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CompUSA To Close All Stores

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the actually-kind-of-liked-them dept.

Businesses 509

An anonymous reader writes "Mexican telephone and retail magnate Carlos Slim, in a rare defeat, will exit the US consumer electronics market, shutting the last 100 CompUSA Inc. stores after sinking about $2 billion into the business. Gordon Brothers Group, a Boston-based retail store liquidator, will oversee a piecemeal sale of the Dallas-based business, the company said in a statement. Financial terms were not disclosed. Stores will remain open through year-end under the supervision of Gordon Brothers, which will also negotiate the sale of real estate and other assets."

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509 comments

Meh. (5, Insightful)

Vthornheart (745224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622671)

I never really liked them, personally. I don't know if it was different on other regions of the country, but in the Sacramento area the CompUSAs were always overpriced. I guess it's sad to see any store that sells computer products die on some level, but there's better stores still on the market.
That being said, if CompUSA was the only brick and mortar computer store in your area, I guess this would be a sucky development. Maybe a Fry's will move in. ;)

Wrong name: CompChina is the right one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21622757)



I found no USA anything there. There are only so many stupuid people here that buy that chinese junk.

Re:Wrong name: CompChina is the right one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21622899)

Overpriced chinese junk + lazy Mexicans = failure. Good riddance wetback!

Re:Meh. (1)

astrotek (132325) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622761)

EggHead 2.0, same shopping centers too :)

EggHead became NewEgg dummkopf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21622919)

Newegg is not so bad. A little slow, but not too bad.

Re:EggHead became NewEgg dummkopf (1, Informative)

bwd234 (806660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623255)

Newegg, and sometimes Amazon, are the only places I buy any electronics anymore. Circuit City has hardly any selection, Best Buy and CompUSA are too expensive and Radio Shack is well, utter crap and too expensive. Newegg has never let me down!

Re:EggHead became NewEgg dummkopf (1)

nuzzy (969021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623499)

I like NewEgg. The only thing that makes me laugh is that you have to pay extra to "expedite" the processing, not shipping, of your order. Shouldn't they be doing that already???

Re:Meh. (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622831)

I never really liked them, personally.
I liked them just fine, as much as one can like a big box computer store. They were somewhere between the big office stores and best buy, and actually did carry much in the way of essential hardware such as fans, heatsync compound, screws, and other misc things. It beats a trek to frys which for me is about 30 miles away.

 

My experience is that Com-pooza is horrible. (2, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623161)

"... actually did carry much in the way of essential hardware such as fans, heatsync compound, screws, and other misc things."

In Portland, Oregon [slashdot.org] the closing of CompUSA stores will mean that the retail Fry's [frys.com] store has no competition in selling the more unusual items. Since Fry's is very adversarial toward its customers, in my opinion, that will mean prices will rise.

My experience is that Com-pooza is horrible, though.

Both stores sell cables for more than $20 that cost less than $2 wholesale.

Re:Meh. (1)

Gropo (445879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623289)

...and actually did carry much in the way of essential hardware such as fans, heatsync compound, screws, and other misc things
Last month I took a little bike trip to the CompUSA in midtown Manhattan looking for a simple HDD power line jumper. Zilch. SATA ribbons, ATA/IDE... No power cable supplies.

Re:Meh. (4, Informative)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622895)

What I remember about CompUSA is that on multiple occasions, when I went into the store looking to buy an item, they were sold out of it. It's like it didn't occur to them, "hey, we're sold out of this. Obviously it's popular. We better buy more of it, and put it on the shelves, so we can make more money". After that happened two or three times, I got tired of dealing with them, and would go online or to a different store. So I'm not that surprised to hear that they're going out of business.

Re:Meh. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623081)

What's the matter, you guys don't have MicroCenter over by dere? One of the nicest things about Chicago is the Microcenter Store.

That, Ozzie Guillen and Jimmy's Hot Dogs on Grand Ave & Pulaski. Don't ask for ketchup, though, or you might catch a beatin'.

Re:Meh. (1)

boredMDer (640516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623229)

I suppose you don't consider that sometimes stock just flies off of the shelves after a day or two?

Many times in my store, we'd have quite a few of an item, then the ad would come out, and they'd all be gone within two days, at most for the good items. The ordering system was such crap that it'd take maybe a week to order and get new product in, at that point the sale flyer would be over and since we didn't give 'rain checks'...

In some of the cases it was the fault of the ASM, most of the time it was completely unexpected demand, even when ordering more than normal for the ad. Even so, no one in the store but the ASM or GM could process the orders for new items.

Re:Meh. (4, Insightful)

putaro (235078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623331)

Basically what you're saying in a more informed way is what the original poster said - they weren't able to manage their inventory. It's a basic part of running a retail business. Yes, it's hard. Those who are good at it (Walmart) succeed in the retail space. Those that are bad at it will close their doors.

Re:Meh. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623593)

I suppose you don't consider that sometimes stock just flies off of the shelves after a day or two?

How about flying off the shelves before the store opened the day the ad came out? This happened all the time. The last time this happened my buddy needed an HDD and CompUSA had one on sale in their ad with a mininum of 10 per store. We met up at a local restaurant for breakfast, then went to the store. We got there 15 minutes before they opened and there was 1 person waiting outside. When the doors opened there were 5 of us waiting and we all went in different directions. My buddy and I went back to the counter were they kept the HDD's and he asked for one, only to be told by the clerk that they were out. Out? The store had just opened and we were the first ones there. The clerk wouldn't answer why they were out, but the answers are obvious:

  • The store forgot to order them. I can't see how this could occur. If I can find out online if an item is in stock then corporate can too.
  • The employees bought them before the store opened. This should never be allowed.
  • An eBay scalper bought them the night before. This also should not occur, because they should put some aside for the sale.
  • They never intended on selling any at that price and were just trying to get people to come to the store.


