Some time in the mid ’90s, my CD player conked out. Finished, kaput,
beyond hope. A powerful realisation that I would now be suitably deterred
from squandering my hard-earned pennies on the little silver wonders
ensured that I didn’t replace it for a very long time - until last year,
As a result, I can boast a relatively puny CD collection and hundreds of
records and tapes. So while everyone else is getting into DVDs, I’m on a
second honeymoon with their supposedly inferior predecessors. They’re
So great that I decided to buy Beck’s latest offering over the web. But
since CDs are meant to account for such a mighty chunk of online sales,
where in cybermusic world was I to start?
Eager to snap up the best deal, I snatched a cheeky moment at work on a
Friday afternoon and logged on to the handful of comparative shopping
sites I know: Intershop; Valuemad; Ultrastore; and ShopSmart. Only
Valuemad seemed to deal with CDs. I couldn’t remember the title of Beck’s
last album, so I typed in the band’s name under ”artist”, only to be
bombarded with 117 search results: Jeff Beck; Joe Beck; Randy Beck;
Clapton, Page and Beck; my great auntie Beck. Hardly refined results.
Fortunately, a music junkie colleague of mine kindly informed me that
Midnite Vultures was the title I was after. The results were wide
BOL was charging a hefty #17.94 including postage and packing, whereas
Borrow Or Rob wanted #11.25 but with delivery time specified as seven to
10 days. Unwilling to wait that long, I went for the second-cheapest
option, which was Kingfisher Group-owned Entertainment Express, charging
#11.99 and expressing a delivery time only of ’available’. I registered a
username and password with Valuemad, entered my details and took the
About 15 minutes later, I got an email confirmation informing me that my
order would be ”dealt with promptly”. Dealing with an order and actually
delivering something are two very different things, I thought.
I scrambled out of bed the next morning to find a square parcel with a
Middlesex postmark on my doormat. Must be a free promotional waffle or pop
tart, I thought. But in fact, the package contained that very real pop
tart, Beck himself. Now that’s what I call entertainment express.
Save for the odd seasonal clearouts and the tucked-away independent shops,
I don’t think I’ll be setting foot in a high street music store too often
from now. Sorry Branson, mate.
Product: Music CD
Vendor: Entertainment Express