07 January 2009

UnPatriot Games

(or 'There and Back Again')

I am writing this post on my nice shiny new iMac, purchased today in an act of extreme unpatriotism that would no doubt cause Brian Cowen to rest uneasy in his grave, if not for the fact that (when last checked) he was still alive and well and mismanaging the affairs of this green and pleasant land of ours.

I have been waiting to get a new computer since August, holding off as most Apple buyers do until his Steveness drops a few 'Booms!" at the MacWorld Keynote and Apple unleash their latest and greatest machines that will no doubt cause heartache in the souls of all early adopters that still foolishly buy first generation Apple products within a matter of weeks of their release. Like me.

But this year, Apple's last at MacWorld, saw nothing emerge from the bowels of 1 Infinite Loop, save software that nobody wants, and a unibody 17" MBP with No Removable Battery that is surely the most blatant built in obsolescence Apple have tried to get away with since the iPod. Not even the long expected iMac refresh materialized, and so fed up with waiting Vladimir and Estragon-like for an upgrade that may never come I decided to get off my backside and do something about it.

In another country.

I wanted to get the current 24" 3.06 ghz model, available from the Apple Ireland online store for €1,919. Alternatively you could also travel 100 miles north and across the border to Belfast, where the exact same model, shipped from the same warehouse in Cork, is on sale in the Apple Store in Victoria Square for £1,359, or about €1,500 at today's exchange rates.

Yes, that's right, the same computer sold directly by the same company and shipped from the same warehouse in Cork costs over €400 less in Belfast. UK VAT is currently at 15% compared to the Irish rate of 21.5%, but this difference alone cannot explain the wide disparity in price north and south of the border.

So ignoring Brain Cowen's declaration that heading North to shop is 'unpatriotic', I grabbed an 11am train to Belfast for €30 return, walked the 5 minutes to the Apple Store, picked up my aluminum bundle of joy and was back on the train home within 40 minutes - I didn't even need to spend any Sterling.

Real patriotism would be having the guts to tax the rich, take the burden off the poorest in society, and attempt to reduce the artificially high cost of living that has plagued this country since the Euro changeover.

Until that happens all I can say is "Go North, young man!"

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At 4:38 pm, Blogger 2BiT said...

I an VERY disappointed that you didn't call me! I could even have bought ya a coffee n you _still_ wouldn't have had to spend any sterling....
for shame...
but thanks fer the xmas day shenanigans anyway :)

At 4:44 pm, Blogger Unkie Dave said...

actually, I did text ye, but unfortunately only had your ROI mobile number (if you are home anytime the next week you'll get the text, they don't deliver them if your phone has been off for longer than that). Not much use I know, but only realized that was all i had when I was on the train. Was in Belfast for less than 40 minutes anyway.

Should be up in February with the Very Understanding Girlfriend (and possibly Steve) in search of desks and bookcases at the magical land that is IKEA. Will definitely meet up then.


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