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“Does it have a SiRF III chip inside?” I ask.

The poor sales guy thought for a while and then said, “Sir sirf chip nahin hai…GPS bhi hai. Par kitna chip hai maloom nahin“.
I didn’t know what to say. Well, those of you who are still wondering what the heck I am talking about, SiRF III is a high-sensitive chip that helps quickly lock onto GPS satellites. I was at a Croma store asking a sales guy if that GPS phone had a SiRF chip.

No Croma, contrary to what your tagline says, you don’t help me buy.

I take pity on these guys who try to explain the basic features of a smartphone to me. When I ask them whether the phone has AVRCP, they say, “Woh sab nahin hai sir, par bluetooth hai is mein.” AVRCP is a quite common Bluetooth profile found on most Bluetooth-enabled phones.

I think I made my point. Technology is moving so fast these days that for those of us who are tech-savvy enough, a decision to buy or not to buy something is getting increasingly difficult to make at a showroom. And the poor sales guy who is falling way behind can’t help either.

It’s ironical how things change. When there were no credit cards, you almost certainly knew what you were going to buy when you went out to the market. I remember when I was a kid, my father and I used to make at least two trips when we wanted to buy anything. First trip was to visit all the shops (there was no mall retailing then and one small shop didn’t keep all varieties and brands) and decide what to buy. In many cases, we used to argue and counter-argue at home and a decision to buy was made only at home, not at the shop. In the second trip, we would take the exact amount in cash to buy what we finalized.

With malls and credit cards coming in, there was a complete shift in the way a buying decision was made. You go to the mall armed with a credit card, browse things, try them out there and just swipe the plastic. No going back home. No taking the exact amount of cash. Instant purchase. Instant gratification.

But now when I think of it, I think in some cases, we are back at square one. A decision to buy is no more being made at the mall. It’s being made at home. There are of course no arguments between family members (because there are very few left in this world who can make sense out of the new features being constantly added to products). But yes there are arguments. On On You listen to the users, their experiences, their arguments, their feedback, review comments before making a decision. You read expert reviews, you gauge popularity from readership hits, you see the product in action on YouTube. Because at the store, you just can’t test the battery life. You most probably can’t test the sunlight legibility of a mobile phone. You wouldn’t know about software compatibility. And boy, you wouldn’t know whether there is a SiRF III chip inside!

I don’t have to take the exact amount of cash. But yes, when I go out to shop for a gadget, I know what exactly I am going to buy. No salesman can ever sell me anything else.Because I know better.

How things change and still stay the same!

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