...the truely bad TV ads that are running for PCWorld and Currys at the moment.
You can tell that the ads are made by the same people, because they are bad in exactly the same way.
Retail mammoth DSG International (DSGi) looks set to spectacularly tumble out of the FTSE 100 today losing its status as one of the biggest PLCs in the UK. The firm, which owns Dixons, Currys, and PC World, admitted last month that it had overstocked laptops that failed to subsequently fly off the shelves. It also recently …
Early this year, I needed a new laptop, so I went into PC World to see what they had to offer. All the "on-shelf" models came with Vista, so I asked a friendly-looking staff member if it was possible to get one of a particular model with XP instead. "Nope, sorry" says she. I was the third person to ask for XP that day, but they weren't able to sell with XP any more.
So PC World were thus without a £1,200 sale, and had one more laptop to keep on the pile of surplus stock. Nice to know I made my little contribution towards toppling them out of the 100. =:-)
As someone who is currently trying to order a slew of laptops for a school from PCWB (their Business arm), I reckon it's more to do with their customer service and their "charges" for downgrading from Vista to XP on most machines - even for education.
Trying to get a quote out of them is like trying to get blood out of a stone - nothing ever materialises even after it's chased up several times each day and asking them for XP not Vista is like asking for no splangibobs on my doolicklities as far as the staff are concerned.
However, with a similar company and a direct competitor, it was no problem at all (although they still charge for the Vista -> XP, which I think is still a con, it's a lot less) and they knew exactly what I wanted and most importantly, WHY I didn't want Vista. PCWB certainly live up to the PC World name. I only ever visit a PC World store when I'm feeling bored and want a laugh - "RAM sir? Oh, that means that you can store a lot more files on the computer, you don't need it unless you create thousands of documents" (actual quote and not even the best one I've heard in there!)
Its bound to happen every few years, that pc growth will slow
the industry hopes for the majority of users to upgrade every 2-3 years if not more often
the reality is, that not every home pc user needs blistering game play or even dvd/hddvd/blu-ray playback
so their pc is more likely to last along the lines of a tv 5-7 years
clinging desperately to failing high-street retail markets is also a factor however, their overheads are just too high, so the prices naturally are less competitive.
you dont need pcworld AND currys, just keep currys as of the three brand names its the one with least bad press in the past.
anyway thats my 2c
time for shop staff to retrain to work in the call centres of online sellers.
Staff who spend all their time pestering you to buy overpriced insurance AFTER you've agreed to purchase one of the loss-leading bargains they have rather than spend their time helping the rest of the punters. Oh - and their wierd 3-tier pricing structure. PCWorld-Business, PCW "Internet Prices to Take Home Today" and PCW store prices. Often wildly differing (yes, inc. VAT) for the same product.
About PC world selling cheap crap with huge markups to make them look like premium products.
I know alot of people that bought computers and laptops from PC world (despite my advice not to) only to find them broken within a few months. Someone I know bought a Packard Bell laptop and had to send it abroad no less than 9 times before the 1 year warranty expired.
If PC world are serious about making a profit they should sell decent products at realistic prices!
I was in PC World looking for a laptop a few weeks ago.
For starters, every single one comes with Vista. So if you don't want Vista, that's too bad - you have to buy elsewhere.
Worse, though, is that half the machines were running a password-protected video (advertising Blu-ray or something), so you can't even see the desktop. So, you can't even type something into Notepad to see if the keyboard feels comfortable, or access Device Manager to see what hardware you're actually getting. How I'm supposed to compare and contrast different models to actually choose one is anyone's guess. (And no, I'm not going to spend hundreds of pounds based on advice from PC World staff).
So instead, I left, spent a while with a glass of wine and Google, and ordered one online. It arrived the next day, pre-installed with XP, and I know the hardware is compatible with Ubuntu.
I'll admit to buying the odd hard drive or network card from them, using the collect-in-store feature of their web site, but how they stay in business at all is a mystery to me.
