I'm in Milford, Connecticut, just north of Long Island Sound (pink in upper map). I can't walk on water or part the sea, so to get across the Sound, to Long Island, NY, I'd have to swim, take a boat, or fly about 21 miles.
Unfortunately, the incredibly STOOPID store locator software used by companies like CompUSA, thinks that Long Island Sound is a highway, not 8 trillion gallons water up to 120 feet deep. It assumes that if I am hot to get Windows Vista and that the CompUSA store in nearby Orange, CT is out if stock, I can make a quick 29-mile trip, as the bird flies, to Hauppauge, NY -- allegedly one mile closer than Norwalk, CT.
However, since I lack wings, and lack a boat, and don't feel like swimming in five-degree weather, I'd have to drive around the Sound to get to Hauppauge -- which is a distance of about 100 miles. If traffic is light, which it almost never is on Long Island, the trip would take two hours.
If I don't feel like going to Hauppauge, CompUSA suggests that I drive just 44 miles to Farmingdale, NY. Unfortunately for people in cars, not birds in the sky, the distance is about 96 miles -- much farther than the quoted 52 miles to reach Manchester, CT.
Computer competitor Circuit City thinks that their store in Smith Haven, NY is just 34 miles from here, allegedly just a little farther than Meriden, CT at 26 miles. But, since I can't fly, I'd have to drive. Mapquest says it's really 37 miles to Smith Haven, but it's going to take two hours because I have to take a slow FERRY across Long Island Sound ($112.50 round trip, and if I miss the boat, I have to wait 90 minutes for the next one). If I force MapQuest to keep me on the highway and off the water, it shows 108 miles of driving to reach the "nearby" Circuit City.
Best Buy isn't better. They show three Connecticut stores on their first listing page. The farthest in my state is Norwalk (25 miles), and the "next closest" store is South Setaukut, NY -- about 105 miles if I don't use a ferry or a helicopter. Best Buy thinks their stores in Danbury and Meriden CT are farther away than South Setaukut. But if I drive (or even walk), they're just 38 and 32 miles from here.
Staples is very precise. Their website says their store in Port Jefferson, NY is 20.05 miles away, apparently closer than the Norwalk, CT store at 22.48 miles, and just a teeny bit farther than Cheshire, CT at 19.81 miles. Sorry, Staples, I'm not a bird. If I don't feel like forking over $112.50 for the ferry, I'd have to drive about 113 miles to Port Jefferson -- a much longer trip than going to Cheshire or Norwalk.
CompUSA, Circuit City, Best Buy and Staples all need some new software. I wonder if I can trust any of them to sell me Vista on Tuesday morning. UPDATE: I tried to buy Vista at the nearby Staples, but they didn't have it. CLICK for the sad story.
Panasonic doesn't sell Vista, but they seem to use the same screwy software as the big-box electronics stores. Their website says there's a Panasonic phone system dealer 18.5 miles away from here, in Redding, CT; and one just a teeny bit farther, 18.9 miles away, near the Staples in good old Port Jefferson, NY. Of course, without a boat or wings, it's really 113 miles to Port Jeff.