As we left the store empty handed we came across 2 other guys who were outside when the store opened and neither of them got what they came for either. Needless to say neither my buddy nor I have been back since.

Supply-constrained product? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623343)

What I remember about CompUSA is that on multiple occasions, when I went into the store looking to buy an item, they were sold out of it. It's like it didn't occur to them, "hey, we're sold out of this. Obviously it's popular. We better buy more of it, and put it on the shelves, so we can make more money". After that happened two or three times, I got tired of dealing with them
In the cases you're talking about, were other chains also sold out of them? Did you check eBay to see if scalpers were offering the product at a significant premium?

Re:Meh. (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623443)

It depends on the product and the advertisement that goes along with it, but it often is used to get people in the store. People who just are interested to buy that one item is not who they are interested in, because margins on that product can be minimal.

What they could be interested in is people comming in the store and buying other things.

Re:Meh. (2, Interesting)

Yehooti (816574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622979)

I'll miss them. When I wanted to find a store where I could walk in, select my software right there, then pay and walk out with it then and there, they were always there. Fry's is about the same distance from me as they were, but I've never felt comfortable with their wares. I could get in and out quickly, not like the long lines at Fry's. If I had a problem, they handled it smoothly, not like at Fry's. I paid more for this privilege I'll admit. When I'm not in a hurry I order from online sources.

Their selections were great, almost always having what I needed in a hurry. We need more stores like this, not fewer. Someone needs to come along and show the remaining stores how to do it right. They couldn't do it, Fry's, CC, and BB don't do it. Who is next?

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623003)

What the hell is Fry's?

And yes, CompUSA is the only computer store that I know of within my state.

Re:Meh. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623195)

Fry's is, what compUSA use to be. They are all store for electronics. Lots of low priced goods (same item at compUSA will be 50-100% more). The sales ppl are nowhere near as obnoxious as compUSA's. Sadly, they are not everywhere. Perhaps with compUSA pulling out, they will expand again.

Re:Meh. (0, Redundant)

michrech (468134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623431)

In my view, Fry's is like Wal*Mart, but for electronics (with a few other items thrown in). The stores are absolutely GINORMOUS, usually very busy, and there is quite a selection.

What the hell is Fry's?

And yes, CompUSA is the only computer store that I know of within my state.

Re:Meh. (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623299)

CompUSA is overpriced here as well. They were cheaper on their printer ink than other places though. I wish a Fry's would open in Jacksonville, FL

Re:Meh. (1)

FlopEJoe (784551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623369)

We lost ours last year. The prices sucked and most of the staff were idiots though some exceptions to both complaints were a nice surprise like when you found a good sale or a helpful employee.

But... and it's a big but... the best thing about CompUSA was their parts section. There is absolutely no other place in my area where I can take in my a busted up connector or a too short cable, walk up to a shelf and look at the available parts to compare, and walk out with what I need. And, if it didn't work out, I can go back and try again that day. Now, if something goes wrong with a 'puter, I have to STFW to find what the part is called, compare fuzzy pictures and descriptions, order the part, wait a few days, and hope it works when it comes in. If it doesn't, start over with another part and a few days of a broken computer. Yeah, it's way cheaper from net-stores and it usually works out, but I miss the, "just get the damn part now," mentality of having a CompUSA around.

Re:Meh. (2, Insightful)

zullnero (833754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623371)

Maybe a Fry's will move in. ;)

Fry's: Where you always know you can find the most substandard of substandard computer and consumer products!

The trick with Fry's, for those who don't know, is that the good quality stuff is priced roughly the same as any Best Buy/CompUSA/Staples/etc., but the absolutely crappy imported stuff makes it all seem cheaper. It's like WalMart like that.

Re:Meh. (1)

FateStayNight (1000465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623423)

good riddance. After buying from them a few times and never hearing anything back after sending in my rebates, I can't say I am sad to see them go. A lot of their stuff can be found cheaper elsewhere so without the rebates I only went in there to play around with their stuff and check out the sales chicks.

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623467)

Nooooo, they are the only retail store in my town that sells Apple Computers. We will have to order new computers on-line now. Another victory for the Microsoft Faschists.

Re:Meh. (5, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623601)

What's stupid is that I'm told by an employee of CompUSA that they've been working on opening a new store in Colorado this coming week. Only, now instead of having a grand opening, the first day the store opens will also be a liquidation day.

It's kind of amazing how fast they did all this. Management got the news Friday afternoon, via telephone. Within a couple hours, there were a couple of guards on premises to make sure employees did not steel anything. Employees were forbidden from buying anything "at cost" which employees apparently have always been allowed to do. By the end of the night, liquidation guys had arrived from corporate and were going through the process of taking inventory and repricing so they could (presumably) begin actual liquidation sales this weekend.

It's just damn crazy. I've never cared for CompUSA except that since there are no longer any real mom and pop independent computer stores around, your choice is between CompUSA and Fry's. And Fry's isn't available in most places (which is a shock to those of us from the west coast when we visit other parts of the country). Without even a CompUSA around anymore, I don't know where you're going to pick up hardware in person? It was always nice to have a place you could go to as a last resort if you needed to replace a mobo RIGHT NOW.

Huh? (1)

sltd (1182933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622673)

This store didn't exist where I came from, and I've certainly never shopped there, but I didn't know they were in trouble... wow. I didn't know there were only 100, either. They seemed a lot bigger than I guess they were. I don't really know of any compelling reason to shop there by the end of the year though...

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623093)

We don't have CompUSA in Israel, either, but the name is as familiar to me as McDonalds or Coca Cola (both of which we do have). That may be because I spend just a bit too much time online...

I'm also surprised to see that they have but 100 branches. The fact that I am familiar with them shows how influential they are. I suppose though, that influential != [ big || successful ].

