Saturday, December 22, 2007

The shop - an old curiosity

On Thursday afternoon I bought a new iMac on-line from Apple. I completed the transaction at around 3.30 pm.
It arrived at my home at 11 am the following day.
It's ages since I bought anything substantial from an actual shop but I seem to recall that it was a stressful, frustrating business. With rare exceptions the person selling the item knew less about it than you did and half your time was spent establishing which product you wished to buy. When you had decided on what to buy you then had to wait while they established whether they actually had the thing they were proposing to sell you. Then you either had to pick it up from Customer Collection and haul it to the car or arrange a date three weeks hence when they would deliver it to your home. Every element of the transaction was arranged for the greater convenience of the shop.
Ah but, say the Ah-buts, what happens if you buy something on-line and it goes wrong? I've had that experience and I've actually found it easier to deal with than taking something back to an actual shop in the West End. Often I've just contacted the vendor and they've said "box it up at your front door and we'll arrange to have it picked up and replaced". It's not faultless but it's a sight more convenient than the last time I hauled a heavy amp back to a shop in the City then hauled it back six weeks later after it was repaired.


  1. Things you also avoid:
    Having the 16 year old staff member read out loud the product info. card you've already read, and then saying "I think this one has more memory probably".
    Said 16 year old predicting a rain frogs if you don't take out a £100 a year warranty/buy a virus checker. Further puzzlement when you pay cash.
    This xmas I bought 70% presents online and had them sent to where I'm staying. I think cloths and books are the only thing you need to handle even then I checked them out in the shop and bought them online.

  2. Regrettably, the great flaw in the e-commerce dream is the incompetence, laziness and dishonesty of absolutely every single person who has ever been involved in the parcel-delivery racket.

    Blackguards, every fricken man-jack of 'em!