back to article PC superstore refuses to take sack in hand

Walking lopsided when carrying a laptop from A to B on important business trips is one of the modern-day perils many IT professional bods face. So, having the right bag for the thankless, sweaty-shirted journey to yet another anonymous hotel is crucial. And indeed, it's good to hear that computer box-shifter PC World agrees …


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  1. fixit_f


    PC world really are the biggest bunch of clowns going, God knows where they get their staff from. I should know, I bought a laptop there the other day. Their most comedy tendency is the staff making up random b******s when they don't know the answer to a question, which is frequently.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Superstores have swallowed Microsoft's FUD

    From the ridiculous to the risible.... A computer is a computer, whether it has a loose hinge or sits in a carry bag. The particular operating system loaded does not affect the hardware used to open and close the computer box, and whether one has a Mac in his pack or a Dell from hell should make no difference to the store.

    The ignoramuses who make and interpret such store policies are of the same order of mental gigantism as the store clerk who once carefully calculated a 50 percent discount on each of four items marked as "two for the price of one" rather than just adding up the price of two.

    -- Erik

  3. Sampler

    Pakuma Backpacks

    Not tried the backpacks my self but have Chokora K1 and K2 messenger style bags which I'm very pleased with. On a recent trip to london the 15.4" holding K2 took my 15" lappy, shed loads of extras and a weekends clothing whilst the larger 17" holding K1 managed to fit everything my girlfriend took away for the weekend (which we know is an astounding comment by how much women seem to need to pack for a weekend break).

    Ironically if you look on the pakuma website it states all three Akora backpacks (K1-K3) "Fits upto 17" Notebooks (incl. Apple 17" Powerbook)" - wonder if they added the latter today.

    Solid bags well built I say - he must've got a duff one of the production line (or was carrying quite a bit back from Lisbon :)

  4. Daniel

    Has PC world crossed into libel yet?

    I mean, if this customer was more inclined to take PC world staff at their world, then surely they would think that the Pakuma bags are garbage, right? I know (IF I were to believe PC world staff) that I would. Of course, really it's just PC world that's full of it, but since the store caters to the lost and confused tech consumer, how are they supposed to know?


  5. Iain Purdie

    No surprises...

    I used to work in that very store, to my shame. I needed the money, OK?

    I have no idea who the current manager is, as this was a while ago, but the ethic was always "of you can find a way out of actually helping anyone and costing us money, do it". I would, however, like to say that a small number of the staff didn't follow this rule and actually tried to make life easier for customer. They were, however, in the minority.

    fixit_f is partly correct - the sales staff do make crap up if they don't know the answers. I'd hasten to point out I worked in sales and never did this - and again know others the same. But I do know that the majority did. Worse, they would make up any old crap if it made it more likely you'd buy something.

    One example was a particularly evil and greedy salesperson who went as far as promising a customer that a portable floppy drive for the new iMac (the first generation of them) would be released within 2 weeks. In time for the customer's daughter arriving at university so she could transfer files. Of course, such an item wasn't even on Apple's "to do" list...

    PC World is a load of sh*t (can I say that? If not, just slice this line out) from personal experience working there and as a customer. The thing is, they're huge, they're a brand and we're stuck with them as people will always troop to the big handy shop on the retail park.

  6. Tawakalna

    Q: "Where in the world" do PC-World get their staff from?

    A: Carpet City, Phones4U, the dole queue, and Poland.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a handy opportunity

    for customers to demonstrate to the clerk their shiny new fist-to-face adaptor. "Boom", as Steve Jobs says.

    Stories like this remind me why I refuse to buy anything in any such store. All hail the intertron.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For my US compatriots

    Doesn't this sound an awful lot like Fry's electronics?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A lot of low-level IT recruiting is broken

    It's been my experience that a lot of low-level IT recruiting, including sales, is being handled by employment agencies who don't have the ability to recognise IT competence.

    Come to that, they don't have the ability to write job descriptions that match the jobs they're offering. No mention of any formal qualifications, but you don't get the job without them.

    At least PC World seem to do their own recruiting, so nobody else need take the blame. But all this makes me wonder if the online psychological test I was given by another company revealed that I was too honest to be in sales.

