Microwave Biscuit

Buying a new PC vs Buying a new car

Posted in General, Linux by microwavebiscuit on February 23, 2007

Why can’t buying a new car be more like buying a PC? Here’s what I’d like to do – go to a manufacturer website, configure a vehicle exactly as I want it, pay the fair/final price and have UPS deliver it. How about it? If you think about it, outside of the price scale it’s not that different a transaction. When buying a PC you select how much horsepower you want (Processor), Interior space (RAM, HDD), accessories (video card, sound, etc). Then you get shown a price. If you like it, you buy it and it comes to your door in a few days. When buying a PC you are stuck with a limited set of choices (see all the recent posts about Dell and Linux floating around). If you visit the Dell, Gateway, etc sites they have differing levels of performance available and each one has a given set of options/upgrades. And just as most factory car stereos suck which are ripped out to be replaced by better units, you can get rid of the mandatory Windows install and replace it with Linux. The major difference in buying a PC is that at the end of the day you don’t get stuck with a deep down feeling that you may have gotten screwed.

As it stands now, you can go to an auto manufacturers website and do all kinds of building/configuring but then you get a “MSRP” which probably has very little to do with what you might actually pay. You also obviously have no ability to purchase. I’m hoping that sometime in the near future this may become a reality. Over the last 3 months I’ve been involved with 3 separate dealerships (with 3 different manufacturers – Honda, Toyota and Nissan) and have ended up not purchasing a vehicle. It comes down to not feeling a sense of value and fairness in the transaction.

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