Skip to content Skip to main navigation


Home loans made clear

By Request: Canberra Computer Fair tips

By Maelinar - 6 February 2006 42

I’ve been to the lot, from that event place in Canberra through to Phillip, those barely disguised same sellers selling the same stuff week after week, the Computer Fair.

We’ve already heard the great idea to get a business card when purchasing items, but here’s a couple of other tips to survive the computer fair:

1. Bad Smells. Computer sloths who have garnered the courage to exit the stench-pit they exist in to check out the computer fair instead of waiting for the new MX-5,000 GELabs-8 Force XL whateverboard to win on ebay, have a lot on their minds. Showering and bathing is a long way down that list. Be prepared to stand next to mr stinky-poo to ask about the price of the new MX-5,000 GELabs-8 Force XL whateverboard, because that’s where he will be. Holding your breath won’t work either, I’ve tried.

2. Polite Society. Forget any rules regarding standing in line, being polite, civil, love thy fellow man etcetera when at the Computer Fair. I’ve been standing in line to be pushed in front of by old, young, fat, skinny, they’re all the same. Nobody has any manners there, and the vendors don’t respect your polite behaviour. If somebody pushes in front of you, either get in first with your shoulder in front, or ahem loudly to encourage them to rectify their bad behaviour. From past experience, ahem’ing loudly doesn’t work either, and you have to resort to verbal communications such as ‘Excuse me, I was waiting here, patiently I might add, before you jumped in front of me’, or if you’re like me, you’ll do nasty farts and move away, placing blame as you go.

3. Know your product. I sold all my shit at the Jamison Markets, the computer guys sell all their shit at the Computer Fair. Get their cards, get their gurantee that the item is in full perfect working order, and feel happy that you have gotten a bargain. It may also pay to go on consecutive weekends, taking note of the prices to compare them on ebay or other estores. Be mentally prepared to walk away from the item, if it’s that essential, you shouldn’t be buying it from the Computer Fair in the first place, go to Harvey Norman and pay top dollar, cause you can take your item straight back to them if it fails, and they’re more likely to accept the return (they don’t want bad publicity).

4. Know what you want. It’s nice to browse – in Civic. Browsing at the Computer Fair is like waiting next to a stinky computer sloth as he asks for the technical tabulated data on a new MX-5,000 GELabs-8 Force XL whateverboard. That is what you will be doing, go there and do it, then get out as soon as you can. Before you walk in, you should know the specs of what you want, and it’s compatibility with what you already have in your pc.

5. There is no 5, but OMG this list sounds soooo much like those prescriptive ‘how to do those simplest of things’ lists that I hear Cochie and the Sunrise crew, TT and Ray crew going on about all the time, I had to liven it up by adding a joke at the end. I’m sure it’s what they would do…

What’s Your opinion?

Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
42 Responses to
By Request: Canberra Computer Fair tips
morto1980 9:52 pm 07 Feb 06

Just to clarify – my last post was talking about *refunds*.

I totally agree that people should be able to get things *repaired/replaced* at any time during the warranty period (whether it be a 12 month statuatory warranty or an extended manufacturer warranty like the 3 years on some hard disks).

If vendors give you a hard time about getting stuff repaired under warranty then they truly deserve to rot in the stench that is the Woden CIT Computer Fair 😉

morto1980 9:32 pm 07 Feb 06



Refunds will be available in some
It is important to distinguish between statutory
conditions and statutory warranties because
they will determine if a consumer is entitled to
a refund.
Consumers should also be aware that
they may only be entitled to a partial refund
if the fault develops after the consumer has
enjoyed some use of the item.

The sort of situation I was describing is where a guy comes along with a 6 month old motherboard which fails. He brings it back and demands a refund. If the vendor were to give him a refund (at 6 month ago prices) he/she would be massively out of pocket as he/she would make a loss on the re-sale (if the item could be re-sold at all, after repair).

The TPA doesn’t allow you a full refund in this situation (and probably just as well, considering how quickly PC parts depreciate. Imagine buying a new car that breaks down after 6 months use and demanding a refund!).

If you take an item back that was DOA (Dead On Arrival) the same day, or call the vendor immediately when the fault occurs and return it at the next fair, you’ll most likely have no worries. If you do, and you can’t convince the vendor themselves, approach the organisers of the fair. If you have no luck with them, tell them you will file a complaint with the ACCC and do so. I’ve seen vendors be “barred” from the fairs (by the organisers) for treating customers badly when it comes to warranty matters, so it does work.

RandomGit 2:46 pm 07 Feb 06

As there is no clear system to make queues at a computer fair, the natural result is chaos and survival of the fittest.

But fear not, nerds are easily cowed by a firm step, strong voice and straight posture. They will acknowledge such social superiors and step aside.

I only see room to haggle if I am buying a bulk of goods. Otherwise their margins are too small anyway. I’ve had a lot of small bits and peices at cost in return for buying the more expensive others.

colsim 10:32 am 07 Feb 06

NASA astronomers today announced the discovery of the centre of the universe – it’s andrewbt.

So because you know what you want and don’t like waiting, the needs of everyone else ahead of you who have waited longer become irrelevant?

