I got a 3270, got to make the caps alright

So, there I was in Carphone Warehouse. I’d decided to spend some money, and the thing I was spending the money on was the rather cool SonyEricsson HCB-300 Bluetooth car kit. It’s the mutt’s nuts, I tell you. Get into my car and it’s working; I can make calls and receive them without ever touching the phone. Coolness.
Well, it will be the case: it’s not being fitted until the 19th of February. Christ. However, over the course of the day, I went into Carphone Warehouse three times: once to see if they did BT carkits, once to see how much effort it would be to install it in my car, and once again to pay (or, more accurately, to have Sam put it on her credit card). So I spent a reasonable amount of time in there, and some of that time was spent waiting around, and when you wait around you look around. Well, I do, anyway. And they had eight computers in there. And each one of them was running some kind of text-based program to place orders and book stuff out: blue screen, text, cursor keys to move around. You know the sort of thing. None of this clickable GUI stuff here. Now, I have no problem with that: there is absolutely no need to throw away a perfectly working system, and all your years and invested effrt of user training, just to get something that looks more like other apps. No worries.
But every single one of these computers was actually running Windows, which was then running a full-screen 3270 terminal emulator.
Why? WHY? Why in fuck’s fucking name would you pay out for eight Windows licences and then use them as dumb terminals? Why? Why not put dumb terminals on the desks? Or install Linux on the machines and save yourself five hundred quid per Carphone Warehouse? Why would you not do that?
Some of you may be saying: I bet they do other stuff on those machines. I think the following: No they don’t. They might occasionally need to knock up a Word document or something; fine. So keep one of the machines as a Windows box and stick a very simple cut-down Linux distro on the rest, if you like. I’m not even going to say “use OpenOffice.org” here; if you want Windows, use it, on the machines you need it on. They didn’t ever switch away from the terminal emulator, not while I was in there.
I’ve been in small Carphone Warehouses with only two machines in. This one had eight. So let’s say that there are four, on average, in a CW. They’ve got 1300 stores, according to their operations information. At fifty-odd quid per Windows licence, that’s 1300*4*50 = quarter of a million quid. Now, a company that made 16 million pounds last year in retained profit should be thinking of £250,000 as a pretty substantial whack: that’s a 1.5% rise in profits. How do we convince these people?

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