Article by Charlie Wright
I’ve realised I must do something about the pain in my hands.
I’ve been at the computer almost every day for the past 6 months, writing stuff and setting up the Biz Opp Jungle.
Being a bad typist, I’ve started to develop mild repetitive strain injury.
‘It’s your keyboard,’ said one of my mates when he came round. ‘The keys are too hard and clunky. Get one of those ergonomic ones instead.’
I’ve seen these before. There’s a split down the middle of the keyboard, softer keys and a kind of s-shape to the board.
Worth a try, I thought. So I nipped into a certain major chain of computer shops to try one out.
They’re a brief lesson in how NOT to run a business.
A question of ergonomics
Inside it all seemed very busy. There were lots of blokes in blue shirts with pens around their necks and name badges, but they were all talking to each other, or striding from one end of the store to another looking for their glasses…
because none of them saw me.
I had to go and interrupt a conversation to get help.
‘I’m looking for ergonomic keyboards,’ I said.
‘Ergonomic keyboards?’ said the salesman. ‘We don’t do ’em.’
‘Used to be all the rage. Now we don’t stock ’em.’
‘Why not,’ I asked, ‘Don’t they work?’
‘I dunno,’ he shrugged.
Right. So this is a product that was ‘all the rage’ and has vanished suddenly. Yet the guy who works there doesn’t know why.
Cue: theme from ‘The X-Files’.
I assumed that if I asked further questions, men in shades would come and bundle me into a car and have me ‘disappeared’ as well.
So I looked at the selection of keyboards they DID have. I spotted a few that may have been easier on the fingers than my own, but I couldn’t tell, because they were all stacked in boxes.
‘Can I see one of these keyboards out of the box?’ I asked another sales genius.
‘No, you can’t take them out of the box. There’s a seal. You have to buy it first.’
‘I have repetitive strain injury,’ I said. ‘I can’t buy until I try out the keys, or see them with my own eyes.’
‘We don’t do that service.’
‘You don’t do that service?’ Astounding. ‘Where could I go and actually touch the keyboards?’
He furrowed his brow. ‘I can’t imagine ANYWHERE that you could do that.’
Right-o. It was a stupid question. I clearly live in La La Land with all the little pixies.
And off he went… probably to get his brain recharged in the ‘special room’ out the back.
I mean… I only wanted to spend up to £100 on good computer equipment… I only wanted him to sell me a keyboard… I was only INVITING him to hit me with loads of interesting facts about how ergonomic keyboards are actually rubbish compared to this expensive but OH SO GOOD wireless keyboard…
Yes, this is the one to buy, sir… £99 please… KERCHING!
I would have bought it, too! And guess what? I’d have been PLEASED about that.
Not to be. So I left.
*** Sales to PC World – ZERO.
*** Chips on Charlie’s shoulder – 1,323,882.
Then it happened again!
Yesterday, Sarah and I went to another, smaller chain of electronic stores. This time it was to look for a replacement cable for my CD-mixing decks.
(Remember I played music at a small concert a few weeks back? Well, I left behind half my bits and pieces as usual!)
Again, I was ignored until I asked to see the cables. Then I was left at the wrong section, so Sarah went and asked AGAIN.
Then I was left at the right section but given no advice on which out of the hundreds of products would be best for me.
We found what we were looking for, no thanks to the staff.
By then I was muttering crazed obscenities about people who work in electrical stores, and thinking of smart ways to both buy my little packet of wires AND set fire to the store…
Then, hallelujah! On my way to the counter, I stumbled upon a small range of keyboards, all OUT of their boxes.
I tried one with light, laptop-style keys and it was perfect.
‘Can I buy this, please?’ I asked the salesmen.
‘Ah, not in stock,’ he said. ‘But I’ll check.’
So off he went… To the digital camera section, where he began directing a FRENCH TOURIST to the TUBE STATION!
‘Please, Charlie, stay calm,’ said Sarah.
Ten minutes later, he was back. No keyboard. He looked bored with me already. Very, very bored.
I picked up the display keyboard. ‘Can I buy this one, then?’
‘No, it could be faulty.’
‘What about for a discount and I’ll take the risk with no refund?’
‘Against policy.’ And with that he turned to leave me…
‘Hold on,’ said Sarah, tapping the sales guy on the shoulder.
‘Can’t you get one ordered and delivered to our house?’
This was like asking him: ‘What is the geometrical meaning of the central extension of the algebra of ‘diffeomorphisms’
of a circle?’
Then, after an age, he said, ‘Yeah, okay.’
And that was that. We twisted their arm enough and a sale was made!
The moral of the story
There is a point to this rant, if you haven’t guessed it already…
Imagine if YOU owned one of those two stores.
Wouldn’t you have made sure I didn’t leave until I had wrist supports, super-advanced mouse technology, and a brand new top of the range keyboard with special features to help my R.S.I?
If not, you’re in the wrong game, my friend.
The same goes when you’re the customer, and you get up- sold services or recommended biz opp products. You should be happy. Rejoice! Check them out, because they could be the solution you need.
Remember, you never HAVE to buy anything, not from me, not from anyone. But if you’re searching, you can just get salesmen to spend time telling you everything they know…
Then you can buy or walk away.
The thing is, I wouldn’t have felt conned when I left with lots of computer equipment. I’d have felt grateful that I’d solved my problem.
See, I WANTED recommendations… I WANTED a sales pitch… because I was a man in a ‘buying frenzy’.
By that I mean I was hyped-up with worry about Repetitive Strain Injury and I’d been thinking about this situation a lot. I was therefore willing and ready to spend money to solve my painful problem.
But there was nobody there.
So much for modern capitalism.