Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A trip to Merry Hell

As it's been a while I thought I'd check out Merry Hill and any Bank Holiday bargains that might be going on. I left nice and early and arrived just before 10am so only a few stores were open, HMV being one of them I browsed around there for a while.

They've not changed the layout since I last visited so the tills are still set up each with their own queue. A couple of quirks in pricing - "Heroes" Season 1 on DVD £60 on Blu-ray £20; well I guess if it's still popular. Oddly "Going Postal" in two forms of DVD but no Blu-ray version. I noted "Battlestar Galactica" was now available on Blu-ray, but the Terminator Chronicles weren't with only season 1 on DVD. Anyway no Bank Holiday bargains here.

I poked my head into Games Workshop picked up "Nemesis" and chatted with one of the guys there for a bit; then made my way to the new food centre. The best way to describe it is to imagine a gutted superstore with food stalls arraigned around the edges and various seating sections clustered in the middle; you get your food then find a seat. It's pretty snazzy with a variety of offerings - A muffin bar, with muffins and cookies, a Japanese bar offering miso soup, Chinese, tacos potatoes, a Burger King, a Nandos, a KFC, a Pizza Hut, a place selling 'British' food such as Toad in the Hole. I was impressed by the variety.

Other than that though little has changed inside; HMV is now the only store dedicated to selling music/video/games with Game and Gamestation obviously covering games and the odd Blu-ray video; WHSmiths has pretty much decimated its stock with books on the right and back, magazines on the left, and stationery and some toys on the left back. It seems the only true competition is now Best Buy.

Yep Merry Hill now has a Best Buy. I saw one of their adverts on the outside of an elevator announcing "Try before you buy" I'd love to, where are you. Kind of a vital piece of information needed there. I was next to one of the information booths, but the first screen was down, I headed around and the next screen was also down. Huh HMV's screens were also down and so were a few others. At least a paper map was available, and it turns out Best Buy is outside beyond Toys 'r' us. If you come out of the multi-storey car-park, and go straight at the next two islands there it is; hardly something to walk too.

On the way back I popped into Waterstones, spotted the latest Peter F Hamilton void novel, couldn't find part 6 of "The Boys" decided not to go back to WHSmiths who I knew a copy and headed out to Best Buy.

I took a detour along the PC World frontage, a change there they've combined the store with Curry's and a Electronic Discount place has moved into their old building; headed through, whipped around the island and into the Best Buy car-park which was jam packed. I found a space next to an electrical charging socket, impressive it wasn't reserved for such so what the hey.

Anyway turns out Best Buy were having a 4-day sale on EVERYTHING except iPhone 4 and certain other bits and bobs listed in the small print. 20% off. Some of their stuff was cheaper, some more expensive than elsewhere Heroes on Blu-ray for instance was £35.99 without the discount, but some discs were on a buy 2 for £22 which translates to £17.60 or £8.80 each which wasn't bad for the selection. Some oddities though as to the store itself. DVDs were to my right, Blu-ray to my left but separated by CDs. The DVD chart was positioned to the left facing the Blu-ray section with the Blu-ray chart behind it facing a partition wall. The store was buzzing with electronics, but the tills were simple affairs lined up against a wall with no indication as to which ones were free until the operator beckoned you over. Likewise you had to show your receipt to the yellow-coats on the door as there appeared to be no security system. It was quite odd.

Anyway home back through Stourbridge and I decided against visiting the Waitrose due to the time. Headed through Kidderminster with little problems and then joined the queue through Gilgal and Mitton Road. Nah we don't need a relief road, just because it's a bank holiday and it took me as much time to get from Merry Hill to Stourport as it did to get through Stourport doesn't mean a thing [sigh]