Sunday, April 02, 2006

Notebook Evangelism

The last notebook I had was a 386 and could run DOS. Sort of. I could do word processing on it, though everything was a combined keystroke. (To show my age, this was black and white, and 'pre-mouse'.) The puppy had a power supply issue and died a horrible death. Since then I've either borrowed laptops from school or work, or done without. (Hard to believe, but it is possible.)

Now that I'm looking to start back to school, it's time to invest in one. I've spent a couple of weeks surfing trying to pick out a notebook. I've been to and Read various trade mags... And felt ready to go shopping IRL.

My head is spinning. It is beginning to drive me crazy. I feel like I am buying a car. Every salesperson (aka "purchasing counselor") wants to be my new best friend.

[The conversations you are about to read are true. The names have been changed to protect the stupid and prevent lawsuits...]

BigBox Electronics Store #1: The Jaw-Dropping Gall Award

Me: "Hi, I'm looking to buy a laptop."
Salesperson (SP): "Today?"
Me: "What does it matter? If you have what I'm looking for, I'll buy it from you and you'll get the commission."
SP: "Oh we don't get paid a commission."
Me: "Right. I forgot. It's called a 'service assistance credit'."
SP: "Well, if you aren't buying today, then..."
Me: "Never mind. I'll find someone who can answer my questions."
SP: "I can answer your questions. But if you aren't buying today, it's not worth my while..."

BigBox Electronics Store #2: The Land of No-Name Brands
Me: "What's your price on these models?" (already scoped out at Store #1)
SP: "I'm sorry. We only carry Unknown Brand #1, Unpronounceable Name #2, and Unreliable Brand #3. They are the only reputable laptops on the market right now."
Me: "OK, I'll bite. Tell me more about them."
SP: (goes into long spiel about each one and then tells me I should buy their 'store warranty' for further guarantee my complete satisfaction.)
Me: "What? These notebooks have a warranty for 3 years, and I need to buy your warranty too? Why?"
SP: "Well, then that way you'll get the repairs done quickly."
Me: "How frequently do they need repairs?"
SP: "Oh, laptops need repairs all the time."

What am I looking for? A neon sign in the clouds would be nice... The saga goes on... I've made no decision yet. (Feel free to offer your opinion, which I will free to ignore, unless you're buying!!)

This is a lot like the experience that people have when they investigate Christianity. It seems to me that there are parallels that we can draw with the way that churches or individuals 'do' evangelism...

BigBox Store #1: Make a commitment today, or else...
I've never been a "fire and brimstone" Christian. I've tried to listen and respond to someone's felt needs when they ask me questions about God or Christianity. I don't care if they never visit the church I go to... but the f&b types are fixated on getting the visitor to believe their version of things. As with BigBox #1, there is little concern with what the person is searching for, and more of a desire to meet the quota.

BigBox Store #2: No Name Brands
This is what has crept into mainstream faith. They are so open-minded their brains fall out! There's nothing in these discussions that represents anything I know of in Christianity. This is like BigBox#2. These evangelists offer everything from a cooking class to "Jesus and Buddha as Brothers". Well, I can't deny that taking care of my body is a God-given responsibility, but after a while, it begins to feel more like a community center or like a place where "a god" is worshipped. Jesus IS God, not some good dude! The Lord's Prayer doesn't start "Our Holy Dude who art where we experience him or her.."

BUT - - I also don't want to be: The Brand Name Loyalist
"We've always been _______________" [fill in the denomination] "That's why we look for a ____________ Church whenever we move." Never mind that maybe the brand they are looking for has outsourced all of their mature believers...

So, if you ask me, I'll try to do better than the BigBox evangelists...

From our home to yours...


Sarah said...

Hey lady! I just wanted you to know that Jeff (my husband, the techie) swears by Dell. Mainly because of dependable quality. He recommeds buying online because you can customize exactly what you want. The service hasn't been up to par the last couple of times he's had to deal with them, however, that has not always been the case and could have been bad luck! He also recommends Toshiba, as they have good laptops. He just mentioned that if you are shopping at the lower end of the spectrum, Dell will not be much different than many other brands, however, the higher you go in performance, Dell offers the better quality and better options. If customer service is a big issue for you than Jeff recommends looking in to Gateway as their service is really good. I hope this helps! :)

Also, I wanted to say thanks for the encouragment. I've been in a crazy place for the last couple of months and being that I'm just not used to being like that, it was a weird thing to deal with...and quickly! I HATE being unhappy and I think cutting back is really the only option for me right now. Time to get my calculator out and go to town...and no worries, I had someone else offer to help with budgeting! :)

Tricia said...

Make the switch - get a Mac.

[ducks and runs out of the room :^]