And in that vein....
Today, Mrs. Fungus and I had decided, was the day we would go get her a new computer. Her PC is 4-5 years old; it came with Windows 7 and is generally not a bad machine, but it's been in the shop several times and we can't seem to get it to do anything besides play WoW. I even gave it the full Geek Squad treatment here at home, and it's still chunking on anything other than WoW. Why WoW works well when nothing else does is beyond me, but that's how it is.
Anyway, we set out to go to CompUSA, which is where we bought my machine lo these many months ago. Floristica has not been 100% unalloyed bliss, but the alloy has very few impurities in it, and we figured we could find something comparable there.
Certainly my employer's selection of desktop computers has not improved, not if you don't want an HP. They still have one Dell with a i3 processor, and one Acer with an i5; otherwise you have a selection of laptops or all-in-one computers...and none of those come close to the right price/performance point. Since you can't put an aftermarket video card in either a laptop or an all-in-one, you're stuck with what they give you, and you end up paying a premium of three or four hundred dollars for the approximate equivalent video performance that you'd get from a $100 PCI-E card.
We're not buying an HP. No.
...so we didn't bother with my employer and went straight to CompUSA...and were disappointed. CompUSA had perhaps two or three models with Win 8 on them; all the rest were Win 7, which set off warning sirens in my brain. I looked for anything that approximated the correct specification (i5, 8 GB of RAM, 500+ GB of HDD) and managed to find a placard for a Dell with the right specs, except that it had Win 7 on it and there wasn't even a display model. Otherwise the aisle was awash with HP and Acer models, with a leavening of Lenovo machines. And I don't think any of them had Win 8 on them; every one I looked at came with Win 7. Which was superseded by Win 8 in October of 2012, which was a mere twenty-two months ago.
The salesman tried to sell us on a custom-built machine, but I'm not about to pay someone $700 (the price the salesman quoted) to put $450 worth of components together when I could do the exact same thing for $450. The whole point of going to a computer store and buying a machine is to avoid all the hassle of a custom build; the reason I went this route in the first place (in 2001) was to buy a configuration from which someone else had already worked out all the bugs. I do not care to ferry a machine back and forth to Orland Park 3-5 times, with each cycle taking a week or more, to get all the bugs out. Similarly I don't want to waste my precious time off fucking around with hardware that should have worked right out of the box and didn't.
We walked into the place ready to buy a machine with the right specs, but they didn't have one. For fuck's sake, CompUSA! You had one job!