Computer salesmen are this era’s car salesmen | Females beware

by on Sunday, April 4th, 2010
strong woman

Whip it, whip it good!

It’s 2010 but there’s still sexism. I believe the first and most important thing you can do to lessen any amount of sexism in the world today is to not let it happen to yourself (meaning, don’t let someone grab your ass and then not call them on the inappropriateness of that action – unless it was your husband doing it and you liked it).

If you don’t say or do anything, then you’re letting someone in the world think it’s okay to treat a woman like that. You might wonder why I’m thinking about this. Well, it happened to me this past weekend. I went to one of those electronic stores (the name is unimportant because this was a person-specific issue, not a company one) with a male friend. I was out there to buy a laptop because my old one had broken (tragic!). I’m no computer genius, but I know enough to get by. I already had an idea of what I wanted, and of what I wanted to pay.  I felt prepared. I was going to zip in and out in under an hour due to my thoughtful preparation!

But it did not happen so smoothly. And let me just add this bit of irony: the laptop I initially was going to buy in the first five minutes is the one I walked out with 40 minutes later. Gut instinct is important, as is not letting people waste your time. The main reason I almost left with something else was because of the salesman instilling fear in me! If I don’t have the ‘garabadabble graphix card’, my computer will be worthless? AH! And the ‘rabblesuzy special software’? Gotta have that!

See, the people there don’t want you to buy one of the cheaper models, and they certainly don’t want you to buy just one thing. They want you to believe you need all of the extra features. And these extra features sound great – but you have to remember whether or not they’re important to you. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money. Even though I told the employee what I was looking for, they kept trying to make me go to another more expensive model with features I didn’t need.

Bow to the princess!

Bow to the princess! She has a PHD, sucker!

And the thing that really bothered me is that the salesman wasn’t even talking to me. While I had made it clear that the laptop was for me, that I was paying, that I was the deciding factor – the person he was talking to was my male friend. Now, what is THAT about?

The salesman tried to talk my friend into all of these bonus features (the warranty, the experts to come out and “optimize” the computer for you, paying for the expert hotline, Microsoft office software that everyone already has, newer versions of Photoshop, another bonus warranty, extra RAM), and I just raised an eyebrow. Eventually I started getting frustrated because I wanted to go. So I said, “I’m really just going to be buying this laptop, as is. I know this is what I need, I know what I’m doing. And no warranty or extra software is needed, but thank you.” I was polite but firm.

And btw, the reason I didn’t buy the warranty is because it already came with one from the company. And in all of my years of using computers, the computer only tends to break after a year  has gone by – when the warranty is useless. Computers will be fine for a year most of the time, so warranties are dumb. And did I want to pay for some dude to come to my house and uninstall programs for me? Sorry, I know how to do that myself. It felt insulting. No matter how I insisted that I knew what I was doing, I felt like they refused to believe me. They (because it was two guys at one point) would have these sly little smirks like I was an idiot. Again, while not a computer genius I am far from an idiot when it comes to them.

Got muscles?

Got muscles?

Exploiting people is just wrong, and I can’t believe they try to do that the women. I’ve had other female friends say they’ve had a hard time when they go to an electronics store. Maybe we’re seen as easy marks? That’s so wrong. There are just as many clueless guys out there!

Computer salesmen are this era’s car salesmen. If you’re a female, they see an easy target. So here is what you need to know in…

The Lazy-but-Smart Girl’s Guide to Buying a Decent Computer:

  1. Avoid buying warranties on computers. Buying warranties are usually pointless. But they make a lot of money on them, so they’ll push them on you relentlessly.
  2. Avoid being talked into things you don’t need. You know what you need more than they do.
  3. Do prep work and write down the amount of hard drive space and memory you need. Those are the two most important factors in buying a computer, aside from brand and processor type . (There are only two types of processors – Intel or AMD. You cannot go wrong with an Intel Pentium Processor. )
  4. You don’t need to buy their antivirus proection. You can get free versions that work very well. Avast is a great one to check out. Go to Lifehacker.com for more suggested options.
  5. If you save a lot of things on your computer, you want a lot of hard drive space. 4GB’s is very decent, 6GB is also good. 8GB’s is good if you plan on having a toooon of music saved on your computer.
  6. The RAM or memory is how fast your computer can go.
  7. Laptops are more expensive, and offer less hard drive space. Keep this in mind. Desktops are the better buy unless you know you need a laptop.

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