Mail-order muppets

@TotalBlankMedia have just lost a customer. Which is a shame, because they used to be good once upon a time. I’ve bought a lot of stuff there over the years, and recommended them to other people. But there comes a point when enough is enough.

I needed another memory card. They had something suitable on their site at £39.99, post free, which wasn’t a bad price. Their shop is a leisurely stroll from where I work, so I wandered up there yesterday lunchtime. No point in doing it mail order if I could buy it for cash and take it home with me rather than risk the Royal Mail, which everyone in east London knows is a regal fail at the best of times.

“That’s £49.99,” sir.

“But it’s shown as £39.99 on your website,” I pointed out.

The sales assistant retreats to the back of the shop and has a whispered conversation with someone else. “Best price I can do it for is £41.99,” I was told.

“But it’s shown as £39.99 on your website. With free postage. That means it’s cheaper for me to buy it online than you to sell me that one you’ve got in your hand.”

“Yes sir.”

If you’ve ever visited their shop you’ll know that that’s where they ship everything from. It’s not as if they have a warehouse in the Channel Islands to circumvent tax, which is why there’s a price differential between the shop and mail order.

I walked out in disgust. And when I got back to my desk I ordered it online. To prove a point.

They could have sold it to me on the spot and had £39.99 cash. Or they could sell it to me online. Which means out of the same £39.99 I spent they’ll be giving a cut to the card-handling company, and paying for the packaging, and for the postage. You don’t have to be a genius to work out which would have given them the greater profit.

I got home this evening to find an envelope waiting for me. Sent from the very same shop that I’d been in the day before.

At a time when businesses are struggling and chasing every sale they can get, treating people like muppets is a really bad move. They shouldn’t need to be geniuses to understand that next time my money goes elsewhere. And their loss will be a rival’s gain.

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