So people think that the high street is on its arse. I wonder why that is? Well, it could be because of shit like this.
Having decided that the Surface Pro is the next laptop/tablet for me I – rather rashly – decided that it might be a good idea to go and see one. Unfortunately I thought PC World might be my best bet. What a mistake.
Arriving at PC World with my little daughter in tow I was approached by an earnest young man.
“Can I help you.”, he said without a trace of irony.
“Do you have the Surface Pro?”, I said, dooming myself to disappointment.
“No. We don’t stock it.”, there was a brief pause. “We’ve got the regular Surface though!”. Clearly this was an inspired after thought.
“Er, no, I want the Pro thanks.”.
“Right. Ok.”, and with that he was gone. As was my patience…
So as disappointed as I was to find out that the Surface Pro would not be fondled with today I thought I’d take a look around anyway. On making my way to the bright yellow reduced section, I passed a gaggle of assistants. “Are you alright sir?”, their leader chimed.
In for a penny in for a pound. “I don’t suppose you’ve got the Surface Pro do you?”, a look of confusion shot across their faces.
“The Microsoft Surface Pro? The MIcrosoft Tablet?”, I helpfully added.
“Ah right, no. It’s online only.”, two answers down. How many more to go I wondered. I didn’t need to wait long for the answer.
A third genius piped up, ” No, we’re out of stock, we usually have one in stock.”, I could tell when he said one, he meant one, singular. That was the maximum stock level. One.
“Nah, er, we’ve got one out the back, innit.”, said one of the lackeys. Yes, he actually said innit.
“Great! Can I see it?”, I enthusiastically blurted.
The leader’s face contorted with concern. “Is it opened?!”. Clearly an opened unit wouldn’t do, not at all.
The young upstart was quick. “We’ve got to open it for display anyway.”, he revealingly said.
An interesting one this. Their last unit – or as I later discovered, only unit – was to be opened and put on display. Gosh. I’m lucky. I thought. So off he traipsed to the out back and I merrily waited by the monitors.
Then after noting to myself the lack of 21:9 ratio monitors – my next purchase after a Surface Pro – I rationalised there was little point in asking any of the sales assistants why this was lest I get a blank yet withering stare, I decided to wait a bit more.
Eventually my enthusiastic young defender arrived. “Sorry. We sold it this morning.” Great.
“Really?”, my incredulity at their stock management system’s lack of tracking, audible in my voice. “It’s gone?”
“Yeah.”, he was deeply concerned. “We’ve got the Surface RT though?”. As impressed as I was that he knew it was called the Surface RT I wasn’t prepared to be squeezed down that particular line.
“I’m sure you do. You’ll have them for a long time to come too!”, the gag whizzed past his right ear, impacting against a reduced stock display basket full of bright pink JVC earphones.
“I can show you them. We’ve got a few of them in stock.”, I chanced my arm with my next comment.
“Yep and that’s where they’ll stay.”
“No, they’re just over here.”, he motioned me towards an anaemic looking Surface RT, chained to the counter by not one but two alarms.
“I. Don’t. Want. A. Surface RT.”, I enunciated clearly. “I want a Surface Pro.”
“Right. Well, what we can do is”, deep breath here guys, “if you buy a Surface Pro today, we’ll have it here by Tuesday or Wednesday and you can come back in and have a look at it and if you don’t like it we can get you a refund.”. Not a hint of irony. Not a smirk. That was a serious suggestion.
That. That. That. That was his solution to my problem.
I could buy one today. Come back on Tuesday or Wednesday and if I didn’t like it, I could go through the hassle of a refund. Brilliant.
“No. I don’t think so. Thanks.” and with that I left.
PC World next time you wring your hands and moan about Internet retailers stealing your trade, remember this tale.
Your only advantage is that you have the ability to convince someone to make a purchase by letting them hold the item you want them to buy. You’re fucking it up by maintaining appalling stock levels and, worse yet, charging a premium for it.
Let’s look at this catalogue of disasters shall we PC World? In one thirty minute period you told me:
- You don’t stock the Surface Pro.
- The Surface Pro is online only.
- You only ever have one Surface Pro stock.
- You have a Surface Pro out the back.
- The one Surface Pro you stock has been sold.
Realistically I give you five years. Ten at the most. Then you’re gone. It’s not quite suicide but at the very least it’s death by misadventure.
If you want to survive get your act together. Seriously. Get your act together. You’re an embarrassment to retail.