Regular readers will be aware at I was regrettablyburgled some weeks ago. I am however happy to say that, after 30 days my window (which had been rather impressively removed from my wall without breaking) has been replaced - thus making my house safe once more. In another bout of unprecedented good news I also received compensation from my insurer (Direct Line) to cover the price of the items stolen which were 1 digital camera, 1 xbox and 1 laptop (as well as miscellaneous games).
Fortunately for me (or so I thought) Direct Line operate a ‘like for new policy’ which states that I would be rescinded the value of my stolen item as if they were new. Then they give me a pre-paid credit card with the amount they felt that my items are worth. This seems like a pretty straight forward concept, right? So why fuck it up by only allowing me to purchase these goods in Comet? When was the last time anyone bought anything in a Comet store? In fact, where is there a comet store these days?
I was frustrated, naturally, as I had hoped that I wouldbe able to shop at my leisure and buy a laptop from e-buyer or at least a PC World. But, as was expected this frustration was nothing compared to having to go into the shop and actually try and buy the Godforsaken item.As a side note, I have friends and used to go out with a girl who shopped for ‘fun’ – all I can ascertain from this is that you are all mentally ill.
Annoyingly, the £399.99 I was given for the value of my laptop went only some way to buying me the modern day equalivent of my stolen laptop due to the VAT increase. This ate into my Xbox budget and obliterated my Digital Camera nest egg. Compounding this, I was met by the most ill-informed and frankly aggressive salesman I have ever encountered in my awesome 29 years on this grey Earth. This guy was the embodiment of arrogance. Sales were his lifeblood and his essence and he was damned if he was going to get something as futile as my opinion or need get in the way of a Goddam sale…and so began our stand off.
‘You don’t want that one like mate’ he informed me.
‘I don’t’ I replied politely taking in his confident stance and assertive body language.
‘Nah bud’ he replied with a coolness which seemed equally effortless and forced. ‘It’ll be obsolete within a few months and then you’ll just have to replace it’.
He took a few stops to his right and stood in front of a HP laptop with a needlessly big screen before opening his mouth and announcing: ‘this is the one you want.’ I walked forward and looked at the beast of a machine. It was impressive, I can’t deny that but it far exceeded both my need and the price I was prepared to pay for a computer.
He then went into some rehearsed diatribe of consisting of numbers, jargon and processing speeds. I tried to interject on a number of occasions but he just turned his head and raised his voice as though making a key note speech and trying to ignore whispering. After he finished he seemed almost annoyed that I wasn’t visibly impressed – out of awkwardness I made a faint ‘hmmm’noise, but on reflection I think he anticipated a round of applause. I took a few steps back to the new ACER Aspire (now priced at £439.99).
‘This one will be fine’ I instructed.
He actually sucked his teeth before responding ‘You’re chucking your money away’.
‘Ok’ I responded and walked off, literally. I wasn’t bartering, I was just happy enough to come back again later or have a look on their website. As I walked into the sunset like an IT literate cowboy I heard him yelling.
(Did he just call me blud?).
I turned back to him and he was shaking his head.
‘Don’t get me wrong’ he quipped. ‘The ACER is a good machine, yeah. Its just the HP s got it all’.
I was frustrated by this point and my tone must havegone someway to demonstrating this.
‘I don’t need it all, mate’ I responded. ‘I just want a laptop for the internet, syncing my phone and word-processing…’
He cut me off ‘Safe then, safe. This’ll be good for you then. And tell you what, yeah? Cause of this I’ll do you Norton anti-virus for only £40.’
‘I’m fine’ I declined.
‘You don’t want it then?’ he insisted.
‘I’m fine buddy, you can download AVQ for free’ I said.
‘£20 then’ he begged.
‘Just the laptop mate’ I said quite finally before backing away from him a bit.
He nodded before he spoke.
‘I’ll get this from the stock and see you at the till’ he muttered.
I wandered around the shop for a few minutes. A really attractive girl asked me if I needed any help with anything and I nearly said yes but figured that my relationship with my aggressive salesman had already probably gone too far. After 5 minutes I walked to thetill and he met me holding a long black object.
He smiled and said ‘I can let you have this external hard-drive for £30. I’ll just ring it through.’
The truth is I almost let him, I almost didn’t see this stealth sale happening! I had to speak up.
‘Listen mate, I’m fine; really. I was burgled and my laptop was taken but I still have everything else that goes with it. I have an external hard-drive, I have a mouse. I have a case and a copy of Word. I just want the damn computer.’
He looked unperturbed.
‘You’ll need cover for that though, yeah? We have an extended warranty for…’
This time I cut him off.
‘Mate, just the computer – that’s it. Thanks.’
We completed the exchange in silence and I was almost done. Foolishly, I enquired as to how much their HDMI cables were and God, it was like he was reborn. What had I done?
He was recharged and focused again.
‘HDMI cables start at £20 but you get what you pay for, innit. We have gold ones here which start at £50 but even they don’t give you the quality you need for HD…’
He continued talking for a few days but I’d had enough. £20 for an entry level HDMI cable - is it any wonder that the high street is dying. In my haste and frustration I informed him there and then that I would not consider paying £20 for a HDMI cable, stating that you could buy a DVD player for that price. Needless to say he scoffed at my remark and went on to discuss the intricacies and value of this Holy Grail of a cable. I didn’t buy it, not for a second and, perhaps arrogantly, said that they probably sold HDMI cables in Pound shops these days. He laughed at my remark, he even told a colleague of this. He was mocking me - he went on to say that there was ‘no way’ a pound shop could afford to sell this cable for that little as they would be making a ‘significant loss’ on every item sold.
Well, buddy. Swivel: