So. I have a plan. As I'm travelling to California (yet again!) in less than a month, and since for some bizarre reason sewing machines seem to be just .... cheap on Amazon US, I am toying with the idea of buying this:
The SINGER 9960 is waaaay cheaper than in the UK, where I saw it on a dodgy site at 376, and on the normal ones at 599! The Brother is made for the US market only, though it seems people have had good success with ordering it from the States. This is encouraging.
We have the SE400s bigger brother, Innovis 950, at work now (we have a "maker's room" with all sorts of cool stuff), and it's pretty nice, except for a couple of things. The bobbin winder is absolutely horrible to use, I manage to wind the thread on the little metal thing instead of the bobin half the time. I don't have this problem with my Singer. And the machine makes a weird beep noise and stops sewing when it detects it's running out of bobbin thread. You can press the pedal again and it will do 5 more stitches and then make a sound and stop (and so on) until the bobin thread is empty. Incredibly annoying. I half worry the SE400 will be the same.
I'm not decided yet - I'm leaning towards the Singer since I have one now and it has been very good for me, but the Brother is enticing as well.
One of the things I find really funny is that Amazon will ship both of these to the UK, where you need to pay all sorts of taxes to get them from the post. However, the very same object brought back by hand incurs no fees at all, because the thresholds are higher for bringing something yourself versus having it shipped. Go figure.
I toyed with the idea of shipping them over but I had some stuff sent from the States lately which taught me that I shall not buy anything that comes to more that 15GBP (including postage!) from the States ever again. This is because one needs to pay VAT on collection (fair enough), as well as needing to pay Royal Mail 8 pounds for the privilege of charging you that VAT (rip off). I ended up twice now having to pay 8 pounds to Royal Mail for 3 quid worth of VAT.
What does everyone think? Should I get the Singer or the Brother?