I went to buy a phone the other day. I thought a nice spanking new caller ID phone would be just the ticket for helping to dodge telemarketers while I try and decide if I’m going to get a new phone number and a silent line. So I popped into Dick Smith and looked at phones. A nice Panasonic set caught my eye – a desk phone and a cordless phone in one package. Dick Smith Man saw me looking at it and strolled over to try and convince me to buy it.
He worked hard at it, too. Maybe it was my non-committal expression that spurred him on. It was a little like that scene in the Life Of Brian where the market stall guy insists that Brian should haggle. Dick Smith Man started haggling – he talked himself down from the initial price $288. First he said he could get me a discount. I said how much of a discount. He said how much did I expect to pay. Although I had no specific amount of money in mind, and would happy buy it at the full price if it suited my needs, I said I was thinking of around $250. He said it had been on sale the week before, but not quite that cheaply, and that he’d have to check with his manager, and that if I really wanted to buy it today, he’d go ask. I said do that.
While Dick Smith Man went off to see Dick Smith Manager, I wandered around the software section. He came back and said the Manager wasn’t happy (did I ask for him to be happy?) but that they could do it for $250. Okay. Then I cheered him up by buying a copy of MYOB as well, and not asking for a discount on it.
I got home, and later that night, fiddled with the phone. Then I realised that it was not really going to meet my particular requirements, because unfortunately one of my requirements is that the desk phone – which doubles as the base station for the cordless phone – needs to sit on my desk. In a space on my desk. In a space on my desk which is surrounded by a wall, two computers and a metal filing cabinet. I suspected that the reception would be crap, and indeed it was crap. Shame, because the phones were gorgeous.
Dick Smith Man seemed a little disappointed when I went back to return it the next day. I did decide to take a digital answering machine instead, but it has still left me looking around for a caller ID equipped desktop phone. Shame most of them look so shonky. But wait… the Panasonic one, which looks okay and well built (I’ve never had problems with Panasonic stuff… not like Sharp)… and it has an LCD display on the front of it… amazingly, it doesn’t do caller ID! Fools! What on earth were they thinking?