…and another thing!

General rant about shopping.

I think I’m allowed an odd shopping rant. I like shopping, I particularly like shopping for tech gear - but my fave tech store to shop in has turned into a right royal pain in the ass to shop in.

Years ago the cool tech shop to go visit were the Sony Style stores - remember those? They were a great mix of upcoming cool tech, with today’s technology that you could actually buy. Quite a traditional shop set up probably not that different from the way PC World or Currys are staffed. The difference being is that I felt at the time the people in the Sony Style stores cared about their brand, product and positioning and such really knew about what was in their store.

If you were interested in stuff they weren’t ready to sell (Remember AIBO? I’ve one of those in my loft), they’d happily let you get involved, touch feel & play with the new tech.

It was a very cool place.

They then of course lost their cool. Sony is no longer the cool kid on the block in consumerist technology. It’s Apple.

Their original envisioning of the Apple Store was brilliant. Simple, clean aesthetics with all of their products on show that you could actually use. Internet was freely available, as was WiFi after a while. It was a joy to play, investigate and of course shop in.

Man is it different now. Or maybe I’m getting older a bit more ranty.

Today, it’s a mess of product, people, and staff that add up to an appallingly poor customer experience.

By way of example I recently went in to the Apple Store in BlueWater. I was after a number of bits that I’d been meaning to pick up in a while. A big hard disk, some adapters, some cables, and the odd thing I didn’t really need but wanted as they were shiny. Probably 5-600 quids worth all in.

I got asked if I wanted help when I got in there, all good. Got the help I needed, and managed to gather all the stuff together I wanted. Then for the simple matter of paying.


They’ve a single cash desk that had significant queues. I waited a bit. I was then told that ‘anyone in a blue t-shirt could help me pay’ by a rather helpful young lady. Who was wearing a blue T-Shirt.

So you can help me pay? No, every other person in a blue t-shirt can help you pay .

Handed her the stuff, asked her is she were in a position to be able to put everything back, and left.

Their shops now are a customer-experience mess full of kids who want to play on the Internet, the odd person who is getting frustrated at trying to access kit they may actually be interested in purchasing, and people in blue t-shirts that seem to have little interest in your reason for being in the shop. They ask you so many times if you need help with anything, and yet in the process manage to be completely unhelpful. An utterly bizarre achievement.

Also, don’t get me started on the ‘Genius’. Sure, they can be helpful, but I doubt any of them are actually a genius. It was a marketing funny that was interesting for a while, but is now just completely ridiculous.

I guess they’re a victim of their own success. Maybe they should start handing out tickets like Clarkes. At least there I know I’ll get sorted out when my number comes up, rather than being directed somewhere else.

Instead, I’ll go the easy route. I’ll view what I want in there when I can, and then I’ll buy stuff off the web, often cheaper, and more than likely from other vendors (except Apple products - I’ve found their online store to be excellent). What’s more, my investment in stuff I don’t really ‘need’ such as new covers/cases/insert unknown shiny here will likely drop.

It’s no longer fun.

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