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Dealing With A Real Live Wire Here

| Right | March 3, 2016

(An old guy looking at DVD players calls me over.)

Customer: “Do you guys have any of these that can take a real, high-quality cable?”

Me: *confused* “These all take your typical component cables. Some of them take S-video cables. Is that what you mean?”

(I think he might be talking about S-video since it’s higher quality, then I figure he might have been taken in by those “gold-plated” cables they sell at some stores.)

Me: “These will get just as good a video signal as those expensive cables they sell at other stores. Those are just a scam.”

Customer: “No, these all take those little cheap plastic black crap lines. I mean like a REAL cable. Do they even make good stuff anymore, or this is all just crap they make these days?”

Me: *now really confused* “You mean the component cables? The ones that have the red, yellow and white ends?”

Customer: “Yeah! They’re little plastic crap! I have a cable that I’ve used for years, it’s better than any of these things. I bought it with my VCR. It’s big and metal, not this cheap plastic crap. It’s got to be at least a quarter-inch wide.”

Me: “Uhh… when did you get your VCR?”

Customer: “When they first came out. I was right on top of it.”

Me: “You mean like in the late ’70s?”

Customer: *pause, thinking* “Yeah, that sounds about right. It’s so much bigger and heavier than the ones they made after that. It’s got all kinds of buttons on it. The ones they made after that, they’re all light and cheap and break after you use them once. I’ve been using it for years, but you can’t find tapes anymore, so I might get one of these. But none of them take the cable I have. This is all just cheap plastic crap. The one I have, it was real expensive when I got it. It’s silver and big. It’s got to work better than this trash.”

Me: “Well… um… technology changes over time. The cables we use now are smaller, lighter, and more flexible, and get a better picture. They’re pretty much the only ones used with modern electronics. The fact that they’re cheaper, well, that just has to do with technology becoming more affordable.”

Customer: “No, this cable is about a quarter-inch wide at least, probably more, and it’s silver metal. There’s no way you can tell me that some cheap plastic crap is going to get a better picture.”

(This went on until I realized that I just couldn’t help him, I could not convince him that an aged, oversize, long-obsolete cable he bought in the ’70s could be used with a 2000s DVD player, nor could I convince him that a modern component cable would in fact have a better picture and sound quality than his precious cable – the fact that his was big, silver, and expensive top-of-the-line stuff when he bought it three decades earlier was proof enough that it was better than anything out there today. He ended up not getting a DVD player because I was only trained to sell him “crap.”)

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