Despite their moronic claim 'Internet prices to take home today', these three chains are horrendously expensive. It isn't even because of shop overheads - compare them to somewhere like Maplin and you'll see no comparison. DSG need to face it - attempting a monopoly on high street electronics stores is no good when the customer has so much choice already.
I agree with the comment above about their adverts too. From a marketing perspective, they need to stop repeatedly claiming their prices are lowest, as it's farcical... they should instead make the most of their strongest points, that their stores (of each brand) are easily accessible to technophobes.
That's still no excuse for moronic adverts, though.
This is the problem with have one OS with 95% dominance. We now have a situation where one company's rubbish product can negatively affect the whole PC industry. With a more heterogeneous OS market, the laptops not sold with Vista could be sold with another, better OS. But MS strongarms their partners into only selling their OS of choice, and now those partners are suffering. Hopefully, more of them will grow a pair and start offering XP or linux or... well thats about all the choice there is for PCs actually.
Having worked in a school IT department (and been chummy with the IT team at my senior school, as well as at my uni), I know that a common procedure when acquiring new hardware is to get however many you need of PCs/laptops all with identical spec, create a disk image on one (ignoring what ever cack/uncack was on there in the first place and using your trusty XP CD with the company's company-wide license key) then upload that image to the other machines.
Only concern might be checking what components are included to make sure you can get XP drivers for them, but I'd imagine most Vista-drivered parts are XP-drivered.
I nearly used the paris icon as it has a question mark in, but thought that would be insulting as no IT bod I know has a kind word to say about her so might feel insulted :)
...but the retailers aren't acting like they are.
I was in a major retailer (it was Toys R Us, as it happens) and was distracted from the impressive array of Dr Who gubbins by a display of overpriced laptops.
One of these was running software which claimed to assist Mr Consumer to choose the best machine for his needs; it had an array of tickboxes representing possible applications, and a slider thing across the bottom to show what sort of machinery would best suit.
Ticking "Browsing Internet" and "Instant Messaging" together (with no other options, mind...) raised the recommended processor from Centrino to Core Duo.
I mean, it's patently ridiculous. I know everyone here will understand this(and I know at least half of you are preparing a "Well, if they use Vista that's about right" one-liner and I applaud those of you, like me*, who resisted the urge...) but one can only assume that the world is largely populated by trusting folks who'll be utterly taken in by this lie. And it IS a lie; let's not mince words...
- and wising up to the fact that laptops are not the portable equivalent of a desktop.
Nah - probably just bored with the whole shiny new gadget thing for a while - iPhone exhaustion has set in. The inability of manufacturers to settle around any sort of understandable standards in the domestic market will no doubt piss off many of Joe public too. As will the need for an endless array of peripherals to actually do anyhint useful
"This laptop does everything - You want to do what? - you just need this extra bit with its own power line to do that really basic thing"
My most recent PC world story
"Do you have a crossover in a shorther length than 10m"
"Yeah - there's a 3m"
"Thats a standard network cable"
"Its the same thing"
They have cheap big hard drives though and you get the occassional good deal on other bits of kit
PC World - where you'll be charge £18-99 for a fifty pence USB cable, or £120 for a £30 hard drive, or a tenner for a worthless mouse mat.
Believe it or not - they charge £30 for doing a system restore for you instore if you bring your kit in; £30 for something you can do yourself in a minute. Wish I could get away with charging their prices.
Bah, I'm off to do some IT research on Paris Hilton!
Customer (to PC World bod): What's the difference between a patch cable and a network cable ?
PC World Bod: A patch cable can only be used in a computer (server) room, and a network cable can only be used to connect a computer to a network point. They are very different sir.
Just think, if it wasn't for PC World us IT "professionals" wouldn't have anyone to mock...
If I remember correctly, if you buy a PC (or laptop) with Vista Business or Vista Ultimate you can legally replace Vista with XP Pro. I think the official line from Microsoft is that the manufacturer of the hardware should provide a Windows XP Recovery CD but I doubt in all cases that would happen.
