In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, if someone wanted to buy a personal computer, they had to make a trip down to a local computer store to physically check out what was available. Once there, customers typically encountered a dizzying array of incompatible platforms with widely varying capabilities.
Depending on the era, think of computers with brand names like Apple, Atari, Commodore, Osborne, Texas Instruments, Radio Shack, Tandy, IBM, NEC, Sinclair, Panasonic, and more.
In today's world of online ordering, smartphones, tablets, and only two major desktop PC platforms (Mac and Windows), it's hard to imagine what exactly computer stores of the 1980s -- with all their varied wares -- must have looked like. So I did my best to track down snapshots that give a glimpse into what it was like to visit one of those stores back then.
While searching, I found a number of international photos, which give this slideshow a slightly worldwide flavor, but the rest are from the United States. And technically, only one photo is from the 1970s, and it gives a look at the dawn of the computer retail store.
After you're done reading, I have a question for you old timers out there: If you're old enough, what are your memories of computer shopping in the 1980s?