All I Wanted Was A TV
....a small one. 14". Nothing fancy. No teletext, digital wide screen NICAM Near Instantaneous Companded Audio Multiplexing stereo auxiliary SCART inputs. You know the type of thing. Oh, and not black or "charcoal grey". It was for the kitchen. To replace the even smaller one that had just blown up....just out of guarantee.
I went to a small retail park nearby. Here, there are four (count them) domestic appliance retailers within infra red data link distance of each other (and that's close!).
Shop one had some, shop two a few, shop three gave one free (with a widescreen TV), shop four had more. So in this one I asked for a 2114. In white. Twenty (count them) minutes later "Adam" appears from "the warehouse" with a box. At last.
Back at my house (still no front garden wall), the TV turns out to be "charcoal grey" so back I go. "This is the second time today" says "Karen" helpfully. "I don't know what's wrong with that Adam".
Fifteen (count them) minutes later Adam reappears with another box. Luckily we open it up and check. The TV is silver. Karen checks the computer which swears blind that there are 24 white ones in the warehouse. The next one Adam brings is "charcoal grey" again. "Assam" the manager swears blind too. I suggest that this time someone goes with Adam to supervise as all this has now taken over an hour.
Fifteen (count them) minutes later I get a refund and a muffled "I'mreallysorryforallthetroublesir". As I leave I hear Assam on the telephone to Adam in the warehouse. Another customer wants a white 2114....and, incredibly, the game begins again. Back to shop three.
That's a good one. Its yellow. Quite small and compact. It will do. Across the empty store I catch "Ben's" eye.
"Can you help us with a TV? The yellow one over there".
"And that's it?" replies Ben "That one?" He sniffs.
"Er, yes" I say "That one". Ben sniffs again.
I suddenly notice that Ben has a small trickle of blood from his left nostril. "Oh my God", he cries softly, "I'm bleeding". He makes his apologies and rushes backstage. Ten minutes later he returns, apologetic. He checks the number of the TV and invites me to sit on his right hand by the computer. The computer demands my name, title, date of birth, postcode, house number, telephone number and mobile phone number and then informs us both that the TV screen size has been increased to 18" and the price doubled. We press <ESCAPE> and begin again.
Next time, the price has doubled but its OK because the screen lists two TVs rather than one. We press <ESCAPE> and begin again.
Third time lucky. We get to the end and see the message: "Please direct customer to the cash desk". Ben presses <ESCAPE> (just a nanosecond before I shout: "Nooooooooo!")
We move to the cash desk, leaving behind a message on the computer screen: "Sale deleted". Fifteen (count them) minutes pass during which time the staff have to telephone the helpline for their computer system three times. It won't print receipts and customers (who have actually managed to buy something here today) are, understandably, reluctant to leave the store without one. Ben approaches me.
"I've just checked the warehouse and we don't seem to have any of those TVs".
I spot an opportunity for negotiation.
"When did you open?" [How long has that TV been on demonstration?]
"Last Wednesday" [Not that long, then].
"Well can I buy that one then? If you have all the packaging and will knock the £9.99 off because its been on demo. I'll take it".
"I don't know....I'll have to check".
Fifteen (count them) minutes later, ignored, Benless and TVless, I give up waiting and leave.
Back to shop one. There's a nice white one but....it's not white, it's "Mint". Also available in Hot Yellow, Forest Green, Electric Blue and Lilac. No white.
Back to shop two. The only contender is white, includes all the advanced features I don't need....and they insist you accept a free "settopbox". (Everyone out to the kitchen! We want to watch BBC Choice!)
I give up and leave the retail park, leaving the kitchen without a TV. Its not the End Of The World, after all. Its only a kitchen. But then....it was only a TV.
All I got was a demonstration of Saturday customer care and manufacturer supply pacing.
All I wanted....was a TV.
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