PC World experience

I recently went with my friend to PC world so that he could buy a new PC. He had looked at Dell, but wanted one he could take home immediately, and I was also keen for him to have one that he could physically take back to a store if there was a problem.

The first surprise was that PC World are now big sellers (or should that be re-sellers) of Dell machines themselves, but unless I’m very much mistaken, at a significant markup.

Having had a good look around, we decided on what appeared to be a good deal. A Packard Bell quad core Intel machine with 3 gig of memory, 320 gig hard drive and a 20″ widescreen monitor for £500. Against my advice he also wanted a ‘full’ version of Office, and a printer.

This is when the fun starts.

We collar an adviser, who says he’ll send someone ‘who knows about PC’s’ – remember this is PC World, you would hope anyone would know about PCs!

Someone comes and we ask him a couple of really simple questions – whether it was necessary to purchase additional speakers, and what software was included.

He gave incorrect answers to both. ‘Yes, you need speakers’ (the monitor had some small 2 x 1 watt speakers, fine for what my friend needs), and ‘You just get the OS, you know like Windows Vista’ – in fact you also got MS Works which was important for my friend, and it also came with a 60 day trial of MS Office – which could have persuaded my friend to try OpenOffice.

We decide to commit, and buy the machine. This is when the fun starts. Guy disappears for ten minutes. ‘We’ve not got one in stock’. ‘OK, do you have any other quad core machines in stock for £500’. Hang on, I’ll check… and he physically goes round the tickets and PCs on display to check which quad cores are in. I had been in the store half an hour and knew the stock position better.

I have to admit, we may have become a little bit sarcastic at this point, he said he would go and double check.

Then he disappeared.

We finally tracked the store manager down, we knew he was the manager as he seemed to have more than a vague idea of what’s going on. After some discussion of our frustrations, he allocated us to another sales guy, who disappeared and came back in five mins with the PC, brand new and boxed.

Amazing.

The rest of the experience was ‘OK’, but given we’d spent over £700 by the time we’d added a decent printer, I was amazed that they couldn’t throw in a USB cable. Still, my friend is happy, PC World are happy, and I’ve managed to get a decent posting out of it.

I’m away in Norfolk on placement visits for the next few days, more when I return.

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