Remember Dixons? They were the folk who tried to sell me a USB cable when I was after a Firewire cable, because (in their own words) "USB and Firewire are the same thing innit?".
Anyway, Dixons got replaced with what is now known as Currys Digital - it's exactly the same, albeit they sell washing machines now and things you put sandwiches in.
Yesterday I had cause to pop in there, as we're looking for a bona fide photo quality printer to complement the Nikon D80 camera we've got. Eventually, I settled on the Epson and took the box to the cashier's desk. Here's how it went down:
ME "Hi, can I get this please (the printer) and I'll need to grab the ink cartridges too..." (it is worth pointing out at this stage that the printer takes 6 cartridges).
DRONE (starts the scanning process, reaching up and taking down 5 cartridges from the stand behind her). "That'll be...."
ME "Sorry, but you're a cartridge short. The printer takes 6, you've only given me 5 - you're missing the light blue one."
DRONE (turns to supervisor drone, a Vicky Pollard if ever there was one). "Do we have any of the light blue?"
SUPERVISOR DRONE "If it isn't there we 'aven't got it..." (turns to me).
Now, at this point, it is worth saying that:
a) This is a photo quality printer, that takes 6 cartridges.b) I've been given 5, and have said, I need 6.
ME "Ah ok, well it'll not work with only 5..." (there was some minor expectation at this point that one of the drones would check the stockroom. Foolhardy, I know).
SUPERVISOR DRONE "Yeah it will. It'll work with 5."
ME "How, exactly? It needs 6 cartidges, and there's only 5. We're missing the light blue one."
There is now a pause. New wheels begin spinning in the supervisor drone's head with visible effect. Mouth opens. Eyes become fixed.
SUPERVISOR DRONE "Yeah, it'll probably work with 5. You're not wanting to print out stuff in colour are you?"
ME "Erm, yes. Yes I am. "
I think at this point my expression must have summed up what I thought of drone, supervisor drone, and the question of whether or not I'd want to print anything in colour.
Following this, I put the box back and left - we went to John Lewis and found the printer and all the cartridges there.
Interestingly, they had a suited drone there who when asked if they had any cartridges for the Epson Colour Laser we have at home, picked up a Hewlett Packard laser cartridge, confessed he didn't know anything about it, confessed he didn't know what colour it was, but proceeded to offer it to us anyway.
I had to stand there and point out that the box said "Hewlett Packard" and my printer was an Epson. Pause. Mouth open. Eyes bcome fixed.
Is it just me, or am I expecting slightly too much from store staff these days - and lets be fair, the difference between Currys Digital and John Lewis is cosmic - and as such should simply be contented to live my purchasing life solely online?