Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Something off

I was collecting a friend from the Brighton Nuffield Hospital today, giving her lunch and four hours' rest, and then taking her to Gatwick Airport for her flight home. Another friend (we all know each other) has met her off the plane at the other end, and is looking after her tonight. She has had her Surgery, and is thoroughly tired out from all that travel. But she sounded very chipper on the phone, nevertheless. It all went well.

However nice the hospital and the staff there, there's nothing like your own home. And there's nothing like a friend at the home end, to see that you're all right and just be a reassuring presence. It was the same with me: the friend, and being at home, made all the difference. I will take my hat off to anyone who has returned to an empty house or flat, with nobody there to welcome them, and yet has coped.

But this post is really about the staggering cost of high-speed memory cards for electronic gadgets, specifically in my case a microSD card for my new phone (Demelza). If there is no hitch, Demelza should be delivered sometime on Friday (the day after tomorrow) between 8.00am and 6.00pm. It'll be a day of doing things indoors, waiting for the doorbell to ring. I have in mind some scanning that I've been putting off since before Christmas.

I decided on a 64GB microSDXC card, which can apparently shift data at the rate of 100MB per second. That sounds pretty fast to me. It's 11 seconds per gigabyte - in theory, anyway. But it'll seem rapid even if it runs at half that speed.

I wanted 64GB to allow for future expansion. The main things on this card - to begin with - will be music (some 1,400 tracks; 6.3GB worth), photos (some 3,400 selected pictures; 9.6GB worth), and digital mapping (Ordnance Survey maps at various scales, some 2.7GB of them). The photo and mapping elements are likely to expand greatly, and that's why I thought it worth getting a 64GB card from the outset, rather than settle for a 32GB card and then find myself strapped for space two or three years hence. Let's be future-proof.

With delivery so soon, it was imperative to buy a card asap, and get it set up pronto. It must be ready for Demelza'a arrival. I'd want to take her back panel off just the once, inserting memory card, SIM card and battery in one simultaneous operation. Then I'd carefully replace the back panel and never reopen it again. There's a waterproof seal to think about.

To get my card, I went first to PC World in Hove. No joy. The only microSD cards they had were small-capacity ones. Currys were nearby, and they actually had the 64GB card I was looking for, just the one, apparently priced at £70. Quite a lot of money, but hey ho, it was a large-capacity superfast card. At the till, however, it turned out that the real price was £97. What? 

The Old Me (a person of no self-conviction) would have tamely paid the real price. But not the New Me. I remonstrated. In a nice but firm way.

You can't in practice push things too far with 'marked' prices. But I pointed out that even if it was supposed to cost £97, it was being offered for sale where the price said £70. I didn't anyway want to pay £97. That was too much. I could certainly do better if I went home and ordered a card from an online supplier - in which case Currys wouldn't get the business.

Could a deal be done? Something off? The floor manager was consulted. I put on my hopeful-customer face. They could let me have it for £89. £8 off. OK, I'd accept that.

The way I saw it, it would greatly suit me to have the thing in my hands now, and not wait for an internet supplier to post the thing to me. I wanted to take my time over preparing the card. As to cost, whatever I might save by buying it online would be clawed back by having to pay through the nose for express delivery. In other words, the asking price might be £81, but they'd want a cheeky £8 for next-day delivery, so that I'd still pay £89.

So Currys got my £89, and I walked away with what I wanted. And richer by £8, merely for being a stand-up-for-myself woman shopper. As was no doubt expected of me.

The microSD card is now loaded up with the music, photos and maps I mentioned. I've also copied certain other things onto it, such as my preferred ringtone and the preferred notification sound I hear when a text or email comes in. That favourite ringtone might not be on the new phone. The favourite notification sound certainly won't be - it's an old Nokia notification (Message 2.aac) that may be otherwise unobtainable now.

Come on Demelza! I be ready for you, m'dear.


  1. I was one who had to come home with no-one to look after me. Yes, E was at home but she distanced herself from me in the early days, actually the early years! I had to look after myself. It was about five years after my op., two years after the divorce that I persuaded her to come out to lunch together. We have had our ups and downs since but mostly ups. The last couple of years are much like we were when we first met.

    Shirley Anne x

  2. I'm sorry to hear that you had no coming-home support.

    I've heard several tales of self-sufficiency, and I greatly admire those who can face a solitary homecoming after a major operation and exhausting long-haul travel.


  3. Amazon have a Samsung 64Gb micro SDXC card for £38.99 and a Star Buy one for £12.05. Looks to me as if Currys ripped you off something rotten, or am I missing something here?

    1. Thinks.... something to do with speed, perhaps?

  4. You do pay for speed, and possibly for quality. My card is made by PNY, and I have no quarrel with other PNY cards that I've bought. But I dare say that I was ripped off. Never mind: the upside is that I got the right card when I needed it, and it's now loaded up and ready for insertion.

    Latest news from Vodafone is that Demelza is in the hands of the courier (DPD) and it looks as if she really might be delivered as promised sometime tomorrow. In which case, the rip-off can be forgotten, as I will be too busy playing with my toy to worry about it.

    Still, next time I certainly will check out Amazon, etc.


  5. Dear me, I WAS ripped off! I've just checked some online offers for the type of card I got. Well, I think Curry's have permanently lost my custom. And ditto PC World.

    I can see them folding if they can't offer more sensible prices.

    I do appreciate that buying anything against a deadline is a mistake. I should have shopped around.

  6. Oh dear! Maybe you should have let E win one for you! Do you know she just won a laptop computer and a mobile phone! I don't know how she does it. Let's hope the card was worth the little extra though you probably could have purchased two for the same price

    Shirley Anne x

  7. Shops! They are the agents of their own demise...

    I think the card cost more than I pay for five years phone use. My ultra basic phone, unstealable, no longer likes to always send texts and I find myself ending to text at least every six months so a friend found an Orange waterproof phone on sale and bought one for me so that I could easily be called in from the garden. I distinctly remember charging it up but my mistake was not swopping the sim card because I could not remember how it was installed all those years ago. It might be bright orange and charged up but it has lost itself and I can't call it to find where it is!!!

    Hope you have better luck with your new toy.

  8. To put the cost in some kind of historical perspective, I see from my 2006 record of money transactions that in December of that year I bought two memory cards. A Compact Flash one with 4GB storage, for £91. And a bog-standard SD card with 2GB storage for £48. Decent make in each case: Sandisk. The prices included delivery, because I used an online retailer.

    And we are pursing our lips at my paying £89 for 64GB in April 2014, and a very high speed card at that. The cost of storage has shrunk in the last seven-and-a-bit years, so much so that we have come to feel shocked at paying more than a tenner or two. Progress of a sort there, somewhere...


  9. Towards the end of the last century I only used my Psion organiser for all my "computing", it was a dream to use, could search it's memory in a flash and easily print my invoices and carry all the accounts in it's spread sheet. It had a whopping ONE megabite memory and I dreamed of one day doubling it with an extra memory chip but never found the hundred pounds + equired...


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