On-line success in hunt for a new computer

PUBLISHED: 11:03 08 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:40 06 May 2010

BEING a cynical old hack, I was not surprised by the response to a hopeful enquiry I made last week in a store. The family computer had seen better days. The monitor screen kept turning a yucky shade of yellow and would only return to its normal state if

BEING a cynical old hack, I was not surprised by the response to a hopeful enquiry I made last week in a store.

The family computer had seen better days.

The monitor screen kept turning a yucky shade of yellow and would only return to its normal state if it was given a hefty thump on the top with a clenched fist.

It was taking an age to get onto the internet which I suspected was down to the clockwork mechanism wearing out (although my techno-minded sons assured me that the beast worked electronically).

So the decision was made to retire the ancient surfing machine and get a bright new one with masses of RAM and other amazingly enormous capacity features which won't be out of date for at least six months.

Such an object of our desires was on display in PC World. The very same model had also been spotted for sale on a website and a printout had been made.

The difference between the two computers was the price. The website one was a whopping £100 cheaper.

I'm an old fashioned shopper who prefers to see and handle what I am buying before making the purchase.

And I saw a way of doing just that without it costing me more money.

Displayed prominently throughout the store were flyers proclaiming: We won't be beaten on price.

So I took out the printout, showed it to an assistant and asked what he could do about dropping the price of the in-store bit of gadgetry.

He scrutinised the paper, said he would have to ask his manager and scuttled off.

Two minutes later he was back with the answer. Standing beside one of the flyers, he said: "We can't do anything about it."

So I turned on my heels and swept out of the store. My point had been made.

But there was another twist still to come in the story.

The Comet stores' website had a different make of computer which I liked as much as the other one so I went into the electrical giant's local branch and asked if I could get it there for the lower website price.

No problem, they said. All I had to do was reserve it through the website, print that out and then go into the store to make the purchase. Hardly anything could be much easier.

Wrong. Going onto the website I discovered that that particular model was not available through the reserve and collect scheme.

But PC World has a similar scheme and that model was available through it at around the same price.

So I was back there the next day clutching a different printout this time and made my purchase. The only delay was in warding off a charming young assistant who tried to flog me several bits of computer paraphernalia and a costly protection plan which I did not want.

My message to him was: I won't be browbeaten to buy.


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