GTW Editorial: Forced Acquisitions

So it came to be, that I finally couldn’t make do with my layout software any longer. The pressure was too great, my casual but constant requests for others to “save down” too much for any woman to bear.

And as dominoes are known to do, it turned into the Month of Upgrades. First it was the software. But when Creative Suite 5 (braggity, brag) choked my ancient computer, I realized I was on the threshold of a Forced Acquisition.

This didn’t fall upon me in horror. Oh no, this was a delightful turn of events. My hands were tied. A new computer had to be had. I had no choice. And the hunt began.

The problem, though, is my need for instant gratification. This means very little shopping around, no review reading and total oblivion once I set eyes upon the prize. (Aforementioned prize is almost never on sale.)

And so, basing my decision totally on lust, I settled on purchasing a new MacBook Pro. For those of you in the Apple-know, this is the Granddaddy of Apples, the Granny Smith. You can lose friends over this, jealousy processing among layout friends as quickly as the computer itself.

I bought CS5 on a Friday. My computer choked Friday night. By Saturday morning, I’d decided it would be the MacBook Pro. By Saturday afternoon, I had one sitting in a store with a Post-It note with my name on it stuck to the box.

I planned to make the Forced Acquisition on Saturday night, but my husband was nowhere to be found, and I couldn’t stand the thought of managing two children whilst heaving my old lover out and feathering my nest for the new. I gave up for the night, and the vigil began.

By Sunday morning I was ready to explode. I arrived at the shop’s door at 10:59 a.m., parking on the sidewalk.

Once inside, I stopped short. I had a tough decision to make: Which salesman should I make for? For, in every shop, there are two kinds of computer geeks:

First, the teenager who just parked his mom’s minivan out back. This dude knows his stuff. However, his social skills are lacking. Could he graciously handle the stupid questions about to come his way? Would he make me feel as ancient as a 2007 Mac?  Or, worse, would I start feeling motherly and offer random compliments to the young man, boosting him up against what some teenage girl had surely done?

Second, there’s the older gentlemen who, when pressed, could talk DOS. These guys have survived a lifetime of upgrades. Instead of bowing out in the face of Mac OS X, Y or Z, they’ve rallied, sometimes losing their hair in the process.

They are kind and competent but plainly doubtful that they are selling you the “latest.” They’ve seen it before: The happy consumer by morn, the new release that night. They sympathize, and they sell.

Well I ended up with one of each. The teenager took me through the first throes of love, assuring me that I’d made a fantastic choice and talking me into all the latest and greatest (the older salesmen looked away). The salesboy started my data transfer and looked at me with yearning, me and my credit card, and the grown-up world of debt in which I liveth.

But when I went back to pick up the Mac, I got an older guy. He handed over my new outdated computer with a little sadness. “Enjoy,” he said, not meeting my eyes.

I tried not to let this damper the fiesta awaiting me at home. You know, the part where none of the fonts work, the email accounts are jacked up and the wireless can’t find the router.

But, alas, here it is, the first GTWoman editorial written upon the old new computer. Which, incidentally, led to a new printer the next day. (Lie-detector tests are underway but, truly, my 2005 printer died upon seeing the Mac emerge from its shiny smooth silver box. It was, without doubt, a Forced Acquisition.)