There was a tweet from @findchaos that made me remember a conversation I had with a coworker at my kitchen job a few days ago.
The gist of it was “I’m looking for a new computer that’s good for everything and has lots of gigs to do what I want because I don’t want to spend a grand on an apple laptop“. Cue the questions regarding use (“Are you going to use for facebook? Youtube? Are you going to play on it?”) and connectivity (“Do you have WiFi at home? No? Are you going to use a hotspot from your phone then? No? So how are you going to get online???”)
This guy is from a poor part of Mexico. Whenever I ask specifics I just get grunts or non-answers, because he gets embarrassed. He knows he’s in over his head on these matters and I am understanding, but there’s so much I can do without kissing his ass which I will not do.
So with that said, I recommended a few models from the Dell XPS line, the Lenovo Thinkpad line and a couple of Samsung laptops I saw for cheap on Amazon. The guy was quite insistent that he wanted a “Sony laptop” if he couldn’t get a cheap Apple laptop. It didn’t matter what the sub-brand was since Sony has a few, most of them with the esoteric model names so favored by this manufacturer. I kept asking if he wanted a Vaio, but he just answered “I want a Sony laptop if I can’t get a cheap Apple laptop”.
After a while of circular arguments on his part I eventually ended the conversation with “If you don’t want to pay over a grand for a computer from Apple and you don’t like what Sony or Dell or Lenovo or Samsung or anyone else has to offer then I can’t help you. You have to decide what you want and all of it costs over 500 dollars from what you say you want.”
That shut him up.
From this I get a few things:
- Apple is quite uncaring of people like my fellow cook. I’ve seen their support and as they’ll help you as long as you give them money, which most in his position don’t have, otherwise you’re on your own. For them, an Apple device is a status symbol.
- Other computer manufacturers should try to fill in this gap. Even though these people are mostly illiterate they are already online through facebook and whatsapp. They are quite willing to spend the funds, it’s just that they don’t even have brand awareness of others because no one has even tried beyond a few ads in the most popular telenovela.
- I think more efforts to promote Chromebooks would help as these people pretty much only use facebook, youtube, whatsapp and a few others. Particularly now that Google is working on having chromebooks have the capacity to run Android apps and even use the Google Play Store itself.
- People like him want to know more but the classes available are designed for people with 9 to 5 schedules. The vast majority of Hispanic immigrants do not have that schedule and if governments want to better integrate them into US society at large more efforts should be made to allow for schedules where people have free time in the morning and work in the evenings.
- I should probably start a side business giving people like him advice on what to buy and for a commission, buy it for them through Amazon. Offer training for an additional charge.
In writing this I forgot the original point of the post, but that’s okay. At least this is now out there since it happens somewhat often. People ask me something, I try to obtain more information to provide better advice, then they clam up because they realize they don’t even know what they want or what the person that wants the thing wants.
I’ll just go along with it.
There are a few things that I have to make clear, though, as the entire conversation was conducted in Spanish:
- “Lots of gigs” is a valid unit of measure for people like him. I don’t know whether they refer to RAM or to storage capacity, but I go along since they usually mean a bit of both. The actual phrase was “hartos gigas”.
- Apple is the same whether they are talking about an iPhone (“Un telefono Apple”) or a computer (“una laptop Apple”) regardless of whether the computer is a desktop or a laptop. The only difference is whether it is a mobile device or not.