  10. David Gosnell

    "Apple is a very strong brand for us"

    That'll be why they've completely wound down their Apple stock at Farnborough, then. Yes, I do go in occasionally, to have a laugh, when particularly bored.

  11. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  12. Joe

    By design

    You've got to remember that the bad advice given at PC World is by design. The staff aren't actually stupid, nor is the management.

    It's capitalism in action - in any given situation, how do we make the most money? As consumers we always need to bear this in mind when dealing with any company.

    Fob the customer off when they complain, tell them anything to make a sale... it's official PC World (heck, DSG) policy, not just moronic staff! It might not be written down, but it happens too often to be accidental.

  13. t3h

    Portable floppy drive for the iMac...

    "went as far as promising a customer that a portable floppy drive for the new iMac (the first generation of them) would be released within 2 weeks."

    There are tons of USB floppy drives on the market, and pretty much any of them work on a Mac. I used to have one (I still do... somewhere!), but I haven't used it in years.

    Something like this:

    Of course, the salesman was clearly making stuff up...

  14. the Jim bloke

    USB floppy drives

    Saw one at work the other day, it just made me laugh to think how far we have come.

    I cant even remember the capacity of a floppy now.. was it about 2.3 meg ?.. on a port that will support my 4 gig USB key, or 120 gig pocket HD..

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @USB floppy drives

    No, they're 1.44MB (1.38MB usable assuming the disk is perfect without bad sectors). And they're still useful when you have tons of legacy stuff, and games (why 15 year old viruses never go away - people get nostalgic and then pull old stuff up to play. Heck, I've been getting urges to pull out an old copy of Karateka lately (why I went through the trouble of getting a 5.25" floppy drive. I could never get through that stupid gate that slams down on you when you try to cross it).

  16. Alan Donaly


    They also degrade with time the drives I mean such that you can write and read one made by that drive but no other drive can read it. It saved my ass once or twice though so I won't completely bash them I think their done now though.

  17. Shane McCarrick

    Pakuma bag?

    I've a Pakuma bag that I use all the time too. The connecting piece snapped on mine too- after I caught it in a revolving door mechanism....... I simply patched it up together again. Occasionally products break- its not the end of the world. If the customer had it several months, it probably was asking a bit much bringing it back to PC World at all- its not difficult to do your own simple repairs. As for a 17" Macbook being too big- well, I have a 17" powerbook, my wife's 12" powerbook and a 15.4" Dell inspiron along with their power adaptors, quite happily packed in mine. PC Worlds only fault here was talking bollox to the customer.

  18. dreadful scathe

    reply to Joe

    "You've got to remember that the bad advice given at PC World is by design. The staff aren't actually stupid, nor is the management."

    I was in PC World a few years ago looking for some wireless speakers, when I asked if they had any the assistant sneered at me, laughed, and said with great confidence that there was "no such thing". My stunned look caused another nearby member of staff to sheepishly say "er..we don't have any". So its not true what you say, some of their staff ARE stupid and PCWorld clearly do not have much, or anything, in place to help hire staff with slightest knowledge of technology. I am never surprised by any of these stories about PC World.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not just PC World

    Have a look in the laptop accessories section of the Dell website. You'll find it comforting that each bag has been tested and validated to ensure that it works with a Dell laptop and will be eligable for full Technical Support(???) from Dell when used with a Dell system. So, presumably, if you buy a bag from Dell and put a MacBook in it you can Foxtrot Oscar if anything goes wrong.


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm not sure what you expect from the staff really, but if you think about it - if they were shit-hot IT people then they wouldn't have to work in PC World, would they?

  21. bluesxman

    Ah PC World in Leeds

    I remember with great fondness the day I went in there to obtain a network cable.

    I looked around for a minute or two, but couldn't see them myself, so asked a member of staff where I might find a "CAT5 network cable" (those words). He looked a little confused, led me in the direction of USB cables and asked "what are you going to use it for?" ... "Erm ... a NETWORK!" (I tried hard not to sound patronising, probably failed). A few more confused seconds later he twigs on to what I'm after and sends me upstairs, where a 15m Belkin was £25, and then some. I found myself saying "You can fuck off!" at volume (headphones on) to no one in particular before leaving the shop, returning home and ordering the self same cable off a popular web vendor for about £6. Web prices on the High Street my arse!

    Moronic staff and (attempted) gouging all in one visit -- welcome to PC World!

