The heading would read something like this in Swedish:
Svenska teknik-kedjan El-Giganten lurar sina kunder
Today my mother went to one of the large chains in Sweden that sell all kinds of home electronics to finally get herself a DVD player. She’s not interested in technology and doesn’t do any research before buying, but instead trust the sales staff in the store. Most likely, just as the majority of any people buying anything from these large chains.
Apparently that was a big mistake; let me explain why:
When mom got home she called and said that she had gotten a DVD player. I thought it was great, and asked her if it was region free, i.e. able to play DVD records in any of the different formats available for the different parts of the world.
She said no, that she didn’t know what region free was. I explained it to her and went online to see if her just-bought player was. I found that it wasn’t region free by default, but to my knowledge it’s a very easy task to enable that option on most DVD players.
Therefore I decided to call the store where she had bought it, El-Giganten (translated: The Electric Giant, and no, I won’t link to them since they don’t deserve it) in a suburb named TÃƒÂ¤by, to just ask them about how to make it region free.
I got to talk to a “sales man” of theirs’, and the conversation went like this:
– Hi! My mother just bought a LG DVD player from you today, but since she didn’t know anything about making it region free, I just wanted to ask you how to achieve that functionality.
– Yes, we can do it for you. It will cost you about 300 – 500 SEK (around 37 – 62 US$).
– Well, when it comes to most DVD players, it’s normally only about pressing a certain key combination on the remote control.
– Ah, if that’s the case, it will only cost around 100 SEK (Ã¢â€°Ë† 12 US$).
– Oh, come on. We can definitely do it ourselves, I just want to know the key combination.
– Hmmm. Hang on, I need to talk to a technician here.
Yes, I can imagine this was way over your head…
I waited for quite some time listening to some horrible music, and finally he got back:
-Yes, it will cost you 295 SEK (Ã¢â€°Ë† 36 US $).
– Are you kidding me? I’m sure all I need is a keyboard sequence. Every other store helps their customers right away with this with no cost whatsoever, what’s your problem?!
– The technician said it will cost 295 SEK (Ã¢â€°Ë† 36 US $). A mantra he just kept on repeating no matter what I said.
– I will check this out, and if I can’t solve it, we will return the DVD player and buy it from someone who’s actually interested in helping their customers! Good-bye!
Angry as hell and just as determined to fix this, I went online to find out how to make the DVD player region free. After about 5 minutes, I had found what I would most likely need, and got into the car and drove to mom’s. After unpacking the DVD player I plugged it in and tested. Eureka! After one minute it was region free!
Let me tell you what it took:
- Open the disc tray
- Press the 0 key seven times
This is something they demanded me to drive to their store for, pay 295 SEK (Ã¢â€°Ë† 36 US $) and then be eternally grateful. Horrendous!
My take is that, since more and more people buy technology products online, these gargantuan chains with their huge stores and endless number of employees have to do things like this just to get a bigger cut, since their margin for revenue on the products are probably so little to begin with.
What sincerely annoys me about this is that their customers go to them because they trust them! Most people don’t know that much, or anything, about technology, but just want it to work. They’re certainly not expecting the store’s sales staff to trick them into pay them a ridicilous amount for doing a fairly non-existant job.
But hey, my congratulations to El-Giganten! Don’t mind the fact that I’m writing this post which will show up in search engines showing off their true face, and that I will tell this story to anyone I know and recommend them to shy away from them as much as possible. I mean, they almost managed to pull of making an extra 295 SEK (Ã¢â€°Ë† 36 US $)…
Have you had any similar experience?