Re:Huh? (1)

milkasing (857326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623183)

It used to be much much bigger. They closed 126 stores earlier this year and at least dozens in 2006. As one of many who got screwed by its mail-in rebates scam, I am certain that it will not be missed.

Re:Huh? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623551)

The fact that I am familiar with them shows how influential they are. I suppose though, that influential != [ big || successful ].

I bet you've heard of Enron, too.

You know of CompUSA probably because they happened to advertise a lot, and perhaps were the only tech stores in some areas. Just because you're familiar with a brand, doesn't mean they are any good, or at all influential.

Re:Huh? (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623591)

They certainly used to be bigger and I'm sure once had more than 100 stores, but a few years ago (I think) they closed a lot of them (probably due to the same troubles that is causing this). I know there used to be one in my town, but when I last tried to go there, I found it had been boarded up.

Goodbye (5, Funny)

aero2600-5 (797736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622685)

The only thing impressive CompUSA ever did was make the idiots at Best Buy look like geniuses.

Their prices were ridiculous, the staff under-qualified. If you wanted to know what 1994 felt like, all you had to do was wander into one of their stores.

Aero

Re:Goodbye (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21622719)

Thats funny. I feel the same way about Best Buy. Personally I never ask anyone at either store any questions. But I'll miss my compUSA as they had a better selection of comp stuff the Best Buy has ever had. But oh well New Egg here I come.

Re:Goodbye (2, Interesting)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622749)

I was chagrined when Carlos Slim bought The Good Guys audio/video stores and merged them into CompUSA. The Good Guys had excellent stock including the superb Loewe HD TVs, good sales every so often, and the salemen didn't entirely suck. The bastard child of the merger was that CompUSA began pushing LCD big screens but almost no other A/V equipment.

As many others have noted, it would be useful if Fry's had some stores in other parts of the country. (You hear me, John Fry?) Even if Fry's has issues with stupid salesmen, the merchandise selection is pretty good, including off the shelf software for when you're on a deadline and can't wait for mail-order or get a vendor download. I Hope they slowly and carefully extend themselves to the East Coast and become available to more people. But not overextend themselves, that's how Tower Records killed its retail presence, by expanding into Japan.

Re:Goodbye (2, Insightful)

ericlondaits (32714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623091)

Don't know about Japan, but when Tower Records came to Argentina it was as a franchise AFAIK, since it was owned by local investors and it even changed hands one or two times during its life. I don't see how franchising can be bad for a company, since it means it's getting money for its brand.

Re:Goodbye (5, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623337)

I don't see how franchising can be bad for a company, since it means it's getting money for its brand.
Then you clearly haven't thought about it for more than 5 seconds. If the franchisee(s) aren't up to the standards of the original chain or generally screw things up, they damage the name of the franchise, and that reputation can feed back to the original store.

In short, you lose some control of your own name, and while you can impose conditions on the franchisees, there have to be limits.

Now, the benefit of a franchise is also its disadvantage; people associate the local franchised operation with its original owner, and if this isn't up to scratch, then- at best- people may assume that other franchises are run to poor standards and- at worst- people assume that the original company is responsible and at fault.

"But... but... it wasn't us, it was one of our franchisees" won't cut it in the face of widespread complaints that swamp the ability of your PR to explain the true situation. And do the public care anyway? It's a double-edged sword- if a company is willing to exploit its name (and associated reputation) by selling it to others, it has no right to complain if it's too lax or greedy in controlling the franchise and these actions come back to haunt it.

Re:Goodbye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623491)

Shit, they need to reach the midwest first!!!!! I don't have ANY good computer stores within a hundred miles of me. Thank god for newegg and pricewatch.

I mean, there's a best buy, but they don't really count as a "computer store". If they only have one type of power supply, one type of case, and one type of case fan, that's not a computer store.

That sucks (4, Informative)

ragnarok (6947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622697)

CompUSA is the only real computer store near me (in Rochester, NY). Of course there's Best Buy and Circuit City (etc) but the selection was always a lot better at CompUSA. When I needed a hard drive or something in a hurry that was always where I went.

When is Fry's going to make it to the east coast?

Re:That sucks (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623023)

You could always try Rochester Computer Recycling and Repair if you need parts fast. Otherwise I would suggest Pricewatch.

Re:That sucks (1)

Kizeh (71312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623507)

That's the same for us in Florida. There really is no comparable store for the breadth of selection, as sad as it is. BestBuy and Circuit City just don't cut it. I really do hope that this will give Fry's incentive to swoop in.

Re:That sucks (2, Informative)

transer (112036) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623571)


You can always try Microworx. They don't have as big of a selection, but for the "gotta have it now" parts, those they generally have.

I'll agree on Fry's, though...wish they'd make it out this way....

good riddance (1)

Allison Geode (598914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622705)

the thing about CompUSA, was that everything was way overpriced, except when it was on some kind of special advertised deal... and when THAT was the case, they never had any in stock. HORRIBLE store, and I won't miss it one bit... though, I may have to give it a visit when they shut down, see if I can "pick the carcass."

Re:good riddance (2, Funny)

zxscooby (993195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622873)

I,m already circling overhead,patiently waiting to collect my share of the carrion.

Re:good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21622893)

HORRIBLE store, and I won't miss it one bit
Yeah, no kidding! Who gives a shit about the thousands of jobs being lost - you don't like them and now they will be gone so let's celebrate!

Re:good riddance (1)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623055)

Most of the people working at CompUSA weren't qualified in the first place.

Let's focus on creating more manufacturing jobs in the US. To be perfectly blunt, if you can't hack it in the white collar or skilled blue collar world, dig a ditch. The US has a severe shortage of ditch-digging jobs.

Re:good riddance (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623203)

You can always join the army.....