So over this me-me-me-first culture.

bonfire 10:24 am 07 Feb 06

actually mort1980, they do have to refund your money if the goods are not fit for the purpose they were sold for.

harvey norman, computer fair vendor – it dont matter.

Thumper 8:31 am 07 Feb 06


I’m a proud computer illiterate. Just ask Mael, he’ll tell you.

i like my computers to have a big button that says ON, and another that says OFF.

Apart from that, I have no idea….

I’ve rebuilt a Holden red motor though, a bit like rebuilding a dinosaur….

riotgirl 8:25 am 07 Feb 06

dead? maybe thats what the smell is

Thumper 7:51 am 07 Feb 06

I wouldn’t be seen dead at a computer fair….

Jey 6:53 am 07 Feb 06

My partner finds the whole computer fair experience a bit stressful. It’s good to know others feel similarily.
He had to go once when I was with him, judging by his discription I knew it was not somewhere I wanted to venture so I just waited outside.

andrewbt 11:18 pm 06 Feb 06

How about you not just turn up?

You’ve just gotta accept that there are people in ‘line’ who know exactly what they want and they dont want to have to stand behind dozens of people deciding how they can take a few bucks off the asking price of gear. There’s no-one to police the line, people dont want to line up because they will get stuck behind someone as I’ve previously mentioned. So its just going to be chaos

So I do agree about the browsing (and haggling) bit..

Oh, and the amount of uncessary traffic in those places – such as the mum, dad and 3 kids and a baby in a pram – its not a frikkin family event – don’t bring your 3 kids and a pram. Just Don’t.

And don’t tell me off for being rude because I’ve asked you to please move. I’ve got a 30kg monitor held above my head and I’m trying my best to get the hell out of the place and your so fat that you block the entire isle. Your old, fat, and slow.. you really aren’t helping anyone in that place

And just leave geeks be…they’ll grow out of it (eventually – when booze and women begin to appeal more). Oh no..they smell. Your entering an area full of brand spankin new computer equipment…expect geeks to be drooling over it all. Accept that they smell. Its part of the “experience” =)

morto1980 10:53 pm 06 Feb 06

Here are a few tips (from an ex-employee at the fairs):
1. Get there early & know what you want (saves being in the stink too long) 🙂
2. Vendors don’t mind haggling, but don’t be a dickhead about it – if someone else is cheaper, buy from them! (But be careful that they’re going to give you the same after sales service & the parts really are identical). Some vendors are cheaper for certain items while their competitors may be cheaper for others. Usually it is the luck of the draw as to the prices when they buy from their wholesaler (or if they’ve had an expensive item still in stock while the market price has dropped).
3. If you can, buy everything you need at one vendor – preferably after scouting for a few consecutive weeks and ensuring they’re there each time.
4. Once you’ve got your bits, race home, try them all, and if anything has problems get back before the fair closes. It saves a whole lot of heartache as some vendors will just give you a new part if you bring back a DOA on the same day.
5. If you do have problems, try to keep calm. Getting aggro is less likely to make someone want to help you and just makes everyone uncomfortable (I’ve been on the other end). Try to help the vendor as much as possible – offer to write (or type up) a letter describing the problem with the item (don’t just yell at the vendor saying “IT’S BROKEN I WANT MY MONEY BACK”) – the more information you give them the easier it will be to RMA the part to the wholesaler.
6. On the money back topic: Harvey Norman might give you your money back when you have a faulty part (and they might not). Nothing in the Trade Practices Act says retailers have to. Other stores charge a LOT ontop of wholesale for the items so they can give you that luxury – computer fair vendors don’t have that buffer.

sk8erboi 10:49 pm 06 Feb 06

I always go for the free advice… “OMG, you need one of these MX-5000 GELabs-8 Force XL-2s, they benchmark at 2 frames better than the XL-1’s” why? for surfing porn and reading my 37 daily pieces of spam?

Actually I lied, I go to laugh at the try-hard geeks and grope the nerdy girlies.

Vic Bitterman 8:33 pm 06 Feb 06

Here’s a good one to try. Seen one of my mates do it a couple of times successfully.

Turn up to the computer fair about an hour after opening time with an old video card in a box or something, and in a white plastic bag. Say to the person on the cash register you’ve just bought this, and want to go back in and return it. He’s never been asked for his proof of purchase yet.

Saves him all of $2.50 entry fee – yippee!!! 🙂

colsim 7:12 pm 06 Feb 06

That smell Maelinar is known as GeekStink – if you’ve ever been to a LANGame festival/party/whatever (my secret shame – though I went for anthropological reasons as much as any) where 200 fat sweaty geeks have been sitting in a dark room with the heat from 200 specced up ‘puters eating crap all day, then you will truly know stench.

As for the computer fairs, I guess I’ve done ok out of them – just really did a bit of research before hand and knew exactly what I wanted and roughly what it should cost.

(But yeah, the pushing in thing sounds about right, obnoxious geek pricks)

OzChick 5:05 pm 06 Feb 06

If you have your Missus with you and the Computer Fair is at the Old Bus Depot in Kingston, trick her by telling her that the Old Bus Depot Markets are on… and then when she goes in she will realise that she has been had and that she is actually at the computer fair.

1 2 3

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. | |

Search across the site