Did You Check My Blog?

06/07/2009

Is default the only option?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jimy Shah @ 4:59 pm

Have you ever used the terms “Comcast for internet”, “Windows for Operating System” or “Wal-Mart for grocery store”? If you have, don’t be hesitant in accepting it, everyone in their life must have realized that the company/brand with which they associated a product/market is just the DEFAULT (popular). Market is full of such companies and products which dominate in their area of expertise. I would like to share my experiences and thoughts about few of these companies.

 

 

Comcast: I have had some mixed experiences with Comcast. The most recent one was very pleasant. But the nagging one is that I cannot QUIT Comcast. Yes, I simply cannot, even if I want to. The reason being in my apartment (Framingham, MA) there are no other service providers. Comcast is probably aware about this and this could be one of the reasons why I am not getting any special deals/discounts from last 18 months. I have called them up more than 10 times emailed more than 5 times requesting for some discount/deals, but the result was expected “I am sorry to say but currently there are no offers available in your area“. They attract new clients with lucrative offers such as $19.99/month for high speed internet (12 Mbps) and after 6 months it shoots up to $59.95 for the same. The funniest part is that just internet costs more than internet + cable after the first 6 months, do this even makes sense? Not to me at least. On the other hand I hear from my colleagues that Verizon is way cheaper than Comcast. All these makes me to believe that, because they are aware that practically no one can live in America without internet and I don’t have any other choice apart from Comcast, they simply don’t care about me (a loyal customer).

Enough said about the thing that bothers me the most about Comcast, but as I said earlier my experience with Comcast has been a mixed bag. The good part has always been my interaction with the technical support and customer support. They have always been very helpful and supportive. They have even provided me with a refund of 10 days when I was without the internet for some modem issues. They send a technician onsite without any charges to inspect the modem or the connection if you find any issues.

So, I would give a to Comcast’s technical support and a to Comcast’s ability and policy to deal with existing customers.

 

Windows the only tool for the lazy lumps like me. Windows is something that is embedded into our daily life so much that it is almost next to impossible to stop using it. I often think why do all these big companies pay thousands of Dollars to buy Windows products and maintenance, when open-wares such as Linux, Open Office, Evernote, GIMP etc. are freely available? What makes them feel that it is worth investing in Windows? Or are they really investing?

Few reasons which I would make me invest in Windows are:

  • Technical Support: This probably is the biggest force that drives big giants to invest in Windows. The sole assurance that someone is there to help when in need makes the Windows proposition very promising.
  • Years of market presence: Windows is one of the oldest and most popular Operating System. Windows was popular when the internet and computer bug had just bitten people. This made it the default Operating System of the 20th century. This adds to the investor’s confidence in Windows that most of the people are familiar and comfortable using it.
  • Ease of collaboration: Most of the users are familiar with Windows and relatively less familiar with UNIX, the opposite might not be true. So it is always easier to share and interact with others in terms of Windows utilities and files. Not to forget that there is a generation of geeks getting ready for the UNIX dominated world. I respect such individuals who try to do different things, but let’s be honest as of now it is far from being true.

 

So, being a novice UNIX user, I would give a to Windows as it is a life-saver for most of us.

 

    
 


Wal-Mart, they sell for less. Have you ever imagined how do they sell for less? How can they sell things for so less and still maintain such a huge profit margin? Do they compromise on quality? Do they pay less compensation to their employees? These are the questions which have always bothered me when I enter Wal-Mart. It had been our favorite store for me and my roomies during our 2 years of college. We used to get a trunk full of Wal-Mart plastics stuffed with milk, bread, beans, ice-cream, laundry liquid, kitchen cleaner and all other things which you could possibly imagine.

Few things which bother me about Wal-Mart are:

  • Never ending checkout lines. Staying alone, I hardly have more than 5 items to buy from Wal-Mart at a time. Still, I have to wait in the long line at the “Items less than 20” checkout counter (Wal-Mart here does not have self-checkout counters). I could see out of 20 registers only 4 are open at any time. This is not an experience from a day or two but from last 18 months. On the other hand when I go to Target or Stop N Shop, I rarely find a checkout line more than 3 people, which is amazing. Even the “people/sq area” ratio is significantly higher for Wal-Mart. I like to have my own space when I am grocery shopping and do not want people to bump into my cart every now and then. That’s a big from me to Target and Stop N Shop and a to Wal-Mart.
  • Next is the quality. During the college days when our college bus will only go to Wal-Mart and without having a car of our own, Wal-Mart was the only option that we had. So I never got a chance to compare great value with any other brands. But now I can see the difference, a huge difference in terms of taste, looks, feel and date of expiry. May it be bread, milk or ice-cream, I can surely see the difference now. Things at Stop N Shop and Target are of relatively good quality. They are charged at 5% extra rate, but for me it’s worth it as it adds up being a very small extra amount to my grocery budget.
  • One more and an important thing which might not make sense to many are to pick up a great value item in front of everyone or to invite friends at dinner and taking out the great value milk can for making the milk shake. Let me confess, apart from the above 2 reasons this is also a factor which keeps me away from Wal-Mart. It is sort of uncomforting feeling to have a great value item in your refrigerator. Do you think this is a valid reason? Have you ever felt the same?

Overall a relatively smaller to Wal-Mart and a big to Stop N Shop and Target.

 

What are your experiences and observations about Comcast, Windows or Wal-Mart? Can you remember any other such companies/brands which people associate with a product/market?

Do share the experience of reading this blog by leaving a comment to this post.

 

Cheers,

-Jimy Shah

Live 2 Eat, don’t Eat 2 Live!

 

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