The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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2:43pm on Wednesday, 28th December, 2011:

In Store


We got our younger daughter a new laptop yesterday for Christmas (which is to say, we would have given her it at Christmas but we knew it would be £200 cheaper if we waited until after Christmas). She needs it for when she goes to university later this year, or for writing job applications if her exams go down the pan.

I prefer to buy laptops from physical stores, because then if they go wrong I can take them back and demand compensation. We therefore checked the standard specs out online and went to four electronics stores in close proximity at Stanway to find what they had that looked like it might meet said specs without scaring us. One of the stores, Comet, had a full car park so we skipped that. PC World and Currys are the same chain and sell the same computers, but we did see a Sony slightly-bigger-than-a-netbook that was good as a back-up. However, we finally went for a Samsung SF311 on sale at Staples (of all places). It was the last one they had, so they knocked an extra £30 off because it was shop-soiled.

The shop assistant cleared it up, removed the Staples software and unset the Staples passwords. When we got it home, it was therefore pretty much the same as a brand new laptop.

Well, pretty much the same, but not quite the same. The laptop came with a webcam and the software to use it. People in the store had indeed used it. In fact, it appeared to have the ability to come on all by itself, either from motion detection or on a timer. Whatever, there are some 50 or so video recordings of random people in Staples walking past the laptop, oblivious to the fact that it was watching them and storing its recordings on a hard drive for a later customer's amusement.

Some of them really are amusing, too. I'd show you a sample of odd expressions and behaviours, but I'm a little wary that the complete strangers I'm embarrassing might turn out to be QBlog readers...

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).