Not the worst origin story actually... Most people are familiar with Goodwill thrift stores, well, in some cities they have these giant versions called Goodwill Outlet Stores, they sell the waste from regular Goodwill retail stores, things that were put out and didn't sell over a period of time. They sell it by weight, something like $1.49 cents per pound. Interesting side note, they don't allow you to buy computers at the Goodwill outlet store because of data security (I'm not even sure how computers get there in the first place TBH).
So anyway, I was at the Goodwill Outlet store looking for video games or whatever, and then PB 486 came out in a bin with all the manuals and a few install disks scattered around. Here comes the bad part... The Goodwill Outlet store is freaking disgusting sometimes, I've seen soiled diapers, full cases of rotten eggs, I could go on.. But you get the idea... So what foulness had befallen the Packard Bell?
Cat feces and cat urine!
I wear gloves when I'm at this store, I'm very careful. I'm even easily grossed out by stuff like that... Like, easily grossed out. I almost just dropped the thing and let it go, but something very interesting was on the back of it... The warranty sticker still sealed saying "Warranty void if removed". I've always dreamed of owning a 486... I've wanted one for a long time. Was I willing to pick up this vile disgusting piece of hardware and clean it on the off chance that it just happened to still work? The answer is pretty obvious, I picked it up with my gloves, tried to keep it as far away from myself as possible, plopped it in the cart... Grabbed any manuals and headed to the checkout. This thing smelled like a dead raccoon, looked like total garbage, I didn't want to go anywhere near it... Yet I still had to get it through the checkout knowing they don't accept any computers at all!
The girl at the counter said "No, I can't sell that to you", of course I got someone who respects policy. I then asked her to speak to the manager, because hey, at this point... I'm getting this thing out of here, I've already disgusted myself to no end, I've already picked up a cat shit and piss infested computer that probably doesn't work at all... Let me talk to the damn manager, hell, I'll call the CEO at this point.
The manager comes out after she calls him on the intercom and I just make up a story on the spot, I say "Hi there, I understand there's a policy where you can't sell computers, but I suspect that policy is based on the fact that people's personal data could be on them."
Knowing the next thing I was saying was an outright lie I said "Look there, you see that floppy disk drive? Computers with floppy disk drives don't have hard drives, they can't store any personal information without a disk to put in there. This computer is really old and I really need this thing, I assure you nothing's on it, please let me buy it."
I put the thing in the back of my car under some trash bags I luckily had in the back seat. I brought it home and set up a kind of quarantine area with trash bags taped up and put everywhere to try to protect my living room from the filth I was about to deal with. First I cleaned the outside with a mixture of ammonia, water, and bleach. I scrubbed for hours, determined to eliminate all the grossness. Eventually I was able to open the case and see the damage inside, thankfully, just a few areas near the back of the machine were dirty and I was able to diligently clean them. I really went to town on this thing, q-tips, toothbrushes, paper towels, hours and hours of cleaning...
And then the critical moment came, I was ready to plug it in and see if it powers on. IT POWERED UP THE FIRST TRY AND DISPLAYED THE POST SCREEN!