Under New Management (1/24/00)
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Longtime viewers will know that we at AtAT aren't huge fans of CompUSA. Actually, that's not entirely accurate: we don't really have so much of a problem with CompUSA itself. Our beef is with the CompUSA buying experience, which in many cases is tantamount to exfoliating with a cheese grater while rolling in salt. Sure, the Apple stores-within-stores at least make it easier to find what we're looking for (or at least easier to confirm that they don't carry it), but selection, price, display, and sales help are more often than not well below acceptable, especially on the Mac side of things. And have you seen these new CompUSA TV ads? Show us a CompUSA store that's actually that well-lit and we'll forever strike the words "dank" and "foreboding" from our list of adjectives to describe the superstores. Really.

That's why we've never been all that surprised that CompUSA's struggling to stay afloat. Why go to CompUSA when Outpost.com has free overnight delivery? Plus you could always buy direct from Apple-- or Dell or Gateway, if your tastes (or lack of same) run in that direction. Not comfortable with mail order? Then Best Buy generally has better prices on Wintel systems, and the sales help is generally no more incompetent. (How's that for a ringing endorsement?)

So CompUSA's been on the ropes. Grupo Sanborns to the rescue! According to MacCentral, the Mexican company is planning to buy CompUSA lock, stock, and dank, foreboding barrel. What's this mean to Apple, who relies upon CompUSA as its only nationwide reseller carrying the entire Mac product line? No one knows for sure, but a MacNN special report is guardedly optimistic. While Grupo Sanborns may close a few stores to cut losses (boo), the new management may be more willing to work with Apple to improve the Mac buying experience (yay!). Reportedly Apple's been waiting to launch some new marketing programs with CompUSA pending the acquisition, so we'll see if things get better in the coming months. May we request a reduction in the number of stocking ladders blocking the Mac displays, please?


 
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The above scene was taken from the 1/24/00 episode:

January 24, 2000: Our farewell to Hanoch Shalit may have been a tad premature; it's time to appeal! Meanwhile, a doughy face from the past tries to take credit for Steve Jobs's remarkable turnaround, and CompUSA dons a sombrero as new management from south of the border aims to bring the superstore chain back from the brink of irrelevancy...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2050: "They Killed Hanoch!" (1/24/00)   Silly us! Yesterday we bade adieu to Dr. Hanoch Shalit, an occasional AtAT cast member for the better part of two years by virtue of his dramatically overinflated $1.1 billion patent infringement lawsuit against Apple...

  • 2051: Coulda Been A Contender (1/24/00)   Speaking of cast members that leave the show (this segue brought to you by Just Segues: textual transitions for all your dramatic needs!), do you ever reminisce about good ol' Gil Amelio? You remember Gil-- he played Apple's CEO until Steve Jobs took over the role following a bloody boardroom coup...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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