Welcome to the ’99/00 Buyer’s Guide. Hopefully, it will aid you in deciding what products will work best for you, and all the bitchen pictures of your Readers’ Poll and Riders’ Poll winners will really stoke you out. We have left out only one thing in this plethora of useful information-where to buy your goods. Since we’re not your mothers, we won’t tell you that you should only buy from your local authorized shop, please allow me to tell you a story about discount buying …
On a warm Friday in late October of last year, my “friend” was on his way home from work-he had just cashed his very first TransWorld paycheck. Before the bank teller even started to count out the money, he dreamed of ways to spend it. At the first stoplight he thought of his new room: why, he could get a bed, or maybe a desk! He could feel the wad of cash warming in his pocket as he sped past the shopping mall. At the second light, coffee makers and groceries were toward the top of his growing list.
It was at the third light that the magic happened, the money had burned through his pants. Two guys in a white cargo van were yelling something out their window to him about stereos. Eureka, I need a stereo system, he thought, and pulled into the first parking lot he saw.
Being the street-wise kid he is, my “friend” divided up his money, hiding half in his car and distributing the rest into all four of his pants pockets. As the van pulled up next to him, he rolled down his window, “What’s up?” he yelled to the two guys, who were about his own age.
“Look” they started to explain, “we’re on our way back to the store, but we were finishing up this home-stereo installation when we noticed the warehouse guys double-shipped us. We figured if we could get rid of it before we get back, no one will be the wiser.”
“Let’s see what you’ve got,” my “friend” said cautiously. The bigger one got out of the passenger side and opened the sliding side door as the driver got out and headed to Starbucks. Although my “friend” knows little about stereo equipment, he nodded in agreement as if to comprehend what the husky fellow was telling him about the stuff. “How much?”
“Well, in the store this stuff goes for 2,400 dollars. Here look on the invoice,” the brute exclaimed, shoving the piece of paper in my “friend’s” face. Then immediately pulling it away, he said, “I tell you what, I’ll give you all this stuff for like, 800.”
“I ain’t got that, I’ve only got 40 bucks in my pocket.”
“Don’t you got an ATM card? How much can you get out of there?”
“I don’t know, where is one?”
“Over there, at the gas station.” The guy pointed, and off my “friend” went to pretend to get some more money.
On the walk back to the van my “friend” had started to feel something was fishy, but his inherent belief that everyone steals from work set his mind at ease a little. “My card wouldn’t work there, but I could try McDonald’s. What would you let just the speakers go for?”
“I don’t know, maybe 300. Go see if you can get money,” the brawny guy said, haste in his voice. As my “friend” trotted off he wondered if it was nervousness or hunger that made the rumbling in his stomach.
Although the guy became visibly upset when he noticed my “friend” returning five minutes later with a hamburger* in his mouth, he still wanted to deal.
“Do you want to get rid of just one speaker?” my “friend” asked.
“What do you want one speaker for, a guitar or something?” the guy questioned. “I don’t know-how about 150?”
“I could only get 40 back, so I only have 80.”
After a few minutes of haggling, my “friend” was on his way home with a brand-new speaker. One that, according to the box, was made in the U.S.A. and was Dolby equipped.
My “friend” gloated the whole drive home over the fact that he had gotten a speaker that was worth at least 300 bucks for a mere 65. He could hardly contain himself as he busted through the front door, yelling foor his roommate to come and see his accomplishment. The anxiety was almost too much as he ripped the box open, tearing the bag off with one quick motion. “Let’s hook it up to your stereo and rock out!” screamed my “friend.” They attached the wires, pressed play on the CD, and turned it up to eleven. There was silence for a brief moment, then only the sound of Todd laughing.-David (I got a 65-dollar nightstand) Sypniewski
*My “friend” did order a Value Meal Deal.