Very, very floppy disks

In 1979, soon after my partner, my wife, and I had opened one of the first computer retail stores in Western Canada, we were going great guns. Our clientele was growing rapidly, snapping up Apple II’s so quickly we had difficulty keeping them in stock, especially after Apple introduced floppy disk drives. At the time, the drives accepted SSSD 5 1/4″ floppies – they were soft sectored, and held a whopping 108K – which we sold in packs of ten.

On a warm Saturday that summer, a customer who’d bought one of those packs walked into our store with a frown on his face, strode up to me, and with much agitation complained bitterly that “not a @#**% single one of these *%$*# diskettes work!”. He whipped out the box, opened it, and took out all ten diskettes … and sure enough, he was right. He had very carefully cut open the stiff plastic casing of every one, pulled out the now VERY floppy disk within, and tried to stuff said disk into the disk drive.

I somehow managed to keep a straight face while explaining what he’d done wrong … and cut him some slack by giving him a new box of ten for free. After he’d calmed down, we both had a good laugh; it paid us to be flexible, too, because he became one of our best customers over the years.

Griff Hawkins, Calgary

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