  22. Marc Savage

    This is why I wont buy from PC world

    This is what you get for buying from PC world. If anyone was this stupid in my tech team they would be sacked.

    Also have PC world staff not had sale of goods act training. ?

  23. Chris Drew

    Pakuma warranty

    We offer a lifetime guarantee on all our products. If customers have any issue they should take it back to where they purchased the bag from for a replacement or contact us.

    Chris Drew,


  24. Joe Harrison

    Floppies still beat USB stick for < XP

    We have huge numbers of Windows 2000 boxes at work. Copying files across the air gap means:

    1. Insert USB stick

    2. Do copy

    3. Remove USB stick

    4. W2K goes mental because yet again you forgot to click stop/eject/whatever

    5. Insert USB stick into target machine only to find file is corrupt due to unflushed buffer

    6. Goto 1

    OR: use a floppy instead. What would you rather do?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old FD drives

    Ancient trivia but the reason that some floppies only "worked" in some drives was due to the tolerances on head alignment. It was (still is) possible to have a drive write so far to one side of the track that another drive (which read/wrote to the other side of the track) couldn't read the floppy.

    This was (IIRC) entirely in accordance with the specification and was the reason why most of us who built/fixed machines in the 90s carried two floppy drives (one set to either side of the track) all the time. There were head alignment programs but I never found one that worked that well.

    Back on topic - the only reason to use PC World is to try peripherals out and then return them. Eg try out a monitor and if you like it then return it to PC World for a refund and buy it cheaper elsewhere. You should avoid talking to the staff wherever possible as I'm sure each time you do this your IQ falls ;-) To be fair(ish) to PC World though it does have to be pointed out that the price differential between them and exclusively online retailers has dropped quite significantly. That's about as fair as I want to be though.

  26. Richard Preston

    It's not the laptop, stupid

    it's the OS. What else do you expect from something weighed down by widgets and gizmos?

    Relax, Jobsophiles, it's just a joke.

  27. Dale Harrison

    Already been said but...

    PC World's after sales/support service sucks. I've had several colleagues and friends who have had enormous problems getting things rectified for one reason or another.

    I won't buy anything more significant than a book from them (and even then I check all the pages are there before I buy it !) Think they've stopped selling them now anyway.

  28. Robert Ramsay

    As I always say... can tell how stupid someone is by how stupid *they* think *you* are...

    A couple of my experiences in PC World have left me open mouthed. One guy admitted to me that they had no idea what products they would stock from one week to the next. Apparently it all arrived on some fucking magic carpet from LaLa land.

  29. Dave

    This was my laptop bag !

    A short reply to Shane McCarrick - I am glad that you were resourceful enough to repair your bag, in my case, the stitching came away completely from the shoulder strap and was therefore not repairable without the right equipment . . . . in any case, though you state that, to paraphrase, I had had the bag for several months, it was "asking a bit much to take it back" . . . . IT HAS A ONE YEAR WARRANTY - that is the whole point of the warranty ! - my beef was not in any way with Pakuna - the bag is genuinely EXCELLENT, I just had one bad experience, it should not be taken as a complaint against the bag manufacturer . . . . my one and only problem was with the incredibly ignorant member of PC World staff who claimed that my laptop was incompatible due to it being an Apple and not a PC ?!?!?!? If you look up "incompetence" in the dictionary, the definition is "any member of DSGi staff, management or to a lesser extent the people who shop with them" - and THAT INCLUDES ME !

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC World

    Sorry but as I was strolling through the comments here i noticed something. It seems PC world have become somewhat of a joke. In response to where do they get there staff from Tawakalna, the staff as in all retail are trained to approach customers and ask them if they need help, so if they cant answer your question it is inevitable that they will ask somebody else for help. Also to all those people who say their products are at high prices (which they are forced to sell at as you know margins on pc's and laptops are crap), think to yourself which other shops can you buy that product, sure you know, but does the average first time pc buyer? They employ people who obviously dont share your expertise, otherwise they would all be big shots like yourselves. OK there may be a few 'rogue salesmen' but I bet you, you know at least one person who would act the same.

