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A PB Tech store (Design by Tina Tiller)
A PB Tech store (Design by Tina Tiller)

BusinessDecember 6, 2021

I love what PB Tech stands for – and so should you

A PB Tech store (Design by Tina Tiller)
A PB Tech store (Design by Tina Tiller)

Retail giant PB Tech is requiring vaccine passes for customers to shop in-store. This is not about that.

As of today, only My Vaccine Pass holders will be able to stroll leisurely around PB Tech stores, closely examining HDMI cables and bluetooth speakers. The largest electronics retailer in the country has chosen to opt in to the My Vaccine Pass system, meaning only double-vaccinated customers will be granted entry into its 16 stores around the country.

The decision has been met with some complaints in the comments section of the PB Tech Facebook page. A Friday promotion for Windows 11 prompted a disappointed customer to comment that they would no longer be supporting “segregation and discrimination”. The comment received 69 likes.

To withhold service in person (all shoppers are still able to shop online and click-and-collect) is up to the business owner. Management of PB Tech posted an update on its site to say their decision was to “prioritise the health and safety of our fully vaccinated customers and staff”. They also delayed opening until today – despite being able to open on Friday – due to the increased demand, and therefore increased risk, of their Black Friday sale.

Many have applauded the giant retailer for walking the talk, and standing for something.

But that’s not what I want to discuss. I want to talk about something else that PB Tech stands for.

PB Tech stands for Pat and Brenda Tech.

The PB in PB Tech stands for Pat and Brenda.

I love it so much. I’ve been thinking about it at least once a week since I learned of it earlier this year. It might be the greatest company name in New Zealand, even better than Sharondelier (chandeliers made by Sharon Finn, wife of Neil). I tell everyone I know that they’ve been saying the name wrong this whole time. It’s Pat and Brenda Tech.

Some history: Pat Huo founded PB Technologies in 1993, after two years of running a small computer repair business in Panmure. It began with Huo organising bulk purchases of computer parts on behalf of other local computer businesses, and in three decades has become one of the largest retailers in the country.

I know this because the PB Tech owners were featured (ironically behind a paywall) on NBR’s rich list 2021, with an estimated net worth of $280 million. Fortunately, my knowing their wealth has not reduced my enjoyment of the name.

In an editorial move that will surely guarantee NBR never features on its own rich list, the story’s lede was buried in the penultimate paragraph. “In the early years, Huo was supported in the accounts department by his wife Brenda Yu, hence the company name PB Tech.” What a beautiful sentence. Understated yet powerful, a story all on its own. There was no elaboration within the NBR story – instead it goes on to detail that the couple appear to have separated and are now individually obscenely wealthy instead. Is the story behind the name even true? Where did this writer get their information from?

The “PB Tech Story” on the company’s website details how the company developed, but makes no reference to the name’s origin. In fact, there’s no mention of Brenda at all (hmmm).

All this time I thought PB Tech stood for some sort of computer jargon, or was a unit of measurement (MB, KB, GB etc) that I had never heard before. Sometimes I would think of it as Personal Best Tech. Other times I simply enjoyed the flow of the sounds as they’re uttered. Pee Bee Tech. It’s a great phonetic name.

But no, it’s Pat and Brenda Tech. Or Pat Brenda Tech, though that doesn’t ring as true.

In 1993, Pat and Brenda sat at a table discussing names for their fledgling retail business. Surely many bad names were thrown out, and possibly some good ones. But then one of them thought what about… our first names? Pat and Brenda Tech. Too long. P&B Tech? Too clunky. PB Tech? Perfect. No need to elaborate or explain, it’s just perfect.

As of today, those without vaccine passes are unable to eat at restaurants, go to the movies, or shop in-store at selected retail outlets.

One of those outlets is Pat and Brenda Tech.

Pat and Brenda have been approached for confirmation.

Keep going!