His master's voice gets quieter with each passing year

Tower Records, Woolworths, Our Price, Virgin Megastores, HMV. These guys were the big hitters of the past, selling records, tapes, videos and Megadrive games. I used to spend most Saturdays with my mates (when I had mates) playing demos and looking at the covers of dodgy foreign films with tits in them. Even impoverished high streets in the north would sport at least 2 of these stores a decade or so ago, but now, only HMV clings onto its miserable existence, seeing its market share eroded by shameless cunts who refuse to pay for stuff they want. But, as much as it pains me to say it, there is another glaring reason for HMV's current plight. HMV are as old-fashioned as their quaint logo.

There is a staggering disconnect between HMV online and the HMV stores in general. They seem to be completely independent of each other. On most online retailers that also have a High Street presence, you can elect to either buy the item online, or select a store near to you and reserve one. It may seem a bit antiquated to go to a store and buy something like a DVD, and you're right, it is. There is no need to engage your senses when choosing a DVD in the manner you do when you buy clothes or cushions and things. But then I had no choice.

I received a(n?) HMV gift card for Christmas, which was ace as, being a hermit, I love to buy DVDs and that. I decided to buy the Office season 6 DVD, which was £22.99 on the website. I primed my gift card, ready to purchase the DVD. But then, I noticed the small print on the gift card which stated that I could not use the card on the website, and would have to go in store instead. This was annoying, as it meant a trip to Wimbledon, and I hate Wimbledon. Being that I hate Wimbledon, I thought that I'd best check that they at least had The DVD I wanted  in stock so that I could reserve a copy and not completely waste my time. Obviously, given that the website and actual store communicate less effectively than feuding OAP's, I could not check the stock on the website. That would be way too convenient, and impossible for HMV to manage (although Halfords, Game and Homebase to name but a few seem to manage just fine)

I had to resort to the telephone. I felt like I was slowly slipping back through the years, as HMV relied on ever-antiquated technology to fulfil my request - I was waiting for an automated message to tell me to send an enquiry by way of a telegram. To my surprise, after only some 5 minutes of being advertised stuff I didn't want I got to speak to a human. The human sounded unhappy. I nicely asked the human whether they could check if they had the Office Season 6 in stock. After a few more minutes of rustling, I received an update from the human who stated that they didn't have any in stock. I asked if the human knew when they would receive any more, and was met with a cross-between a murmur and a groan. Words followed stating that he didn't know, and couldn't see anything on the system, so I thanked the human for his time and bade him farewell.

It was later that day that I found myself at Wimbledon anyway, and I just thought, on the off-chance, that I would pop into HMV and have a look for The Office Season 6 DVD. Also, the security guard looked really lonely - I was half-tempted to stick an iPod dock under my jumper and run about a bit, if only to give him a sense of purpose. Negotiating my way through the tumbleweed and hideous array of 3rd-party iPod peripherals, I finally found the DVD section. And lo and behold, I was greeted by the lovely sight of a dozen copies of The Office Season 6 DVD! And even better, the DVD was only 30 pounds, which is just 7 pounds and one pence dearer than the website (which also offers free delivery) But at least I got to spend my gift card.

I felt a sense of finality as I left the HMV that day, reasonably safe in the knowledge that I would never set foot back in there again, or at least not until the inevitable 'closing down' fire sale, bought about by certain administration. It's a shame, really. I would love for HMV to survive, but fear for it like a dear old friend who can no longer keep the drool from their chin. Besides, all of the other entertainment giants of the High Street are gone now, so maybe it's time for HMV to do one as well. So, Goodbye HMV, I shall not see you again. Unless someone buys me a gift card.

3 comments:

  1. Hey there, really glad you enjoyed your gift reciept. ( your welcome ).

    Why would you take an ipod dock - its rubbish. I used to work in HMV - best time of my life! from the ages of 16-35... best saturday job ever... i popped into my local branch recently, they have a FAX machine... so you CAN actually fax them for information or product search if that helps?

    Big Les...

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  2. just saw your profile picture up there, a £25 voucher for harley medical group would have been heaps more beneficial to you

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  3. £25? That wouldn't scratch the surface. It's better that I spend money on things that keep me indoors.

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