TABLOID: Are you being served?

TABLOID: Are you being served?

Life must be pretty cruisy on the sales floor over at the retail juggernaut of retail juggernauts, Harvey Norman. A Tabloid spy reports that the nearest thing to a sure sale breezed in and out of one of HN's metropolitan Sydney stores.

A certain well-known couple in the IT industry, and certainly well known to a Tabloid spy, visited the store with plastic primed and shopping list armed.

According to reports, all that stood between our conspicuous card-carrying consumers and a multi-thousand dollar notebook (et al) sale was a mere "can I help you?" Even that would have worked, our spy insisted.

It would appear the days of sales people performing microphone antics out the front of the store have all but vanished, the good old "can I help you?" technique has been ditched - not even a live grunt.

Willing customers

On this sunny retail-inducing day, the willing customers marched into a near-empty store around midday and stood around waiting to be served.

Apparently a collection of salespeople milling around didn't feel the need to exercise any of their muscles and walk in the general direction of the only customers in the store. So, they marched out without having exchanged a word.

It's a pity really, because they had the credit card ready to pick up a notebook, mobile phone and miniature TV on the spot - a shopping list worth in excess of $7000.

"It was amazing - I thought these guys are driven by commission," one of the stunned shoppers exclaimed.

Thankfully, the slick sales staff at Harris Technology were able to come to the party and fulfilled their consumer needs, news which will please HN no end.

Infoseek executive arrested on solicitation charges By ARN Tabloid staffPatrick Naughton, the Infoseek executive vice president in charge of Walt Disney's Web sites, has been arrested and charged with using the Internet to solicit sex with a minor.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Naughton, 34, was arrested on the Santa Monica Pier in California, where he had been lured by electronic messages from a male FBI agent posing as a 13-year-old girl.

A Disney spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter. An Infoseek spokeswoman confirmed Naughton's arrest and added he is "no longer an employee of Infoseek. We are shocked and disturbed by the arrest," she said.

Until the arrest, Naughton had overall responsibility for the Go Network, the Internet portal for Disney's online businesses. Earlier he helped create the Internet programming language Java as an employee of Sun Microsystems.

Naughton did not enter a plea and was ordered to post a $100,000 bond. His arraignment was set for October 12.

According to the report, the investigation began in March when FBI special agent Bruce Applin visited an Internet chat room known as a place where men solicit underage girls. In an affidavit, Applin said he repeatedly identified himself as a 13-year-old girl in messages with Naughton's "hotseattle" identity.

In subsequent communications, Naughton directed agents to a Web site that he said had a picture of his genitals, the paper reported.

Last week Naughton approached a female undercover sheriff's deputy near a roller coaster on the pier wearing a green backpack, as had been agreed upon, the affidavit states. He was taken into custody after asking the deputy to meet him on the beach, it said. When agents seized his portable computer, Naughton told them that "there were sexually explicit images of children on the laptop", according to the affidavit.

All over bar the shouting

In the aftermath of footy finals season, it seems appropriate to "out" a couple of hardcore Swans fanciers - better luck next year ladies!

Caught here at the "Swansong appearance" of Tony "Plugger" Lockett at the SCG were a certain marketing services manager and PR consultant for a well-known and channel-friendly and colourful printer company. It seems the tears are over and it's roll on cricket season for these two football fanatics.

And speaking of colour, send any of your colourful footy finals pics (whatever code) to a better mouseThe good folks at Logitech are never too far behind in the field of gadgetry, what with so many years trying to make keyboards and mice attractive and fun. Not satisfied with the funky cordless wheel mouse, the latest invention is . . . wait for it . . . COLOUR CORDLESS WHEEL MICE.

Aiming at the FS (fashion slave) or BMU (bored mouse user) market, the special edition mouse comes with four snap-on backs. The best that veteran IT spin doctor for Logitech David Tennant could do was list the colours, not as blue, orange, red and black, but sapphire, tangerine, outback and opal.

Tennant had his feathers ruffled recently by a consultant at one of the IT industry's best-known boutique PR factories. (Tennant says they ALL charge too much.) It seems the feathered flack called him with a personal user story idea for his client, Logitech, thinking he himself, a man of immense renown, was the client . . . hmmmm.

Shameless grab for self promotion

On a recent investigative tour to the Balkans, one of our Tabloid reporters spotted a "leading Bosnian channel identity" reading his favourite publication - Australian Reseller News. Goran Sabovic operates one of the leading IT distribution companies in the region and is pictured here outside the central bus station in downtown Sarajevo.

Thought for the Week

A prayer for senility:

God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

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