Above And Beyond: Office Depot CSR Saves The Day

Michael would have lost an incredible deal on laptop memory were it not for an Office Depot CSR. He was prepared to pay $139.99 for a 1GB stick of Kinston PC2700 RAM; when he added the RAM to his cart, the price plunged to $39.04. Michael verified the price with Office Depot and purchased nine sticks.

To my dismay, however, the store called me [the next] morning saying that they would not be honoring the price. I asked why she and she said “I cannot let that many go at that low of a price.” So I start politely arguing with her and insist that she honor the price, she settled on one and she would give me free shipping to my house. Well I figured I was getting hosed but at least I wouldn’t have to drive and get it.

Free shipping does not make up for the loss of an incredible deal. Michael called Office Depot, and to his delight, enjoyed “THE BEST CSR experience I have ever had!”

Office Depot’s CSR saves the day, inside…


Michael spoke with CSR Francisco. After hearing what happened, Francisco decided to honor the price, and invited Michael to purchase as much RAM as he wanted. Michael was understandably happy.

    What Went Right

  • Helpful CSR: Francisco fixed the problem created by the Office Depot store staff.
  • Happy customer: Michael got the deal he wanted, and he still does not have to drive to get the RAM.
  • Exceptional Service: The story may not seem exceptional, but Francisco’s action saved Michael almost $900. He could have easily earned his company an instant profit, but instead, he earned a long-term customer. That is above and beyond.
    What Went Wrong

  • Unhelpful Staff: The store should have sold the RAM at the advertised price; if they could not, a better excuse would have been nice.
  • Confusing Offer: Why wasn’t the original drop in price advertised more openly?

Michael’s email, below.

I recently purchased some laptop memory from office depot online. The standard online price was 139.99 for a 1GB stick of Kingston PC2700 SODIMM memory, however when I added it to my cart and choose in store pickup the price plummeted to $39.04, which is an INCREDIBLE price, so figuring I needed to increase the memory in the laptops for my business I would order what I needed, which is 9 while this might seem greedy I do in fact require a large number of chips. Just to make sure things were gonna work right I called 1800GODEPOT to verify the price, the CSR on the phone said that it appeared they were clearancing the chips and that the price would be honored the following morning when I went to pick them up. To my dismay, however, the store called me this morning saying that they would not be honoring the price. I asked why she said “I cannot let that many go at that low of a price.” So I start politely arguing with her and insist that she honor the price, she settled on one and she would give me free shipping to my house. Well I figured I was getting hosed but at least I wouldn’t have to drive and get it. So after I got done talking to her I called 1800GODEPOT again and spoke to a CSR Named Francisco, and I must say that this was by far THE BEST CSR experience I have ever had! I explained to him what happened and how I really needed the memory and to my astonishment he goes well I can honor that price over the phone how many do you need? I give him the quantity and he bills my credit card. I was dumbfounded by the professionalism and understanding that this CSR had displayed, even enough to hang around and talk to his supervisor to tell her about my experience, but I figured why not stop there maybe consumerist could help to I really can’t thank this guy enough for helping me out. I really hope that Office Depot does something really nice for this guy, and from now on I will be leaving Staples and going to Office Depot as their CSR’s have become rather rude in the last few months.

Sometimes, all it takes is one helpful CSR to save the day. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
(Photo: Morgan Tepsic)

Comments

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  1. e-gadgetjunkie says:

    Being an associate at Office Depot, I can help to explain the problem. It has to do with corporate not knowing how to program a website. Sometimes items are clearanced from the warehouse that supplies the websites, but not from the stores. The problem comes in when a customer selects one of these clearanced items for in store pickup. Unfortunately, we are not to match some of these prices, even store managers can do nothing about it. Most of the time, these prices come from customers with illigitimate coupons, but occasionally they are legitimate customers who just find a good deal. With items like that, it is best to call the local store. Most items on the website ship free after $50 anyway.

