“Thank you for coming to CompUSA. How can I not help you?”

I feel like I’m constantly coming in here and bitching about things instead of saying something positive about assorted Chicago locations and events, but I’m traveling overseas on Friday and I have lots of shit I have to pick up before I go and, sadly, this means I’ve spent many hours being disappointed by many store clerks around the city who really should just go get a job at McDonald’s and leave the hard stuff to the professionals.
I needed a new USB cord for my Sony digital camera. I’d unwisely shoved the old cord into a bag or something and thrown it away. I don’t know. It’s anywhere but my apartment or my cubicle, so I’m assuming my sorry drink-addled ass threw it out. Even though I’d purchased the camera at the Best Buy on North Avenue, I was bound and determined not to go to any Best Buy ANYWHERE because once you enter their doors, you are guaranteed to get no service and a certain amount of quality time with the great unwashed. I wasn’t up for that. Not today. I leave on Friday and I just wanted to walk out on my lunch hour and get a goddamn USB cord.
I prepped, by the way. I checked CompUSA’s website and they did, indeed, carry the cord. For $25.99. While I didn’t really want to spend that kind of money, especially for something that once CAME FREE WITH MY CAMERA, I figured I’d have to suck it up and just buy it because I’d lost the damn thing in the first place. Brian, our IT tech, also suggested Radio Shack. There’s a Radio Shack in my neighborhood, but I wouldn’t be home until after it closed and I didn’t want to risk waiting. So I headed to CompUSA on Chicago Avenue.
Now, I go there all the time, okay? It’s relatively decent as computer supply places go. They have lots of stock and what I find are relatively exorbitant prices. But, when I feel the need to purchase a new PC game or a wireless mouse or a laptop carrying case and I don’t have time to purchase these things cheaper online and wait for them to arrive, I go to CompUSA. It’s midway between my office and several El stops, so I wind up going there.
But the thing about CompUSA is that their staff is about as well-educated on their merchandise as a pre-schooler is on the periodic table. See, I walked in, knowing exactly what I wanted (and believe me, that’s the way you should ENTER this store in the first place), and headed over to the digital camera area to find my cord. Nothing. Not a single cord in the entire area. There weren’t even memory cards. The hell?
After wandering around for about five minutes, a red-shirted CompUSA dude noticed my confused expression and approached me. “Can I help you?” he nicely asked with a bit of fear on his face. (I swear, he looked like “Don’t ask me a question, PLEASE” was written across his face.) After mentally washing my nostrils with pine-scented freshness in order to wipe them clean of the overwhelming ashtray smell wafting off of him (and I smoke when I drink, so I’m not being a non-smoking bitch about this – dude was RANK), I informed him of what I was looking for. He said, “Oh, yeah, I think we have those. They’re over here.”
He then walked off through the store, past the customer service area, past the games, past a small Yugoslavian village because WHERE IN THE HELL WERE WE GOING, and stopped at a display up by the checkout. Huh? Why are the digital camera accessories WAY far away from the digital cameras? Oh. Because we were in the “Accessories” section. Of course.
It didn’t matter where we were, however, because they didn’t have ANY cords that matched my camera. Oh, wait, they did. A 10-foot cord that ran about $49.99. Also, a 6-foot cord “gold” version that ran at $39.99. I’m sorry. Were they really out of ANY viable option for my camera that could be priced under, say, twenty bucks? Yes, said Ashface, kindly. “We’re just…uh, totally out of those. But we get stock in every day.” “Thanks, Smokeshirt,” I said. “But I’m leaving for Italy in two days and I can’t wait.” “Oh, really? You have family there?” Okay. Okay. Y’all don’t know what I look like, but one look at my name will tell you that I ain’t one iota Italian. Erin. Dailey. Erin Dailey. And I have the red hair and freckles to go along with it. I kind of held out my hair and said, “No, Mummenchance, I don’t have family there. And you don’t have my USB cord. So go back outside and lick a box of Marlboros, okay? I have to go.”
I stopped at OfficeMax on Wacker and Michigan next, but they quickly informed me they didn’t have what I was looking for and directed me to Radio Shack across the street. Across the street FROM MY OFFICE. If I’d known the Shack was right fucking there I would have gone there in the first place. They always have everything I’m ever looking for (including international adapters) and they’re always knowledgeable.
Sure enough, I walked in, presented my problem, dude behind the counter took me two feet to the USB cords and set me up.
I’ll never go to CompUSA again.
Unless I need the latest release of “Dark Fall”, like, NOW.

2 Comments so far

  1. (unregistered) on September 9th, 2004 @ 1:07 am

    micro center…it’s a little further from your office, but well worth the trip. even if the staff isn’t helpful, the prices are OK.

  2. (unregistered) on September 9th, 2004 @ 3:24 am

    I’ve been in the same boat before too, but I went with a card reader instead.
    It’s cheap ($20), doesn’t use any juice from my camera batteries, and overall I’ve found I much prefer it to jacking in my camera…
    PS: Don’t forget your EU power adapters!

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