Sometimes the smallest things can indicate drastic things are taking place.
I accompanied a friend to a Sony Style store because he was interested in buying a Sony ultra-portable. After bruising through several notebooks and asking for my opinion on which Sony he should pick up, we both decided on the TT series based on what he wanted.
After telling the in store sales person what we wanted to buy, we were taken over to a desk and the TT was brought out. As we began to examine the notebook for any signs of possible defects--like hot or stuck pixels on the LCD screen--the sales person told us that the unit doesn't come with recovery discs. In fact, the sales person indicated that Sony no longer ships recovery discs with its notebooks.
We turned our heads at each other with confused looks, simply because retail systems usually come with restore discs. At least that's how it's always been.
The sales person then explained to us that Sony now recommends that as soon as you finish setting up your new system, to go out and buy 4 blank DVD discs and run the create-restore setup.
Apparently, this is one of the new ways that Sony is trying to improve its bottom line and save on costs. As far as I know, discs are cheap, and factory-pressed non-writable discs are even cheaper to manufacture.
Is this an indication of how bad companies have been hit by the economy? Enough to exclude recovery discs with systems? It's simple enough to run the utility for the TT and most people these days have spare blanks, but what if you perform this task a few days later and something had gone wrong at the software level?
If companies are leaving out something as inexpensive as some recover discs, then we wonder what companies are making shortcuts on that aren't so obvious to the customer? Cheaper internal components may be used. Lower quality grade plastics or metal--who knows?
Have you discovered any purchases you've made recently that omitted something you expected to be there?