  2. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Well, if the price says $39.04, and there are no stated limits on the quantity that a single individual can purchase, then I’d say Office Depot has the obligation to sell them at that price.

    Kudos to Francisco for doing the right thing. Even if the price was a screw-up, ordering 9 pieces seems pretty reasonable to me..it’s not like Michael was ordering 1000 pieces.

    Perhaps if they had advertised this deal openly, it would have attracted so many people that they would have oversold their supply by many times. In this case, I think it was more of a case of clearancing the chips quietly instead of creating a case where the store would be inundated with thousands of requests that they could not honor..thus creating thousands of angry customers who would not only get their memory, but would insist on rain-checks.

    The only thing that seems wrong here was that the store staff was rude and unhelpful, and perhaps if Office Depot does clearance items like that, maybe corporate should get the word on down to the store level so they know what’s going on.

  3. faust1200 says:

    Of course this guy is happy with CSR. They allowed him to exploit Office Depot’s error. Yes I say “exploit” because when he found out the price was an unrealistic $39 he decided to stock up on 9 sticks when he only needed one. Yes I think Office Depot was obliged to give him the price but I don’t think Michael was under obligation to further exploit an obvious error. I’m not trying to paint him as evil or anything but I bet you he’s the type of person to grab a handful of free after-dinner mints.

  4. vr4z06gt says:

    well faust1200 I am not a person who grabs handfuls of after dinner mints. I indeed do need the memory for legitimate purposes. If i was a greedy person i would simply have ordered a hundred of them instead of 9. Which by the way all go into my small company’s laptops. A much needed boost when running vista.

  5. kenposan says:

    There is no exploitation taking place. The guy called Office Depot to confirm the price. A price is a price, whether you are buying one or one hundred.

    Running Vista? Booooo. LOL

  6. bndocksnt says:

    @faust1200: Did you RTFA? No? There’s a home for you on digg.

  7. Bix says:

    @faust1200:

    There was no error, the store (not mail-order) CSR just didn’t want to honor it.

  8. faust1200 says:

    Yes bndocksnot I did RTFA and I quote “The standard online price was 139.99 for a 1GB stick of Kingston PC2700 SODIMM memory, however when I added it to my cart and choose in store pickup the price plummeted to $39.04″ That looks erroneous to me but I respect (slightly) your opinion. If the OP didn’t think there was an error he wouldn’t have called to confirm the price. I’m not saying I’m holier than thou or anyone else. I just think if we want businesses to be honest with us we should be honest back instead of screaming “haha! you goofed! Now I’m gonna screw you for no good reason!” It’s not like they lured him in and then changed their mind (bate n switch) He was prepared to pay a fair price and capitalized on a glitch. I’m not saying the OP did anything “wrong” but it wasn’t “right” either.

  9. a says:

    But it wasn’t a goof, and no one capitalized on a glitch.

    As the OP heard when he called and as the associate in the first comment mentioned, this was a clearance price that just didn’t happen to apply to his local store, due to a miscommunication between the warehouse and the local store.

    Why the local store doesn’t work with the warehouse’s prices is a corporate issue, but I doubt the OP is stroking his beard and laughing deviously. He bought something he will use over a longer period of time.

    If a local Wendy’s ran an hour-long special and people rushed the doors to buy $.50 burgers, they’d probably sell out. That’s corporate misplanning and hungry people with an eye for a deal, not greed.

  10. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Just to make sure things were gonna work right I called 1800GODEPOT to verify the price, the CSR on the phone said that it appeared they were clearancing the chips and that the price would be honored the following morning when I went to pick them up

    Well, Michael called the 800 number and they said the price was good. I mean, how many times do you need to verify the price? It was $39.04 on the website, and then he called to make sure that was right, and they told him that it was a clearance. If it was wrong, Office Depot certainly had a chance to say “That’s the wrong price.” The whole issue was that corporate said it was right, and when he went down to pick up the memory, the local store jerked him around.

    So there you go.

