Looking inside before you buy etc.

From: Bruce Lane <kyrrin_at_bluefeathertech.com>
Date: Tue Jun 13 12:18:22 2000

At 09:01 13-06-2000 -0800, Mike Ford wrote:


>Ah, but the store owner now had one more thing in the deal, an education,
>don't let anybody test your stuff at a fixed price. Its the kind of mistake

        I don't know that it was a mistake, per se. Got a little story I'd like to
share along the same lines.

        Back about 1994, a year or so after my mate and I first moved to
Washington, I was in serious BASSW (Bay Area Surplus Store Withdrawal). To
make matters worse, it was late fall, season-wise, and I was having serious
trouble adapting to WA state's lower sunny-day count (translation: I was
depressed and grouchy).

        So, I grabbed up the phone book and went digging. A new entry came to
light: Specifically, the PC-FIXX Clearance Center, purveyor of Used Parts
and Other Goodies. I already knew about PC-FIXX by reputation -- they
specialized in repair and upgrade of PCs and, in some rare cases, "other"

        I went up and had a look. They had a nice as-is alley, though most of the
prices were inflated, but I still found my first EISA SCSI adapter for $5.
The variety of stuff they had was pretty amazing, and I could tell that
they were still in their "we-just-opened" chaos phase.

        The place went downhill from there, sadly. Prices went up, and selection
went down. Then, about a year later, a miracle hit. The entire used-parts
division was sold to two fellows, Mark Dabek and Steve Hess, who promptly
renamed it RE-PC and rejuvenated the entire store.

        I continued to visit, and I kept asking about (and sometimes even finding)
exotic hardware that practically no one else wanted -- EISA stuff, Sun
systems, etc. My visits got to be so regular that not only did the owners
and staff get to know me, and I them, but they started drawing on my
knowledge and skills.

        Finally, when they started getting big loads of retired Sun stuff from a
local service place, they became overwhelmed because of a lack of
experience with SCSI hardware. I stepped in with an offer of help (I was
well set up to test SCSI stuff at the time) which was gratefully and
quickly accepted.

        I ended up testing over 100 drives over time, disk and tape alike. To this
day, I have friends at both stores (Seattle and Tukwila), and I can say
with confidence that I've known the owners for years.

        And what did I get out of all this? Excellent deals on some of those same
drives, good friends, an OK to do a detailed inspection on anything I'm
thinking of buying, good contacts in the other computer surplus areas
(minis and such), and even a job when I most needed it after a layoff (yes,
I actually worked for them for about five months).

        And all that just because I chose, at one depressed moment, not to give up
on a place that was going downhill at the time.

        I guess the moral of the story is, don't be afraid to reach out, even if
you're confronted with an apparently insurmountable barrier (as I once
thought I was).

        So it can be with surplus dealers. Ask them about something you're hunting
for. Offer to help with a problem they might be having. Try to build up a
good working relationship, at least, if not outright friendship. You never
know where it will lead, and the risk is minimal.

Bruce Lane, Owner and head honcho, Blue Feather Technologies
http://www.bluefeathertech.com // E-mail: kyrrin_at_bluefeathertech.com
Amateur Radio: WD6EOS since Dec. '77
"Our science can only describe an object, event, or living thing in our
own human terms. It cannot, in any way, define any of them..."
Received on Tue Jun 13 2000 - 12:18:22 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:33:01 BST