Britain – Expensive Digital Dinosaur

Warning: This post is quite long……and potentially boring

Everything is expensive in the UK, in many cases more expensive than comparative countries abroad. Yes, the price of petrol, diesel and energy prices are a major headache but that’s a post for some other place.

The most frustrating issue is this scenario:

Now that's a good deal!

Here in the UK, especially with gaming and technology related items, a lot of our information comes from the US. Many products are not available here that the Americans can pick up in Wal-Mart! When those products are available we see this more often than not:

Now that's a good deal?

Okay, so what’s the problem? I hear all you non-conversion calculator types are asking. Well the problem is the conversion, or lack of conversion. Ninety nine dollars and ninety nine cents is not the same as ninety nine pounds and ninety nine pence. In order to get £99.99 the Americans would have to shell out roughly $150 at the current exchange rates (you can check it here). It’s a common trick and one that you see on most items from America.

But let me stop there for a moment and make something clear – this isn’t an American bashing post. I’m not into American bashing, this is about the UK and the twisted logic of pricing (or rather why we are a bunch of suckers who will pay anything for someone to give a crappy deal while telling us how great it is).

Now, the logic behind the price disparity (or unfairness as I like to think of it) is that it costs more to ship the items to the UK, they may not sell as well over here, there’s differences in taxation and costs and what not. They are all really good arguments for why prices would be higher here. But if you actually look in to it a bit further you begin to get the hint of farmyard odours.

If it was actually the case that shipping an item across the world added so much to the price of an item, why are Range Rovers cheaper to buy new in America than here? After all, they are actually built here (at the moment) and then loaded on to a massive ship, chug-chug-chugged across the Atlantic, picked up by a lorry and delivered to the showroom – that all adds up. So surely if I go to the factory here I should be able to get one at a fraction of the cost our American Cousins pay…… or not.

And then we have China – they don’t seem to have a problem shipping container after container of cheap crap all over the world and selling them for pennies…. (pause for the economists to start furiously typing about flooding markets and destabilising supply and demand chains).

This topic has really been brought up by the Annual Budget which was announced yesterday. We are coming out the worst recession since the last one (and this one won’t be as bad as the next one either) – the “No more boom and bust” rhetoric of Gordon Brown bit him on the bum, but that’s a matter for history. I’m all about the future!

So check this link out and watch the video – it’s BBC news coverage of the Budget.

The core I’m interested in is this:

Chancellor Alistair Darling reiterated the government’s commitment to making Britain a digital world leader, with plans for a major broadband roll out.

Whoopee! Except, and without being overly negative, that is NEVER going to happen. Britain is already waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind many other countries in the world when it comes to broadband and technology. I’m pretty sure that the Government has never heard of South Korea where pretty much everyone has access to eye wateringly fast broadband, and I don’t mean the 20mb that this Government considers to be super fast – I’m talking about 100mb as standard and they pay pennies for it!

But closer to home, other European countries put us to shame. Holland is one example, and I’m pretty sure that Sweden has a really strong broadband infrastructure – both offer reliable fast internet for much less than UK companies charge. With the Internet comes information and the ability to find out what’s going on elsewhere.

What I’ve found is that the UK is severely lacking compared to our counterparts elsewhere in terms of technology adoption, investment and use – and I’m pretty sure that the consumers are not responsible for that state of affairs. As consumers we are limited to what we are offered.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

4 thoughts on “Britain – Expensive Digital Dinosaur

  1. Believe it or not, it’s even worse in Ireland. We have a fraction of the population of the UK and everything is pricier. I think we’re one of the most expensive countries in the EU. Or at least we were until the sh*t hit the fan and we all collapsed in financial ruin! People here actually look to the UK for somewhere to buy stuff cheaper.

    We get screwed on this side of the Atlantic on internationally traded goods.

    • I thought that you guys entered the Golden Age when you got the Euro. Well, that’s what we were led to believe anyway. We should set up a sort of Gamers/Technologies Co-operative so we can get a better deal on new technologies.

  2. Very very true the “Lack of Conversion” It will be interesting to see the new 250gb hard drive for the xbox at $130 it will be more like €200 over here. Or £130 over there its getting ridiculous.
    BroadBand prices are just getting more expensive i would not like to see what companies/goverment over here would charge if it got even as far as 50mb….

    • The thing is, there’s plenty of capacity for HUGE download speeds with the current infrastructure – but the flip side is that the upload would collapse if everyone was given even 1mb upstream. That’s why the investment is needed. They need to replace all the tatty old string with fibre optic cable before they can even consider the UK as being anywhere near a “Digital Leader”.

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