Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

Comet – the latest victim of the recession

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Speculation this morning in the papers about Comet being in trouble, confirmed later in the day. Comet has a place in my childhood memories and one of the reasons I think I’ve always been into technology. I remember my dad taking me to the store on Friday nights (they had a store near to a large J&B whisky warehouse). Comet used to have a newspaper price list that was printed every week (a bit like Frys in the US). At a young age I would look at the prices of computers and speculate when they would go down in price. At that time little did I know just how much the technology industry would change. One thing that hasn’t changed even with modern technology was the inability to tell you when something would come into stock (particularly if it was nearing end of line). It’s funny how some 30+ years later with modern logistics this is still the case ! Walk into an Apple Store and ask when something is coming into stock and you are met with a “we don’t know what we are getting”. It’s funny how so much effort goes into logistics yet something so basic as knowing what is coming into stock and when is so tough !

Back to Friday nights at Comet. I remember they used to have large hexagonal display cases (metal frames with glass) that you could lean over and look at goods. I still remember the first miniature TV I saw running behind the glass case, the first Walkman, and the first digital watch ! The smell of technology was also distinctive (I think primarily from heated circuit boards from all the TVs they had running), against the contrast with the smell of white goods like washing machines (tested with detergent at the factory) and fridges that also have a different distinctive smell due to the heavy plastic content. Oh, and the very first Sinclair C5 electric tricycle (which was reduced to 1/3rd of the price within months of it first going on sale).

Sadly buying or browsing around technology is no longer as fun. Save for the Apple announcements, there doesn’t really seem to be anything new with the hi-tech buzz out there. It’s a shame as the industry really has changed to be far more commodity.

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