My Friendly Neighbourhood PC Store

I’ve long had a love hate relationship with the PC World megastore in my hometown. On the one hand they’re the only folks in town stocking any computer stuff. On the other hand they are truly dreadful:

  • Even during a lunchtime a week before Christmas they have only one till open. When another staff member opened a second till for someone buying something a queue formed. “I’m not open, I’m afraid,” the staff member said. One customer was so livid he threw his intended purchases on a nearby display, offered some unChristmas-like valedictions to the staff and left empty-handed. I would have followed in solidarity but I really, really needed the Bluetooth adapter.
  • Sadly the staff look like uber-geeks but are idiots. I asked a guy for help on scanners — which were powered, which were USB2.0 compliant, all that kind of basic stuff (which wasn’t written anywhere on the labels), and he launched into a long treatise that bore only tangential relationship with the topic in hand. I’m no expert, but I know a bluffer when I see one. He didn’t even offer to look up the information for me.
  • When I took an Ethernet cable to the counter and asked whether I had the right one for a network (as opposed to connecting two computers, which, I read, would involve different wiring) he felt the cable itself and said, “Yeah, that’s the right one, it’s red.” Ah, that’s alright then; 
  • What I really hate, and this may not be their fault, is the supplying of gear without cables. It’s been the practice of printer manufacturers for some time now to sell their printers without the USB cable. I guess this shaves a few pounds off the price, but it’s sneaky and merely enables the store to then charge the unsuspecting punter for the most expensive USB cable in the store ‘because it’s better’. The number of times I’ve seen naive shoppers taken in by this annoys the hell out of me. Probably they’ve got a USB cable at home that would do the job, but, unsuspecting and trusting, they believe the guy and take whatever is recommended to them in the shop. Some of these cables cost $20 or more, significantly adding to the cost of the device. And don’t get me started on the dodgy ‘no cartridges in the printer box’ scam. Jeesh.

For once you’d think these shops would try to win customers’ long term loyalty by giving them good information and a square deal. But why bother when you’re the only store in town?

23. December 2004 by jeremy
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