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Don’t Even Talk to Me

I’ve had a maddening week these past six days, and today is the day I’m finally gonna goddamn blow. Even watching lard-ass Boomer get bitchslapped in the Bronx and Godzilla getting Pyscho (plus Tino. Tino! TINO!) hasn’t relieved the pressure enough. Something’s getting beaten to shit today…might even be me.

It started off badly enough. I waged a war in my basement the first couple of days, fighting off the tide of snow and rain water runoff that was trying to work its way up through the ancient slabs of cement that form the foundation of this 90 year old house. On Monday morning I ran into a fellow who had bought a storefront around the corner from me, along the route me and BootzDog take when we go on our daily sojourns. He owned a construction/lawncare/ real estate brokerage/ building services conflagration of an operation he was gonna house in the new locale.

We got to talking, and before my brain had caught up with my mouth I was agreeing to submit a proposal to design and install a computer network in his new digs, because the numbers he was telling me other clowns had submitted sounded wildly overpriced. He didn’t have a care what kind of computers they were, all he was worrying about was overall cost, so I’m doing what I do to anyone who ever asks, and pitching Macs, and planning on destroying the competition when it comes to the labor costs to get it up and running. WTF? The guy’s gonna be right around the corner. If he’s like most of the businesses I work with here on SI, he or whoever manages his office are gonna be calling me on a regular basis, every time the setup hiccups. I’ll make my money there, and it’ll all be cool, sweet unrecorded cash-in-hand payments.

Now, I do a bit of consulting and contract type crap as a support geek, but my heart is never in it; it’s just a way to make some dough, y’know? So Tuesday afternoon I’m in Manhattan, at the Mothership’s store , to get numbers to hand over to him Wednesday.

I hate going into stores and dickering with salesjerks, especially snotty little twenty-something punks trying to tell me about the wonders of Macs, when I’ve been using Apple gear longer than they’ve been alive. I’ve got a buddy with me, “Gumby,” (I print his name and I am assured beatage) and we waltz through the doors and beeline to the first geek wearing salestwit togs.

“Here’s the deal, Skippy: G5 tower tricked out as a server with RAM coming outta its ass; six fat Minis, keyboards and mice. Don’t mention the word “monitors,” the prices are insane here. In fact, don’t even talk to me, just take this list and go find your manager and see how much you’re allowed to knock off the list price for all this crap–don’t even think I’m paying that bullshit number– or I’m out the door and I’ll buy it all over at J&R, where I’m getting the monitors, router, hub, WIFI access–don’t you dare say “Airport”–and your counterpart over on Park Row will freakin’ wet his pants if I add this shit to the ticket he’s gonna get commished with.” I slap the list into his hand.

Kid scurries off and Gumby says, “Are you always that big a prick when you shop?”

“Yeah, I know…I’d beat the shit out of me if I was hearing something like that thrown in my face…. I’d rather be flailed than work sales with dicks like me walking around.”

Kid and a manager-type return with a number that’s one hundred dollars less than list.

“You fuckers are lucky they came up with iPods. Bye-bye.”

Off to J&R. Saleskid falls all over himself and hands me a number that’s, all told, four hundred off face value retail. I tell him put it in writing and I’ll get back to him. He does, and we’re off to imbibe and waste time while the rush hour crowds make the SI Ferry unbearable to ride. We eventually make our way home and part ways. Arrive at home, get yelled at by Wife, go to sleep.

Wednesday morning comes and I put together a spiffy little proposal, with graphics and explanations of all the gear, and how much dough putting the whole thing in play will entail. The guy’s not at his office, so I stick it in his mailbox and head off, content that I’ve made a strong case. I’ve totally burned the numbers he had told me other folks had quoted; this should be a slam dunk.

He just called me an hour ago and said it seemed too expensive…could I do better on the labor part of the deal?


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