Well, I tried. After doing my best to ignore the fact that christmas was only a matter of weeks away, I decided yesterday to try and get most of my off-line shopping done in one go.

And then I chose to do it at PC World.

For those who don’t know PC World in the UK, they currently run a tv advertisement claiming “Internet prices to take with you” or something like that. Internet prices maybe, but products – not always.

I selected a really good camera deal for a friend of mine which was advertised throughout the store, and proceeded to the checkout – and paid for it. Fine. All good so far.

Then the cashier advised me that I needed to find a floor walker to get the product out of the stock room for me. Anyone who has tried to find a floor walker in PC World or their sister stores, Currys and Dixons, will know that its probably easier at this point to give up and simply shop online.

After about 4 laps of the store – where I saw only one floor walker, who was being pursued by about 3 customers – I eventually caught the manager and asked him where they all were. He found me a scraggy looking chap (ok, maybe he was an undercover security guard, who knows) who quickly took my receipt and disappeared into the storeroom.

And I waited. And then waited a bit more. Seemed a long time but was probably about 10 minutes, I guess. Ample time to go to the location in the stockroom where their stocks of the product sat, and bring me one out.

Instead, out he came empty-handed. “I’m sorry, there are none left in stock”, he matter-of-factly told me. “So why did you take my money at the checkout for it?” I asked.

“It’s not my fault, I just went to look for the product for you and there are none there”. At this point, I decided we were getting nowhere and so returned to the cashier and demanded a refund.

“I’m sorry, you will have to go to the Advice and Repairs counter” he told me. Great, another queue.

More time wasted, waiting to unpick PC World’s mess. Eventually I proceeded to the counter – only to be told that actually there were only two tills for the three assistants, and a customer was in discussions in front of one. So I would have to wait until they were finished.

And so I lost my temper. He quickly moved the non-buying customer aside and then studied my receipt like it was in ancient Greek. So I lost my temper again.

Eventually I received a “refund” – well, can it be called a refund for a product you never even took delivery of? Don’t know – but I do know I won’t be going back to PC World again in a hurry.


  1. That doesn’t just happen there. I found a deal on a digital camera at a store in the US, and when I paid for it they sent me to a waiting area where someone was supposed to bring it out to me. They even called to make sure they had one. After half an hour of waiting (and while a few of the people who had come in later than me were being served and leaving) someone walked out and told me that the cameras were out of stock. So I went back to the electronics desk, where it took them 10 minutes to figure out how to put $200 back in my account (I used debit), and then I had to buy another camera and spend another 30 minutes while someone searched for it. Thankfully they had one left, but they had only one.

  2. Ahhh, PC World. The arsehole on the body of Christmas shopping.

    I had a similar experience to yourself about 3 years ago, and am pleased to say I’ve never been back since!

    It’s amazing what a bit of shouting can do too!

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