“My old laptop had tea poured into it and I got these insurance vouchers and I bought a new laptop from the shop and I got it home and it’s the wrong laptop because the battery life is so bad it means I can’t take it out of the house; the man said it was an ultra mobile laptop but the battery life is only an hour which means I can’t use it on the train or the plane and now I’m stuck with the wrong laptop and I can’t use it for what I want.”
Now, imagine that sentence spoken really fast, in a high pitched voice with a lot of sobbing and sniffling throughout.
Then imagine a long pause before the girl from the PC World helpdesk answered:
“Well sir, an ultra mobile laptop should last longer than that. It sounds like you were mis-sold your laptop, if you take it back to the shop they can organise a refund or an exchange.”
“I love you.”
Yes! I can take the laptop back! Halle-fucking-lujah! I’m not going to be stuck with a ultra mobile laptop which can’t be moved away from the power supply.
Mind you, it is quite sexy. Maybe I can … ?
No, I’m getting shot of it. I’m going to get something else. In fact, I’m going right now before I get too attached.
So I bundle the offending, but sexy, machine back into its box and bomb down the A27 to PC World in Brighton, or maybe Hove – not sure.
The first man I see when I barrel through the door is the manager and I explain the situation. He takes one look at the laptop and says:
“But that’s not an ultra mobile laptop.”
My heart sinks as I remember the laptop wasn’t in the ultra mobile section, it was round the corner. I haven’t been mis-sold it, I just picked the wrong one.
Fuck it, time to do what I do best – lie.
“The man in Crawley said it was.”
“Ah, well the guys in Crawley are what we in the trade call ‘idiots’.”
And just like that, he agreed to exchange or refund the machine.
“Great! What have you got that’s got a 12 inch screen and about four hours of battery life?”
“Just the one, sir:”
“No. Absolutely fucking not. No pink laptop, not now, not ever. What else have you got?”
Nothing. Not a fucking sausage. Well, they might have had sausages, but they didn’t have any ultra mobile laptops. They’re all on sale because they’re clearing out the stock ready for a new range.
When’s the new range coming in?
No one knows. So we reach a compromise, he might know by Monday (it’s Saturday today) so he’ll ring me. He also asks if I can buy a laptop through a company, if so there’s a greater range on offer through their business centre. I think about this, and I’m fairly positive one of my friends will let me buy it through their company. So I say yes and we part ways.
I even get to keep the laptop I’ve got until a replacement can be found. When I get home, I sit looking at the box and have to force myself to leave it in the box. If I play with it, I’ll fall in love with it and won’t be able to give it up.
So here’s the situation: I had £840 of vouchers. I spent £600 on a laptop an £155 on a printer, keyboard, mouse, webcam and paper. That means I have £85 left, so the new laptop has to cost less than £685 or I have to put in some of my own money. The most I can spare this month would bring me up to £800 but that would be really pushing it.
(As I write this post, I have £1.80 left for the rest of the month, so that figure was woefully optimistic.)
Sunday morning, I get a phone call from the PC World business centre: would I be willing to compromise on screen size or battery length?
“Oh. In that case, sir, the nearest replacement we can offer you is a …”
There were some technical words here, followed by the price £1200.
After some choice words and not a small amount of swearing, I hung up.
Yes, you read it correctly, I hung up. Apparently, at the business centre, they don’t mind you swearing at them.
What the fuck am I going to do now? I can wait until the new range comes out, but since I got my laptop in the sale, I’m definitely going to have to stump up some extra cash – which I can’t afford to and don’t want to.
A thought hits me, maybe they have the laptop I really want in some remote part of the country? I could drive to Scotland or something and buy it there. I pounce on the Internet and pound away at the keys.
Now, a stupid part of the PC World system is it won’t just tell you if there’s one of these:
Anywhere in the world. You have to tell the website where you live and it tells you there’s none nearby. So I randomly enter towns across the UK until I confirm my worst fear: there are no more left.
In fact, they have very little stock left at all; except, of course, the fucking pink one.
At least, they have nothing left in store. On the home delivery side of the operation, they have a few of the silver ones left.
So I ring PC World again and explain my situation.
“I’m sorry, sir; but the home delivery side is separate to the in store side of the business.”
“Yes, but they’re still the same business, aren’t they?”
“You’d think so, wouldn’t you?”
“Why can’t you send the laptop I want from the home delivery side to the store and I’ll buy it from there?”
“Because, the home delivery side–”
“Is separate to the in store side of the business.”
“Oh good, you were listening. Sir, why don’t you refund the laptop and then buy it again from home?”
“Because, I bought it with vouchers and you won’t accept vouchers over the net.”
“That’s right, we don’t. Well, you know what this means, don’t you sir?
“You’re fucked. Good day.”
And the bitch hung up.
I sat and sobbed over the box of my useless laptop. So what are the choices?
- Keep the useless one, buy four spare batteries and lug my own body weight in electronics around until I can afford a new one.
- Wait until the new range comes out and stump up a load of my own money (which I haven’t got) to make up the shortfall.
The pink one is £50 less than the one I’ve got. It’s exactly the same as the one I want, but it’s pink. Do I swallow my pride and buy the gay laptop, or punish myself and stick obstinately to some bizarre anti-pink prejudice?
I really am being stupid about this.
With a heavy heart I drive back to PC World. This time I go to the one in Bexhill, which I didn’t even know was there but is much closer. I drag myself up to the first employee I can find, explain the situation and utter the hateful phrase:
“Can I swap it for the Philips x59P, please?”
“x59P, the pink one?”
“Yeah. Do you want to fucking make something of it?”
No, apparently he didn’t. He’s just slightly deaf and wanted to make sure he’d heard right. The exchange is made, the refund is given, a second webcam is bought and I go immediately into a DIY store and buy a roll of black sticky-backed plastic.
And that’s the story. I have a gay laptop, a load of new gear and still have £95 in vouchers left over for ink and paper throughout the year.
It’s very pink, isn’t it? Luckily, from my point of view, I can’t see the pinkness. I’ve got the black sticky-backed plastic because the first time someone sniggers at my laptop, I’m going to wrap their fucking heads in it.
And we’re done. I have a gay laptop.
Since that day, I’ve conducted a straw poll and 100% of the gay guys asked* said they wouldn’t buy this laptop. However, one woman did chip in and say she’d probably buy it for her six year old daughter.
That’s right, it’s not a gay laptop, it’s not even a man’s laptop. It’s a little girl’s laptop.
* One. One gay guy, but he was pretty unanimous.