I was spending a few hours the other day wandering from store to store looking for a laptop for my son. Nothing extreme, just something Windows based that will run Free Realms and any other game he wants to play. Being only nine, I don’t expect the need for a high-end video card so even a standard on-board Intel is fine. I wander into BestBuy and start looking at what they have available. As I come across each laptop I do a quick review search on my iPhone to see what people are saying about them. I come across a Compaq model that seems like it just might be what I’m looking for. Apparently the battery on it doesn’t last long, but he’s going to use it in the house, so that’s not a big deal. Anyway, I notice the price on the box and realize it’s $100 more than what’s advertised on their website. Weird.
I grab one of the guys wandering around looking for something to do and ask him why the price difference. He immediately tries to pull up the page on their website using his computer, but since I’ve heard of the BestBuy problem with them using a different web page internally, I had him my phone with the page already loaded with the lower price clearly marked. He then goes on to explain that they’ve opened up all the laptops, installed their “Geek Squad” software on it, and then re-sealed the boxes. WTF!? They’re selling hardware they’ve already opened? He tries to bestow upon the wonders of their software and how I can now just buy the laptop and do nothing to it but turn on the power and rainbows and kittens will explode from the screen.
Now, I know how computers work. I could start using it from power up whether their software is on it or not. I let him know in very polite terms that I will not pay $100 more for a machine and I’ll take my product search somewhere else. It just reminded me of how car dealerships treat their customers by “upgrading” new cars with weather guard protection plus with clear-coat and bug avoidance or something and then charge you more for the same car. It’s just an extremely slimey business practice to get more money out of people that don’t know any better. The whole situation made me feel insulted.
I have a standing personal rule that I don’t buy hardware from BestBuy. Movies and games fine but no hardware. I have no idea why I was willing to even considering a laptop from there anyway.
I’m going to place an order with Dell instead.
I get to go out to GDC next month. It’s been almost eight years since I’ve been last (since my son was born), so it’s going to be great to see how things have changed. I’ll be flying in halfway through Tuesday, so I’ll be missing part of the MS Developer Days. I’m hoping I’ll still be able to gather enough info as that really is the main part I want to attend. I’ve been looking at the GDC website today and trying to plan out the other talks I want to see.
Merry Mary, the product of three days of participating in the Global Game Jam this weekend. A short puzzle/platformer about a girl and her shadow.
The entire experience was not only fun and exciting, but tiring as well. After three days of intense game deving with two great students from FullSail and two artists from the Art Institute of Tampa, we came up with an interesting little game about a girl playing with her shadow.
Since the game was written in C# with the XNA toolset, I’ll spend some time later to see if it works on the Xbox360.