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Wednesday, Feb. 06, 2002
We returned to the House of Geek last night armed with other peoples money and the latent energy to spend same. The hour had come, it was time to buy the laptop. The one for my wife to use in her role as Treasurer of the Softball Team.

Remember now, I had spent a fair amount of time researching this item. Given a budget that was designed to make you look a little bit to get what was needed, I pored over web sites and magazines, wrote and printed out specifications, pondered the political ramifications of buying for a committee of people with vastly varying views and, of course, trying to figure out what my wife would use which would involve the least amount of my leisure time.

I was ready. I had even convinced myself that a flat LCD monitor wouldn't be such a bad thing for Outfoxed to pick up. You know, while I was in the neighborhood.

I strode confidently into the CompUSA with Ally and eldest daughter Beth trailing in my wake. Approached the display. Mentally tapping my cleats with a bat, I stepped up to the racks for a final shakedown look.

Yep, the diagnosis was sure and swift. It would be the HP notebook and that cheap printer over there, if you please. Awesome setup. Plenty of speed. Future growth. Pre-loaded software. The attraction of a major corporate firm's brand name on the cover.

Young geek salesman was no fool. Once again, he managed to tear himself away from Beth's aural presence long enough to make his pitch.

Young Geek: "Didn't I show you the Sony the other day?"
Outfoxed: "You did. Don't want it."
YG: "But, it's cheaper and the chipset is faster."
OF: "It's configured differently. We want the HP."
YG: "Ma'am, let me show you this Sony…."

Salesman Technique 101: Never sell the product to the husband. Hit the wife, she'll sell the husband on whatever you want her to buy.

The fact that there were two dozen model notebooks and every salesman in the place was trying to lure people over to the Sony led me to understand one thing very clearly. The sales commission on the Sony was at least 5% greater than anything else!

Having been summarily rebuffed in my attempt to finalize a weekend's worth of poking around the net gathering information on which to make a decision, I wandered. Peeked at some new desktop systems. Played a game of shoot 'em up with Beth on the conveniently placed gaming station. Fondled the new Apple desktop (and no, I'm not an Apple fan).

You know the term 'the minutes stretched into hours'? This time the hours dragged on all by themselves. I had violated one of my cardinal rules. Never, never shop with members of the female persuasion.

I passed by Young Geek and Ally as they haggled. He actually said the magic line: "I think I only have one more of the Sony's left. You might want to take advantage of this now."

Stifling a giggle, I wondered out loud if the couple from Kansas City was coming in to look it over.

Let's make a long story short. Yes, the Sony wound up in the car. Yes, Ally bought numerous little goodies to enhance the joy of using it (although the necessary software, which had been pre-loaded on the HP, wasn't one of them). Yes, it took longer to buy the sleek Samsonite carrying case than to do any other task (buying luggage being something that Ally is supremely familiar with). And yes, she went slightly over budget by buying (*Outfoxed in background shaking head and giving the 'NO' sign like a third base coach gone mad*) an extended warranty.

Since we had arrived in separate cars from our respective work places, it was a good thing to jump in the F250 and fire up the wonderful stereo. Keith Richards sang of monkey men and pulled exquisite blues chords from a guitar. I sang along with Mick. Seemed like the proper thing to do given my release from Geekdom.

Back at the house Ally fell immediately to opening packages and hitting buttons. I hid, eating pizza (craftily I had pre-arraigned its' delivery, knowing that the odds of getting a dinner out of the woman on this night were practically none) and leisurely reading the newspaper. I waited, and was soon rewarded for my sins.

Ally: "Auuuggghhh! There's no Excel on this Sony!"
Outfoxed "Hmmm?"
A: "Eeeee! It says it has Quicken but it's not the right version!"
OF: "Ohhhh?"

But, don't you know, that Samsonite case is a clever looking thing indeed.

And I never did get the new monitor.

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