Friday, July 14, 2006

New Stuff

After the joys of getting a monitor which actually displays colours that aren't shades of black, I was forced to buy myself a new mouse. Not a blogworthy event really- but the process of buying it opened my eyes a little. I was going to just buy a new keyboard and mouse set- and I had my eye on a nice wireless Microsoft Comfort Curve affair. Online it would cost me £30- compared to £50 at the local PC World retailer. Bargain, I thought. Until I factored the cost of shipping the items from the UK mainland here to Northern Ireland. Unlike shipping to anywhere in the mainland for about £4, it costs me £12, a trifle steep for such simple items.

So I went into town and checked out Currys, part of a national retailer chain. Boy, was I in for a shock. Quite apart from the fact that their line was small and consisted of 90% miniscule laptop mice, the price was outrageous. For a simple MS Optical Wheel Mouse their price was £19.99. Online I can get that for less than £7. So even with preposterous shipping costs, it still works out cheaper- is there any justifcation for such a ridiculous mark-up? I used to work building and fixing PCs so I know the way that pricing works, but this is beyond the pale.

In the end I bought myself a black MS Comfort Curve keyboard, opting to offset the shipping by not going the wireless route- and as my wife pointed out the kids would quickly make a wireless anything vanish rapidly from its place on my desk. The only bonus to the extortionate shipping cost was that I placed the order late Thursday afternoon and I had them in my hand Friday morning. And the MS Comfort Curve keyboard is very nice indeed- pluged it in with the PC still running and it picked it up no problem- the Media Player buttons, the Web browser and Outlook launch buttons all worked flawlessly with no need to go searching for updated drivers.

And it was cheaper than buying in town. More and more, shops are becoming places where I browse for items that I'll buy online.

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