Tesco - The High Street Rip Off
Posted on 25 Sep 2009 at 13:59
David Bayon hits Tesco and discovers the difference between a netbook and notebook is a Japanese businessman
I'm not sure who looked more nervous: the poor kid working the laptop section or me, walking into my local Tesco Extra for the first time since it opened this summer.
It's not so much a supermarket, more a country-sized, multi-floored aircraft hangar filled with moving walkways, soothing voice recordings, video-ad screens and even its own optician. The laptops were upstairs and at the back, somewhere near Scotland, so I bought a 13p tin of beans and camped out in the florist section overnight.
The next morning I caught a passing trolley the rest of the way, adopted my best village idiot expression (not hard) and waited for one of the worryingly young "technical experts" to spot me.
Netbook is just the new name for a laptop. They're just small notebooks without word processors
The range of laptops on display wasn't too wide, and I immediately saw that most were within the £300-£400 band I'd be asking for. Still, I explained what my dear old mother wanted, told Tesco's finest I needed a bit of guidance and waited to see what he'd come up with.
He mumbled the names Acer and HP to himself as he scanned the shelves, then asked if the Dell Mini 10 would be too small for my mum's needs. I cooed over its tiny size, as well as the Samsung NC10 next to it, and asked if these were the new netbook things I've heard about. His reply was a little puzzling.
"Netbook is just the new name for a laptop," he explained excitedly. Apparently a Japanese man on a plane fell asleep with a laptop on his thighs and was horribly burned, so the industry has dropped the name laptop.
I stared back blankly at this revelation. "Oh no, hang on," he corrected himself. Turns out he was thinking of the name notebook, not netbook, but the brilliant story still applies. So what's a netbook? "They're just small notebooks without word processors." Shame, my mum needs a word processor.
Moving on, he was very good about not pushing me over my ideal £400 budget, even though I'd given him a bit of room to manoeuvre - bonus marks for an admirable (or naive?) absence of greed. He ummed and ahhed for a few seconds, contemplating Acer and explaining that HP is generally the most reliable brand, then remembered some new stock that had arrived yesterday.
So, round the corner we settled on our chosen model, a 17in Compaq CQ-70-214 at a reasonable £419. He eagerly waded into the specs, explaining that 2GB of memory meant it had "lots of power", and that a 250GB hard disk was huge - his own was only 30GB and he had thousands of MP3s.
I asked about the processor, an Intel Pentium Dual-Core T3400, and he stumbled for a moment. "They explained the different processors to me the other day, let me think," he began. "There are lots of different types, but I think Intel's are the fastest, so you should be ok with that one." AMD will be pleased.
High st rip off
What a superb article.
John Lewis is normally one of the first shops I "hit" when looking for products and it is nice to have the trust confirmed by your researchers.. Paddy
By paddymodo on 26 Nov 2009
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