Staff List: Buyer’s Remorse

The Bureau Staff laments the purchases they have made.

Before the Homecoming Dance my senior year of high school, my friends and I all decided to go out to a fancy Italian restaurant. It was pricey, but with the money I’d saved by forgetting to buy my date a corsage, I ordered a salad and a lamb loin, rare.

Things went bad almost immediately. I got vinaigrette on my tie and tried to scrub it out right at the table, with water from my water glass and my napkin. Eventually my date, exasperated, told me that I wasn’t allowed to make any more sudden movements lest I get more of my meal on myself.

The rest of the dinner passed without incident. But as we pulled up to the Community Center, my stomach started churning. Normally I’d take any excuse that I could get to miss awkward high school dancing, except this year I’d been elected to the Homecoming Court. So I danced (as little as possible), I went on stage, and I took plenty of deep breaths to try and calm my gut. I was on the verge of passing out when I realized that people were cheering and someone was placing a crown on my head. I was Homecoming King.

That meant I had to dance with the Queen, get pictures taken, the whole nine yards. I managed to keep it together, and when all the Court stuff was done I thought that my nausea might have passed. So I decided to stay for one more song before sneaking off. The DJ played Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Jump On It.” Which I did.

Suffice to say, my nausea came roaring back, and I ended up regretting that meal for the next two hours in the Community Center bathroom. — Assistant Editor Darryl Campbell

When I bought a Zenith laptop in the mid-’90s, I was using my heart, not my head. There was something about the spastic Z in the Zenith logo that suggested a particularly American approach to electronics. Its sharp lightning-bolt corners conveyed a mid 20th-century view of “the future” that will have snazzy Z-named products and electricity. The logo inspired memories of my family’s old television, a woodgrain behemoth that looked like a fortress on stilts. When this CRT monstrosity went fuzzy, only a swift kick to particular spot on the living room floor brought it back to attention. Those old tube-intestined beasts smelled like burnt hair and had real magic in them. But by the ’90s, Zenith had hit its nadir.

A crank on the side of a Zenith laptop would have been an improvement — at least it would have given you something to do with your hands while you stared at the blank screen and listened to the grinding wheels within. Black, boxy and nearly useless, the Zenith laptop was the last gasp of the American electronics giants — the future would contain no Magnavox, no Sylvania, no Philco, no RCA. The logo, though, is still pretty nifty. — Contributing Writer Jonathan Gourlay

Initially, I was going to write about my most traumatizing haircut ever. But as I sat waiting for literally over 40 minutes while my relatively-new-though-unresponsive laptop choked on Recent Updates, I felt my blood pressure rise and my mind cloud over with irrational belligerence. Yup, reevaluating.

Last year, I agonized over my much-needed new computer purchase – whether to go Mac or stay PC. Since my Toshiba had done me right all through college, I just decided to remain loyal to PCs. After much debate, a few visits to Best Buy and the Apple Store, and more inner turmoil than a person is supposed to experience over electronics, I committed to the PC — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

I ended up with an HP TouchSmart tx2, and it’s the most busted-ass contraption imaginable.

To be fair, it does what I want 73.158475638756396 percent of the time. Whenever I talk myself down from a blinding fury, I try to remember that rarely do we acknowledge when things work as they should — “Aw man, Word just loaded the FASTEST!” or “Wow, that was the most awesome not-freeze just now!”

But that other 26.someoddpercent is enough for me to frequently curse the day I took the little guy out of the box. I’m supposed to exercise the virtue of patience when dealing with annoying people, delayed flights, and yoga moves. Not new computers. — Contributing Writer Whitney Medved

No one forgets their first love — red-hot passion, sleepless nights, the whole insanity bit. My first love was a five-way tie: Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh, and Sporty. Lord, was I obsessed with the Spice Girls. At age ten, my funds were by no means extensive, but even kids have some income. Holiday checks. Random chore income. Extra lunch money. Like any good sugar daddy knows, love is expensive, and all my capital went directly to Spice merchandise. T-shirts. Dolls. CDs. Jewelry. Chupa Chups lollipops. It is the last that plays the villain in today’s tale.

Chupa Chups created a special brand of strawberry sucker with a Spice Girl’s face imprinted on it. The snack sold for 50 cents and came with a sticker stuck to the inside packaging, 24 different stickers in all, each depicting a member of Spice in various poses. I became fixated on collecting the whole set. Naturally, it wasn’t as easy as buying 24 suckers. Like trading cards, there was no way to tell which sticker you would get. I got duplicates up the wazoo, so I would guess the total I spent on my collection was somewhere in the $60 range (basically my whole savings). Here’s the kicker: I didn’t even like the candy. I would throw it out and keep the package. When I did finally get the very last Posh Spice sticker, I was ridiculously happy… for maybe five minutes before realizing what a stupid expensive hobby I had taken on. First love, first big regret, but the memory lives on. It has to; I have never been able to part with the collection. — Contributing Writer Alice Stanley

Last spring, I bought a Playstation 3, which would be the first console I’d owned since early high school. I was more or less raised by videogames, but didn’t play much after my sophomore year of high school or in college. Faced with a lot of free time in my post-collegiate life, I thought, Why not start playing videogames again?

Just to be clear, there’s nothing I regret about the Playstation itself. The experience is arguably not as robust as what the Xbox 360 can offer, but I’ve had the chance to play through Metal Gear Solid 4 and LittleBigPlanet, which are available exclusively to the PS3. And it’s worked pretty well as a media center, as I’ve streamed movies from my computer to the TV in my living room.

The thing I regret about buying a Playstation 3 is that it made me realize that I don’t really like videogames anymore. As a kid, I would wake up early on Saturday mornings to get a few extra hours of game time in; now, I find myself impatient and trying to get through levels on any game as quickly as possible. Side quests? Yeah right.

Videogames are longer and more detailed in every way possible, but I still haven’t found a title that’s affected or surprised me as much as the occasional free indie game. I might be the only person who’d rather replay Gravity Bone than shoot my way through Resident Evil 5, and while I do really love Beatles Rock Band, I think the thing I like most is that it encourages everyone in the room — playing or not — to drink. A lot.

Maybe I should’ve gotten a Wii. — Editor Kevin Nguyen