Sods law too you'd probably have to pay extra for the Business or Ultimate versions anyway.
I'm not surprised about the sales of new machines going down though. I mean most people I know (a couple of which work in IT) are still running machines with Pentium 4 2.4GHz or Athlon XP 2000+ CPU's in them and they work fine. Heck, I'm only upgrading my 3 year old Athlon 64 3000+ because the motherboard died (2nd motherboard in 3 years due to power surges) and even my upgrade will probably only be a cheapo Athlon X2 or Pentium Duo which will be running Ubuntu 7.10.
I blame their service. Or lack of. Everyone knows their high street shops are a complete rip off but PCWB used to give next day delivery with decent enough prices. But having cocked up a number of my orders, failed to respond to written complaints (how stupid/arrogant do you have to be to ignore recorded delivery letters when I'm sitting on goods they delivered multiple times and won't take back???) is it any wonder people go elsewhere. Good riddance to them.
A healthy system of promotion and relegation makes for an exciting competition. The Premier League knows this - it's what made it the best in the world - and the FTSE 100 obviously does too.
Some of the stories above, about going into PC World and being flogged unneeded rubbish for ridiculous prices, are absolutely amazing. Not for the high prices and stupid employees, that's par for the course. What amazed me was that El Reg readers would actually set foot in a PC World or any other high-street electronics store instead of going straight onto Google. Last time I bought electronic equipment in the high street was 3 years ago when I needed a wireless network card to get onto my flat's Internet. Which didn't work, naturally. So to be absolutely precise, the last time I set foot in a high street electronics store was when I returned their flashing paperweight for a refund, shortly before going up to the library to order something that worked off eBay.
pcworld has its place if you need something quick
but whos going to waste their money buying a hard disk there? if you want something just as low quality there is ebay and iots usualy half price.
oh so the computer comes with vista, big deal, theres nothing wrong with it! Its got nothing to do with PC sales.
most of the thickos that goto PCworld to buy a computer dont even know what Vista is and they arent going to object on that basis!
Perhaps people have wised up to the fact they can get a far better service at lower prices elsewhere!
We had a lot of grief (including phone being put down,etc) when we tried to return a faulty CPU cooler because it was knackered in the first year of purchase, they couldn't or wouldn't get their heads round it that we were entitled to our money back..
So, if anyone's reading this in the Romford branch, please fuck off and die.
I have ever only been in about 5 times in total and each time there was only 1 person on the checkout. Twice I have been in there to buy stuff and twice I have walked out due to the wait at the tills.
I wouldn't mind but the first time I have several hundreds pounds worth of switches in my arms due to a disaster at work.
Just like most of everyone here (I hope), I build my own computer and shop between 4 stores to get the best price on each part. There is one store near me though that I wish there was more of. It's a small shop in one of those buisness office complexes where each section gets x amount of space. The guy who owns it has two and has random parts and computers for "fallen off the truck" prices. A 2.2 GHz computer with 512 ram is only $220, IBM thinkpads for only $300, and really really old machines lying around with their 5 and a half inch floppys. You have to use concious effort not to drool. I got a 24 port Cisco switch for $32 bucks, and it was in great condition. I just wish there were more tiny stores like that, than the huge warehouses of overpriced sh!t.
My mates PC (sorry people it was a Packard Hell, trust me not my choice) was running slower that a sleeping snail (yes I know thats normal for a Packard Hell). Remember they paid £200 for an extended warranty.....noobs
It was running hot, 87 degrees in the BIOS, and the usual hiss as my damp fingers touched the heatsink. So I (they had rang and claimed nothing was wrong after 10 minutes at 75p per min) rang them:
(PCST = PC Servicecall Tosser)
PCST: Usual blarb
Me: The PCs CPU is overheating
PCST: How do you know that
Me: The BIOS CPU temp is 87 deg C.
PCST: Thats perfectly normal sir, those processors usually run a little warm.
Me: A little warm, thats outside of the normal operating range.
