25 Sep 2012, 5:04pm
rant savvy shopping:
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  • an offer you can’t refuse?

    The Ermine household took a wander into town, on the lookout for a point and shoot digicam for Mrs Ermine. Savvy shoppers are going to immediately think – first mistake, wtf are they going into town for this, the best deals are always on the Internet? Well, yes, but DW is exacting on the size she wants of a P&S, and to get to know that you have to touch it and handle it. We started off at Cash Converters, it’s my favourite store for heavy stuff secondhand.You can’t help feeling that the Dark Side is taking over round these parts, however.

    Are you sure that typo on the ad shouldn’t read “a loan of £666”, Mr Cash Converters? Is this the power of competition with The Money Shop next door?

    I bought our PA amplifier there for £30, secondhand from a pub. I’ll probably get our PA speakers there as well. They are variable on small electronics – I’d say they are overpriced a bit.

    Cash Converters. Bet they don’t have ‘don’t be evil’ in their mission statement

    Cameras of the sort we wanted (compact, IS) seemed to roll up at the £50 mark. The problem with this is a P&S camera lives on borrowed time. The action of the lens coming out sucks in dirt, which either gums up the lens mechanism or gives you dust spots on the sensor. You just don’t know how a secondhand P&S has been kept, so we had a look at the new market to see if this risk is worth taking. Checked out a couple of stores on prices, a Panasonic DMC-LS5 wasn’t bad at about £70.

    Then you get the smartphone out, a Samsung G2 in DW’s case, to establish whether the price is right. Since the web browser on a smartphone is worthless for finding anything out 1 you curse the bugger and remember the county library is nearby. For the first time I got to use the Web in the library, after removing the JSA instructions left by the previous user from the table. The camera price was sort of okay, not fantastic.

    We then went to Jessops, who had a Canon 117HS for ~£80. Apparently, this is the same as a Canon 115 HS but the different model number. This is a scam so Jessops can avoid price comparison sites. Some investigation on the web showed £80 wasn’t bad for this. Yes, it’s £30 more than a secondhand digicam, but the year’s worth of guarantee for what is inherently an unreliable product has some value (cash converters warranties for a month ISTR).

    So we asked them if we could fire it up and check it out. Consternation in the ranks, and we were informed that there wasn’t a battery or charger, though these could be purchased. The Ermine voiced, perhaps a little loudly, that this was therefore a scam, it wasn’t £80 they wanted, but £80 plus the £20 cost of the essential parts to get a working camera. The sticker price was deliberately misleading. Anyway, the shop-assistant went back to see if they could find a battery, and a chap came back, and DW took over the negotiation.

    the haul, I’m glad I didn’t throw out the charger from the last Ixus

    The upshot was that she paid £85 for the camera, with a hahnel battery charger, hahnel aftermarket battery, camera case priced at £16 and a three year extended warranty. The Ermine is still not quite sure how that happened, as I’m sure the 3-year warranty was originally quoted as £20. Normally I don’t touch extended warranties, but for a product class which has a known unreliability problem it has some appeal. Particularly if they throw in a case, and drop the extra to £5 which seems a little bit less usurous. Okay, so the 12V power supply of the charger didn’t work, though the charger did. I have enough 12V supplies, and indeed it so happened that we still had the battery charger for the previous Canon Ixus so no big deal 😉

    More offers you can’t refuse. The Ermine is too poor to get a loan from the Money Shop these days

    You know you’re on the wrong side of the tracks with Cash Converters. It isn’t just the gold ads, it’s the fact they’re right next to a Money Shop. You’d have thought the Ermine is right up their street, no job, no income, what’s not to like? Hey, that sort of thing used to get you a NINJA mortgage in the bad old days!

     

    Bank card and a job? £1000 can be yours

    Well, hot damn, no £1000 today for me. Got bank card but no job, so The Money Shop ain’t talking to me today 😉 Psst, got a Rolex? What’s up with that. Firstly, if you have a real Rolex or Breitling are you going to be hob-nobbing with the riff-raff in the Money Shop rather than the sort of pawnbroker with a top-hat and three gold balls outside his shop, and secondly if you are a likely client of the Money Shop your Rolex was probably £5 at the local car boot sale, no?

    So, thoroughly dejected at being not good enough for the services of The Money shop, I carried on, to observe yet another offer I couldn’t refuse

    Borrow £100 for £125? hell, YEAH!!!! Why Not? bring it on

    Why would I want to do that to myself? Really? Borrow £100 and pay back £125? Do I get fries with that? It wouldn’t be so bad if I got my dodgy motor fixed all inclusive, but no. I’ve kept this photo full size, if you look at the small print at the bottom you get to see

    Representative 1410.33% APR … Interest Rate 300% p/a fixed

    Who are this bunch of criminals and charlatans then? Say a warm welcome to the usurers at the Cheque Centre, impecunious citizens of Ipswich

    At least they can spell. It’s the Cheque Centre over here, rather than the Check Center….

    They’re actually recruiting at the moment. I was half tempted to go in and hit them up for a job, just to see what sort of punters come in to buy £100 worth of notes for £125. However, I’d probably discover a whole bunch of people who want to kill me, because even the Cheque Centre must have some criteria for lending.

    Let’s remind ourselves of what they are offering me. I go in today, with an urgent need of Stuff, so I get a load of these

    £100, waiting to be turned into booze, Harry Wraggs and Sky TV vouchers

    I turn them into beer, Sky TV minutes and harry rags

    to come back later, having had to work 25% longer to earn this lot to hand back and call it quits

    £125 – so paying 25% more is a great deal because I couldn’t wait a month?

    Whatcha say to that sort of offer? What other answer is there other than Hell No! If ever it looks a good idea to you to pay 25% for 30 days, then STOP RIGHT THERE. Sit on your hands. Think. Stop buying shit. Let the kids scream I wanna have, I wanna have,  I wanna have for all they’re worth. Because when this looks like a good deal you are in a deep hole, and rule#1 in a hole is Stop Digging.

    There are a lot of offers you should refuse in this town at the moment!

    Notes:

    1. that’s why you have apps on a smartphone, to munge the data to suit the poxy little low-resolution screen, old stagers will remember it as what was hi-tech EGA graphics in the mid 1980s.
     
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