The sad thing is, Kurt Vonnegut was right over 50 years ago when he predicted what life would be like the "future". Of course he made some errors, such as MBAs are the rich ones instead of engineering PhDs, and the obligatory mid 50's "massive vaccum tube supercomputer", but in general he was right on. In "Player Piano" most of humanity is either in the army or in the "Recreation and Reclamation", ie masses of unskilled laborers who dig ditches and whatnot. Really seems to describe the current situation in the US today quite well.

Re:good riddance (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623211)

Who gives a shit about the thousands of jobs being lost

Learn 2 economics. Thousands of jobs being lost in an inefficient industry is a good thing. The loss is always temporary, and those people will eventually find more efficient jobs. Efficiency helps the economy as a whole.

If you had your way no jobs would ever be lost and we would still be doing everything by hand, right?

Christ you sound like the MPAA. Oh will you PLEASE think of the thousands?

Re:good riddance (1)

ebh (116526) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623509)

Here too (Central NJ), losing CompUSA leaves only Circuit Shitty and Best Lie. At least I get to hit Fry's when I travel on business a few times a year. Now all we have left are the Market Pro "Computer Shows and Sales" where it's the same few dozen Chinese vendors (screwdriver shop owners in from Brooklyn) selling their sub-commodity SUPER WHIZBANG MAINBOARDs.

And NewEgg.

As an ex employee... (5, Interesting)

boredMDer (640516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622737)

Glad to hear that they're shutting down. I worked there for nearly a year on the front end...awesome coworkers and general atmosphere, but store policies, managers, etc, sucked. Bad(ly?). Ripped off customers on return policies, warranties, replacement plans, etc. Restocking fees? At the manager's discretion, of course.

Thank god, is all I can say.

-- 297504 from store 354...

fare thee well (4, Interesting)

ruebarb (114845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622743)

my first tech job was refurbishing a certain model of PC at the CompUSA tech shop - got me to where I'm at today - many a techie got his start in one of those little tech shops at a retail store.

lower profit margins are a drag on any business - almost inevitable but a fact of life - they lasted longer then the company I left them for by trying to diversify but I guess BB/CC will be taking over the world now.

RB

Don't let the door hit them on the ass (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623127)

Slimy business practices killed them. Even my non-technical friends know that a restocking fee is bullshit and they hired some of the dumbest people (maybe more recently) that I've ever had the displeasure of interacting with.

Good riddance.

Re:fare thee well (1)

CrackerJackz (152930) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623537)

I second that. I started out in 94' working as the apple tech at the store in Columbus/Dublin. at least back then the prices on computer equipment and software were somewhat reasonable, about the only thing that had more than a 3% markup were the cables (thank god for the employee 'buy-at-cost' discount!) nothing like getting a new parallel printer cable for 7$ rather than 40$

Something bad happened to the store in the late nineties however. Some bright spark in management decided that they needed to directly compete with microcenter (another chain in the area) and start selling non-tech items. Nothing like giving 20% of your floor space to *office chairs/etc* this further reduced the warehouse space for hardware... the smart sales people started bailing out, followed by the management. At that point I was going college out of town, and when I came back every month or two fewer and fewer people were in the store. followed by the long slow slide to the trashcan.

CompUSA closed a bunch of stores about a year ago, and the New Market Mall store went then. It was a little sad wandering around the final sale items remembering the busy times.

I am saddened by this (1)

zxscooby (993195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622837)

In my area CompUSA was the only place one could take a laptop in for warranty repair and get it back within a reasonable amount of time without more problems than you started with. The only other major retailer around where i live is bestbuy, and its always a never ending hassle trying to get a warranty service with those guys.

my eyes are dry (2, Interesting)

theheff (894014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622857)

I'm not going to miss the snooty comments made by their staff members after asking them where a part is... and then try to sell me a warranty on top of it. Give me a break. Margins usually drop in most industries over time. Poor business design is what killed this beast. While I'm sure a number of talented people work for their chain, and I truly feel for them for their upcoming layoffs, you can't say that you didn't see it coming. Rest in peace.

Re:my eyes are dry (2, Interesting)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622887)

I'm not going to miss the snooty comments made by their staff members after asking them where a part is... and then try to sell me a warranty on top of it. Give me a break. Margins usually drop in most industries over time. Poor business design is what killed this beast.
I remember looking for a PCMCIA to CompactFlash adapter, they were not quite grasping that CompactFlash was so large that it wasn't on those 5 in one units, handy though they may be. I can't blame them too much as CF is rather old as far as standards go.

But the warranty... you do have to keep in mind that was really their bread and butter, the store warranty. For something like an inkjet it was a godsend. Esp the sub $100 epsons, you know the ones, the ones that get a waste ink full error and refuse to print, with only a cryptic error "needs service". Cheep parts and a cheep warranty could keep you in new printers for a while.

Where will I buy quad slim cases? (3, Interesting)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622859)

Quad Slim jewel cases [compusa.com]

Seriously, I know I accept the risk of being modded down here but I use these guys. They fit 4 CDs in the size of one standard jewel case. It was a pain when they left my state, and it'll be a bigger pain when they close their doors.

Re:Where will I buy quad slim cases? (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623291)

If I were you I would look into some of those zip-up CD binders. They store a lot of CDs in a tiny space too.

Buh-Bye CompUSA!! (waving hand) (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622863)

Loved to browse the local CompUSA store and make a detailed list of the stuff I really wanted to buy and then later but it at a better price on eBay, or at Best Buy, Fry's, etc... Prices were a bit high, but CompUSA seemed to sell at least 1 or 2 items at or below cost to bait bargain hunters... (if you could get to the store early enough).

Once worked in their Dallas, TX Call Center as an 9x/ME/2k/NT4/XP v1.0 Tech for CompUSA's (awful) TAP Program http://www.compusa.com/services/tap/default.asp [compusa.com] ...worst job I ever worked, but they were one of the few hiring (recently laid-off IT personnel) in that time (for LOW wages) following the 2000 dot-com bubble pop. Learned to really dislike Siebel there too...
Bye-Bye CompUSA!

