I used to joke how few people knew anything over at CompUSA, except, perhaps, how to overcharge. This isn’t to say that the Apple “store-within-a-store” was necessarily bad, though. As it was, some of the CompUSA outlets actually had Mac fans on their staff who made a game effort to understand the products they were selling. More recently, they even had Apple reps on board to make sure that the sales environment met corporate standards.
Indeed, it did, as the local Apple person at the CompUSA outlet in Scottsdale, AZ was a wealth of solid information, even extending beyond the company’s core product line. The latest hardware from the “Mother Ship” was always on display, and there was even a small selection of peripherals and software. So you didn’t have to hope you’d accidently run across a cross-platform box or a product elsewhere with the famous Mac OS logo on it.
However CompUSA’s management evidently failed to take heed of the rise of such big box outlets as Best Buy and Circuit City, which also sold personal computers. Add to the list such discounters as Wal-Mart, and you could see the handwriting on the wall.
In fact, there came a time where I pretty much gave up on making a purchase at CompUSA. You could buy the very same products elsewhere for less money, and even their own house brands failed to yield the appropriate discounts.
I suppose, then, that I wasn’t surprised when the fateful decision was made earlier this year to close down more than half of the chain’s stores, including most of the branches in Arizona. Yes, I suppose I did benefit, because I caught a great fire sale price on a second internal SATA drive for my Power Mac G5 Quad.
Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.
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