Alastair’s Place

Software development, Cocoa, Objective-C, life. Stuff like that.


Everybody knows PC World staff don't know what they're talking about, and that the shop is a pretty expensive place to buy things, and in any case doesn't carry many of the best products. Still, I like to go in and browse occasionally, just to see what they do have.

Anyway, as a self-confessed technophile, I often find it frustrating when their staff are giving customers incorrect advice. Usually I don't bother correcting them, but today, I pointed-out to the customer and the member of staff in question that the customer's request for “something that would let me use the Internet and the telephone at the same time”, could easily be fulfilled by getting a DSL connection, or even 2B ISDN (although that remains unreasonably expensive in the UK, partly due to the cost of installing ISDN lines in BT's Ericsson exchange gear). Even if the customer had wanted to stick with a 56K modem, there are boxes available that will alert you to an incoming telephone call whilst connected to the Internet, and that can even disconnect your modem for you when you lift the receiver on your telephone.

Update: I notice that Tiscali are even offering a lower-rate broadband package, 150Kbps for (at time of writing) £15.99 a month, with a free modem and free setup. That's similar pricing to paid-for Internet access using a Modem!

Predictably, the member of staff, who had initially told the customer that there was no solution to his problem, responded by being rude and patronising. Plainly, an oik with a PC World training course under his belt is more qualified to talk about telephony and the Internet than someone with a first-class honours degree in Information Systems Engineering and who used to work in the telecoms field.

There is one thing for certain, however… PC World staff are much better qualified to be rude.