Sunday, July 23, 2006

Do Lifts get tea breaks?

So you'll remember that I left the saga at the cancelled dinner plans stage? With Nick coming over to look at my shiny new monitor and jab my PC until it did things it was meant to do.

The Monitor arrived fine, I set it up merrily and downloaded a funky new Windows Theme to celebrate my new sharp pictureness. Nick came round and I installed Prey to see how the Monitor performed*. So I stick the disk in and install it, boot it up and........

All works fine, except that my speakers are barely audible. They have always been a bit tempermental, the sub woofer often needs a firm and sharp application of technical pressure from a pedal extremity. This usually rectifies my audio issues but sadly, this time it was not to be. They are 5 years old and a fairly cheap set of 5.1 speakers so I didn't begrudge having to replace them, little did I know that this was just the first step in some grander design of an unseen force.....

Nick was more than amenable to a trip to Leatherhead, so we checked a few prices online and figure we should be able to get a half decent set of 5.1's for around forty quid. We went to Leatherhead, checked Dixons (now - they only had 2.1s in. Checked the 2 computer shops - only one of them had 5.1's in and they were overpriced and didn't look nearly as cool as the Logitech ones we'd seen cheaper on their website. They didn't have those ones sadly. So we went to Argos, flicked throught the catalogue to discover that the only suitable ones were around 60 quid.

'Piss!'. I said, philisophically.
'We could go to Epsom, there are loads of shops there - they're bound to have loads of stuff. We'll still be within 20 minutes of a computer too. Well.......... ish' Replied my helpful companion.

So we went to Epsom. We parked in the Ashley Centre. The Ashley Centre in Epsom is notable in a variety of ways, allow me to educate you:

Things to Know About the Ashley Centre in Epsom:

  1. There are no stairs down from the car park into this shopping centre.

  2. Apparently it's a Mall, not a shopping centre. Somewhere there is someone who is paid far too much money who knows what the difference is**.

  3. It has many, many mobile phone retailers under its roof. And a place that sells frozen gourmet food. And various clothes shops.

  4. Electrical and/or Computer related stores are conspicuous in their absence.

  5. John Major could write a book called 'Variable Rate Mortgages in Pre-Wilson Britain' and it would have more marketing 'fizz' than the name of this place. I mean, come on. The Ashley Centre - sounds like a Young Offenders Institute.

  6. The Lifts were designed by the same team that designed Limbo, only this time they got it right.

So. The Lifts. We parked up, got out of the car and went into the Ashley Centre. We were on the 4th floor and upon entering the structure we saw a small group of confused looking people stood in the middle of the floor surrounded by closed Lift doors. The little red down arrow was lit, so it was only a matter of time before our carriage arrived! Unfortunately I hadn't quite counted on the fact the the Lifts appeared to need to get their breath back after each descent. I saw one disappear down the shaft, never to be seen again. What made this odd situation worse is that there were no stairs. The people who built this place were actively preventing me from getting to their shops. I know I'm no business man, but trapping your customers outside your retail area doesn't strike me as a recipe for financial success. Couple this with the Beige name of the place and you start to wonder if the words 'Barely Simian' may have appeared on some people's performance reviews.

We eventually made it into the place, to discover point number 4. So we went down the High Street to discover that point 4 stretches to the entire of Epsom. They had a Haberdashery - whatever the fuck that is - apparently owned by Lisa (I deduced this from the imaginative name of the store). They even had a Tailor who specialises in Sports Wear. No computer stores though. Anywhere. In frustration we decided I should get the slightly expensive ones in Argos, at least they wouldn't be a rip off and I would have some cool speakers that would now match my PC (the old ones were beige).

To re-cap. We went to a much larger town - with alleged good shopping facilities to try and find what we were looking for. We then went to their Argos.

They told us the only place that had any was Leatherhead.

*As a side Note - the game isn't bad at all for a first person shooter, quite pretty amd they've done some very clever things with Gravity. But if you're an XBox 360 person i wouldn't spend that kind of cash on it, with the 20 odd quid on PC though. Multiplayer sucks ass.

**It's equally likely that same person has applied multiple times to every season of Big Brother. Possibly in multiple countries, provided that knowledge of the existence of other countries hasn't been entirely replaced by the Lore of Shopping Complexes.

***Thought I would throw in another variation.

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