(Now..., Could someone *please* forward this thread to CEO John Fry, Pres. William R. (Randy) Fry, CFO & CIO David (Dave) Fry, and/or EVP Kathryn Kolder.) HINT! HINT! -Z

No tears here... (4, Interesting)

nugneant (553683) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622869)

The local Comp*USA went out of business about six months ago. They were like the pricier, smaller, and less exciting version of Best Buy (which is the pricier, smaller, and less exciting version of Fry's - God, that's the one thing I miss most about living on the west coast). Anyway, long story short, the only good part about Comp*USA was not giving money to Best Buy when I needed something computer-related that day, right then. Fucking D.C.

The "final week clearance" finally had some okay deals. Nothing too great, but stuff like no-name PS/2 keyboards with the stupid "function" key for $3 a pop, 100-spindle DVD-Rs for around $40... I picked up a couple SD-cards as well. You know it's sad that when stuff's 70% off, it's still barely less pricey than ordering online.

They finally opened up a MicroCenter in the location where Comp*USA used to be. Sweet, sweet heaven... it's like Fry's, except, yeah, only about 1/3rd the size.

Re:No tears here... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623217)

I've only been to a CompUSA once, and I wasn't impressed. Poor layout and the prices were ridiculous.

MicroCenter on the other hand, is the best computer store I know of in Minnesota. If I need something quickly, as opposed to UPS ground, it's about a three hour drive round-trip. The long drive is the only reason I don't go there more often.
Buying small items without S&H is really nice, especially for SD and keyboards.
Only qualm I have with them is their online catalog doesn't match their inventory, in my region. If I made a list of 20 things to buy, the store would only have 10 of them.

Super WalMart is the closest thing to an electronics store, within an hour of where I live. Even the nearest Best Buy is further away than that.

It's no surprise I always shop online for electronics, and occasionally consider driving to a store if it's urgent.

Re:No tears here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623273)

Man I miss Fry's. I'm from the Houston area, and after they opened one around 2002 I never went back to CompUSA or Best Buy, except to maybe price shop electronics. I loved having computer and electronic parts in one huge store. I could pick up blank DVDs, RJ-45 jacks, a pack of resistors + LEDs, UPS batteries, SCSI cables and look at the latest flat panel monitors all in one place, and most stuff was usually reasonably priced.

But now that I'm stationed in Hawaii, and there are no Frys', and the CompUSAs/Best Buys here have almost no stock of basic computer parts, or they're horrendously over priced. Mainland sales are almost never honored here (most commercials on cable TV here are from CONUS). Ordering online is sometimes the only option when local specialty electronics shops don't have what you need, but shipping here is fucking ridiculous.

I don't understand why UPS air and UPS ground (which almost always goes by air to Hawaii, just low priority it seems) costs so damn much more to ship something from California to Hawaii than it does from the east coast to the west coast. Well, I do understand the basic economics and the fact much less probably gets shipped to Hawaii, but damn, this is still a US state. I wish more e-stores supported USPS and FedEx (which is still expensive) or I had an FPO box so I only had to pay for shipping to the west coast. It's amazing to FedEx something to an FPO box in Korea is cheaper than to an address in Hawaii.

Figures. Only place for prebuilt Windows boxes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21622871)

Figures. Only place around here you can buy a prebuilt windows box and not get ripped off.

I guess I want to buy an XO next anyway.

The good old days (5, Informative)

davmoo (63521) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622879)

Back in the day, CompUSA was a decent place to buy computer parts. They had a good selection, knowledgeable sales people, and good prices. Those days have been gone for some years now. It got to where their prices were so ridiculously high without a sale, and the "sale" required a rebate to get a decent price, that it was no longer worth shopping there. Especially when Fry's opened. I haven't been in the local store in 4 or 5 years.

Re:The good old days (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622913)

It got to where their prices were so ridiculously high without a sale, and the "sale" required a rebate to get a decent price, that it was no longer worth shopping there.
CompUSA wasn't alone in the rebate game. Much to my delight OfficeMax was right next to my local CompUSA and swore to not to rebates. I know bargain hunters loved playing the rebate game, but you know what I would gladly pay just a little more just to get the good price in the first place.

Knowledgeble salespeople? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623415)

When was this and in what alternate dimension did it take place. CompUSA has *never* had salespeople who knew what they were doing, with a few rare exceptions.

Re:The good old days (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623555)

In the good old days, the computer store was the only place to find computer related merchandise, and the only place to get help. Now most stores have basic computer parts, not to mention newegg, amazon, et al.

The thing is that even in this heavily competitive environment, computer stores still make it. Why does CompUSA not? I think like so many stores, they are customer hostile, and yet do not have low prices to compensate. It is one thing to be accosted at best buy by insane managers, or at Wal Mart by the inmates, who want to frisk you on the way in and do a full body search on the way out. People will endure such humiliation for a good price. OTOH, CompUSA believes that the welcoming corral at the entrance is such a customer service amenity that they have nothing to compensate for.

Combine this with the locations, which in my experience are not prime, as they share parking with bigger stores, and staff which have always been nearly non existent, and one has a simple story of another retail outlet that simply could not provide sufficient levels of customer service, at sufficiently low cost, to stay competitive.

Good riddance (5, Insightful)

ricegf (1059658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622949)

I purchased a computer from Computer City just before CompUSA bought them out - and it had trouble reading CDs. It was transferred from Computer City's shop to CompUSA's shop, where it languished for 13 weeks while I pleaded, cajoled and threatened. Finally liberated, I fixed it myself with a CD-ROM from Fry's (discovering in the process I didn't need some big box store to build PCs for me).