  31. Dan

    @David Gosnell

    That the PC World in Farnborough next to Asda ? I found PC World in Farnborough (I used to live in Ash Vale) only good for one thing.......parking my car in their car park when Asda ran out of spaces, or the Farnborough Air Show was on :)

    Im sure their staff are as incompetent as PC World in Guildford, (5 minutes walk from where I live now) who were unable to answer any questions I had on graphics cards. Two members of the technical helpdesk just stared blankly at the cards on the shelf opposite their desk unable to answer my questions and not having the foresight to ask a colleague or check their online database.

    Better yet was the salesgirl who proceeded to try and bullsh*t me royally on a wireless laptop I was looking to buy for the wife. Apparently you don't need a wireless router or any form of wireless relay, as a wireless router will work perfectly with a wired router....errrr fact it will just connect to the intarweb with no need for any modems routers switches etc etc. She proceeded to come up with even more random rubbish. I ended up in an argument with her at one point because she assured me the laptop couldn't be upgraded later on, despite the shelf label clearly stating the available upgrades for ram, cpu, etc. According to her I would have to buy a new one if I wanted to upgrade, at which point she indicated the same over-priced piece of crap she'd tried to flog me earlier.

    In the end I lost my temper and told her as I was a Computer Engineer I knew all about pc's, servers, and especially laptops and she could quit giving me bull. She still grinned inanely and just waffled on. Mindless drones the lot of them !!!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Tikka ... attempting to make contact with him"

    Oh sure, I can imagine how "hard" they are working to contact him. As in putting a thumb in their arse and whistling La Paloma.

  33. davcefai

    No change in >15 years

    A long time ago, in the Windows 3.1 days, while in England I went to PC World to by a new modem (to replace my 2400 bps one).

    The staff did not know what a modem was. One of them had heard about them.

    I haven't bothered going back.

  34. Dave

    Even the website does it...

    I was looking for a new monitor recently. I looked at the PC World site just to see if they had any of my possible options in stock, given that even if a local shop is more expensive on the base price, adding in carriage can swing the balance close enough that the 'now' factor wins. The monitor section of the website is pretty useless and misses a lot of relevant specs (such as is it DVI or DSUB15 only) and when I did a stock check on the one that interested me, the local store had them available, with a similar model out of stock but available at a store 30 miles away. So went for a walk around my local one, only to find that they'd got loads of the one that was supposedly out of stock and none of the one that was supposedly in stock.

    So I left empty-handed, although I did detour via the cable display to have a good laugh at the cost of a 20metre CAT5 cable.

  35. Ben Benson

    Another amusing story.....

    While working at an independant computer shop some years ago, we had a regular customer of ours come in with a broken laptop. She hadnt bought it from us, she shamefully admitted to buying it from PC world.

    So she apologised for bringing it to us for repair, but proceeded to explain why she wont take it back to PC World.

    She had called them, and explained she had just spilt a glass of red wine on the keyboard, so turned it off, tried to dry it, but it still wont power up. PC Worlds suggested resolution was more than laughable. In all seriousness, they informed her that to fix the laptop, she needed to to pour a glass of clean water through the laptop at the same angle as the wine went in.

    Unbelievable! Needless to say, she hung up and brought the laptop to us. Oh we laughed for days i tell ya......

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Web prices on the High Street my arse!"

    Well, technically they can claim that as they just charge those prices on their web site!

    Generally, though, I avoid PC World and recommend to anyone who asks me that they do the same.

  37. Dan White

    Check the Pakuma site...

    I suspect this may have been updated today:

    Akara K1:

    Fits up to 17" Notebooks

    (incl. Apple 17" Powerbook)

    Nice :-)

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flash! Ah-ha! He saved every one of us!

    "On a recent trip to london the 15.4" holding K2 took my 15" lappy etc"

    No-one has picked up that this commentator used the word "lappy". I find this shocking.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you think thats bad just try their the Pc Performance extended warrenty service

    I have payed £9.99 a month for their extended warrenty service for my laptop. Have had it just less than 2 years (so approx £220 payed. My laptop was collected by them for repair I have now not had my laptop for over 7 weeks. Have phoned every week. For the first 4 weeks was told either you will probably have it by the end of the week or waiting for parts. After over 4 week they eventually admitted they hadnt even looked at it yet. After 6 weeks told them I wanted it replaced since they havent got around to fixing it. Still waiting. They are useless.

