The Secret Cevennes - articles by Samantha David
I wonder if anyone else is a play.com addict? For myself, I confess I've been late-night shopping on their site for years, snapping up film bargains with relish, and glorying in the free delivery and cheap prices.
Imagine the shock horror when I logged on last week, toshed a load of dvds into my virtual basket and got to the checkout only to be told that they will no longer deliver to Europe. What?
Oh well, they will actually. But only if you cruise the site and pay in euros. Oh. But the euro prices are on average 70p to £1 more than the sterling prices, and if like me you have a UK credit card, paying in euros also means paying substantial bank charges, commission, etc. So suddenly play.com is kaput.
Not that I should think that bothers them. They've evidently done some sort of a deal and gone global. They have an American section, they have a second-hand market along the eBay lines and they're clearly heading for international fame and stardom. I should think they're making a fortune.
So clearly the fate of a snivelling little film addict in the wilds of France isn't of any interest to them at all. Why should it be? What to me seems like an extremely healthy dvd budget probably isn't even visible to them. And as for my moans about having been a faithful customer practically since Day One - like, duh!
So my choice is clear. Either I get a French credit card (for which I'd have to pay a yearly bill) and accept the higher euro prices, or I continue buying in sterling and get the dvds delivered to a UK address where I can pick them up later/get them forwarded to France/get someone to bring them out to France when they come.
Hey ho. Another little glitch to solve. Nothing major, nothing earth-shattering... but a pain in the arse nevertheless.
A mate suggested "bit torrent" which is downloading films free from the internet. I suspect this is illegal, but I'm tempted... On the other hand, do I really want to tie up my computer for that long? (Downloading a film can take two or three days apparently.)
Another mate offered to send me films from China, where they cost around one euro per film. He says he can get all the latest releases, and they're Region 0 so they'll play on any machine anywhere. Sounds good to me. So that's the new stuff sorted then.
I also made the 3 hour round drive to Montpellier to inspect the dvd shops there, but they don't stock the kind of stuff I want to watch (currently old Jack Lemmon movies like "Avanti!" and "The Apartment") and their bargain films are only in VF. I'm wondering about hiring movies by post but then we're back to the French credit card business again.
I've had a look at other sites like HMV, Virgin, etc but many won't send to France at all, many have a very limited selection, and practically all of them offer extortionate prices.
So what I want for Christmas this year, is a play.com replacement. I'm dreaming of a site that accepts a UK credit card, that offers free postage to France, that has a seriously huge collection of films on offer, and that makes hefty discounts. You know, all the things play.com used to do but now don't.
Anyone know of such a site?
Next column will be uploaded around 15th Oct.
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