PCST: How do you know that
Me: Looked on the internet
PCST: But how could you if the computer is not working
Me: I used another PC
PCST: Silence..........Silence......I have spoken to my manager and he says that 87 deg C is normal, so as 'I' said there is nothing wrong.
At this point I wish I had a gun
Me: The chip manufacturer gives a max temp of 75 deg C which is 'lower' than the 87 deg C which the PC is running at sitting in BIOS
PCST: But the BIOS could be wrong
Me: The heatsink is so hot water hissed
PCST: Aaaahh you have opened the case (very smugley) you have invalidated the warranry
Me: No I have not, as I have not replaced any of the parts inside, and trust me I am more than qualified to do so.
PCST: But opening the case invalided the warrenty
Me: No it has not
you can guess the next 5 mins. I ended up speaking to his manager and explained exactly what I had done. Eventually he backed down.
PCST: OK we will send an engineer around.
How I wish I was there when the engineer was there. He did replace the CPU......but
Next day my mate rang and told me that the computer was the same. I went round. The CPU was now running in the 90's and the heatsink was even hotter. So with my mates permission I waited for the heatsink to cool down and carefully removed the heatsink.........guess what.....the stupid wanker of an engineer had replaced the CPU WITHOUT Heat SInk Paste. The damn thing had got so hot there was heat damage to the motherboard.
After another 10 minutes on the phone argueing with the PCST, I gave up, took my mate his computer and the receipt to PC World and demanded a new PC a repair (Motherboard, CPU and Power Supply) or money back.
Because I had opened it to find the cause, they claimed that I had removed the heat sink paste.......
I shouted as loud as I could what the PC world Experience was like, especially their lack of support with the expensive insurance. The manager asked the Security Guard to do something and he just said that I was not being Violent, just voicing an opinion and would be in breach of my human rights.
Lets just say the manager repaired the computer for free, as not only did I upset him, but half the prospective customers walked out. Oh and my mate sucessfully claimed every penny of his phone calls back as well
Its not what you know, just how loud you can tell people. Stop people spending money and they will be your bestist friend
Everytime i go in pcw is to try out a bit of hardware, then return it a week later. during that time i have ordered the item 20% cheaper online and get a full refund from pcw after i got the one from the internet!
Before they started all this "internet prices to take home today" rubbish, the shop and internet price was 2 completely different things. several times I've gone in there to find the manager refusing to sell us the item at the internet price and stated if they dont sell it to me at that price, i'll buy it online. so i did.
it's shocking when maplin sometimes come up cheaper than pcw, yet i think maplin are rip off prices at best. last think i got was the other month they were doing them 500gb externals for 75 quid, maplin couldnt match the price/space. remember people haggle, if there's another high street comp shop nearly selling cheaper!
the insurance is normally something silly like 20-30% of the price of the item, but they've now changed to the pay monthly option. been paying 13.99 each month now for my laptop "hp" if it fails within the next 2-4 years, i'll be expecting no fuss from them since i pay that each month.
good to see them disappear off the ftse 100, hopefully make them realise if they offer good prices/service. people pay come back.
@ Andrew Brooks
"Celeron processor, 512mb ram, 40gb drive... Translates to
This laptop with 17" screen, and Vista home premium laptop only £399...
People are (hopefully) wising up to it now.."
You were lucky!! I have seen the same laptop sold to a customer with 256MB RAM and Vista!!! You can probally imagine what that was like in use!!
Most of that overstock of laptops are underpowered for XP, and then they try and jam Vista on it. Hopeless.
As to "Office and Norton 360 for £100"... that probally translates to "Office for students" illegally sold to a non-student. And Norton 360 just kills your PC as it is so bloated and the cover it gives is patchy at best.
Of course - that aformentioned 256MB Celery also had Norton on it... probally eating all the 256MB just to run the silly interface.
