Friday, November 30, 2007

Get Less For Your Money: Circuit City

I am a service snob. I will give extra tip at a restaurant for timely service and pleasantness. I will not give much of a tip, or possibly no tip at all, at a restaurant if it takes half an hour for my food to arrive, if I get a glass of water after I've finished my meal, etc. I've had arguments over this attitude about tipping/not tipping and I have not been convinced to change my position. Do not tell me that I don't know what I am talking about; I have had service jobs. I know people in service jobs whom have depended on tips. I know about good service.

Circuit City doesn't seem to have Service in stock.

I have had several unsatisfactory experiences shopping at Circuit City [CC]. I rarely go there anymore unless they have a very good deal on something that I need.


The latest episode happened a few days ago. I went to CC for a new printer. My old one was inherited from my brother and was about 5 years old. I need a good printer for my thesis, did my research, waited patiently for a good sale, so I knew which one I wanted.

The printer I wanted came on sale at CC. I had hopes of having an easy time at CC because for once there were a lot of parking stalls open; I'm thinking they're not that busy. I go to the second floor and stalk the printer aisle. I see it and it's got the sale price up so I wait for a salesperson to help me.

The three salespeople in that section were all helping customers. I walk around the section, check out the ink shelves 'cuz that's on sale with the purchase of the printer. I see the ink I'll need and pick it up. The salespeople are still busy.

I walk around a little more, think about getting paper 'cuz that's on sale also. I walk back to the printer. I put the ink right by it. The saleslady goes on a break or something; I didn't see her.

One salesguy finishes with a customer... and turns away from me, starts walking away. I know he knew I was there 'cuz I was hovering at that point. I followed him a couple steps and said, "Excuse me." He turned around. "Are you helping anyone right now?"

He shook his head no. I bring him back to the register, tell him the printer I want. He asks if I would like the ink pack that's on sale with it, that they don't have it on stock but they could special order it for me. I say, "there's one right there." I pick up the one I found earlier and hand it to him. The prompt came up to ask if I would like their warranty [Pause]. This would be where he tells me the details of the warranty, but I had to ask him how long is it for and how much it costs. He looks it up. I turn it down. I pay for the printer and ink. He tells me to pick up the printer downstairs in front. I leave.

When I had stopped the salesguy for service, he looked like I was bothering him. He didn't say anything to the tune of, "No, ma'am, I am not helping anyone. May I help you now?" No smile, no pleasantness at all, not even fake pleasantness.

No "thank you for shopping with us," or "thank you for contributing to my paycheck this month."

I go downstairs. There's a sign that says "today purchase pick up" so I stand over by the sign. The employee helping online purchase pick ups was helping someone. Another employee was helping a store credit customer, or so the sign said; there's a lady waiting in that line for help.

In the meantime, more people come in and wait for their online purchases. The line filled up fast. On our side of the counter, a lady in black comes in and cuts in front of me and the other lady already waiting. "Black" stands there defiantly ignoring us. Fine.

An employee comes over, helps someone who had been in line. Then she helps "black", but at least whatever "black" was there for was quick. I'm next.

The employee asks me to wait a few more moments. She calls back the guy by the TVs that she'd been helping earlier. That takes awhile.

Finally, an employee from some other section or something comes over and helps me. She was smiling, pleasant, and was quick in service.

Finally I'm out of there! I checked the time stamp on the receipt and the time I left the store. Just under half an hour from the time I paid for the printer upstairs and received it downstairs. I should've asked if I was entitled to their promoted pick up in less than 24 minutes or receive a $24 gift card for free, but I didn't want to keep the customers behind me waiting longer.

Yes, I am buying things from CC on sale. However, that does not mean that I should get less service for paying less on an item. That's the last straw. From here on, I will gladly pay the extra $ for better service from some other store.