Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Purchasing Practice

I always considered buying a laptop computer, but whenever I would think of the various uses for such a machine I could never find that I had any real need for one. For years I had been able to survive on nothing more than food, clothing, and shelter, and the added entertainment value that a personal computer had to offer didn't seem to fit the criteria of a worthy purchase. Of course I was able to avoid a lot of purchases using this mentality, and I missed many opportunities for sharpening those dull skills of purchasing decision making. But now I had finally decided that it was time to have a laptop. The old family computer had finally died, and my father frequently had business to do with the new computer. Although I hadn't yet figured out any real need for it, I decided that I needed my own computer just because I needed it. It was now time for my rusty skills to be challenged with the task of choosing the right computer to purchase.

Because my purchasing history had been sprinkled with plenty of lost deals, overpriced junk, and outright scams, I was determined to apply plenty of due diligence before going through with my dream purchase. I did a google search and I started browsing through various computer sites. As usual, I was hit with hundreds of terms that were Greek to me, and with every additional search I became less and less confident in my finding the perfect laptop. My search started out very practical. I went to the Dell website and began building a computer in the same manner that I used to play with the configurations as a dreaming child. However, after putting in hours of thought, and coming to be determined to find the best possible deal, I began to think more and more on a philosophical level. How was it possible to find completely accurate and unbiased reviews of any product? If it were possible to find the best deal, all the other computers would never sell. I doubted and second guessed all the innate wisdom I had about computers, and I opened my mind to anything with buttons and a display. Eventually I realized that this search was becoming futile. Instead of searching on my own I would have to have some assistance.

Since I was having a lot of trouble working on this decision by myself I decided to seek some help from those with more shopping experience. I wondered how other people were able to make up their minds when confronted with the same thousands of different options that I was being presented with. Everyone seemed to have a laptop, and it didn't seem like much of a burden to consult the veterans of consumerism. I began asking everyone I knew about their computer purchasing history. I started with my good old normal friends and I worked my way up to the certified geeks. I was presented with various computers and equally varied reasons for purchasing those computers. Some said they found a computer refurbished on ebay for half the price it normally goes for, and others said they found the top of the line gaming computer with a special graphics card. Most people, however, admitted that they had no idea about computers, and they had only bought what other people had told them to buy. Some praised the computers that they themselves owned, and had nothing but unflattering comments for competing brands. Others seemed to praise every single computer for various different qualities. And then there were those geeks who would just speak above my head. It would have been nice to just ask one person and trust his opinion. However, my skepticism has a way of putting me in these situations. My consulting with people left me even more befuddled than I was while doing my own research. I was again beginning to doubt whether I really needed a computer.

Today I finally decided that I was going to buy a laptop without any further ambivalence. I had come home with nothing much to do and I was going to use the computer, but my father had business as usual. I decided to go to a computer store in person and let the wonderful sales staff influence my final decision. I hopped on the subway and headed to J & R Computer World. While waiting for the train I had a final discussion about this matter with my brother. I told him that I was leaning toward an HP, and as usual he said that a Sony would be much better. Although I was open to basically anything, my mind was dominated by that last influencing remark as I entered the store. I carefully looked at each and every laptop, and the kind salesperson was giving me little tidbits about the various features of each of them. When we arrived at the Sony laptops something was telling me that this was the time to make the purchase. I had a feeling that my mindset was a result of the most recent conversation that I had had with my brother. I knew that this purchase would be very impulsive, and although I wasn't really looking for anything in particular, I forced myself to formulate some random questions about the features of other computers. The computer was kind of expensive, but something told me that I was going to be impulsive and just take the computer that I last heard was considered good.

Before making the final decision, I asked the salesperson to give me some time to think about things. I didn't think this time would do anything for me, but I couldn't let myself fall into another random purchase. While fiddling around with some random features on the Sony, I received a call from a friend of mine who was nervous about taking an exam. I realized that he had told me all about his computer when I had asked him about his computing preferences. He had a Lenovo computer, and I remember asking him what he thought about it. Although he wanted to ask me questions about the exam, I briefly changed the subject and asked him what he felt about his computer again. After that phone call I asked the sales person to see the Lenovo computers. It turned out that a Lenovo computer with the same specs as the Sony was on sale for a much lower price. The salesperson told me that this computer was on sale for Valentine's Day, and it was the only one on sale of its kind. At that point I felt a feeling that I had never had before while making purchases. I felt the logical reasoning circuits of my brain begin to turn. The feeling was very good. I smiled and said that I would go with the Lenovo Z560.

The feeling of making a logical purchase was very new to me, and I felt very accomplished with my spiritual growth. The computer was cheap enough, and I was excited enough that I actually started to purchase some accessories along with my new toy. After finalizing the purchase and proceeding to pickup my merchandise, I began to feel a little uneasy about the decision that I had made. Was it really logical or was I impulsive again? When I came to pick up my item I was relieved to see that the customer in front of me was picking up the very same laptop. I realized that I must have been making a logical decision if other people were going for this deal as well. When I came home and started the computer I searched through ebay to see if I had really found a good deal. Sure enough, I had paid less for my computer than all of the ebay listings for the Lenovo Z560 with the sole exception of a refurbished product that was only $10 cheaper. I was very happy with my successful purchase, and after setting up the millions of different features and configurations, and overworking my brain with all of those both tedious and meaningless decisions, I found some time to type up my experience and share it with everyone.

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