Sorry after reading this I think maybe some of you are ignorant, stupid or both. For my business I wanted 5 XP Pro based ptops. So I walked into my local PC World in Swindon and asked for them a helpful sale guys guy asked me if I was buying for business as I need XPP 30 minutes later I had bought said laptops with no hard sell on insurance they were HP and I was offered the relevant HP carepack and ordered them as well. Next day the laptops turned up one of them happened to be faulty (no fault of PC World) I rang the guy that sold them to me 30 mins later he rang me back told me a replacement was on the way and the faulty one would be collected the next day and it was. On top of this the pricing was cheaper than Dabs and other etailers and I had telephone contact on top.
So to the person on here who wants to downgrade to Vista why dont you just buy a laptop with XP on instead. Yea sure they are expensive on somethings like anyome is, but they do offer a price promise on the leading websites i.e ebuyer, play, amazon, dabs etc And also they will give you back 10% of the difference as well.
Why the quibble over different pricing structures ever bought vehicles for your company, then you will know that most garages offer better prices to volume customers. I would imagine that not many personal customers buy 5 laptops at a time.
What also irks me on here is how personal you all seem to be towards the staff whatever your beef is with PC World there is no need to be rude to the staff, they are just doing their job. Ok so some of them may not know everything or be poorly trained. Try feeding this back instead of being rude and personal after all I am sure that like everyone your not perfect either.
Okay. I've just left PCW and I only worked there because I had little choice. They even took money off my final pay packet for holiday . . . . . . . In common with other retailers they pay just above min. wage £5.62 an hour. So, where do you think they are going to get anyone with any IT knowledge from? Why are you bothering bitching about the place when you don't even bother buying anything from there? Okay, as a company DSGi sucks - clueless, but some poor bastards have little choice but to work there. Hey, it's a surprise that the majority of staff can actually converse in your language - possibly English. The buying at the company has been woeful - too many laptops at £500+ when the market has clearly gone £500 or less. Add to that the stationery fiasco . . . . If only John Lewis was a PLC - imagine what its shares would be doing now. PCW has relied on its monopoly for too long and now it's going to pay the price for its complacence. Unfortunately many dedicated, hard-working and capable staff might be looking for work in the New Year if it all goes pear-shaped. The useless tossers will probably drift from retail job to retail job and will appear impervious to the kind of abuse which some of you will aim at them. Good luck to you if you expect to be able to buy anything for a PC in a shop in the not too distant future.
Firstly, this is NOT a pro-Apple post, even though they are my favourite fruit company.
The sales model used by DSG is poor. Glitzy billboards, ignorant (in the best sense) staff whose training is probably little more than box-reading and whose remuneration is low. They rely on a gullible public and that is going to change.
Consider, then, the Apple model. Seemingly highly motivated staff who KNOW their products; some are experts in certain fields (music, moviemaking, spreadsheets et al). Machines which are switched on, connected to high-speed internet and available for all to test, surf and play to their hearts content. Non-pushy personnel and plenty of them around when you need them. Wi-Fi instore. A Genius Bar where problems are sorted (mostly free of charge) by people who are highly trained and a One-to-One system with which you can buy, for about £65, a whole year of one session a week training in any area or software ... that's about £1.25 an hour for training - bloody good value in anyone's terms. Add to that free training sessions daily on popular software.
I know there is a vastly reduced product line for staff to know about in an Apple Store but I thing that Joe Computing Public is getting wiser and is going to want more than the sale of a box. I think DSG will need to change its model and take some notice of Apple's growing 'empire' of stores with a good customer-centric business model.
PC World makes (made) its money getting commission from flogging useless warranties and pushing high priced finance deals with PPI.
There have been some high profile campaigns about these issues and it is probably the public wising up to these rather than any IT related issue that has really hit them.
Penguin icon because I think it is cute.
Ten years ago I subscribed to a couple of PC magazines and regularly bought others. I vividly recall the excitement when processor speeds went up - then up again. Today, I never even glance at a PC magazine, and I don't usually bother to read about them on the Web either. I am running a 3-year old Dell Precision 470 (3.2GHz, 3GB) and the only thing I occasionally consider (briefly) is adding a second processor.
