I thought I’d do some Christmas shopping yesterday. In the old days I would’ve gone to the department store and spent a couple of hours buying everything in one place, helped by smiling, polite shop assistants ... well, that bit may be fantasy. I did, however, spend just as long at my desk, online and trying to work out whether the slew of Cyber Monday offers were, in reality, money-saving.
I was on the hunt for a PlayStation 4 for the Boy Wonder: the midrange model which I had seen was about £280 online during November, depending on which games came with it. I perused Amazon, looking for deals. There weren’t any – or not that I could understand. I mean, is Lego Star Wars + console worth more or less than two rounds of Call of Duty + console? So I headed to my spiritual home to see what the big JL had on offer. And there it was, a special Cyber Monday PS4 deal with a stonking £80 off. Wahey! I pushed go on that one as fast as I could apply fingers to keyboard.
Enthused, I proceeded to the Currys website and flashed my cash until Lloyds texted to tell me that some fraudster was going crazy with my card and they had stopped it.
This morning, I have to sort out my payment to Currys. I notice it’s still promoting its Black Tag Event so I needn’t have rushed. My PlayStation deal at John Lewis is still available – not just a one-day offer after all – and now I see some improved deals on Amazon (where Cyber Monday lasts all week) which means my discount wasn’t as great as I thought.
What a con. You almost have to admire the way retailers dazzle us with their ‘bundles’ and the wizardry which drives the ever-changing online pricing. But I’ve come away from my shopping experience with the unpleasant sensation I’ve been diddled. And even when you get a real bargain, the feeling is similar. I was so pleased to find Pecksniff’s handwash for £4.99 in TK Maxx in Manchester’s Arndale Centre. Normally it’s £25. I filled my boots but then I thought – with such a huge saving, how much does this stuff really cost? And, worse, am I a fool for paying it?