So over the last week or so I've been looking on the net for a good Laptop bag. The biggest problem of shopping online is that you get pictures like this...
These pictures tell me nothing about the size and quality of the pockets, whether it has wheels - how sturdy the bag and the pull up wheels will be etc... You just can't shop for one online unless you find it OFFLINE at a store and buy it online.
Yes I already have a laptop bag I bought with my Dell. But it's really only made for the laptop and cords. And it's ugly. And it's too small.
So why do I suddenly need a nice laptop bag you ask. Well I have several jobs and one new one that I will be spending nearly all of my time on is that of a legal mediator. What's that? It's when there is a lawsuit going on and the two sides want to try to settle it out of court with the help of someone like me. I am an Attorney licensed in Illinois, living in Florida for the last eight years. I cannot practice law in Fort Lauderdale where I live because I refuse to take Florida's horrific bar exam and have no real inclination to practice law again. However - facilitating settlements and agreements is something I enjoy. So I took all of the required courses and filled out the required applications and I am now a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Mediator.
I own a Dell Laptop that is about..ummm... maybe 4 to 5 years old. When I bought it I bought a good one. Cinema screen etc... I have no need to replace it. It has all the applications I need on it.
As a mediator I will need to drag around a laptop to write agreements on, and a printer to print them on. I just bought the Canon IP100 portable printer which is tiny fast and terrific. (technically it's a photo printer but it prints 22 pages a minute in regular black and white mode).
I will also need a good amount of paper, all of the various cords (of which there are a ton), legal pads to keep notes on, pens, etc...etc...
So I was looking for a BIG laptop bag with wheels. If I have to drag all of this stuff to every mediation wheels are big.
So today I went to the Galleria Mall in Fort Lauderdale. For those unfamiliar with the mall it has a good selection of stores and is less than a mile from one of the nicest stretches of ocean you will find.
So off I went... first to Dillards where they told me they were sold out of nearly all laptop bags. For some reason there had been a rush on them and they didn't have any except small ones that I didn't need. Since I went there first I decided I'd come back.
Then off to the help desk in the mall which directed me to two luggage stores. The first had a good selection of bags... but when I was playing around with the pull up wheel handle I noticed that it wasn't well made... it looked like it could fall apart every time you pulled it up to get the wheels working. Also it's was $150 which was more than I wanted to spend.
Next was to another luggage store. As I got there I saw that there was a man in a $500 suit standing in the doorway of an all glass enclosed store. My first thought was "no way in hell I can afford this place". Well, I was right. The low end bag there was $600.
Next off to Needless Markup (Neiman Marcus) - they didn't carry any. Then off to a few more department stores and ending up at Macy's. Macy's had a good selection but were expensive. However the nice Indian man who was helping me whispered 50% off this Friday and Saturday in my ear. This would have made the only bag I liked about $175. I refer to him as the nice Indian because he said when I came back to look for the Indian guy he was the only one who worked there and he gets commission. (and I would have come back to him).
So it's been a few hours now and the simple task of getting this bag was getting annoying. I went back to Dillards where I had parked anyway and asked the guy for suggestions. He said Marshalls, Target, and a Luggage place right across the street in the strip mall.
So I left and decided to make a quick stop at the luggage store which was nice but didn't exactly have a terrific selection of what I needed.
Why was this so hard? I would imagine most people don't have the storage needs I had.
So I was looking around in the luggage store and I ran into a longtime friend who was there about repairing a piece of real luggage. When I saw her I hit my head with my hand and called myself names which I won't repeat here. I told her what I was looking for and she said she had 10 or 15 that would suit me at her house for free. After all, she works for HP.... (thus the head hitting... I never remember she works for HP until I waste all of my time).
So we get to her house and she pulls out a huge laptop bag she had been using but no longer needed - it was for a 17" computer and it had an incredible amount of space. It was HUGE compared to what I've seen. It was made very well and had the handle with wheels. I was SET! It just took me 3 hours to do what I could have done in one phone call had I been thinking. But in the end, I got the bag I needed for the very best price you can get one for. (it's about as big as a decent sized carry on).
So now that I have this I can start my new career - that is after I find business.
What else do I do? I was a professional trader (daytrader) for 10 years working from my home (I have a hell of a computer setup). I also have founded four internet company's all of which haven't made anything or gone anywhere except for the current one which is looking pretty good. If you're interested it's www.toldya.com - you will recognize the type of widget ads you've seen on some of my stories. And if you have a blog you may want to consider using the tech - it's free. I now own a part of the company and there is no major need for my services... thus leading to becoming a mediator until the people running it sell it to Google for a billion (:>).
FYI, as an addendum. I looked on Amazon for the bag and found it. It's a terrific price and the reviews are great. Here it is. Also this is the Widget technology I was talking about. Try clicking on the picture for a description and then click on the reviews for the actual reviews without having to go to Amazon. Also try the search box on top - you can search all of Amazon for ANY product and get all the same kind of info from one widget.