Fast forward two years. I'm building a new computer, and Fry's doesn't have the graphics card I want. In a charitable mood, I buy one from CompUSA. It doesn't work. I return it to find they've sold out, too - but insist on charging me a 15% restocking fee, even after I complain to the manager. I asked him if he would enjoy my $30 (since it was the last dollar they'd ever see from me), and he simply assured me they would. He never even apologized for the trouble they caused.

I never set foot in CompUSA again.

Perhaps I'm not the only potentially loyal customer they drove away through sheer greed and incompetence.

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623525)

How can they re stock a defective product? Hm. Boils my blood just hearing about it.

This isn't quite as bad as when Media Play closed (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21622953)

their doors.

Though maybe I'll do the same as I did when my local Media Play shut their doors and get over $1500 in merchandise for under $300. Hooray liquidation sales!

CompUSA the last great retail computer store (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623027)

It is a sad day. Those who criticize CompUSA in favor of BestBuy don't understand that CompUSA carried products Best Buy wouldn't ever carry. CompUSA is/was a computer store, BestBuy is an electronics store and that's a night and day difference. Luckily, I live near a Fry's and those who don't know about Fry's will be suffering. CompUSA was useful in a pinch when you needed a new motherboard or CPU. Now Fry's will have full control over the build-it-yourself PC market.

Re:CompUSA the last great retail computer store (1, Interesting)

ThePlague (30616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623259)

Best Buy use to be more a computer store, but they started emphasizing consumer electronics (TVs, etc) and appliances a number of years ago. I liked CompuUSA, or at least the one near me. It was a small store, but had a lot more basic components than the much larger Best Buy across the street. The prices weren't great, but they weren't horrible either.

People have the tendency to see Fry's as much better. I disagree. Their prices are often higher than even Best Buy for basic components. Granted, there's more selection at Fry's, but at sometimes outrageous prices.

lick my soul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623041)

Good.

Fry's is the church at which we worship.

Wal*Mart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623047)

heh. this reminds me of how wal*mart pulled out of the German market completely in 2006 or so because it was too competitive for them...

The Customer (4, Insightful)

DeanFox (729620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623063)

The chain went through several CEOs and tried different turnaround strategies...
Except one: Customers are not our enemy.

Warranties? (1)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623067)

I wonder how they are going to handle CompUSA-specific warranties. For example, I just had a new audio system installed by them in my car. There will no longer be a physical store to take my car to, and of course I can't mail my car to some central repair depot. If a problem arises, hopefully I won't have to take Carlos Slim to small claims court. :)

And there are all those extended warranties they are always trying to push on you.

Re:Warranties? (1)

RebelWebmaster (628941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623449)

I can't speak to the specifics of your warranty, but more often than not, big box retailer extended warranties are actually handled through an outside firm, not by the retailer itself. For that reason, I'd imagine that if you've got an 800 number to call on your warranty form, you'll be OK for the future.

Opportunity (2, Insightful)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623105)

Seems that it would be a great opportunity for Fry's to buy a bunch of empty stores and gain thousands of customers. We don't have Fry's around here, but I'd shop there if they were willing to move in after CompUSA moves out.

I shop at CompUSA by default -- it's the only computer store nearby. For most common things I just go to BestBuy or one of the bigbox office supply stores, but CompUSA has items that the others don't carry.

With no CompUSA and no alternative, it looks like even more of my buying will be online.

I can't say I will miss them (1)

Monoman (8745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623123)

My local CompUSA has been a terrible place to shop for many years. Nothing was priced, things were misplaced, and the workers were nowhere to be found on the floor or allowed to be helpful in any way.

My friends and I gave up on CompUSA years ago. Most folks I know only go there if they are in desperate need of something and can't wait for mail order.

What a shame. Now my local options will be whatever Best Buy and Circuit City carry. There will be the occasional mom&pop store that will open up but for the most part I will continue to mail order. I hear Fry's is a great store but I have never been to one nor do I expect them to open one in my area any time soon.

Compusa East Hanover. (1)

cabazorro (601004) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623177)

The closed a few months ago. I took my i-mac (egg shape) for repair there and they actually ordered the part and repaired (for $300 Dlls! and 65 dollars up front just for diagnostics). The 2nd time around I took there my HP pavillion PIII laptop with a broken adapter jack and they turned me away ( it was a laptop ). I took the laptop to a momNpop shop in Bound Brook NJ and they guy actually opened the laptop, replace the jack piece with a soldering gun! He charged $240 and paid them gladly since I really thought that laptop was a goner. I arrived home to discover some keyboard keys won't work! He must have bent some cable somewhere while putting the thing back together. I just snapped a usb keyboard and considered the matter closed ( I just used that laptop to rip dvd's to divx ) I would never buy an HP laptop. The main reason I stayed away from CompuUSA to anything but repairs was their service people. Teenagers who could not tell the difference between ATA and SATA. Going to CompuUSA felt like going to Blockbuster, just crappy all over. We know that the cheapest home router you'll get them at best-buy or Fry anyway. A video card? Get one online.

wow, this brings back a lot of memories... (1)

lumbricus (936846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623187)

Reading this headline brought a quick rush of angry memories and a tinge of guilty satisfaction.

Guilty because of course I know not every, or even most employees behave in the manner of the following story. I'm sure many of them are decent, honest people.

In any case I had many terrible experiences at CompUSA, including what I would consider to be the greatest insult I ever received in a retail situation.

In undergrad (around 1999) I went to the Emeryville, CA CompUSA to pick up a flat-screen CRT (remember when those were cool?) that was on sale for a reasonable price.
Of course when I got there, there were none within reach, so I had to go ask a salesman to pull one down off the storage shelves above the displays. Now, in order to appreciate what comes next, I should say that I'm a pretty nice little asian guy, bordering on appearing naive.
I was all around the store, and finally find the entire sales staff apparently having a little BS-ing time between two isles. The conversation quiets as I approach:

"Hi, I'm looking for this monitor (I point to the ad), but they're up above the display, could someone pull one down for me?"

