Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Shop in Shops or On-line

My mother’s old TV broke down yesterday. She is in a nursing home and spends a lot of her time watching TV. Immediate replacement today was required.

You would think that this would be a classic case for “going to the shops”. After a frustrating 4 hours, I wish I had bought on-line last night.

I had done my research on-line yesterday evening and narrowed down my choice to just a few TVs. Whenever I am finalising the research of a purchase, I do a final check of the nature, “What do I gain if I spend £50 more, or lose if I spend £50 less?”.

Doing this exercise flagged up JVC’s TV with Freeview Play. I had seen the adverts for Freeview Play and the idea of being able to easily watch catch up TV was appealing. But before inflicting a new technology on my mother (who finds such new things difficult) I wanted to see it in action. A cartoon advert does not really show you that. You needed to actually see it in action before purchase.

Now where could you do that? You wanted a place where you could physically experience a product and ask someone how it works and to have a go. What would you call such a place?

Of course, a shop!

Only one chain (you can guess who – with the demise of Comet they have a virtual monopoly for selling electricals) stocked it. So I visited “a shop”. Despite what their website said they did not have it in stock, but the salesman fully understood why I wanted to “see the product in action” and checked that they had one in a branch in a neighbouring town.

So, off I went to that branch. It was much bigger with about a quarter of its area devoted to TVs. And lo, in the “small screen” section, there it was, the object of my travels, the JVC 32″ with Freeview Play. (For someone in a nursing home, you don’t want “huge”, 32 inch is large enough.)

But no one to demonstrate it. It was showing a rolling display of garish design and there was no remote control to have a go oneself.

There were three salesman in the “large screen” section, but no customers so they were just chatting to themselves.

Showing no inclination to come to me, I went to them and asked if they could demonstrate the Freeview Play function.

“No, we can’t, we don’t have an aerial or broadband connection”

I looked across their shop to their display of computers (which to be honest is probably the product for which they are most known).

“Well can I look at the manual?”

“No, you will have to go home and look it up on the internet!” (Bit RTFM!)

“What about the manuals in the box?”

“Oh, we can’t open a box” (And they had no inclination to find the manual associated with the display model.)

So, I went home. But looking it up on the internet was not what I did. I brought a Samsung like the one I already have for my own use which I knew would suit.

1 lost sale for JVC
1 lost sale for the chain of shops
1 lost sale for bricks and mortar shops

Next time I won’t bother; I will buy on-line and if it does not suit, make use of the no quibble return.

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