I'm constantly amazed by the bargains I get from my local technology recycling store. When I mention a particularly good deal to people, they often say something like: “That's amazing; I would never have thought of going there!” This is sad, because there's so much on offer.
In my case, the local technology recycling center, which is called Tech Stars, is located just around the corner from my office. In addition to taking old computer and electronic systems off your hands, they also sell refurbished systems and offer diagnostic and repair services for machines you want to keep up and running.
A few years ago, for example, I needed a regulated 5V power supply that could pump out 10A for a hobby project, but I didn’t have much “cash to splash,” as it were, so I ambled around to Tech Stars and picked up a power supply they'd recycled from an old PC. This was perfect for the task at hand and it was an absolute bargain at only $5.
As another example, when I applied a Windows 8.1 upgrade to my Windows 8 PC, the little scamp stopped working with my Arduino. The folks at Arduino have since fixed their driver, but this didn’t help me at the time. So I wandered round the corner to Tech Stars and picked up a refurbished Windows 7 PC for around $100. It's not the fastest machine on the planet, but it's perfect as a dedicated Arduino programming machine.
Then, just last Friday as I pen these words, I'd decided to work from home for the day because I had some folks coming round to the house in the afternoon to service our emergency generator. Would you believe it? One of my notepads refused to connect to the wireless network. It said “Connections are available” but it refused to list them or to let me select one.
“You little rascal,” I told it (or words to that effect). The alternative would be to hard-wire the notepad to my router, for which I would require a 15-meter Ethernet cable. When faced with this situation, a lot of folks' knee-jerk reaction would be to think of Best Buy, but (a) the guys and gals at Best Buy don’t drag themselves out of bed until 10:00 a.m. and (b) they should be ashamed of themselves for what they charge for cables (I once had a young sales lad try to sell me a “Special” 2-meter HDMI cable for $120 because “It has gold contacts that improve the picture quality”).
By comparison, the chaps and chapesses at Tech Stars fling their doors open to greet the day at a bracing 7:30 a.m., so I hopped in my truck and raced down to see if they had a 15-meter Ethernet cable I could use. My chum Sterling Bradford (you must admit that's a rather cool name) disappeared into the back and — a few minutes later — returned with the required cable.
How much was it? Would you believe $2.50? That really is a bargain whichever way you look at it. All I know is that I still smile when I think about it. How about you? Do you have bodacious bargain tales to tell related to technology recycling stores?