Thursday, April 19, 2007

Caveat Emptor..

.. or put more simply, 'BUYER, BEWARE'

When you go into a store to buy something, how much do you know about the product you intend to buy? What criteria do you apply to your purchase? Are you looking for the best, or do you think that 'value' is the primary consideration? When faced with a list of features, have you really thought about which are most important to you and which, if any, can be sacrificed?

At the auto dealer showroom, you can look around a vehicle, sit in it, open everything up, go for a test drive. In all probability, you will be looking at the top of the range model on display which has every option and embellishment, and the model you pick may not have the leather seats, GPS mapping, or extra driving lights, but you have a good idea of what you are getting for the outlay. There are some things you simply can't tell by looking, one of them being how you will feel after maybe driving for 500 miles in one session!

You can still get caught out is the point here. If you went into a showroom looking for a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and came out with a Jeep Liberty, I hope you tipped the salesman well because he did a great job on you. When you walked out of the dealer showroom, did you take a look down the side to see how many unsold silver 'great deal' Jeep Libertys were sitting for the last six months in all kinds of weather?

The computer store is also a showroom, but here you will find a range of products for the most part looking very similar in exterior appearance. They will all have the same Operating System installed, and the display on the screen will look the same. Nobody will show you the inside because there is little point really. A circuit board is a circuit board to the uninitiated. So is the 'shouter' card in front of each unit. Most understand what is written on the cards as much as they understand the list of ingredients on the side of a food package. What the hell is all of this crap?

Best talk to a salesperson, eh. They will know. From a management stand point, a great computer salesperson is not judged by what he/she knows about the product. It is all about the ability to talk the potential purchaser into leaving the store with a purchase. Why doesn't it matter that the salesperson knows much? Simply put, there is a 99% chance that the purchaser knows a whole lot less.

I stood in a store one time and heard a salesperson talk a potential purchaser into buying a system that in no way, shape or form would do what the customer wanted, based upon the fact that the customer did not have much to spend and knew less than Jack about computers. He just knew what he wanted the computer to do. The salesperson outright lied about the capability of the machine, and he must have known that he was lying because, if he had been trained or knew anything at all about using computers, he could not have honestly fed the customer with crap.

The salesperson would have gotten commission for the sale, but the customer's woes were only just starting. I have no doubt that there would follow multiple calls to some idiot in a call center, each call generating commission for the operators.

Regardless of what you purchase today, or any day, do your research. Talk to people who really know about stuff, not somebody who is paid just to sell. If you see a 'good deal' or the salesperson keeps trying to steer you to a particular product, ask yourself the following questions.
  1. Will the product do what I want and expect it to do for a reasonable period?
  2. Is the product about to be replaced by something that I might desire more?
  3. Is the store/garage trying to dump a product that is overstocked and has been declared useless by magazine reviews?
Do not rely on the integrity of the salesperson who is most likely under pressure to sell what he is told to sell or face dismissal. Do your homework, and do it well because at the end of the day, it is your responsibility.

Good Luck..

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