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Give Me One Reason
Tracy Chapman & Eric Clapton

Saint 2.0

Sunday, June 22, 2008
Finally! | 11:55 PM

It was too good an offer to turn down.

All thanks to Dweam's big picture of Samsung's latest Omnia on her blog, I was paralysed to the core with desire.

You know, guys and gadgets go very well together, somewhat like women and their dresses cum accessories (which is a hell lot more costly and burdensome affair, don't you think?). Besides, I have been looking for a PDA phone for the longest time. Having considered, N95, then N95 8gb, then of course the sinful Apple iPhone came into the picture and spurned further by Samsung's Omnia, what is a man supposed to do??? To add fuel to fire, on seeing the red, green and orange telcos dangle their offers in the newspaper advertisements yesterday, I decided to face the burning lust for a new handset like a man and just bite the bullet.

And bite I did - in fact, a very big and deep one.

I parked at my usual free lot near Square Two and hopped onto a train down to Orchard MRT. Petrol prices are just going crazy nowadays. Thinking that I would be among the first 20 customers in line because I had arrived before the opening time, my spirits was damn high despite the depressing drizzle and almost slipping on my flip-flops on the Orchard Road side-walk leading towards Ngee Ann City. Wah. That was a very long sentence! Apologies. I'm just as excited narrating the great buys of the day as I was then buying the stuff. Okay, I'm slightly delirious with almost $700 worth of goodies.

Anyway, when I reached the Starhub roadshow, the tentage was still relatively empty. So happily, I went over the the many counters and sank my teeth on the Omnia. It felt even better than the iPhone (eh, how would I know? I don't even own one!). I mean, I've read many reviews about the Omnia - how it compares with the upcoming iPhone 2 and other dubbed as iPhone killers handsets. The shortlived experience with Omnia was very pleasant. It was then that I saw the snake like queue at the Information Counter where I had to pick up my service slip number. Darn, I should have taken pictures of the roadshow just to prove my point. The situation was not jam-packed. But on a nice cool day like this, I rather be in bed than wait even 5 minutes in a queue. (Hmmm, I thought this would be a short picture-oriented boast on my new gadget...).

Guess what? I actually joined the queue! I told myself, this is a handset offer I must not walk away from. Besides, it's the latest thing to throttle Apple with (yes, I'm against Apple related products becaused they are just simply overpriced - justified by only by its immaculate branding practices; besides there are alternative products which sound even better! - referring to Creative mp3 players of course! Then again, I really don't know how long this coup against the world diminance of Apple will last...haha). After being in the queue for what seemed like eternity, I had to wait for another half hour or so to be attended to by the sales person.

During the wait, I decided to toy with the Omnia again and got distracted by 2 other wi-fi models. This Samsung promoter (as usual, they all come more than pleasant looking) offered to demonstrate the GPS and Wifi features. For the latter, I was rather surprised that the phones could not detect any signals when we were smacked in the very heart of town (free SgWireless?). I almost considered getting one of them in the but this incompetency, thankfully, jolted me into reality and stopped a hasty purchase. After a few smiles and jokes, the female promoter offered an insider's story of the Omnia. It's obvious why I do not name her here right? Her complains was echoed by another more ordinary looking female at the sales counter - that the Omnia lags terribly. In fact, all the roadshow promoters and salespersons have had their hands on experience with it before the event so they do know their products relatively well. Okay. What did I get myself into? The price is good. The trade-in offer for my N73 was valued at only a meagre $100. Bah!

Because of some shipment problem in Korea (thanks to the beefy issue with USA), this became a pre-order affair. I made sure than the contract I had signed is not binding because no money and product had exchanged hands. The company is supposed to call us up once the shipment has arrived - in a few days' (source : some head of sales representative at the sales counter) to a few months' time (at the Information counter). Apparently, this lack of `the complete picture' is evident among temporary staff members in the crew, which explained why some were rather candid with me with their opinions on the products.

So, with no Omnia in hand, armed with newspaper advertisement tear-outs and nursing a slight disappointment because I could not spurn Apple fans with it the next day, I walked over to Paragon to check out the N95 8 GB Batman, Dark Knight promotion.

Nokia N95 8GB
with $200 trade-in
* 3-month Navigation
* 1 pair of THE DARK KNIGHT movie tickets
* preloaded with BATMAN BEGINS full length movie

Frankly, I'm really surprised at how low the price of the handset was! I mean, N95 8GB hadalways hovered at around $598-698 minus the freebies. This trade-in offer at $298 was just mind-boggling!

As usual, being the typical check-all-avenues-until-cows-come-home-kiasu Singapoean, I teased another promotor (hey! she's from Samsung too!) for a bit of her time. After the usual routine, I asked her for her frank opinions on N95 8GB versus Sony Ericksson G900. She, being a female, shed her inhibitions surrounding their adoration of anything Sony, slim (like she was incredibly so to the point of being anorexic? in appearance) and that cute factor. Soon enough, a female customer who happened to be nearby, started asking for my opinion about 2 phone models. So I threw in the male's perspective on brick phones and those candybar ones. At that point, she unleshed her pent-up wrath against Sony-Erickkson handphones. She did not rave like a mad woman, no. She simply shared about how unfortuntate she was for having ended up with 3 problematic handsets by the company and according to her, made her fall into the unlucky 60-something probability percentile group. Don't ask me how she came up with the figure. If not for another girlfriend of hers nearby who was smiling (probably to hide her embarrassment at her friend confiding to a total but nice male stranger), I would have ask her for a drink at the nearby Starbucks. Right.

To cut the long story short, I ended up buying the N95 8GB. M1 offered a higher trade-in price ($150!) for my N73 besides which makes the parting a lot easier of course.

And the freebies? Being a modest Batman fan, I am bowled over by this irresistable offer.

Also, the experience at M1 was surprisingly more than pleasant, given that the sales persons I had dealt with this time were all men. So I gave my glowing feedback on a form at the payment counter. Even though being nice is extrinsically tied up with the sales job, you can tell who is genuninely nice and who just walked out of the cosmetic reconstructive surgery room (aka Joker).

Here's my conclusion about my interesting encounter with sales staff :

WOMEN - will generally warm up after a few smiles and jokes to lament the truth behind the products, especially if they are not permanent staff.

MEN - generally detached and aloof (like Batman), at least one was at the demonstration booth. The Ah Bengs (one who inspected my N73 to certify it fit for trade-in) and the more funky looking types (and I do not mean gay here) are more willing to divulge details.

I think the 8 hour charge on my N85 8GB should be done. I'll blog about my equally crazy rampage at Gramaphone tomorrow then.

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