmen are busy on the phone. One gets off and says "Que necesitas?" (What do you need?) I tell him I am looking for a system. He points to a paper posted on the window. Those systems all have Semrpon or the Intel equivalent. I tell him I am looking for a faster chip. Before I can finish he gets on the phone again. Chau, hasta luego.
I wander around some more looking at stuff. While Galeria Jardin is not even close to Frys, it is the closest thing we have. I love looking at this stuff. It is close to 5:00 in the afternoon. There are not that many people hanging around this place, and I can hardly get a salesman (and they are all men) to acknowledge me, let alone talk to me. Then when they do, all they want to do is argue with me. This is worse than the hardware store.
As I turn the corner this guy comes out of a store and sees me looking at the window. "What can I hep you with?" He asks. Before I can answer he says "Why don't you come inside?" I am just getting over my shock of being spoken to, when he comments "You are really beautiful." Well, I am still in Argentina.
The store is about the size of my kitchen. Mr. Salesguy introduces himself to me and then goes behind the counter. He gets a chair. "Please sit down." he says. "I can't help you. I am in the connectivity department (the other counter) you need to wait for Claudio." I tell him I used to work in computers in the US. We have a conversation about this. He is surprised, like most people are.
When Claudio finishes, Raul comes over and introduces me to Claudio and tells him I want to buy a system. The two of them stand there and stare at me. Usually women only come to Galeria Jardin attached to the arm of a man. I don't have one of those, and even if I did, I wouldn't need him to help me buy a computer. I start and tell them what I am looking for. Claudio never once mentions the nasty Sempron chip or I would have to have killed them.
In seconds he shoots me a price. It is with a Phenom but not the one I asked for. I ask again for the 555 or 545. He calculates again and tells me that for not the much more he can give me the 956. This is like buying a Ferrari to go to the grocery store. Total overkill, but the price is good, and considering I keep my computers for more than 2 years now, I decide to do it.
Other than commenting on my looks 50 times throughout the transaction, it was nice to find these guys. I still haven't taken delivery of my new computer. That will happen on Saturday. It will be loaded with Linux, another change. Been awhile since I played with Linux so we will see how long that lasts. Now to buy a monitor....