Friday, September 16, 2011

HH Gregg, what's the big deal? Seriously?

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I was planning a nice Friday night to relax. Alison took Aaron to the Cub Scouts meeting but I got a call asking me to bring his uniform shirt and belt and neckerchief. She misread the meeting notes saying that you had to be in uniform. So, I had to jump in the car and drop the uniform off at the meeting. On the way back, I noticed the flood lights spinning in the night sky over the Orland Park Place shopping Mall.

Was Barnes & Nobles celebrating the closure across the street of Borders Books? I loved Borders and I already miss it. And then I realized it was the opening weekend of a new appliance and computer store called HH Gregg. Really it's all small letters, kind of the new thing in the 21st Century. "hh gregg."

Every conversation where the name came up, there was this excitement like, wow, it's going to be better than Best Buy or Comp USA when it comes to computers and technology, and appliances.


I don't think so. But, I love excitement, like everyone. The opening of a new technology store is exciting. So on the way home from my errand, I stopped by the packed parking lot of the Orland Park Place mall and barely found a parking spot. They converted the old sports store that was there. It's one of those stores where you enter this tall foyer and take these escalators to the second floor. (I assume the bottom part is another store you enter from the other side of the mall. Or, as they said in the movie Contact, it sure is a lot of space to waste!

It was exciting because there were so many people there buzzing around. Old men, grandpas like me, dragging behind their grandmas barely able to carry these large boxes of flat screen TVs. People rushing in and out. I wonder what they're all excited about? So I went in.

I was immediately disappointed. Partly because I am spoiled. I have everything. Half the place on the left was washers, dryers, dish washers, ice boxes -- okay, okay, refrigerators (I can't get over calling them ice boxes from when I was a kid) -- and freezers and stoves. It looked like the inside of a Sears Roebuck Store, honestly. On the right were the big screen TVs and the sound systems and the computers. Not a lot of computers but enough to create a crowd.

I walked through the whole place, trying my best to find something. Don't you want to buy something at a new store? I wanted to, but I couldn't find anything to waste my money on. I breezed through the computer section and then past the flat screen tvs and then paused and contemplated buying a sound bar for one of the flat screens I already have. It was only $279, a little bit cheaper than what I've seen at CompUSA (Tiger whatever). I almost bought it but couldn't find any real information to assure me that I could easily connect it to my TV. It said I could connect it to the Blue Ray Player I vowed never to buy (I have three) and to the flat screen TV using an optical cord. But how would I know they would really work? And, I bet I'd have to buy the two optical cords that actually involve better sound quality, I think. I didn't want to buy any additional cords.

I walked past it several times, each time looking. And then walking away. Finally, I just left, really disappointed. There was nothing there that was exciting. So I drove back to Best Buy just to satisfy that urge I had brought out because I had to leave the house. And I wandered around there, too, lamenting the fact that there are no more stores that sell great computer software. Everything is sold online nowadays and that's a real rip-off. Online purchased software is risky. When you download it to a computer, it's great. But if that computer crashes or you upgrade and buy another, forgetaboutit! You ain't getting the software you bought off one computer and on to the other without spending a lot of money on another software program.

Don't believe the lies. I've tried it with lots of downloaded purchased software and it doesn't work trying to move it to another computer. They can move the data files but not the software. That's why I prefer to only buy software that comes in a box on a CD. Period!!!

You can always get around the registration problems if you have the original CD and license and are moving it to a new computer.

Best Buy had nothing. That got me thinking. Maybe hh gregg isn't a bad store after all. Maybe it's not about hh gregg or Best Buy or any of the other disappointing technology stores. The truth is, the real problem is with the industry itself. We've gone from selling software in boxes on store shelves to online downloads that are unreliable and do not have a long use-life. (Don't let anyone BS you. It is almost impossible after 2 years to move a software program to a new computer that you downloaded. The best odds are with a software on a CD that you actually have in hand with the license and registration.)

The industry and the way we sell software has changed. And I am glad. Because it is saving me lots of money. I am a serial technology spender. I spend a lot on computers. Ever since I bought my first Coleco Adam Computer from Wards which lied and said my daughter would get a $500 scholarship if I bought the tape-driven computer machine. They lied. Promises from a retailer are promises made to be broken no matter who they are.

I bought the IBM PC Jr and then an IBM XT back in the day when a 5 MB hard drive was considered huge and we used those large 5 1/4 inch floppy discs. Now I use the iPad and that's a "whole-nother" problem, especially when you move to a new computer and try to sync the iPad through iTunes. I don't work!

But it is the industry that is disappointing. Lot's of neat new technologies in the works and available. But I have it all. And there is such a thing as technology overload, or technology hoarding, what physicians call "disposophobia," or the selfish act of greedily collecting stuff. That's me, Mr. Disposophobia, the selfish collection of possessions just to possess something.

And that's how hh gregg disappointed this disposophobic shopper. They had nothing I wanted to hoard.

-- Ray Hanania

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