Writer’s Workshop: The Christmas of Broken Toys

Today’s prompt: Write about a time you wasted your money.

Mary and I have a deal at Christmas: we buy for ourselves, then pretend we got the stuff from each other. She usually wants knitting books, yarn, and other knitting paraphernalia, and at the time I was heavy into computers and peripherals. We’d have ended up having to tell each other exactly what we wanted and where to get it from, and finally we decided to eliminate the middleman. Works for us.

This one Christmas I couldn’t decide what I wanted, and it was getting close to Christmas. Finally, I was flipping through a catalog and saw a bunch of computer accessories I thought I could use, and they came to $50 with shipping and everything. So, I ordered it, and was relieved that I had finished my Christmas shopping.

The stuff all came in a box, and I held off opening it until Christmas morning. I brought all of it up to my office and started plugging it in. Understand, this was in the olden days when peripherals all came with driver software and nothing attached with USB cables, so I had to actually screw the stuff into the back of my computer. I got everything attached and ready to go… and nothing worked. I tried installing the drivers, and none of them would install, or it wouldn’t find the device I had installed and would tell me so, in large letters.

I go to the vendor’s website and find driver software, but had the same issues with what I downloaded. I tried every trick I knew, and it still wouldn’t install, and I couldn’t use the stuff without the appropriate drivers. Of course, it being Christmas Day, no one was working, so I put the stuff aside and figured I would call in the morning.

When I finally got through to them, the guy asked, “What release of Windows are you running?”

“NT,” I said.

“Ohhhhhhh… that stuff won’t work on Windows NT. It’ll work on 95 and ME, but that’s as far as we’re supporting those items. You might try getting your money back from whoever sold the stuff to you.”

So I call the people I bought the stuff from, and was told the stuff was on final clearance and couldn’t be returned.

$50 worth of peripherals, no good on my release of Windows. I just threw the stuff away. Merry Christmas.

17 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: The Christmas of Broken Toys

  1. Too many flavors of Windows, even today. Just had Windows 10 decide not to start in normal or Safe modes – after sign-in, all I get is a cursor arrow on a black screen. I can move the cursor around, but that’s it. Problem coincided with removal of three trojans by WebRoot and a disk failure in my Drobo NAS box. There was also a Windows update a couple days ago.

    Not sure how any of this relates to the problem, but it’s probably at least $100 to fix. It was more than that the last time the machine locked up a couple three years ago.


    1. I had to look up Drobo because I had no idea what you were talking about. That’s some serious backup equipment. I can get away with a 3TB desktop backup unit, and even then I’m not using just under 2TB of it…


  2. LOL You’re lucky it was only $50! My husband and I have a similar arrangement except that I buy for myself but give it to him to wrap and put under the tree. I buy for him, wrap and put under the tree. Sometimes I still use the middle man but I give him a list, with pictures and the names of the stores, sometimes even discount coupons 🙂 Much better than getting yellow gold jewelry when you really only love white gold/silver 🙂


  3. I had that same thing happen with a Pagemaker Program. It was the program magazines used for years and years and the one I did wedding invitations, business cards, graduation announcements, etc. on at the copy shop where I worked. LOVED that sucker. Took a class at the college in it and got the student edition for home. Would have loved to have had the entire program but it was over $1000. Then about five years ago I found a copy of it on Amazon for $50! I was over the moon and ordered it for Christmas. THEN we got it in the mail and it wouldn’t work with our operating system. I was so heart broken… We had a second hard drive put in our PC and the guy rigged it up so I could still access the student edition I had. So I have SOME of it, but not nearly all…

    Impromptu Promptlings
    A to Z Challenge Letter W


  4. What a sad story! I love how your gift exchange works though. So simple and practical. I send an email to my husband about a month before Christmas with links to what I want. He loves it because then there’s no guessing. I see I can simplify the process even more though.


    1. Best-selling operating system notwithstanding, Windows is not a very good operating system. How much of the problem is Microsoft’s deliberate attempt at drumming up support for its own products is anyone’s guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s so frustrating! We ran into similar issues with a printer we ordered from ebay. I could not get it to work with my computer, it needed a disc to download the program and it didn’t come with one. So many missing things that I ended up just shoving it in a closet somewhere.


    1. And of course eBay is as-is, and even if it wasn’t it’d cost a fortune to semd it back. Printers are a waste of money, whether or not they work. When this printer goes, I’m not replacing it…


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