I had a few minutes to spare in my neighborhood today, just before lunch. Hence I decided to drop by the Band & Olufsen store near my place (Bastille area). I've known this brand for many many years, and have enjoyed their talent for producing high quality and stylishly designed hi-fi systems.
So there I go. Bad experience.
The sales guy was knowledgeable, but very poorly dressed, and not shaved at all. Does it matter? Not really, but you'd expect more class from a brand that sells VERY expensive systems.
The design of some of their latest stuff is not to my taste, but I found the BeoCenter 2 to be quite a nice object to watch (in particular on its pedestal); I also like the BeoLab 800 speakers. But that's it. All the other stuff is a bit too much, or has a rather old design.
Now the good part: I asked for the price. Well add the hifi, 2 speakers, a couple of options (unzonning the DVD player, adding a piedestal), and you're close to a 8,000€ tag price. Nice of the guy to offer an 8% discount if I pay cash.
For that kind of money, I should either get myself one of the home cinema packs from Sony and use the spare cash to buy the latest hi-end bi-pro G5 Mac from Apple, or get a very high-end Linn system...
I like design, but even Philip Starck knows how to price for the masses...