It seems that around this time of year, the dog days of summer, friends and relatives start pinging me with questions about buying new computer hardware. I’ve come to call this time of year Computer Shopping Season.
My own unscientific observations of this trend have concluded that there’s a bit of a marketing push happening as retailers clear out older models to make room new ones in the production queue; to be featured in the ‘back to school’ and upcoming holiday shopping season.
Which brings me back to the questions people ask me (and likely you too), and the questions I invariably ask in return.
Usually, they describe a desktop / laptop / netbook / tablet / pda that they’ve seen in an ad, and ask, “What do you think?”
My answer is usually, “What are you going to do with it?” Because really, that’s the crux of the matter; matching the system to the need. And since the people asking these questions are not always up to date on the latest and greatest computer tech, the system they’re looking at may be completely wrong for their needs — such as buying a $300 netbook to do serious photo and video editing, for example. Or trying to figure out which compatible accessories or software to buy with the new unit.
Sure, good salespeople can help out with this, but the reason I (and by extension other tech types) get asked the questions by friends is because we’re trusted sources of information about this tech stuff. We’d never steer our friends and family wrong, right?
For the most part we don’t, if we really do understand the need described. But sometimes, even we, the trusted Tech Type doesn’t have the answer. Which is when I turn to the hardware salesperson.
There’s a reason *good* computer departments hire knowledgeable sales staff. They’re there to help you wade through all the marketing buzzwords and glitz, to distill your need and provide a system that will meet the need.
Yes, some are on commission, and some aren’t and some are better than others. But dropping a few hundred (or a few thousand) dollars and buying something that’s under (or over) powered, or has features you don’t need, or is missing something you do, is a recipe for disappointment.
Which is, in the end, why we tech types are asked about hardware and software in Computer Shopping Season. We’re knowledgeable. We’re trusted. And, we like to help. And we can help guide our friends and relatives, with assistance from knowledgeable sales people, to the right decision.
This post of is one of many I publish weekly at the Future Shop Techblog. Read more of my stuff here.