Miscellany: Adventures in Retail Mismanagement
If you read my blog, you've probably figured out I'm an electronics geek - whether it's digital cameras, MP3 players, HDTVs, or high-end PCs, it's always exciting to grab a new gadget. Unlike most of my friends, however, I still buy things in brick and mortar retail stores, if only because I like the security and convenience of being able to return defective products in person, instead of through a long, drawn-out warranty process.
Circuit City has had its share of problems, and, from my experience today, it's not hard to see why. The local Gainesville Circuit City could be a case study in how NOT to run a big box electronics store - my visit there to purchase some computer software showed me how many things can go wrong if all your crap isn't together.
It started before I even set foot in the place. I called the store to see if the item was in stock - after wading through three or four levels of automated "customer service," I finally managed to get the phone to ring in the PC software department. Only problem was, no one ever picked up.
Against my better judgment, I decided to go out to the store and just see if they had it in person. They didn't have any in the rack, but it turned out they might have had some copies right near the register, so the salesperson started hunting through piles and piles of DVDs and boxes to find my stuff. Then, once she located the item, it took another ten minutes just to enter it into the system so she could sell it to me.
That's right, I had money in my hands, I was willing to buy the software, and they had trouble selling it to me. During the wait, a bunch of teenagers in typical "gangsta-style" baggy clothes walked out the door, setting off the inventory-control alarms. No one, not even the clerks, lifted a finger to stop them. I mused on my way out the door that the store catered more toward the shoplifters than the actual paying customer.
On the off chance the CEO of Circuit City reads this blog, let me give him or her a word of advice: When you won't take care of your customers, your customers won't take care of you.