More than with any other product on the market today, people are willing to shell out thousands of dollars to buy something of which they have no real conception -- a computer.
I used to work for MacWarehouse as a tech support representative. One day a gentleman called who had never had a computer before. He was trying to set up his new system. I tried and I tried but I just couldn't make him understand where to plug the cables in. Finally I looked up the details on his order. He had ordered top-of-the-line everything -- monitor, keyboard, printer, modem, scanner, speakers, CD-ROM drive, external hard drive......except, he had not ordered the actual computer itself. No wonder the cables would not plug in anywhere.
Customer: "One of my friends gave me an ImageWriter printer and this keyboard. He said he gave me all the cables, but I can't figure out how to connect them. Am I missing something?"
Tech Support: "Well, a computer would help."
Customer: "You mean this keyboard isn't a word processor?"
Tech Support: "No ma'am, its just an input device."
Customer: "Then I need to buy a computer, right?"
Tech Support: "Yes."
Customer: "Do you think I'll need a monitor, too?"
Customer: "Do I need a monitor? I have everything else."
Tech Support: "Yes, ma'am."
Customer: "Why? That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of."
On one occasion, a lady came into the store, apparently interested in buying a home computer. After surveying the models on display, she walked over to one and pointed to the monitor and keyboard saying, "I think I need one of these, and one of those...." She then pointed to the CPU and continued, "...but I don't think I need one of those."
Well, I had one event happen to me, where one lady had just bought a Apple IIc and complained that she was having problems with her monitor, so we told her to bring her monitor in, and we'd check it out. So she brings her monitor in, and we plug it in, and it works without a flaw. We tell her that the monitor isn't the problem, and to bring her CPU in. She stares at us blankly, and asks, "What's the CPU?" Joe explains that it's the piece of equipment that all your devices plug into. So about twenty minutes later, she returns and walks in carrying the surge supressor. When we explained to her the item that we needed her to bring in, she replied, "Oh you mean the keyboard!" (On Apple IIc's, the CPU box and keyboard are part of the same unit.) And to make this all the more interesting, she was a gradeschool computer class instructor.