Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Connie Crosby's quest for an HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition digital clutch

I wrote the OneDegree Week in Review (WIR) post last week and you know what they say, timing is everything.

On the heels of co-presenting at PodCamp Halifax with my speaking and podcasting partner, Connie Crosby, and the other camps that took place that weekend, WIR focused on the camp movement. So, when I received a social media news release (SMR) announcing the new HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition digital clutch was now available in Canada at BestBuy, I included a link to the SMR in my post.

Connie was in the market for a PC. She read my post, watched the video about the new digital clutch netbook and she ended up with an interesting story to tell. Here’s our interview…

Connie, I think it’s fair to say you’re a bit of an Apple fan girl. Why were you looking at PCs?
One of the things I do as an information consultant is conduct online product reviews for clients, primarily in the legal industry. Because the legal market primarily uses Windows and Internet Explorer, I need to be using that environment also for my reviews. I could have set myself up with Windows for Mac but it is helpful when working to either have the online product running on one machine, and be writing the review on another, or at least having two screens for more working space. I figured that some of the notebooks and even laptops are fairly inexpensive so wanted to check those out. I was looking for something with Windows already included (I didn’t really care which version), wireless capability, and an Intel chip. I wasn’t fussy about battery life or whether it had MS Office or a webcam included.

Which computers were you considering and why?
I originally saw a basic Acer laptop at The Source for only $450 just after New Year’s. That is the price I had stuck in my head. But then last week I saw the Mini HP Vivienne Tam edition mentioned on the web. They were advertising it as a “technology clutch purse” although it is actually a netbook. I am probably the perfect demographic for this netbook – a woman who loves technology and tries to be fashionable. From the photos, it looked stylistically like quite a nice machine. And being a netbook, I thought I could justify the extra cost – it was going for about $800 – since it would be good for travel to conferences when I didn’t want to carry my full Macbook Pro. But really, it was the style of it that attracted me. And Best Buy Canada, who was selling it, was including a special cover for it and matching wireless mouse, so that sweetened the deal.

The HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition digital clutch looks great in the photos and video I received as part of a social media news release. How does it compare in real life?
When I first saw it I was disappointed. It did not bode well that, even though this was the big “launch” of this supposedly unique machine, it was plunked in amongst all the other netbooks and notebooks on the store display without anything identifying it as special. When I found it, I discovered the look and feel of the machine was not as special as some of the photos led me to believe. A lot of the HP machines have a sleek, pearlized or metallic finish. Instead, this was plastic with what seemed like a flower decal on it. It seemed more like a child’s toy than a fashion accessory to me.

I hunted around to see the special cover and mouse that was part of the deal, but couldn’t see them on display. The store was quite busy (this was a Saturday afternoon) with a number of people looking at this and other machines, but there were not a lot of sales clerks around. I finally found someone and asked about the special offer. He didn't know anything about it, but went to the back to ask. He came back with a typical gray neoprene laptop cover and told me it would like like that in red. I was doubtful and so asked to see the case and mouse, but was told they were in the box and I would have to buy them before I could see them. He wouldn't open a box to show me. I was already disappointed, and this poor service sunk the deal for me. I had a friend with me, and she wasn't exactly impressed either. I left the store without considering any of their other machines.

I’m sure in the past, you didn't need to think much about where to buy a computer. How did you decide where to go and what was your experience like?
I knew that Best Buy had the exclusive rights to the Vivienne Tam special edition, but thought I would see what else I could find that suited my needs. I headed to Future Shop. They had an HP representative on hand who was quite helpful, who helped me find one of their machines for about $550 that he said was basic and was all I needed. But then he handed me to a Future Shop representative to close the deal, and that person pushed hard to up-sell me to a more expensive machine. I left that store unimpressed, and decided to go back to The Source to see if the Acer I had originally seen was there. It was, although the sale had ended.

What did you end up buying?
The Source had another end of the line Acer laptop they were clearing out for $500. I found a sales clerk, and she was quite patient with me answering my questions. At this point, I decided the price was right and I liked the service I got, so that is what I purchased. So far I am happy with it, and glad I did not spend the extra money on the HP netbook.

What about YOU?
Does this video inspire you to check out the HP Mini Vivienne Tam Edition? Have you seen it yet? If so, what did you think? Would you consider buying a fashionable laptop or netbook? Leave a comment.


  1. Heather here from Best Buy...I apologize for the situation Connie encountered at the store - this is not the type of experience we like to offer to our customers.

    There was definitely a lack of store sales support here which is disappointing because as noted, our intention with showcasing this product and offering these accessories is to attract female fashion-conscious consumers that want to see these items. It is disappointing to see that our PR efforts drove her to the store, only to be met with poor customer service once she arrived.

    I appreciate Connie’s feedback and will share this with the store with the intention of learning from it for future customer opportunities. I also hope to discuss this with her further if she is able to take the time to do so.

  2. Hi Heather, Thanks for stopping by and acknowledging the customer service problem especially at a flagship location the weekend following the launch of the social media release and Canadian product launch.

    It's good to know you're looking at this as a learning experience.

    Please let me know how Connie can contact you and I'll let her know.


  3. I'm actually in the market for a netbook and would definitely put the Vivienne Tam on my list. It's interesting that I have only had positive experiences in Bestbuy especially since the sales associates in Boston are not paid based on commission.

    Thanks for the review


  4. Can we all agree on one thing at least?? That this article is reallllly well developed! I write the word developed, not written. Simply because anybody can write stuff, but rather to develop an article takes research and knowledge about a product. This review is great and I for one take information from here and am Definitely going to apply it to my next purchase. You've supplied me with enough ammo to know exactly what I should be looking for in the market trend. Well, until then.. Ciao'!

  5. Terry, glad we were able to help. BestBuy associates aren't on commission in Canada either. Associates at Future Shop, BestBuy's sister store are on commission.

    HPToner, thanks for stopping by and glad you like the writing.


  6. It is my pleasure to read your article!Thank you for sharing!


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