Article about the vanished support for Atari at Mr Data. Published in Atari Magasinet #1, 1998 (swedish magazine). Translated into english by the author.
The inside story of the vanished support for Atari at Mr Data
Mr Data don't take their hat off for Atari users anymore!
When I started working at Mr Data AB about four years ago, the main focus was repairing Amiga, Atari and to some extent PC. About two years ago, it was changed due to declining sales of those computers, which lead to that the main focus was switched to PC computers instead. Amiga and Atari accessories were kept available thanks to two enthusiasts (Martin and myself), who wanted to continue in spite of the declining market - otherwise those products would have disappeared at that time.
The change in focus proved to be the correct move for the company, since Commodore went bankrupt and Atari stopped their production eventually - in addition to the "fantastic" interest the swedish distributor, Adastra, showed. Well, anyway, we noticed later on that neither Atari nor C-lab were very good distributors either, so I'm not sure that Adastra should be blamed too much for the delivery problems... In spite of the problems, the sales have drawn money to Mr Data, so it was still possible to talk the manager into continuing the support for Atari and Amiga.
Mr Data Syd emerges
In the summer 1996, the Malmo department broke free of the Stockholm based company Mr Data AB - and became Mr Data Syd AB. In conjunction with this, restrictions were introduced against everything but PC and the management made it clear that everything else would disappear from the shop because we would become more "professional" - PC were "serious" computers while Amiga and Atari were "games" machines according to the management. The development has proven the opposite and now there's a greater deal of the Atari and Amiga users who use their machines for utilities rather than games while the PC users mostly play games. We who still wanted to handle the Atari and Amiga accessories didn't want to give up that easy since we didn't want to leave the customers to themselves without a retailer to turn to. The management however, thought that it was ok to do so, in spite of the fact that there were still many users and the accessories were still available - but we were allowed to continue temporarily.
After a while we were explicitly forbidden to handle the "odd" machines during normal working time because this vanishing small was claimed to take too much of our time. In spite of our protests, we had nothing to do but follow the orders and try to keep some sort of support after hours instead - except getting paid for the extra time even though it game an extra income for the company :( Eventually there came a time when packages addressed to us weren't picked up from the post office since it would have taken too much time during the days. The next hit against us came a couple of weeks ago, when we were informed that no handling at all of those "odd" machines was allowed through the company at any time. I wasn't even allowed to answer the phone, as it might be an old Atari or Amiga customer. All those decisions have been made by the management without asking the persons who would be affected by them - or even informing us in some way before the decisions were made so that we would have had a chance to direct customers elsewhere. So nowadays we're just like every other PC-shop and don't have anything different to offer (in my wordlist, professional means versatile and not single-minded...). Now, the prices are pushed to the limit and time isn't enough for any of us employees. Out of cheapness the management refuses to employ more people to make people work reasonably much - they just say we have to become more efficient instead (how it would be possible to be more efficient when the right circumstances aren't present, I simply don't know). The fact that 6 out of 11 persons have quit at the company during the last 7 months hasn't been taken seriously by the management - instead they claim those persons haven't been suitable for the company. The whole situation is ridiculous, but apparently that's the way it should be...
Where should swedish Atari customers turn to now?
The last year has, put mildly, been frustrating for me and sometimes deliveries of Atari stuff hasn't been given to me for distribution further to the customers who ordered them - instead they've been tucked away in some dark corner since someone thought that money from Atari customers are less worth than money from PC-customers, even though the same numbers are printed on them. Because of all these problems, I've decided to open up a small business of my own, in my spare time. I'll handle repairs, orders of equipment for Atari computers and also some studio equipment since I've gained some contacts in this area too, CD-burning etc. More info can be found on the site www.holmerup.com.
In my business I'll handle all contact with the outside world via e-mail or fax (I prefer e-mail). The e-mail address is email@example.com and the fax is +46 40 6113086. I don't want any calls to my home number. I have a bigger chance of handling everything effectively if I can answer questions via e-mail or fax when I have a minute to spare instead of interrupting what I do for the moment and answer the phone.
Naturally, this means further problems for Atari customers, but it's the best I can do for the moment. If you don't have the access to e-mail or fax, I'm sorry to say that you'll have to turn elsewhere.