I am sure it is possible to buy more powerful PCs today, but there is no simple way of telling now that the single vanilla GHz number has stopped rising appreciably. Moreover, even my Dell starts to sound alarmingly like a turboprop airliner preparing for takeoff whenever the processor starts working hard. You can tell from the next room when a cpu-intensive job cuts in.
So, on the one hand there is no longer any obvious way of measuring the improvement in hardware performance. And on the other, what we already have is usually quite enough for most usual needs. I run Windows XP on my Dell, but it also dual-boots SuSE Linux 10.3 and has oceans of spare disk space. I have a couple of older machines that come in handy as testbeds, file servers, firewalls, etc. I really see no need to buy a new PC.
my parents use PCW to buy PCs, or did anyway. The main reason for this is that my dad HAS had a bad experience with an independent supplier in the past. We used to get all our PCs from small shops for decent prices, many years ago my dad also built his first PC, an Amstrad PCW (obviously no pun intended) 8512.
Anyway, back to the story. My parents are not gullible, they're just old and don't want to have the hassle of sorting stuff out. They read Which for best buys, prefer to buy from the Sony shop when they get electronics, and just want to be able to walk into a store, buy a PC and walk out. They also live in the north of Scotland where there isn't that much choice (by north, I mean very north). I've told them many, many times not to use PCW, but they always retorted with something along the lines of "they're a known company so if something goes wrong we know the warranty is good".
A year ago now, my mum's PC started freezing. She had paid £1800 for a reasonably decent PC, I was actually quite impressed by the spec of it when she bought it for the price, and she also paid for extended warranty or whatever it is. She eventually phoned up PC World support and asked them about it, so they sent out an engineer. He proceeded to tell her that it was the hard drive, without even looking inside, and mentioned that "this sort of thing happens all the time". So he told her he had to replace the hard drive. He opened it up, pulled out the HD, put in the new one, and went to leave with the old HD. Of course, my mum hadn't backed up any files so would lose all her pictures etc, so she stopped him. Apparently, their definition of "replace" is to remove the component for testing and take it with them. I've looked at the warranty myself and this is nowhere in it.
So, my mum talked to Which lawyers, who talked to PCW and got them to replace the HD, which she was charged for, since it's a service agreement, even though I keep referring to it as a warranty. The problem still occurred, but PCW refused to refund her, and further, said that because it was a recurring problem the PC would have to be returned to their factory for testing. After further talks with Which lawyers, my parents got a refund in the form of "vouchers" for the PC, and got to keep the PC.
PC World, while they may actually have had a purpose at one point, are completely useless now, except for extorting people who don't know very much, and making those who do feel superior.
Interestingly, as a knock on, my dad is now getting rid of Norton (which came preinstalled) for a much friendlier AV.
Who asked why we bitch about a company we don't shop from. It's so we can share stories and hopefully pass it on to friends and relatives who may be thinking of buying from there. I have a few stories to pass on but it doesn't hurt to gather a few more.
So the sales staff may be made redundant. Big deal. If they were such big players in the IT industry they'd be earning better pay elsewhere. I'm an IT Manager and if God forbid I lost my job, would *NEVER* take a job at PC World, I'd rather sweep the streets or work at McDonalds than sully my integrity in this way.
OK, I can understand that PC World hires schoolchildren to staff it's stores. I suspect most of us have had an after school job at some point and it's good to have a bit of extra cash.
What PC World should have (and doesn't, at least in Milton Keynes,) is some techies on hand to back up these kids if a customer has a difficult question. At least then they could have some semblance of 'expert knowledge'.
While I'm PC World bashing, I have bought three items from them in the last year - a wireless router, a graphics card (which was massively overpriced, but I was desperate cause I'm a geeky gamer), and a monitor. Every single one was faulty. I will never buy anything from there again.
I chose Paris because I'm just trying to fit in with the rest of you.
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