A Diplomatic Answer

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I have a little bit of a problem, and I suspect others run into this, too.

There’s a Joe Sixpack acquaintance of mine. A number of months ago, he said he was thinking about
buying a computer during the summer. Recently, I sent him an email on the subject.

He got back to me and said he had already bought one. He bought a new computer because the hard
drive failed on the old one, which gives you an idea of what I’m dealing with.

He gave me a description of his system, and if he bought what I think he bought, if there was any way he could screw up, he did screw up. We’re talking PIV with SDRAM here.

He seems very, very proud of himself.

As you might have guessed, diplomacy is not my strong suit, especially when it comes to computers.

I am very inclined to let sleeping dogs lie and follow the precept, “if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all.”

I suspect though, that this chalice shall not pass me by, and the subject will come up the next time I see him. Like tonight.

I fear that he’s going to want me to tell him what a wise choice he made.

Lying is not an option.

No, he can’t return it.

My question is simply this:

When push comes to shove, and you can’t duck it, how do you nicely tell someone they bought a POS?

Everything I come up with sounds awfully like, “You have the computer buying sense of a rotting snail.”

Now I don’t have the slightest problem proving it. I could probably get a court order barring him from coming within 500 feet of a computer store without breaking a sweat.

But somehow, I don’t think that’s the best approach.

Does anybody have some battle-tested magic words?

If you don’t, forget the interpersonal relationship stuff. Just for the entertainment value, how about at least some funny ones?

Email Ed


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