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The place I bought my first TI-99/4A is fading into history.


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#26 digdugnate OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:33 AM

Dad bought ours from JC Penny, I believe.  At lest THEY'RE still around...for now.

veering off-topic, slightly, I'll be sad if they do close down because that's where I usually go for my office wardrobe, lol.



#27 BuckoBrand OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:52 AM

<< NEWS ARTICLE HERE >>

 

I'm feeling old today.  :(    The company I bought my first TI-99/4A, and many of it's accessories from, is fading into history.  While my local store has been gone for years, the entire company is about to be thrown into the 'dustbin of history'.

 

When thinking back, I realize that almost every company or store I did business with as a young adult is now gone.  Sears, Radio Shack, Wards, Pay-N-Pak, for the big chains, and too many smaller outfits to name.

 

Oh no!!! :(



#28 mizapf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:11 AM

Interestingly, the place where I got my TI in Germany is also in trouble in recent time; it was the "Kaufhof" department store in Frankfurt. In September 2018, Kaufhof announced to be merged with Karstadt (another big department store), so I suppose the store will not vanish as such. Some years ago (about 10) I wandered through the computer department in the store, and I saw the guy again who sold us the TI back in 1982, so he was still around at that time.

 

I remember in the 80ies and 90ies we had plenty of stores in Frankfurt where you could get computer equipment, like Vobis, Escom, Arlt etc., and only the latter has survived.



#29 Ksarul OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:38 AM

I used to go into Vobis, Karstadt, Quelle, Neckermann, Massa, and Kaufhof all of the time while I was in Germany. Almost all of them are gone now. . .



#30 bandit OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:39 AM

The store I bought mine is called BlackBird. I bought car parts from them in the 60's and my dad in the 50's The sold Hotrod parts. there still going strong . When I bought mine the State had only one areacode.



#31 ElectricLab OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:00 PM

I bought my TI 1983, right before Christmas I think (or shortly after) at K-Mart in Gresham, OR for $50 after TI had thrown in the towel. I was just 14 at the time. My older brother already had a TI for a year before me, and I recall becoming completely captivated by it. Unfortunately, I got very little actual time on his computer (sibling rivalry much?) and remember watching him type in programs from magazines and running them. My brother isn't a techie and while he was content running others' programs and playing games, I remember getting an overwhelming and consuming desire to dig deeper and learn how it worked; to modify the code and learn how make it do all those amazing graphics and sound myself! I did get to dabble sometimes, but it was clear that it was his computer, and the keyboard time I got was direly insufficient for a budding geek. Needless to say I had been somewhat determined to get my own TI by the time Winter '83 came around. 

 

I had been saving all that summer and after consolidating my allowance, lawn-mowing money, and birthday cash, I was still about halfway towards my goal of saving enough for a TI 99 at its normal retail price. Imagine how jazzed I was when I saw the ad in the paper Kmart would be selling them for $50! I'd have enough left over for cassette recorder, Extended Basic and maybe even a game!

I proceeded to make hot plans to be there on first day of the sale, as early as possible.

 

I remember showing up an hour before they opened on the fateful day, and there were already a bunch of people in the entry way. The store was letting people queue up inside the first doors because it was coooold outside. I was pretty shy so I just parked & locked my bike and quietly joined the back of the line, hoping beyond hope that these people were here for cabbage patch dolls and not TIs. Just then, some guy towards the front of the line said to me: "Gee, I hope you're not here for a TI computer, they're all gone." I was completely crestfallen and turned around to leave when the guy said "Just kidding! The store has 25 in stock and we've been passing out numbers, and there are a couple left. Here.." and he handed me a hand-written number. I can't remember what number I got, but it was almost the last one.

 

I still remember the moment at opening time, when the store employees unlocked the doors and was all rushed back to the  Home Electronics section. There was excitement and some anxiety as we all made our way through the store, even though we had numbers and were all but guaranteed to get a computer. Nowadays there'd probably be no orderly numbering system and there'd likely be a brawl, or some jerk would buy all of them and re-sell them on Craigslist.

 

At last! I finally had my own hardware and didn't have to beg for time on my brother's coveted console. It was 100% mine and I could do whatever I wanted with it.

I didn't know anything about TI exiting the market, the state of the home computer market, or where this adventure would take me. I was just thrilled to have my own system.

I must've spent every spare minute with that thing for about 2 years. That day was a changing point in my life without question.  I'm glad I remember this experience the way I do, and I sure wish I'd kept that number I'd been handed.

 

That K-mart is still standing and operating under that name. I'm still standing too, and I wonder how different my life would be had I not spent those formative years teaching myself to code.


Edited by ElectricLab, Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:37 PM.


#32 FarmerPotato ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:25 PM

 

I still remember the moment at opening time, when the store employees unlocked the doors and was all rushed back to the  Home Electronics section. There was excitement and some anxiety as we all made our way through the store, even though we had numbers and were all but guaranteed to get a computer. Nowadays there'd probably be no orderly numbering system and there'd likely be a brawl, or some jerk would buy all of them and re-sell them on Craigslist.

 

That was a great story. Thanks for sharing.



#33 TInaut OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:59 PM

Bought my 99/4A at Service Merchandise in 1982 for $299 plus $100 rebate. In 2002 they closed down. I had saved my allowance and lunch money for 5 years to make that purchase. Then I bought 6 modules to get the free Speech Synthesizer. I recall I bought Parsec, Alpiner, TE II, XB, Mini Memory, and Tunnels of Doom to get speech. I needed a cassette recorder, so I got the Panasonic.

TI Folly?

After that I got the Percom SSSD disk controller and drive with DM 2, Tachyon 32K, and Ultracomp RS232/PIO.

