Monday, April 6th, 2009 | laptops, Maintenance
Aesop’s fable, The Frogs and the Well, highlights a principle that you should follow when considering the acquisition of a second-hand computer.
Two Frogs lived together in a marsh. One hot summer the marsh dried up and they left it to look for another place to live, for frogs like damp places if they can get them.
They came to a deep well. One of them looked down into it and said to his friend: “This looks a nice cool place; let us jump in and settle here.”
But the other one, who had a wiser head on his shoulders, replied: “Not so fast, my friend. Supposing this well dried up like the marsh, how should we get out again?”
The moral of the story? Look before you leap.
A second-hand laptop may suit your needs perfectly well. It may be that the previous owner’s computing needs have changed and that you could get a good machine at a bargain price or as a gift. But in most cases individuals or organizations get rid of laptops when it is no longer worthwhile to maintain them. Acquiring one of these machines would mean that you are taking a maintenance load upon yourself.
Some organizations are refurbishing computers and then claim that they are as good as new. Here one has to ask additional questions: What is meant by refurbishing? What has been refurbished? Why did the laptop reach the refurbishment plant? In some cases refurbishment means that the machine was just cleaned very well.
Refurbishing companies generally deal in different brands. Who will honour the warranty (if any)? Is there a guarantee on spare parts and components? What is the level of manufacturer support? How stable is the refurbishing agent – how sure are you that the company will be there tomorrow?
All these questions point to one thing: look before you leap.
If a used computer is offered to you as a free gift, you may consider accepting it and using it until it proves to be more trouble than the value you are deriving from it, and then replacing it with a new one. But if you have to pay for it, you must give the matter a second thought – consider the total cost of ownership.
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