I'll be writing in more detail about the computer and the Windows tax later, but I wanted to lead off with a quick review of Office Depot. They suck, and I'll never shop from them again. A little history.
When I was looking for a laptop last year, I was interested in a Toshiba at Best Buy. I took the Ubuntu install disc with me, and they kindly let me run Ubuntu as the live cd so I could test out video driver, sound, etc. The employee was very nice, and while I didn't buy the computer, I was very appreciative of his time.
Today we went looking at a Compaq at Office Depot. The rebate put it under $300, and it would have worked well for my dad and his gf Rita. Before rebooting the computer, I asked one of the employees if it would be ok for me to test Ubuntu out. He flat out refused, saying they were worried about me messing up the computer. I explained what a live cd is and how it would not affect the computer. I told him we were interested in buying 2 computers and a monitor, but he was steadfast. We then talked with a manager, and she checked with the store manager, who said they would not allow me to do it.
Now, I understand that it's a lack of knowledge about computers, and that the employees were afraid of some guy coming in off the street and messing up a computer. Fine. But, the way I see it, if you're selling computers, even at Office Depot, you should know a bit about shit like that.
So, we left and went to OfficeMax. Not only was Kristen, the employee that helped us, extremely helpful and genuinely interested, but they boxed up a display model and gave us 10% off on that. I even gave Kristen a copy of the 32bit version of Ubuntu to play with at home.
We walked out with 2 computers, a 20" monitor, and a new found respect for OfficeMax. I'll never shop at Office Depot again.
Stay tuned for a series on trying to get a refund for unused Vista licenses from HP.