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Life: Shopping For Phone

Last updated on February 11, 2009

I popped into Leicester City Centre today to do some shopping. There’s 5 DVDs I want (price of £30 each – that’s practically triple the selling price of the new Harry Potter DVD) and I know HMV has a number of stores that stock them. So I pop into HMV and ask if they could order them from one of those stores – they can’t and I have to order them order the internet.
What’s the point of having a HMV store in Leicester, UK and a HMV store in Tokyo, Japan if you can’t order from one or another 🙁

Then I tried to buy a mobile phone. The only catch – I need it to work in Japan as well as the UK. Japan has it’s own cell/mobile phone system which is not used anywhere else in the world. Would like a phone similiar to my existing Nokia 6210 (slimish, not too big and not too small, WAP and infrared). I asked 4 stores their recommendations for these simple requirements: results were from the “Can’t help go away” to downright deceptive to “very sorry sir, can’t help but..” to “This should do”.

Carphone Warehouse – bloke knows JP has its own system, but doesn’t think any phones they have work there, but he checks anyway. Nope, but “if it was anywhere else in the world…” I enquire about Vodafone’s new 3G service – but I’m told that won’t work. It’s suggested that I buy a phone in JP as their phones work elsewhere in the world but not vice-versa. Salesman was nice and friendly

I check Phones4U – where I’m told a dual band phone will work there. That’s odd because I already have a dual band phone and it didn’t. I question this – perhaps a “tri-band phone will work” (now 4 staff members). I state that JP has it’s own phone system not used elsewhere. They have no idea if that meant it would be under dualband, but it might be under triband, or it might not work at all…. They gave the impression that they know the term “dual-band” and “tri-band” but that they have no idea which countries are covered or what the terms actually mean.

Pop into a Vodafone store. Success. The cashier directs me to a bloke near the back (who actually looks Asian/Oriental desent) and he tells me normal phones won’t work there but their brand new Vodafone 3G system will (which I suspected all along as I knew when Vodafone launched their 3G system they made a big thing about a phone purchased in London will work in New York and Tokyo – but I just needed confirmation). Took a brouchure (one with a nice lady on the front with an eye full of some white stuff… 😉 ).

Thought I’d just check out The Link (a Dixons store selling mobile phones). No phones work in Japan. Plain and simple.

Vodafone store: 9/10 for knowing what they sell and keeping up to date. Nearly 10/10, but their product displays didn’t actually give me the information I needed (Bluetooth is supported on phones X Y and Z – no mention of infrared, small selection of phones – 6 – available).
Carphone Warehouse: 8/10 – knew the products and ranges to a strong degree (didn’t know Vodafone’s 3G system worked in JP though). Cheerful manner, alternative suggestion given.
The Link: 3/10: Told none phones would work, but could have been a bit more helpful. I said I was looking for a replacement phone so at least they could have suggested “phone Y for the UK, but if you are in JP for a short time – get a hire one”
Phones4U: -10/10: Lied to customer stating that their dual-band phones would work. At least 4 sales people didn’t know products. Actually tempted to go into another Phones4U store, tape the conversation, buy the phone and then sue them for mis-selling/deception etc etc.

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