Today I walked into a computer store. I wanted to buy a cheap and functional laptop that would suffice for just email and internet access – wireless and a decent screen – not too bothered about speed or techie nobs and whistles – so it made sense to stay away from the bigger computer stores and support my local community a little. I entered Grapevine Computers and walked into a footprint without any style or organisation – boxes piled all around – good news so far, because they are clearly not spending profits on appearance. Remember the quality, price, time triangle? You must only offer two of the three to be profitable – so if I want a cheap laptop that doesn’t break down, I’m looking for high quality at low price – I will have to compromise on shop appearance and on customer service – that is crushing logic. The techie approaches and asks – “how can I help?” OK so far. “I’m looking for a cheap laptop with wireless and a decent screen – don’t need all the jazzy stuff – my budget is 750 pounds.” “I’m sorry, all the sales staff are in a meeting at the moment.” A moment of silence passed slowly by, clocks ticked, birds sang outside, we all grew older. Bewildered, I apologised for trying to interrupt them and walked out of the store with my 750 pounds. I wonder what they were discussing in their sales meeting? How to increase sales perhaps? Or maybe they were 750 below target for the week on sales and the manager was reading them the riot act? Poor techie – doing his best in the absence of a system. Proof, indeed, that the QPT triangle suggested by Harvard in the 1960’s is still valid.