A long, long time ago... Maybe 6-7 years. I was at the DI. (The DI is the Mormon equivalent of a Salvation Army store.) I'd been shopping the DI for months, hoping to chance upon one of these, a Marantz stereo. My buddy had one, and he said they showed up at the DI fairly regularly if you shopped long enough... So, there I am, shopping at the DI, when my buddy comes up to me and says, "Hey! I found a Marantz!" He'd been shopping in another part of the store and had seen the stereo and came and got me. Then he told me a story. He'd been eyeing the Marantz and was talking to a guy who was also eyeing it. The guy said, "I'm not sure about this," and my buddy said, "They're sweet little machines." "I don't have the $5 though," the guy said. "Too bad, they're pretty sweet!" my buddy said. Then the guy got a little glint in his eye and said, "Watch this!" and picked up the marantz and slid behind a little employees only area and put it back in the back part of the store where customers aren't allowed. When he stepped back around he said, "I'll go get some money and be back." And then my buddy came and got me. And I decided that I wanted the Marantz, so I asked the people in charge if the guy was allowed to keep things back there, they said no, and put it back on the shelf. So I took it to the front and paid my $5.
I've tried to rationalize my behavior in a lot of ways. But basically I snatched up the Marantz like it was going out of style (well, technically it _had_ gone out of style 20 years earlier..., but you get my drift.) when somebody else had left eagerly to return and buy it and then founnd it bought. Everytime I think about this story I feel a big twinge of guilt.
The Marantz in question had a lot of problems: it's missing a few switches, it has a busted speaker protection relay that needs to be cleaned, and it had a short-circuited power switch leaving it in a constant state of being on. The only way to turn it off is to unplug it, and in our current setup, that's not really possible.
So, over the last couple of days, I've been trying to find a way to get in and clean the speaker protection relay (it makes the speakers cut in and out all the time: pretty annoying) and trying to find a way to get a power switch in that sucker. I managed to get a power switch in this morning, despite a comedy of errors involving me: slicing both of my index fingers open, and burning my left thumb and index finger on a soldering iron. I also don't really have big enough solder or a hot enough soldering iron to make the kinds of solders that the thing has inside, but what I did should be good enough in a pinch, I think. If the solder melts and slips off the connections I made to the switch should still be viable.
But no matter how much I tweak the marantz (I found a neat site that gives all sorts of sweet repairs and mods you can make to them to get them back to working condition), I think I'll probably always feel a twinge of guilt everytime I look at it.