"Sure, I'd be happy to"... all smiles at me.
Then, in full voice, right in front of me, that salesman turns to his buddies and says:
"Service plan?"
His buddies, wearing the biggest shit-eating grins, look up up and down for a second and respond:
"Service plan" says one...
"Service plan" says the other...

I was so dumbfounded that all three of them would just stand there and smile and literally call me "sucker" right to my face, I didn't respond.

I was pissed. Seeing red, clenched fists pissed. But I still wanted the monitor, so I figured I would have the last laugh after letting the guy pull the monitor and carry it up to he cashier before telling him politely, "NO".

So he pulls it down, we start walking up the the cashier, and I don't say a word, waiting for him to start giving his pitch. Halfway to the cashier, he mumbles:

"you know, we have this protection plan, it's really great..."
I quietly respond: "uh-huh?"

That's it, not another word. We get to the cashier, the salesman puts the monitor on the conveyor, and shouts to the cashier (who's dealing with customers ahead of me):
"Protection plan!"

Was that it?!! Were they really going to charge me for a protection plan without actually ASKING ME if I wanted it?

You can imagine what happens after that. The Cashier rings me up, and as the numbers flash by I ask: "What's this $45 ($45!!!) charge?"

"That's the protection plan you wanted"

"Take it off, I don't want it, he never asked me if I wanted it, and I never said I wanted it."

"but he said..."

"I don't care what he said"

"but I can't"

"are you saying you won't sell me this item at the advertised price without a $50 surcharge?" I had never nor since raised my voice at a service person, but I was going up involuntarily, and just enough so that when I turned my head in frustration, I noticed that I had the attention of everyone in line.

At that point the cashier noticed this also, and quickly removed the charge.
I had been looking forward to this monitor for a while, so I took it home, but I couldn't shake the anger I felt when I looked at it. By evening, I got so sick of it I brought it back. (I also don't return stuff).

Just remembering the event almost ten years later, my hands are shaking.

Bah! I don't feel guilty any more.

Dear CompUSA: Suck failure assholes.

Won't you think of the employees? (1)

IanthePez (701212) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623221)

As much as some of you seem to dislike CompUSA, please don't forget that the people who worked there are now out of a job after the holidays. I am one of those. I've worked there for 4 years, and it's been a decent place to work. RIP CompUSA, you will be missed by at least 1.

Re:Won't you think of the employees? (1)

TheSharpCrayon (1022631) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623297)

-Seems like a great opportunity for the new local Mom and Pop shops to provide the services and supplies that the over priced and underserviced big box stores provide.

Re:Won't you think of the employees? (1)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623405)

My heart goes out to you this holiday season. As lousy as CompUSA is, or rather was, there were a handful of competent people who worked there. It's a pity that you guys suffer for management's failings. These days, brick and mortar has to be about customer service and speed, not what comes to mind when I think of CompUSA. If you don't make people actively dread coming to your store, more of them tend to do so. Your management utterly betrayed you by treating customers as the enemy and hiring too many people who had no clue what they're talking about, making you and the other four decent employees look bad by association... all the while fattening their own pockets. Gilded parachute time for those guys.

Too Expensive (1)

karlwilson (1124799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623317)

I never bought a single thing from CompUSA because their prices were just too ridiculous. Just as an example, their FX5200 [http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?pfp=cat3&product_code=338091] is $80.00 on their website. 80 fricken dollars for a video card that can barely run games like Battlefield 2... Give me a break. It's no wonder they're going out of business.

MY experience (3, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623381)

What I remember is a service manager who said he'd look into something for me, and then didn't. And then when I confronted him with the fact that he wasn't following through on a promise, he didn't care. Neither did the store manager. It was clear that in their minds the problem was with me, rather than their crappy service or in not keeping their word.

I don't much care what happens to the corporation. I want justice for those employees.

Birth to Death (1)

cwsulliv (522390) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623393)

CompUSA started out as a small storefront in Dallas in the mid-1980s named "Soft Warehouse". They sold IBM-PC software at a significant discount from the MSRP then being charged by the local "mom & pop" computer shops. They grew rapidly and were moving into larger quarters about every three months, and started adding other computer-related stuff to their shelves. When they went public they changed the name to CompUSA, in part because the "Soft Warehouse" name was trademarked in another state.

They seemed to follow the common pattern where a successful specialized discounter becomes a full-range semi-discounter and then a full-range non-discounter. Then dies.

supply and demand (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623427)

computers have gotten cheap & people dont need to upgrade their old machines, makes for a very bad catch 22.

Why aren't more people mentioning Newegg? (1)

scottv67 (731709) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623447)

I live near Milwaukee so I can choose between CompUSA, Worst Buy and a local computer chain called Milwaukee-PC (which never has anything in inventory). I don't shop at any of those stores. I buy *everything* from Newegg. Newegg has an awesome selection, good pricing and, best of all, I don't have to deal with cashiers asking me if I want to buy the extended service plan.

When I am building a new machine at home, I put together my Newegg shopping list and then place the order with Newegg (sometimes in the middle of the night when retail stores are not open). A few days later, the boxes arrive at my house. The Newegg warehouses are on both coasts but the parts always arrive in a few days.

Shopping online also gives the consumer a chance to read the comments and reviews left by other people who purchased that product. If there is a "five golden egg" rating next to a product and five hundred or a thousand customers have bothered to rate the product, you can be pretty sure that the component is going to be of high quality.

I have been shopping with Newegg since the days when they shipped free black Newegg t-shirts, pens, stickers and other swag with their orders. I've never been disappointed by Newegg. I have returned a few parts that were DOA and Newegg's return policy is great.

