Jersey Discount by
(118 Stories)

Prompted By My First Computer

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It fell off a truck! You got a problem with that?

I was a bit late to start riding the PC wave, as I am with most waves. It was around 1986 when I got my first, an IBM PC clone made by Packard-Bell. I splurged for the 40 megabyte HD and TWO floppy drives! I’d only had it a month or two when it died.

I inadvertently found myself in the business of selling hot merchandise.

I contacted the vendor, New York City’s famous (and long gone) J&R Music World, who agreed to take it back for an exchange IF I had kept all the original packaging. Which I had, because that was how vendors tried to weasel out of warranty claims back then. Pretty much every basement I was ever in for the next twenty or more years was littered with ancient, rotting computer boxes complete with now-brittle foam inserts.

But I was ready. I sent it back, and in due course I received a new Packard-Bell. Same make and model. It worked fine for several years, until I upgraded to a more powerful PC.

It was only when I was trying to sell the old one to get a few bucks that I noticed that it had no serial number on the plate in the back. Which means that it had been stolen right off the assembly line.

Thanks to J&R, I inadvertently found myself in the business of selling hot merchandise.

Profile photo of Dave Ventre Dave Ventre
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.

Tags: vendor, computers, retail, fell of a truck, business
Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Wow, great Jersey story, Dave. And how smart of you to save all the packing material. We have boxes for equipment we no longer own (not computers), but not all the internal packaging as well.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    Great story, Dave. And, of course, it also nicely enhances the whole “Jersey” mystique. Just yesterday, I was listening to the “Hamilton”soundtrack where they are discussing Hamilton’s son’s duel and how it could not be legally held in New York but was OK in New Jersey. At which point, the chorus chimed in, “Everything’s legal in Jersey!” That line, of course, got a big laugh when I saw the show on Broadway.

    Also, having lived/worked in New York a good deal of my life, including working downtown, I am very familiar with the legendary J & , which was on Park Row, right across from the Woolworth Building. Perhaps not quite as legendary as Crazy Eddie’s (a company my firm unwisely inherited as an audit client), but also marginally less corrupt. But J & R sure knew their merchandise.

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    Ho ho ho! And of course I have to think that your New Jersey roots made you finely attuned to the hot market, stereotype though that may be. Loved the description of the aging computer boxes—I still have original packaging for electronic devices competing for the honor of “most worthy of tidying out of my life”.

    • Dave Ventre says:

      Khati, you may remember a movie called “Married to the Mob” in which the titular Mob Wife complains to her husband, “Everything we own fell off a truck!” Well, growing up, we got a nice discount on small appliances, high end clothing etc, and Dad was only a dock worker (albeit a supervisor and shop steward).

  4. Laurie Levy says:

    Quite a story, Dave. I guess if this happened for appliances and televisions, why not computers.

  5. Wow Dave, thanx for the fun story!

    And I well remember J & R Music World, now gone along with Blockbusters!

  6. YOu reminded me of all the boxes, and styrofoam I saved all those years! For desktop computers, printers, fax machines. OMG. Very entertaining story.

  7. Suzy says:

    As a Jersey Girl myself, I feel an urge to defend my state of birth . . . and of course you got that original hot computer at J&R in New York . . . but the term Jersey Discount IS pretty funny, so I ain’t gonna argue wit’ ya.

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