THERE comes a time in every modern life when you need to buy a new computer.
For Millennials (those who have never known a world without computers), this can be a pleasure.
But less adventurous souls might like the way their steam-powered abacus runs.
They might like the security of turning something on and it goes.
They might like staying sane.
But you can’t be a Luddite all your life.
The printing press was not a fad.
Operating systems move on.
And if you don’t adapt you get left behind by technology and/or your children.
Which brings us to the modern computer/electrical outlet. Pre-form concrete bunkers of overstimulation in the main, found at most shopping centres and surely designed to trigger epilepsy, and/or ADHD, whatever comes first.
They sport a feng shui reminiscent of Saigon peak-hour traffic and are inhabited by cruel hipsters who, you suspect (because you’re defensive), have been yearning for revenge on a conventional world they never really fitted into, until the advent of the internet.
The truth is, come the apocalypse these hipsters will inherit the mainframe because they’ll literally be the only ones who’ll know how to make it work.
So remember that when you enter the nest and start warblings about how the pub argument is dead, trivia contests are no longer contests and the word Google pretty much equates with intelligence if you’ve got access to the net.
The modern computer salesperson has heard it all before, and like everything else in their world, it bores them.
Of course you can go it alone and buy your new computer online in the peace and quiet of your own home.
But will there be peace and quiet in your own mind?
The inner voice of computer illiteracy whines long about the illusive “better deal”.
Salespeople understand this basic human instinct and prey on it.
Particularly modern computer salespeople because, and no offence here, they are nerds. Nerds love to patronise and show off. And if they can get paid to do it, hell, they are in nerd heaven. Which makes it feel like hell to you.
Probably because you struggle to keep up with what they are saying.
It’s unfair to generalise, but based on recent observations at modern computer/electrical outlets, I suspect the first prerequisite to being a modern computer salesperson is being aged under 25. Any older and you probably own the franchise, or you should consider finishing that degree.
Second rule, and it’s just a guess, you need a tatt. Sleeve, preferably. Ideally depicting something cool and unintelligible, like the Meiji dynasty in decline exploding out of a bikie skull.
Not that I have anything against the relentless surge in inane mega tatts. Many are awesome. But not all.
Driving my car the other day I saw on one side of the road a blind man making his way down the street with his stick.
On the other, a woman with tatts of the Australian flag emblazoned on both calves.
And the thought occurred “there is an upside to the loss of vision”.
How long before we get a prime minister openly sporting tough stickers?
Many would probably vote for that. Anything that didn’t look like our current crop of numpties.
And if that person knew a thing about Windows 8, sweet.
The third thing you need to be a modern computer salesperson is a complete and utter disregard for the fact that the deal you are trying to sell is in fact not really a deal at all.
And that’s the truth if you have to sign on for a credit card that charges exorbitant annual fees in order to avoid the excessive 30 per cent interest rate spruiked over the five years the supposed deal goes for, which leads you to literally pay twice as much for the device.
When I asked ‘‘where’s the deal’’ in that, my salesperson said ‘‘yep, that’s the deal’’.
A brilliant retort worthy of Camus.
So we walked.
But only as far as the next outlet to check if that really was the deal.
It wasn’t long before we lost track of what the word ‘‘deal’’ even meant as we were saturated with specs about processors, RAM and hard drives with no moving parts (so yesterday, so tomorrow, so sexy).
They’d even throw in a red case for an extra $200 that makes it all go twice as fast.
That was the one thing that made sense as unconsciousness beckoned.
So they turned the music up and got minions to shine tiny lasers in our eyes. At least that’s what it felt like as the eyes started to glaze over.
We were serenaded by hip and groovy gamers who had not only been to Java, but also wrote it.
Edgy stuff which left us feeling pretty much out of their league bro, so just buy it, see if I care.
If I took my pet hamster into an environment like this, I’m sure it would have a heart attack and die.
I’m hoping that thought threw the salesperson while I slipped home and did my sums. No doubt we’ll be back.