I spent about $25k on computer equipment today, but it wasn't easy. It took me about 2 days of research to decide on the specifications, little did I know that would be the easy part. Since we were going to use a Purchase Order to buy the machines I couldn't just check-out online. But I thought I could make it easy by just emailing my shopping cart (a nice feature to our sales rep. We've been buying Dell computers for the last four years. Partly because we've been happy with them, partly because my boss owns their stock.

Just as I was getting off the phone with the sales rep I said “Don't forget to apply our discounts when you come up with the quotes. I don't want to have to call you back.” I spelled out the various discounts/rebates/free shipping perks we qualified for, and the subtotals for each group of items.

Of course, I get the quotes back with no discounts. I'm back on the phone. This time the quotes come back with most discounts applied, but now we are being charged for 2nd day shipping (adding almost $1k to the total price.) I also found out that two of the discounts were incompatible, so I asked to split the order in two. So yet more quotes…

That's when I saw that during the day Dell had introduced a new series of laptops Dell Latitude D-series which used the new Intel Centrino chipset. I was surprised to find that I could configure one of these for almost the same price as the top of the line Inpiron 8500 that we were going to order. I would be getting another hour of battery life, a faster machine, and a better chassis design, so I emailed the cart to the rep and asked for a new quote, and of course it came back with the wrong shipping method again.

If I didn't have to wait almost a whole month to get my new 1.6Ghz Pentium-M, WUXGA, CDRW-DVD, yadda yadda laptop I wouldn't be so cranky. At least the dual Xeon workstations will be here soon.