I don't shop locally any more for computer parts. I don't even bother to look at Worst Buy or CompUSA. Newegg.com is the answer for me.

Big screen TV and DVD sales did them in. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623459)

That is what happened in major metro areas like Atlanta. They simply could not compete with retailers who were pros in that industry; like Best Buy and Circuit City. They even picked up console games in plenty yet failed to price compete there. Worse their selection was usually not as good either.

Combined with an industry that moved away from component sales. Yet CompUSA didn't see this and expanded their component offerings too late for the game.

Finally they seemed completely at a loss when it came to pricing. The big box retailers had already picked up the games and sold them along side lower priced systems. Best Buy got smart a year or so ago and moved away from rebates while forums were replete with complaints about rebates at CompUSA.

CompUSA is a great example of a business that adapted wrong to a changing retail environment. They went the right direction but without the guidance necessary to do it correctly.

Also an Ex-employee comment (1)

Aereus (1042228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623461)

I worked there for like 15 months back in the 96-97 period. Software sales was probably the most pleasant area to work since you just got to stand around helping answer questions. Made the day fly by generally. Hardware sales also wasn't too bad, but you had the added pressure of being forced to offer those replacement warranties on everything you sold. Cashiering was the worst because you stand in one place, and they make you double check that warranties were offered, and you get yelled at by the managers if you don't try to sell a $5 replacement warranty on a $10 mouse, etc. My guess is they had stores like Best Buy and Walmart diversify into the computers and other products CompUSA was known for, while the CompUSA stores tend to be fairly small, so trying to offer more stuff lead to a cramped and overfilled store that wasn't pleasant to navigate for customers.

Am I the only one who Loved CompUSA? (1)

Jopojelly (1200223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623483)

I loved CompUSA. When they moved out of my area, I was crushed. Sure, everything was usually expensive, but every week the whole back page of their ad was "Free after rebate" stuff. I honestly looked forward to the day when CompUSA's ad would come in the newspaper (I think it was Thursday) Things that I remember getting for free (except some sales tax) : hundreds of CD-Rs, Hundreds of Jewel cases, loads of cool software, an MP3 player, a cell phone, CD-writer, etc. Some cheap stuff: 200GB hard drive for $30 on Black Friday 2005. 2 GB ram for...dont remember, and a thumb drive for $5.

Finally (1)

darkdelusions (1173605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623515)

I will be happy to finally see them go. Everytime I go into the store to get something I need right away its never a pleasent experiance. One night I went into the store to get a cheap nic card so I picked up one of there in store brand and One of there sales wessels was tried to lecture me on why this card was such crap. I was like I do not care it going in a crappy computer.

Good Riddance (2, Interesting)

CyberDave (79582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623583)

All I can say is..."good riddance". I've been on a self-imposed boycott of CompUSA for about 2 and a half years now, after the dickhead of a manager at the CompUSA in Spokane, WA, wouldn't sell me the AppleCare package for my iPod and fed me so many lines of BS that I just wanted to jump over the counter and punch the guy after I was done talking to him.

I kinda needed the AppleCare quickly at the time, though, since my iPod's hard drive was flaking out. It was still under the 1-year factory warranty (but nearing the end of it), but I didn't want to pay $40 or whatever the service fee is after 6 mos to do the exchange by mail with Apple, and thought the AppleCare package would be a good deal, since it'd essentially just cost me an extra 20 bucks for another year of warranty service. I thought it'd be quick and easy to get AppleCare in a retail store (and CompUSA was the only one in my area that carried Apple stuff), rather than waiting a few days for Apple to ship it to me. I was wrong.

The manager at the CompUSA I went to kept insisting that I had to have purchased the iPod at CompUSA within the past 90 days, or Apple would deny the AppleCare registration. I tried to explain to him that's not how AppleCare works (the only thing in the box is a registration code, and Apple doesn't care where or when the iPod was purchased, other than that it was still under the 1-year factory warranty) -- having worked at an Apple reseller (my university bookstore) for several years, I knew this. Still wouldn't sell it to me. He tried to tell me that CompUSA was somehow different in this regard and that Apple would "know". Tried to convince him that I would take the risk of it not registering...still no go. Then he tried to tell me it was just store policy not to sell AppleCare if the iPod had not been purchased within 90 days from that store. Tried to get him to tell me where the hell this "policy" was actually written down...it should come as no surprise that he didn't even bother to try to look it up. Even tried, at one point, to tell me that if I had purchased the iPod more than 90 days ago, regardless of where I bought it, then the only place I could buy the AppleCare enrollment kit was directly from Apple.

At this point, I was somewhat set on proving a point and getting AppleCare immediately, so I went to my campus computer lab nearby, logged onto CompUSA.com, and ordered the AppleCare package online for in-store pickup. Half an hour later, I was back in the store at the customer service desk, trying to pick up my online order from the (relatively clueless) salesperson there. I almost got away with it, until somewhere near the end of the checkout, either the salesguy flagged down the manager (or the manager happened to wander by--it was so long ago I can't quite remember), noticed it was me and what I was trying to do again, and shot me down. Apparently "the website was wrong" and shouldn't have let me order AppleCare.

Since then, I haven't set foot in a CompUSA and moved even more of my computer parts purchases to places like NewEgg. Of course, now that I moved to Seattle, I have a Fry's nearby, and it's actually _fun_ to just wander around that store.

I kept telling myself after that incident that I would write to CompUSA's corporate offices and complain about that manager, but I never got around to it. Oh, well. The kicker is that the following Monday, I went to my University Bookstore, walked up to my old manager and asked they had any AppleCare enrollment kits for iPod. They happened to have one or two in stock, so about 10 minutes later, after sharing a laugh about the idiocy of the CompUSA manager, I was back at my desk across campus and my iPod was now covered under AppleCare.

Ah, the venting...it feels good.

*end rant*
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