  40. Trevor Watt

    @ Dave

    Read the warranty card, it is with the manufacturer, not the retailer, although you may have additional statutory rights that require the retailer to resolve the issue, but that does not extend to an automatic exchange if the bag is over 28 days old.

  41. Critical Hippo

    Got one from the Leeds store that did the same...

    ... I imagine it was just a dodgy batch.

    Upon taking it back (sans receipt) after 3 weeks, they said they couldn't give me a refund. I insisted and spoke to someone in the business department upstairs who went through the sales records until they found proof of my having purchased it.

    It's worth persisting with them... occasionally you can coax PC World into doing what you want.

  42. Eyeball

    Sticking up for PC World staff

    OK, so you've justified why PC World staff aren't so technically hot, but can you explain the reasons behind the country-wide (and hence seemingly company policy) of not marking up prices, putting products next to price labels for different products, and not bothering to put products into the EPOS system, so you can't actually buy them?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Drew

    Good man. Nice to see he reads El Reg. Two points: if you read El Reg then you really don't need to ask staff anything! Second point; like all shop staff, I should imagine that PC World staff are paid peanuts...and if you pay peanuts, what do you get?

  44. Chris Redpath

    I know they are mostly idiots, but really it's not all bad

    Unless it's changed, I've bought a few things at the Cambridge PC World in the last few years and had problems with them. Not once have I had a problem returning any of it for a refund and in fact it's that which has meant I've bought other items there since.

    If you check their website (a bit hit and miss sometimes), then just occasionally the item you're after or a decent alternative will be available on their reserve and collect type thing. If the price is within a few pounds of other internet prices, then more often than not I'll just reserve it and go to the store. At least you get it today and not in a week.

    Mind you, I'd never expect to get actual proper advice from someone that works there. They are the argos of computing.

  45. Mo

    Re: PC World

    Some corrections to your anonymous comment:

    1. PC World have been a joke for at least the past decade.

    2. Staff admitting they don't know stuff is fine, staff making complete tosh up isn't.

    3. Selling products at high prices isn't so bad (market forces take care of that one), it's the selling of identical looking but slightly differently specced (with different aftersales policies) models from mainstream brands, like the Toshiba laptops that are made solely for DSG and are a lower spec (but inexplicably the same price) as the same model from other outlets, along with a requirement that you use DSG's 0870 technical support instead of the manufacturer's own.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best time to shop at PC World

    Is usually on Wednesday afternoons or weekends in University towns/cities. Find a student working there and chances are he's on an IT, computing or similar course and probably knows more about computers than the senior members. Prod him for some advice, tell him the kind of things you're wanting to use the computer for and go from there. You'll probably find that although their sales technique is second rate, their product knowledge is spot on.

    Just try to avoid some middle-aged twonk stealing the sale off him

    -Voice of Experience

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC World in Peterborough

    Several years ago when I was unfortunate enough to live in that city, the local PC World sacked all their long haired male staff members, front desk and back room. At (big name company who needn't be dragged into this) we all had a great laugh and agreed never to buy from them. To date I have had no trouble keeping this promise.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @It's not the laptop, stupid

    MacOS may be bloated, but then so must Linux be since PCW clearly would claim the same problem with a Linux laptop.

    So the obvious conclusion is that MS is a lightweight operating system.

  49. Law


    It's hilarious.... but what upsets me are the people who normally buy from there actually falling for the dumb answers.

    When I first go together with my-wife about 7 years back, her parents were slaves to these guys. I had to "de-program" them from all the bull-shit they were fed for years. Occasionally they will come out with some bollocks that they quote from The Independant - but that is swiftly solved with a link to the same story, but by el-reg - the pinacle of truth and justice for all us tech-heads! :)

    The last time I was in a PC World was about 2 years ago, when I verbally (and very colourfully) abused one of their employees for selling a PDA to a pensioner while telling them it was just a PC, but smaller and would run all the windows software they would need.... I think I was banned from the store, but maybe if I wear a tux or apple tshirt they wouldn't recognise me... hmmm... :)

  50. Martin Owens

    Ah that takes me back

    As a FOSS programmer I used to enjoy a trip to PC World now and then just for a little tease; insisting that I wanted a computer with linux on it or that I wanted a linux compatible wifi card; what ever would take my fancy and then just score point on which of their staff squirmed the most. Evil I know.


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