  11. erockO says:

    Since I didn’t know what CSR stood for (tried every possibility in my head) I decided to look it up:

    acronym
    Chronic Sperm Retention – Resulting from the lack of sexual relations for extended periods of time.

    Noun (used as metaphor). Derived from initials of porn compilation “Cum Shot Revue,” which is two hours of ejaculations.

    Camper Staff Relationship

    Ad of course Customer Service Representative.

    Thanks for educating me consumerist!

  12. Musician78 says:

    If he was exploiting their error, he would have bought lots and lots of them and sold them on EBAY for close to retail value. I don’t think he did anything wrong and I applaud the dude from Office Depot who rectified the company’s messup.

  13. freibooter says:

    Sorry for the comment abuse, but:

    Am I the only one using the RSS-feed to read this site? Both feeds (full&partial content) have been broken since almost two days now.
    If I was a paying customer I would want my money back by now ;-)

  14. NeoteriX says:

    but instead, he earned a long-term customer. That is above and beyond.

    Is this true? Nothing against the shopper, but it really seems like in the days of electronics, internet pricing, and comparison shopping, would the shopper actually return back to Office Depot to buy something on the principle of customer loyalty, even if it costs more?

  15. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @NeoteriX: Well, I doubt he’s going to suddenly going to shift all his business to Office Depot. But, in the long term, being treated well will earn return business. I’m sure he’ll still shop for price, but if Michael is like me, he’ll add Office Depot to a small list of preffered vendors.

    I have 3 or 4 internet vendors that I buy electronics from, and all of them have treated me pretty well. Even if I could get something $10 or $20 cheaper from a store I know nothing about, I’ll go back to people who have treated me well. Buying from somebody I trust does count for something, especially if it’s a big ticket item.

  16. Roswell75 says:

    I think what you did amount to stealing. You are exploiting an error in their system, and then trying to justify it. You got caught and then you cried about it…..you are not a good person. I have been a long time reader and you have brought me to post for the first time. I would like to sit by, but I can’t any longer. If you think you are correct, then you are a communist. If you look up what a communist is, you will see that I am correct. You think it is owed to you because they are the big bad company and you showed them…..They should black ball you from ever shopping with them again.

  17. zolielo says:

    @faust1200: I agree.

  18. voodoodle says:

    @neoteriX: when a company does something like this, i like to pick up extra impulse buys and and i frequent them for things that you can’t really price-shop for (like pens and big cartons of twizzlers)

    if a company pisses me off, and i do have to patronize them, i don’t buy anything but what i need.

  19. lindyman77 says:

    @NeoteriX: In an age of internet-comparison pricing it may be that life-time customers are a thing of the past but when one gets superior pricing and excellent customer service one usually stays. Case-in-point, I hired a car from Avis rental car a year ago and the customer service was brilliant! Even with my 6th sense of cheapness I always return to Avis to see if they call ballpark the lowest price. Even if it’s a few quid more I will go with them because I know I will get better service than “Eazzy-Rent-a-wreck.” The OP got a great deal and maximized his return with Office Depot’s blessing. I say well played.

  20. shoegazer says:

    @NeoteriX: For corporate accounts and business purchases, all things being equal having superior service and followup trumps price. I know of a few IT vendors that are willing to give six months on site support for even small purchases (

  21. olegna says:

    Man, that is totally weird, but I know exactly where that picture is taken because there’s only one Charcoal Broiler (in the background of the picture) and it’s in Oklahoma City on Northwest Expressway between May and Pennsylvania avenues.


    OK, maybe it’s just weird to me. (Insert emoticon here)

  22. Negative says:

    Some of you really need to work on your reading comprehension.

    He did not ‘screw’ Office Depot. There was simply a mix-up between what his local store and the corporate website could provide. The local store couldn’t honor the price but corporate could. It was an online deal and sometimes local stores can’t give the same pricing as the website.

    The point of the post was that a CSR was helpful enough to give him the information he needed to make the purchase he was looking for.

