When I grew up in Singapore, I knew two things. That if I wanted some affordable computer hardware and software, I’d head to Funan Centre (then “Funan the IT Mall”, then “Funan DigitaLife Mall”). If I wanted really cheap computer components, I’d go to Sim Lim Square, and maybe Sim Lim Tower. Those places were full of tiny shops with more stock individually than an Australian Tandy would have. I spent more of my formative years surrounded by their walls than I care to admit.
Moving back to Sydney, I learned to live with high computer component prices. eBay and Gumtree didn’t have the instant gratification that buying parts at low prices from overcrowded, bustling marketplaces had, but they were acceptable.
On a whim, I needed a replacement Sandisk Extreme USB3 key, so I hit up StaticIce; that depressing site that reminds you just how overpriced stuff is in Australia. Among the retailers though were MSY, which Clara instantly recognised and demanded we pay a visit to in person. Sure enough, they have brick and mortar stores all around Australia, including a branch tucked away just behind UTS.
Walking in was like taking a step back home. Isles and isles and isles (and isles) of tall shelves with components. Display cases with routers and keyboards. That tiled carpet stuff with discarded packaging. A hardware nerd with an accumulating stack of boxes for PSUs, graphics card, storage, memory and cases. Aside from the long desk that separated customers from the shelves of goodness, you could have been transported into a more spacious Sim Lim Square store.
The staff were knowledgable and friendly, and their prices were very competitive. I won’t mention the well known chain of electronic stores, but suffice to say I got this memory key for almost a third less. And without the waiting time and shipping costs associated with eBay, it was even cheaper.
I get the feeling we’ll be making the pilgrimage back here many more times !