Wednesday, 16 November 2005

A modern shopping saga

A friend of mine has promised her mother a DVD player and a DVD for her birthday (mostly because her mother resents giving her the free DVDs she gets with the newspaper she reads – and there was me thinking all mothers were selfless creatures who gave everything to their offspring and never knew envy).

This should be quite easy to achieve, you might think, but it hasn’t been going very well.

She did her research and found that the cheapest and best player was a Toshiba at under £40. It was available from Amazon, so she ordered it a couple of weeks ago. Ok, one DVD player on the way.

Mother expressed the wish to own a copy of Pretty Woman, although it seems to be constantly shown on TV (at least, I feel like I’m constantly watching it; I feel compelled to watch it every time it’s broadcast and it seems to me I’ve seen it a lot over the past few years). Still, my friend is a dutiful daughter and, what Mother wants, Mother gets. According to an ad in the paper, HMV had it at £6.99. So all she had to do was to go and buy it there.

Except that the nearest brick-and-mortar HMV didn’t have it. It only had a special edition at £15.99. Same price on Amazon. Drat! Why should one pay over the odds? Luckily, WH Smith, next door, had a copy of it for £12.99. Good, no need to worry about it any more.

However, the next day, my friend discovers that Pretty Woman now costs £6.99 on Amazon. I know she’s already bought it, but can one help checking things out? ’course not. So, she orders a copy from Amazon and decides to return the other one to WH Smith. She doesn’t get around to doing it for a couple of days and, in the meantime, guess what!, Pretty Woman appears at HMV at £6.99, as originally advertised. Fearing that the Amazon DVD might arrive later than the DVD player (Mother is now clamouring for her pressies: her birthday’s been and gone), my friend buys another copy of Pretty Woman at HMV and returns the WH Smith one. She knows she will have to return the extra copy to either Amazon or HMV, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

The DVD from Amazon hasn’t surfaced yet, but it should be here anon, and next weekend Mother should be able to watch her favourite film on her new DVD player. (If she can operate it, that is. She can’t use the VCR. What are the chances of her being able to fathom the mysteries of the multiple-choice menu? Never mind, she wants it, she can have it.)

Well, she should have been able to watch it. This morning my friend received an email from Amazon: the DVD player is not available right now; there is a delay of at least two weeks.

Two DVDs and no player! It used to be so easy!


Update (1st Dec): yesterday my friend received an email from Amazon informing her that there was now a delay of 4-6 weeks on the DVD player. She has cancelled her order, but has just found that the player was sold out in Dixons. It doesn't get easier. She only has one DVD now, though.


  1. LOL! Sorry, I can't help laughing at your excellent storytelling! Amazon are notorious for advertising things they don't actually have; they float offers out there to see who will nibble, and then order their stock accordingly, I believe. I've learned - the hard way - not to count on them if I have a deadline. I'm happy to join you in a resounding slappity-slap.

    In the meantime, perhaps your friend can fashion a pair of big dangly earrings for her mom, since she has the two matching DVDs? :>)

  2. LOL. Great story! *Snicker*

    Sorry. *recovering* Good slap.

  3. AH AH AH. Thanks for sharing that !
    ... And guess what ! Pretty Woman will be shown on TV before the DVD arrives and mother will say : "Oh no, it's okay, I've just already watched it again !"
    And slap Mother ^^

  4. Oh dear... I recognize myself all too well! An typically it happens when you are shopping for your parents, since this is not hard enough as it is!

  5. I've had things like that happen to me too. It's infuriating because you see these much cheaper prices dangled before you, and then it all falls apart. Of course, what makes it all worse is that Mother will probably take the lack of on-time presents as evidence of a lack of caring...!

  6. D, what you say about Amazon makes sense. I bet that’s what they do. :-(

    I think the fashion for dangly DVD earrings would catch on - for sure. LOL!

    Yes, C, that’s what usually happens.

    J, I remember it well: the agonizing over what to buy for one’s parents. One thing I don’t miss.

    Ah, so true, L, timing is all! Some mothers take most things for lack of caring, don’t they?

  7. heh. aggravating, though. xoxo


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