Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Three Mini Rants

None of these is really worthy of a full blog post, but since they annoy me disproportionately I thought I'd group them up and post them together...

PC World

The headband on my PC headphones broke yesterday, and so I found myself in PC World at the end of the day looking to buy a new set. This wasn't ideal, since when buying under time pressure you're unlikely to get a good deal, but since I didn't really want to endure another music-free day it wasn't too bad. Not that it mattered...

Yes, PC World's customer service still sucks.

They still have their products stuck to the shelves with stupid anti-theft devices, and there still aren't any assistants available to unlock the damn things. Unacceptable.

Hire Cars

When providing a hire car or courtesy car, there are two acceptable policies:

  • Provide the car with a full tank of petrol with the expectation that it be returned with the same, or...
  • Provide the car with whatever level of petrol, and don't care how much it is returned with.

It is not acceptable to say to people "it has about this much petrol; return it with the same", since people cannot possibly know how much a tank holds, what the fuel economy figures are like, or anything like that.

Blu-ray Rip-offs

As you know, I've been looking to phase out my Region One DVDs, which has meant looking to replace at least some of them with blu-rays. And, quite often, that has meant picking up a boxed set containing not just one specific film but an entire series - rather than getting just "Terminator 2", I might think of getting a 4-film set (already have "Genysis", for my sins... and besides, they haven't bothered with a 5-film set in the UK). Likewise, I might have been tempted to pick up the full series of 'classic' "Star Trek" films in order to upgrade the four 'good' ones to blu-ray.

Bear in mind that these are years- or even decades-old films by this point - they've long since reached the point where almost everyone who wants them probably owns them already, quite possibly in multiple formats, and they're therefore at the point where there's very little residual value in them.

What I've found, however, is that there's a "Terminator Quadrilogy" boxed set, and also a separate "Skynet Edition" of "Terminator 2". Where said "Skynet Edition" has many more special features, including a third alternate cut of the film, than the one in the 4-film set. (That 4-film set is also currently the only way to get "Terminator: Salvation" on blu-ray. Not that T4 is really worth having, except as a special feature to T1 and T2, but still...) Meaning that they clearly want and expect fans to buy both the 4-film set and the "Skynet Edition" of T2 - a clear rip-off of their fans.

(And, it's worth noting, that "Skynet Edition" isn't a new version - it's basically a reissue of the very same DVD that I'm looking to replace. Which was at the time billed as the "Ultimate Edition".)

Likewise, that "Star Trek" set doesn't include the director's cut of "Star Trek: the Motion Picture" - if you want that, you have to buy it separately. Which is a fairly big deal, since that director's cut practically makes it a whole new film, and is almost the difference between 'watchable' and 'not'. (It also omits the director's cut of "The Wrath of Khan", but that's not a rip-off - that director's cut didn't exist when the 10-film set was assembled. It's not unreasonable for them to produce new editions of things!)

And the third example is perhaps my favourite Pixar film: "The Incredibles", where again I have a fairly deluxe DVD version (which wasn't a special edition in any way - they just did a really good job packaging that film up for DVD release). But the blu-ray? That sucks - basically the film and nothing else. There is a 3-disc special edition available, but not in the UK.

What's probably most annoying about this, other than the apparent view that it's okay to rip off fans, is that it's so completely unnecessary. In each case, the missing materials are things that already exist and are easily available, and which have no value on their own - nobody is going to buy a blu-ray containing "The Making of The Incredibles"! So there's no good reason not to include these things - it's either apathy, laziness, or greed, none of which should be acceptable.

Progress shouldn't mean going backwards.

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