The devastation in Japan, following the recent earthquake, is driving large numbers of British shoppers to rush out and buy high-quality, but comparatively low-cost, Blu-Ray players.
Japan is the largest consumer electronics manufacturer in the world, with a reputation for exceptional quality and innovation. The timing for many technology enthusiasts could not be worse, with many popular titles due to be released.
John McDermott, a lecturer from Bury-St-Edmonds, said: “The Star Wars films are out soon. not to mention Jurassic Park, and I had finally decided to dive into the digital arena. So, while this is obviously a terrible thing to have happened to the Japanese people, for the average home cinema enthusiast, it’s a disaster.”
Overnight there have been reports of fighting at several branches of Currys after people began queuing in the early hours. A stampede at an Argos in High Wycombe left 8 people injured after a stack of catalogues toppled over.
One onlooker said, “When the doors opened people rushed straight in, many of them not even bothering to fill out one of those little order forms with the little blue pen. The staff were simply not trained to cope with spontaneous human shopping and many of them tried to flee up the conveyor belt to the warehouse.”
Japan is also the world leader in accessories including 40% of the world’s supply of hard drives and memory cards. There are now fears that demand for an average 4GB flash drive may force the price to soar by as much as £1.
Retail analyst Scott Borrows said: “It’s safe to say that the days of watching harrowing footage from Japan on a massive, but relatively inexpensive, Japanese-made TV are a thing of the past.”
On the BBC News website one agitated consumer posted, “Jesus Christ on a quad bike! How the hell am I supposed to back-up all this illegal music now? Why aren’t the (British) government doing more to help? You’d think the Chancellor might consider knocking a bit off the VAT again, under the circumstances.”
Michael Clarke, a chartered surveyor from Horsham, summed up the feelings of many when he said, “Please don’t say I have to start buying cheap British shit.”