A hard days hard drive...

I have to relay an experience I had recently. First there is really no value in telling this story except as therapy for me. The set up. I have a NAS based RAID system at home on which I store all of my digital video, music, pictures and such. This system is the central data hub for all digital content that is important for my family and I. One of the drives went bad last week and thus the file systems were no longer available. Not really that big of a deal, right? Well you would think it would be easy, I can pop down to the local computer store and purchase a new hard drive, replace the bad one and begin the RAID recovery. Well that is how I thought it would go. Here are the events that actually took place.

First I had to find a local computer store. It turns out that this is not an easy thing to do in Prague. Yes there are computer stores but apparently they only sell computers and not components, like a hard drive. After a bit of searching I was pointed at a web site that sold all kinds of computer stuff. Even better, the site is in Czech, English and German. Good so far. On a Saturday I placed an order for a 250Gb drive. They had exactly what I needed and it was in stock! I had my choices of delivery options and went with the 24 hour delivery option (vs the pick it up yourself). Being Saturday, I figured that the drive would show up on Monday. Wrong. It finally showed up on Wednesday. Better, the delivery guy called me to ask how to get to my location. I had to pass the phone over to Inka, my admin and favorite interpreter. It turns out the the delivery guy did not have a map. What would a delivery guy have a map?

I will cut it short at this point to say that after three days of messing around I could not get the drive to work. In the end, I figured out that the drive must be defective. The following week I decided to take Inka on a field trip to the Prague location of the computer parts "store". First there is not really one location for this place, rather picture a number of locations each potentially on opposite sides of a street separated by about 300 meters. I will call one side of the street "side A" and the other "side B". So we start off on side A and ask at the info desk where we should go to return the hard drive. Well off to side B to the service desk. Once on side B, down an alley and up a flight of stairs we find the service desk where we find a crowd of people and I swear a few small families camped out. Yes we had to wait in line, and some had been in line for ages. I didn't have time for this so I told Inka, "let's just go buy a new drive and I can return the bad one later". Surely this would not take this long, right? Wrong.

We then had to go back to side A. Waited in line to use a computer to go on the web and place an order for a new drive. Apparently the staff is just too shy to be able to talk to any customers. That took a bunch of time. Then we got an order number. Perfect, now all we had to do is wait in line at the pickup counter and we would have the drive in no time. Wrong.

Now we had to take the order number and go back to Side B to pay for the drive. So back across the street. Wait in another line to pay. We pay and then get another number that we can use to pick up the drive. But guess where pick up is? Yup, back across to side A. So across the street one more time to wait in line again to get the drive.

After over an hour of all of this I finally had the drive.

The net of this, is my lack of understanding as to why a city the size of Prague does not have a computer store. You know a store; where you can walk in, look around, pick something out and then go pay for it? Why? I just don't understand... Maybe my years in the US have just made me soft...

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