First things first, we live in the country. Woods, deer, dirt roads, pick up trucks, everything.



About a week and a half ago, there was a very strong storm that passed through the area. While watching television upstairs we saw the flash and heard what sounded like a bomb exploding at almost the exact same time. The power went out and my wife swears she saw a bright blue light coming from the area around the computer. Within a minute the power came back on. I unplugged the computer and all other electronics and we looked out of our back door to see if any of the nearby trees had been struck. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary.



Everything seemed to blow over quickly so we turned the television back on until we were ready to head to bed. As we walked downstairs my wife noticed that there were flashlights at the pump house in her grandmother’s back yard. Being the dutiful husband and grandson in law, I slipped on my tennis shoes and headed over to check it out. Upon arrival I saw my mother and father in law looking over the ruins of the fuse box in the pump house. We found what had been struck. The whole box exploded, sending shards everywhere and completely melting the fuses. Needless to say the pump was no longer functioning properly.



We made sure that everyone had supplies of water for drinking and flushing and all headed to our separate homes. The next day I get a call at work from my wife saying that our phones didn’t appear to be working properly. I finished my day and headed back home to check things out. The only immediate damage that we noticed was our answering machine was shot and the upstairs phone (attached to the computer) was not functioning properly. I spent a little time trouble shooting these problems and determined that it was the phones all around. We replaced the phones and went about our business.



The next day I went to check my email and play online for a while and was furious when my ISP informed me that it could not find a dial tone (I warned you that we live in the country). There was the root of the upstairs problems. Not the phone, but the modem. This modem was less than a year old and I was not quite ready to part with it as I feel that Wal-Mart really ripped me off by charging a whole $25 dollars for it.



With this information I was determined to find a better price and headed out to Best Buy with the notion that maybe a store that knows what a computer is will price their components reasonably. I walked around for some time, not to my surprise, as I am looking for basically a dead technology. Finally, I found a salesman trying to convince a couple who did not speak English very well that they should allow the store to install their modem for a mere $39.95. As soon as he left, I perused the shelves in that general area. They were all empty and some had tags saying they were slot where dial up modems should be. I looked at the prices and the cheapest was $40. Obviously, this was not the correct area in which to look.



I went to a different area and continued to look. Finding the broadband modems and other networking hardware, I figured this would be the what I was wanting. More time was spent looking and listening to other customers as they exclaim the prices are ridiculously high. Finally, a salesman approached me and asked if he could help.



Here is a transcript of our conversation.



“Can I help you?” Blue Shirt Dude



“I’m looking for a dial up Modem.” Me



“They are over here.” BSD



We walk to the area with the empty shelves



“We must have sold out again.” BSD



“Are these the correct prices?” Me



“Yeah, the cheapest one is $40.” BSD



“That’s insane. You ought to get a free modem every time you buy a pizza!!!” Me



“I know, but ever since demand has gone down the prices have gone up.” BSD



This was the end of our conversation, but, I could not believe that he had just said “We must have sold out AGAIN” and followed very shortly after that by saying that demand has gone down. So, it was back to Wal-Mart for me where I shelled out another $25 for what should cost at most $10. Oh, well. One day we’ll leave the farm life behind and head into the big city. Until then, I will just have to deal with the fact that it takes at least 30 seconds to load a web page and at least 8 hours to download a 22-minute video.

2 comments

  1. Zufall  

    Please don't tell me you still have my computer.

  2. IfIGetOld  

    One and the same. Still running 98 SE as well.

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