CompUSA closing for good

It’s with a good deal of sadness that I read recently that CompUSA is closing for good. Last year they underwent a major restructuring and closed down about half of their stores in an effort to restore profitability, but that plan apparently failed. The remaining stores will be closed down soon after this holiday shopping season.

I have a lot of fond memories from CompUSA. When I was younger, my dad would take me there and I would be in computer wonderland. It’s where we got all of our computer stuff: Keyboards, mice, floppy disks (and later blank CDs), joysticks, video cards, RAM, and especially games. Even back in middle school, I experienced more excitement going to CompUSA than going to a toy store. I loved that place. We would go there at least once a month, not necessarily even to buy anything, but just to see all of the new stuff that was coming out in the field that we loved. Believe it or not, CompUSA was once a happening place. We made it a routine part of our regular errands (much to the chagrin of my mother and sister).

But over time, things changed. Internet shopping caught on, and I started making the majority of my computer-related purchases online (especially at NewEgg). I couldn’t resist the lower prices and better selection. Also, we got a broadband Internet connection, and it suddenly became feasible to download games rather than paying for them in stores (and much easier on my slim teenaged budget).

And somewhere along the way, CompUSA got worse. Much, much, worse. When I revisited the local stores in recent years, CompUSA had become a shell of its former self. They had taken the use of rebates to extreme levels, with many products having two separate rebates that only got the price down to the normal sales price on NewEgg. Copying all of the rebate submission materials was a chore, and then inevitably one of the two would be rejected because of a photocopied UPC. A lot of the time the advertised price was an outright lie, because it factored in two different rebates that often could not be redeemed simultaneously. It was very off-putting.

CompUSA simply became obsolete. They branched out into more products, including televisions, cell phones, and gaming consoles, but couldn’t compete on a price basis with their competitors in any of those areas. They deserved to die out. But I’ll still have all of those fond memories of going to CompUSA during those halcyon days of my youthful nerddom and lusting after dozens of computer games and parts. I do the equivalent on NewEgg now, but it’s not quite the same.

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