Ok.  I’m like the next girl in this tough economy: always trying to save a buck.  But recently a friend of mine (let’s call her Jamie) was telling me about the GREAT deal she got on a laptop computer. I was astounded.  It was a brand name laptop computer with 1GB RAM and 150GB hard drive and she only paid $350.00.  Wow.  Sign me up.

Windows 7 Beta blue screen of death
Image by Simon Lieschke via Flickr

No can do.  This was a one of a kind offer from a retired executive that was selling his laptop that he just didn’t need anymore. Found this little gem on Craigslist. It was only 3 years old and didn’t even have any of those silly stickers teenagers plaster their laptops with.

He said that he had never ever dropped it, spilled anything on it, or banged it around.  (Wink. Wink.)  In fact he barely used it and showed her the dust on top to prove it.  Only one of the keys sticks a little she said (how often do you really need the “b” to work anyway.)

Well, when she got it home and turned it on it came up with the infamous Blue Screen of Death (techies are a little over the top with this term aren’t they?)  Funny, it didn’t do that at his house when he turned it on.  Not to worry, it went away after rebooting twice.  Phew.

Now it didn’t come with Windows 7 or XP Pro or any antivirus software.  Jamie upgrade to XP Pro and added antivirus software for $175 total.  She admits that it runs a little slow.

Well a couple of weeks later and after her second Starbucks latte Jamie confessed her “new” laptop was nothing but a paperweight that has to be plugged in (guess the laptop battery isn’t what it used to be).  She thought she was saving money but it turned out just to be a waste of money.  There are just some things you shouldn’t buy used (mattresses come to mind too).  Maybe it was a bad sign when the exec and his wife were high fiving as she pulled out of their driveway.

I told her that next time she should consider financing one.  That would enable her to get the latest greatest computer with everything she needs AND a warranty.  I hope this story saves someone else the headache and money of buying a computer that is sketchy.