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Friday, April 07, 2006

RIP Dixons

So, Dixons the electronics retailer is to disappear from Britain's High Street, absorbed into its sister company Currys.

No great loss.

It has always made me laugh when people (such as the Financial Times) talk about its reputation for employing too many spotty youths who sneer at customer's ignorance. The irony being that the sales staff in Dixons are usually more ignorant than their customers.

In the past twelve months I have popped into Dixons twice, since it is the most convenient electrical retailer for me to get to.

On the first occassion, I was looking for some replacement plugs for a standard coaxial ariel cable (the bit you plug into the telly or ariel socket in the wall). I have somehow aquired about 15 metres of cable, but the attached plastic plugs were broken. Being pressed for time, I grabbed the first sales assistant I could find. It took several moments of explanation, during which time he looked at me like I was speaking a long dead language understood only by a handful of medieval scholars. Finally he led me to a shelf full of 3 pin mains plugs. Fortunately, at the other end of the shelf I spotted what I was looking for. Being the ever helpful sort, I pointed them out, figuring that he might be grateful for my filling in this gap in his knowledge. He gave a Vicky Pollard-like scowl and walked away without another word.

The second time, I was simply looking to see how much Dixons charged for Dual-Layer blank DVDs. I left the store empty handed, with a nagging suspicion that the sales "adviser" thought I was winding him up.

Of course, this is nothing new.
Back in 1994 I was in the market for a PC. Deciding that it might be worth checking out the Dixons sale, I walked into my local branch. There was a nice looking PC that fell within my price range. Unfortunately, the only information the promotional poster gave was
"Pentium 100. 800Mb Hard Disk. £899" (Hey, I said it was 1994!).
Grabbing the guy manning the computer section of the shop, I asked for some more specifications.
First question:
"How much memory does it have?"
"800Mb, sir" he said looking at me as if I was illiterate.
"No, that's the size of the Hard Disk," I explained "How many megabytes of RAM does it have?" "800" he replied more slowly, patronisingly pointing at the sign.
I declined to ask any more questions, thanked him for his time and vowed to never, ever buy a computer from Dixons.

Now, I will never, ever buy a computer from Currys.



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