Until 1985, I was using this system on a B&W TV.

Really, some of us did not have Color TV in 1985.

Edited by TInaut, Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:02 PM.


#34 sparkdrummer OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:13 PM

Electriclab
My experience is similar to yours. Exception wss there were about 300 people waiting outside for the store to open. When it opened we all ran to the electronics department with employees yelling Dont run, we have one for everybody! We did not stop running and when we got to the counter, everyone, in unison TI-99/4A home computer please! Not everyone got one, but I did.

#35 ElectricLab OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:50 PM

Electriclab
My experience is similar to yours. Exception wss there were about 300 people waiting outside for the store to open. When it opened we all ran to the electronics department with employees yelling Dont run, we have one for everybody! We did not stop running and when we got to the counter, everyone, in unison TI-99/4A home computer please! Not everyone got one, but I did.

 

That's remarkably similar. This scene must've taken place at many a retail store around that same time. It's great you remember it too :)

 

I remembered something else about that experience at Kmart. Mine was a beige console (I know, I know, but I didn't care. 14-yr old me thought it was cool). The box had the round yellow "$50 dollar rebate thru Jan 31 1984" on it. Since Kmart was selling them for $49.00 (not $50 like I said earlier), people were wondering and asking questions. The clerk said "Oh yeah that rebate is no longer valid - You're not getting paid $1 to take these home, har har" or something corny like that. 

 

@TInaut - I did't have a color TV connected to mine until 1985 too, when I scored one at a flea market for cheap. Up until then it was a hand-me-way-on-down small black&white TV.



#36 sparkdrummer OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:19 AM

The console I got at Kmart was a beige one as well, not a QI unit. I had no problem with it being beige. I have no problem with beige, its whats inside that counts.

#37 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

--- Ω ---

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Posted Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:09 AM

What stands out the most to me was how much it cost me to get a printer and modem going back then.  First I needed the RS-232 card (not cheap), then the printer (also not cheap back then) and finally the modem (again not cheap).  Running the numbers through the << INFLATION CALCULATOR >> I must have been nuts, because those three things combined was about a 12th of my yearly income back then.



#38 bandit OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:25 AM

Here is my scanned receipt with rebate form. let's see yours.

Attached Files



#39 OLD CS1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:32 AM

That is pretty cool.  It never ceases to amaze me how such mundane items become historical pieces.



#40 Ed in SoDak OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:09 AM

These stories bring back the excitement, special times that deserve retelling.

 

I didn't join the ranks till after the market shakeout, but I got a much better deal by waiting. I'd checked out the TI99/4 in Sears out of curiousity, so that was back when prices were up there. In '84, I ended up with a used Timex 1000 with 16k for $50 and learned BASIC on it. In a year or so, I'd hacked it into a useful tool, indispensible in my photo darkroom business.

 

My dad meanwhile, had picked up a Osborne and became totally frustrated by not being able to print to it, so he went to TI. A South Dakota Snowbird, he scrounged the huge fleamarkets in Arizona and scored both of us a console and good assortment of carts and cassette programs. That's how I got my introduction to TI and we both dove in. About a year or so later, he scored big, we both ended up with populated PEBs, dual drives plus tons more software, newsletters and magazines he continued to pick up. I repaid his expenses, can't recall my share, $180 maybe?

 

A second full setup came from a "flyboy" stationed at Ellsworth AFB. I guess a lot of them were into TI. The disks held a lot of programs I was unfamiliar with, likely user-written by fellow airmen and passed around.

 

Of course the TI fully replaced the old TImex, and the Mac retired the TI, but I still have most everything and get my hands dirty messing around on and in them.

 

I have no idea if the giant Arizona fleamarket is still around, I never got to even see the place where most my TI stuff came from!

-Ed


Edited by Ed in SoDak, Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:15 AM.


#41 DavidC OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:22 PM

I was around 13 or so experimenting with computers in school, during lunch or study hall, my AV group had a loan program, where you could borrow a computer and bring it home like borrowing a library book. I brought home a timex sinclare for a weekend. I didn't know anything other than the "Hello World" but I sure had fun watching my friend who knew EVERYTHING work his magic.

My father and I were at Ames, a general store, kinda like a Kmart a few weeks later. There was a TI99/4a sitting on a shelf with the price knocked down to $49.99. The last one.

Please Dad? He said..grab it. It's yours.

I couldn't wait to get home and open the box and see the brilliance of that beautiful computer. Of course, I still knew nothing other than the "Hello World", but my friend did. We spent hours upon hours programming on that machine, he taught me how to define characters and make them animate. We typed in programs from the magazines, we made our own text adventures, we had fun. Good clean fun. I still have that original TI my dad bought for me, all those years ago. I cherish it. Thanks Dad!

#42 cbmeeks OFFLINE  

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Posted Yesterday, 10:28 AM

My grandmother bought me my first computer (the TI) when I was 9.  This would have been in 1982.  She bought it from a Western Auto store.  This particular store sold things like car parts, bicycles, etc.  For some reason, they had some very cheap TI's there.  Probably when TI was selling them for $49 or so.

 

Western Auto went under a long time ago.

 

Regarding Sears....I remember when Sears was THE place to go when you wanted to shop.  That Christmas catalog was my internet in the 80's.  I remember seeing a Porsche car in Sears as a kid.  Not a full size.  But a small, child-sized Porsche that ran on gas.  Sort of like a go-cart but with a licensed Porsche body.

 

I go into that exact same Sears today...and it's almost empty.  They are literally selling the fixtures and furniture.  Sad...

 

K-Mart was where my mom bought my first NES games.  And I used to see TI and C64 games there as well.






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