When you go shopping at mass merchandising giant Kmart, and the goods are displayed with a "25% discount" sign over them, you had better read the fine print.
Kmart, a retail brand operated by the Coles-Myer group, markets a small range of computer equipment and consumables, but it was in another area of its business that has attracted ire.
An ARN journalist was recently drawn to a display of trousers in the menswear section of Kmart's Ashfield (NSW) store with a brightly coloured sign reading "25% discount" in large letters.
On selecting a pair of trousers and confirming with a shop assistant that the discount applied to the ticketed price, he proceeded to the infamous Kmart checkout.
"No discount," the operator informed our Trade Practices-savvy scribe. "That discount only applies to jackets."
The menswear department had been comprehensively decorated with the 25% sign, including the rack of trousers, on which there were NO JACKETS to be seen.
Eventually, after complaining to the area manager John Hoang about the clearly deceptive practice of displaying a discount sign over goods that are not intended to be discounted, he refused to honour the discount.
Hoang claimed the sign said that the discount only applied to other goods and not the trousers, and denied that it was the sort of deceptive and misleading practice that the Trade Practices Act addresses.
Tabloid will report on the outcome of the complaint lodged by a very unhappy customer.
It's not my fault
By Leo Yethonga
Dodgy resellers can run, and apparently they can hide.
This story could be the basis of a TV series - questionable business practices, bankruptcy and the will to survive.
Computer and software res-eller Pentagon Computers, in Parramatta, fell into the hands of liquidators in spectacular fashion recently.
Pentagon has left behind a trail of creditors to the tune of $347,000, while its proprietor, listed with the Australian Security and Investments Commission as Baldev Raj Batra, has gone bankrupt for the second time, according to Tabloid sources.
But spare a moment for Batra, because according to a letter obtained by Tabloid sent from the company's liquidator to Pentagon's raft of creditors, it's not all his fault.
Batra officially attributes his failure to the following reasons:i) An eviction notice served from the landlordii) Summonses received from three suppliersiii) Customers not paying their accounts within the required trading terms of the companyiv) Employees leaving the company and asking for all their entitlementsv) Employees fighting among themselves on many issues (eg the Internet)vi) The accounting systems used by the company not working sufficientlyvii) Suppliers threatening to collect stock in payment of their outstanding accountsviii) Suppliers threatening physical violence towards the managing directorix) The Sales Tax Refund procedure requiring too much paperworkx) Suppliers taking too much time to do the warranty work.
Tabloid has also uncovered a list of creditors which, besides the Australian Tax Office, contains a veritable who's who of the IT channel. The list includes American Express, Hypertec, Hewlett-Packard Australia, Dataflow, Dicker Data, One Tel, Telstra and the Trading Post.
Tabloid tried to contact Batra with little success, leaving us to wonder if Batra will be back again. Maybe third time lucky?
Madge go slow
Nothing irks a vendor more than a well-organised event for customers and channel partners that ends up being won by a good-for-nothing IT reptile. On the other hand, nothing pleases a journalist more than irking a vendor. So when ARN's Philip Sim and Mark Jones turned up to last week's Madge go-karting day at Eastern Creek, they had nothing but sweet victory in their minds. However, Madge was too smart.
While Troy Soutar from reseller FTA Solutions was roaring around in the final in front of Tech Pacific's John Uebel, Madge's Chris Lane was busy holding up Jones and Sim. When Uebel tragically lost an exhaust pipe in a blaze of sparks and screeching, Sim and Jones saw victory ahead of then. But alas, for our reptilian heroes there was no way past the vendor road block. Soutar blitzed his opposition with a comfortable win in front of Jones and Sim in 3rd and 4th respectively.
The wizards of DOS
Tabloid is still sifting through the entries from readers who could name the people in that 1978 photo (Tabloid June 2) and no, it wasn't REALLY a Manson family impersonation contest.
For the record, and to put everyone's minds at rest, the picture was of the combined Microsoft brains trust at the time.
Top row: Steve Wood, Bob Wallace, Jim Lane. Second Row: Bob O'Rear, Bob Greenberg, Marc McDonald, Gordon Letwin. Front Row: Bill Gates, Andrea Lewis, Marla Wood, Paul Allen.
The photo was taken on December 7, 1978. Hmmm, 21 years on, where are they now?
Winner of the suitcase of gold bullion and ticket to Rio was R Biggs (address unknown).
Virus Software Story? CALL WAYNE
It seems the good folks at Melbourne-based distributor Peripheral Sources International (PSI) are feeling a little unloved by the IT media. Solution: send them a fax with GREAT BIG WRITING and the name of the product.
PSI marketing man Wayne (The Wizard) Sharp came up with a way of endearing himself and his company to the press after deciding that, whenever there was a story about antivirus software, no scribes would call. SO . . . would all the IT lizards that read Tabloid each week PLEASE call Wayne. He can tell you about the world's greatest antivirus software program. In fact, consider it a COMMAND!
E-mail your Tabloid news leads to email@example.com. As a thank you, you could receive a Tabloid Source Compendium.