Now I’ve got my new MacBook and I’m chomping at the bit to get some Photoshop onto it. I decided, after a bit of reflection, that I need professional Photoshop CS2 like I need a Bentley. The way Photoshop is going the best deals for the average Joe, like me, is to get one of the Elements programs, such as Elements 4. There’s enough features on that application to keep me slobbering over images for years.

So I got in the car and drove down to the nearest shopping center a mere 6 miles from home. I went to Circuit City first only because I did not wish to go to Best Buy (see my reason a couple of paragraphs below here).

I’m not a big fan of Circuit City. The people that work there are so brainwashed by the management they don’t even have the good sense to pay attention to whom they are speaking. Case and point: We bought a DVD player at Sam’s Club. We needed a cable to hook up the sound.

My wife stops at Circuit City for the cable. She explains to the associate that we need a cord to hook up to our amplifier. We have surround sound but we’re not into anything real fancy.

The guy tries to sell her a $25 digital cable. She, thankfully, said she’d talk to me before she bought it. He wasn’t listening. He never even gave her an alternative. THAT was the only cord for us. BULL!!!. So I looked at the connections and went to another store to buy a patch cord that cost $4.95. Thank you Rip-off City.

But I went there to avoid Best Buy. I went to Circuit City’s software department and could not find any Adobe anything there. I asked an associate. He looked around the same aisle and said, “We’re kind of winding down our software business. We really don’t have much anymore.” I suspect they won’t have any software at all in the very near future.

So to Best Buy I went. Story: A few years ago I bought a Microtek scanner and a Lexmark printer there. I was happy with the deal, especially since I got 2 free printer cartridges, one color, one black and white. This was even greater savings. What an offer. Problem: The free cartridges they gave me were for a different printer. I could not use them. By the time I needed them it was a couple of months down the line. I tried to install but they wouldn’t go. Wrong ones.

I went back to Best Buy with the wrong cartridges to get them replaced with the right ones. I consider this the salesman’s fault although I may not be totally blameless. Unfortunately, sometimes, I am clueless, as in throwing away or losing receipts. You guessed it. No receipt.

Into the store I go and talked with an associate. No receipt? No Cartridges! But, I said, these boxes have your mark all over them. I don’t want money. I want the right cartridges. To management we go. Manager says he can’t make the exchange because it will screw up his inventory. I said I couldn’t give a half of a fig about his inventory. They screwed up. I just want the right cartridges. Back to the no receipt, not cartridges bit. I was pissed. I told him I’d never shop in Best Buy again for anything, and to stick his inventory where his brain is.

I broke my vow. Here I was, standing in the forbidden Worst Buy store with my hopes hanging out. I really wanted to get that Adobe Elements 4 on my MacBook. I asked an associate about Mac software. He said they don’t carry Mac software. I thanked him and left.

I’m beginning to see why so many people refuse to venture outside of PC. Mac stuff is just not conveniently available unless you know exactly where to go and you are patient.

I went home, got on the computer, and after a bit of searching I wound up at Amazon.com.

Folks, I’d love to shop in my home town. I’d love to be able to form some kind of relationship with people with whom I shop. They get to know me. I get to know them. There’s an actual bond, for better or worse, that becomes apparent. This may be another subject for another column so I’ll just say that those days of relationships with the butcher, the baker, and the software maker are all but gone. Welcome to the “you can’t speak to a real person” days.

But I have to admit that it was simple as dirt ordering my Elements program online. I got the best price I could find, and with the extra $20 rebate I will wind up paying only $59, with no tax or shipping costs. What a deal.

Am I happy with the outcome? Sure. Who wouldn’t be. But there’s something missing here. And I’m not sure that for the few bucks more it would have cost me it wouldn’t be worth having a name and a face and a handshake. A relationship, just so when I do have a problem I can deal with someone who knows that I’m not there to rip them off, or to screw up their inventory.

 

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