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Date: 02 June 2014

Today's Topic: Laptop shopping at PC World

Triggers: The Sales Assitant

My Grump: Sales training and brainwashing before common sense

My son did a really silly thing and changed the password on his old laptop for the umpteenth time and promptly forgot it.

After much trial and error, repeating the steps and instances that led up to the change, we have not been able to replicate the thinking pattern that was present when the change was made. Thus the computer is useless to anyone.

First of all I took it into PC World to ask the tech guys if they could retrieve the machine. I was asked if I had a disc? No, I didn't have a disc. Did I have any documentation? No, I didn't have any documentation.

I get some grumpy old git behind the counter, looking at me over his glasses, eying me and my son up to see if we are genuine, stupid or crooks. Yes, crooks. It is quite clear now the old fart thinks we've nicked the computer from somewhere and need it hacked.

At this point I could easily have stabbed him with a sharp pencil.

But, quite calmly, I explained that the computer was about 8 years old, and previously belonged to Grandad, who thought it might be useful for my lad to use for his homework, as it had all the Office Suite software on it, and other items like Ancestor Tree software, Flight Simulator games and a few other goodies that young lads would probably like to work with.

Oh, right, it'll be about 80 all in, I was told.

Bear in mind that a new machine with a brand new operating system was being advertised in the shop for around 349, whereas this machine was still running a very old operating system.

After discussing it with my son, we decided that it would probably be best, rather than throw good money after bad, he would use his birthday and Christmas money of the last few years, which he has never spent, to purchase a new one.
HP laptop
He wasn't too keen to start with, but I insisted because I figured that this would be a valuable lesson to him, as well as an expensive one.

I only have one or two criteria when it comes to buying computers, criteria for which I am fairly strict. This is based on my own purchasing experience, good and bad, for computers and laptops, from around 1990 or so up until the present.

It must be HP; it must have an Intel processor, the fastest you can find; it must have a Nvidia card with the most ram available, and as much DDS RAM as you can afford. So his little price tag of 349.00 was out the window before we even started.

But winning hearts and minds is what being a parent is all about. So for now we just played with the ones on display. I must say, his eyes lit up and bulged out when playing with the Touchscreen version of the above spec machine, but the price tag was 600+.

I didn't say anything to him, except that we should think about it for a while and see what offers came up over the next week or so. This reverse psychology worked a treat because this gave him time to churn it over in his mind and everyday after that I was hearing the rational for having the bigger and better machine, FROM HIM!

Sorry, I've jumped too far ahead.
We are going up and down the aisle looking at different models when an assistant came over to 'help'. I let son interact with the assistant, just as a learning experience you understand, because I wouldn't ask most of them the time let alone to advise me about computers. To my mind, PC World aren't much more than box pushers.

Anyway I was told every which way there was available to have 'extras' added to the price of the machine, Anti-virus, Office, Cloud Backup, and a few other bells and whistles. But I told him I was ok and would just be having the machine, I had spare licenses from a previous purchase of Office and would likely use one of those in this one, and I had more backup external hard drives than you could shake a stick at. He tried to convince me, firstly, that my 'old' Office software wouldn't work on the new operating system, and second that the Cloud back up was safer than all my hard drives.

I replied that I was told the same thing when I bought a Vista machine and that I would need all new software. But I made all my software (Dreamweaver, Cool Edit Pro, Photoshop and all the others) thousands of pounds worth of software, all work on Vista. This was after I was told to bin it and start again, so I was not likely to accept anyone's word until I had tried it myself.

Even now, ALL of my software, that I've spent years learning to use, works on Windows 7 and 8, so don't believe the sales hype. Secondly, a 'free' Cloud storage backup service would be insufficient for my needs and about as secure as your average suitcase padlock.

Anyway, while this was going on, my lad came up and said, 'Dad, I want this one'. 'Ok' I said, to him as much as the assistant, 'looks like we're having this one. Got one in a box?' 'No, I was told, we only have this one on display'. 'Ok', I said, 'you keep that one, we'll wait until some new ones come in.' I told the assistant we were going to wait and come back another time.

This was when something very strange happened. He proceeded to try to sell me the 'add-ons'. Even though we were leaving and started to walk away, he followed us and was pushing the add-ons, even talking about laptop cases for the machine.

I said, 'are you seriously trying to sell me extras, even though I haven't bought the flipping machine yet?' It was like he was on automatic. I concluded this was obviously brainwashing during sales training which was taking over from common sense.

Have you had an experience like this? Please share your thoughts below, thank you.



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