Going Out of Business Sale

Around these parts, CompUSA is going out of business.  I had heard about this before the end of the year and went out yesterday to buy a new calendar for my office when I couldn’t help but notice the sign on the adjacent CompUSA superstore: EVERYTHING MUST GO.

I went inside and saw that the very large retail space had imploded into just a few aisles in the middle of the storefront.  People were milling through the pickings, buying piece parts, routers, switches, cables, power supplies, the odd system or two, software, etc.

Oddly, my first thought was of Sydney, Australia.  I remember walking through the shops at the multi-story Queen Victoria Building (where high end merch is sold for the most part) then walking down to Paddy’s Market (a “flea market” in US terms) — it was a jarring contrast, not unlike the contrast between the old CompUSA and the new.

Anyway, I joined the vultures.  I bought a couple of 1TB NAS boxes cheap, plus a Microsoft Natural Keyboard and Ergo Mouse kit cheaper, plus a Samsung monochrome laser for less than $100, and a few other little things.  Chatting with the personnel, who looked very sad for the most part, I was told that the store — and the company — had simply never found a way to be profitable.  One pale geeky fellow said he might need to get a “real job” now:  “For the past few years, I went to work to earn the money to support my gaming.”  Gambling, I thought?  “No, I used to work here for 8 hours, then go home, eat, and play World of Warcraft, sleep, then go back to work.”


It made me think about all of the geeks who might find themselves hitting the bricks in search of a job this year.  The analysts keep trying to turn a frown upside down and find some light at the end of what promises to be a reduced spending year for IT.  They can’t seem to agree whether VMware will drive more spending or less.  (My take is more, since VMware seems to encourage rather than reduce server sprawl at the end of the day.)  Hard times, everyone seems to agree, are ahead for the vendors and for the tech sales channels and retailers.  The exception is in point products that serve very specific needs and perhaps in software, especially management wares, which gain in popularity as do more with less becomes the Papal Bull.

One Response to “Going Out of Business Sale”

  1. Some joy in CompUSA land. It was reported yesterday that TigerDirect is buying the brand and assets and will maintain storefronts in select markets. Maybe some of the guys in Clearwater will be able to sustain their World of Warcraft habits a bit longer.

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