My New Computer

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At last I can use my new computer!  After struggling for years on an outdated (dinosaur, really–­ I refuse to reveal the model number) Macintosh, I have updated.  Here’s how it all happened.  First came a cell phone call from a friend of mine who knew I was looking.  “Hey,  I’m here in Cash and Carry and they’re selling used Macs!” (Cash and Carry is a chain of pawnshops that originated in Australia. How and why they ended up setting up branches in Paris I haven’t the faintest idea, but it must not have been a good one, as the chain has just been sold off.) Within an hour I was in the store myself, and indeed, they had two used iMacs for sale, 649 Euros each.  I chose the blue one and wrote 3 checks:  216, 216 and 217 euros, one to be cashed each month during the next three months. Then, the fun began. I wanted all the data from my old Mac transferred to the new one.  “No problem” they said. Just bring I in. Which I did. On Tuesday. Having lived in France a while, I didn’t even bother to pick up the computer Wednesday. When I arrived in the store on Thursday, I was informed that there was a slight problem–without my password, they had been unable to do the transfer! I gave them the secret code and finally, on Friday, I had my new computer. “Phooey, the printer cable doesn’t go in.” I addressed this problem to Jacques, who sidelines as a Mac setter- upper and who had really helped me with my dinosaur computer. Jacques whizzes by on his moto to install Mac programming and to help you along.  “Sorry,” he confirmed, “you’ll have to buy a new printer.” Plus install more memory and buy a CD writer to make backups.  It was at this point I realized I had no diskette drive at all and my CD drive was read-only. Hmmm, how did they think you were going to back up your data?  So, off I went to “complete” my computer. Stop number one:  buy the printer. That weekend, I looked at FNAC and Darty, the two electronic havens in Paris. At one point, a salesman at FNAC had sold me on an Epson printer. On my way to pick it up, I thought I’d just stop off in accessories to buy a couple of spare ink cartridges.  “21.30 E an ink cartridge?  No way José!” I walked right out of the store and never looked back. The following Monday, I thought I’d check out Surcouf, the largest computer store in Paris in terms of space, taking up almost one city block near the Gare de Lyon.  I arrived, only to read the following sign:  “We are closed for inventory. Come back another day,” or something to that effect.  As I have said in other articles, when you shop in Paris, always have a backup store. Luckily, Jacques had given me my backup.  Around the corner from Surcouf is a small Chinese-owned store, Univack, where you can get computer supplies. I told the guy behind the counter I was looking for a printer, but that the ink cartridges had to be reasonable. Voilà–how I found and bought my fantastic new Canon printer, ink cartridges 8 E each. Yeah!  I had my printer. Onward.  Increase the memory. That went without a hitch at Ginko, a Mac store in the 5th arrondissement on Boulevard Saint Germain. Expensive, but easy.  Then, onward once again for that CD read/write external Firewire drive.  I decided to chance going back to Surcouf, which, this time, was not doing inventory but was actually open during business hours. I looked in the Mac department, but no luck–they didn’t have it. They did, however, have a printed list of Mac stores.  Cell phone in hand, I phoned Allis, the one the salesman had marked on the list.  Yes, they had it!  Then, having lived in France for awhile, I asked another question. “Do you close for lunch?”  “Yes, Madam, we close from 12:30 to 2:00 pm for lunch.”  Since I was phoning them at 12:15, I was proud of myself for remembering to ask.  If not, I’d have turned up during lunch in front of a locked door!  Would the man have ever told me, unasked? Being as I was phoning him at 12:15?  Not on your life. So, I went to their shop after 2 pm to buy the CD read/write external Firewire drive.  Then, another appointmentwith Jacques to install everything. Then came the challenge of buying spare ink cartridges. I say challenge because, I’m not sure why, all the usual sources of supply (including Darty and FNAC) were completely out of stock and not to be in stock for another 4 to 6 weeks! Even the French Canon website was out of stock.  (“A distribution problem, Madam.”) Now, when a French salesperson tells you a date, you’ve got to realize that what this really means is that the date he or she tells you is the absolute earliest date, but it could, in fact, take longer ­ a lot longer. On a whim I re-visited the street with all the Chinese-owned computer stores. I’m not sure how they did it, but at a tiny store called Yottacom, the shelves were absolutely brimming over with ink cartridges (totally absent everywhere else)!  And, the price was right. After finally buying my ink, I went home to take stock.  I love my new Macintosh computer!  In the end, my 649 E computer cost 1300 E including the programming set up by Jacques, the expanded memory from Ginko, the CD read/write external Firewire drive from Allis, the printer from Univak, and the ink cartridges from Yottacom. Ah, at last, I can start working on my new computer. Surcouf: 139 avenue Daumesnil, 12th arrondissement, Metro/RER Gare de Lyonor Metro Montgallet Univak: 1 rue Montgallet, 12th arrondissement, Metro/RER Gare de Lyon orMetro Montgallet Ginko: 65 Bd Saint-Germain, 5th arrondissement, Metro Maubert-Mutualité Allis Informatique: 21 Bd Richard Lenoir, 11th arrondissement, MetroBreguet-Sabin Yottaco: 39 rue Montgallet, 12th arrondissement, Metro Montgallet —Jeanne Feldman is an intercultural specialist working with English speaking expatriates to help them integrate into french life, both professionally and personally. In addition she works with French executives who need to communicate internationally. Jeanne has also written a…
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