  23. Jon Parker says:

    @olegna: And they make a damned good burger. Johnnie’s is pretty good as well.

  24. AcidReign says:

    …..In my book, he called to confirm the incredible price and was told it was good. I see no intent to defraud! Bargain-hunting is not unethical, no matter what some companies would like us to believe.

    …..I’d be ecstatic about finding a gig of ram for $39, too! Having replaced a gig in our Acer Aspire several times, I can say that the cheapest I could find was about $100. (That’s why the Acer laptop is now sitting in a box in the basement with ram issues, and we’re now using a Thinkpad. Of course, there’s now a battery-recall issue on Thinkpads…)

  25. ben792x says:

    I also had a great experience with Office Depot (in NYC) recently. I went to Staples to get a postal scale, after calling them (and waiting on hold for 5-6 minutes) because they said that they had the model I inquired about in store. I had already checked it out on their website, but I needed it at that second. I took a cab over, and lo and behold it was absent from even “the back.” So I had them call another Staples (turns out the one I went to was an “Express” and the one they called is a “Superstore”) the CSR from the superstore, Abe (turned out not to be so honest) said that had the model I wanted in store. This time I took the subway, and when I arrived, they had the model I wanted, but it was a HOLLOW display model. That was it. The “in-store” model might as well not have existed. To get the model I wanted I would have to order from their website (which I had been on at the start of my journey) and pay for shipping. At this I called 1-800-FREE-411 and obtained the number for the nearest Office Depot. I spoke with an employee who picked up the phone instantly, was polite and informative and by the end of the call had already arranged for the item to be waiting at the desk. When I got there (subway again) I merely walked in, asked for the scale, bought it and walked out. Staples wasted a2 hours and $10. They won’t get my business again. Office Depot on the other hand, got an A+

  26. dcndn says:

    Francisco is probably fired now for doing too good a job.

  27. scootinger says:

    I wanted to get in on the same deal that he did so I ordered it at the OD store in Edmond, OK…it’s pretty funny that he bought it at the one on NW Expressway & May in OKC (from the picture) because I probably should have ordered it there…I could have at least gotten one!

    The day after I ordered I went at about 4 pm or so to pick it up. When I got there, the cashier that helped me was Jason, who happened to be an assistant manager. He went back, got the RAM, and then arbitrarily told me that if I was going to buy it I would have to pay the “regular” $140 price.

    I then asked him for the phone number for OD’s corporate offices. Jason told me that he would get it, went away for 10-15 minutes, then I left. I was able to find the number on my own so I called them. They told me to call the OD regional office, which happened to (seemingly) be at the Edmond OD store. So I decided to write them a letter.

    OD has a VERY poor online ordering system with no live inventory. I’ve had it happen before that I was called by the OD store and told that the item is not available. But I was never called in this case, and I’m rather frusturated that I wasted my time and gas to drive across town just to get nothing.

    People from the OKC area should stay away from the Edmond OD store! The employees there seem to be rather rude and I’ve had much better luck with other OD stores or Staples.

  28. slowenuff says:

    I am an ex office depot employee. Office Depot has had a problem between its website prices matching its store prices for years. Advice for anyone shopping there if you wan’t to complain to corporate the only sure way to get through to them is to complete the survey at the bottom of your receipt. Within a day the stores employees will be yelled at by a district or regional manager. If you do see an insanely good deal on their website and you do set up an in store pickup get to the store as quick as possible before the store gets the chance to cancel your order. The reason why is that it is an internal policy not to match their own websites prices. Just their direct competitors.

  29. frostyhenman says:

    On 12/13/2007 I had requested a copy of my reciept on a purchase made 4/2007 for the amount of $234.32 on a Visa card, however I recieved a copy by email for $32.45 purchased by a Mastercard, I was even asked to provide a copy of my bank statement (of course I didn’t), I called them back to report that I had the wrong reciept, and I was promised a copy by the end of the day on 12/13/2007 or 12/14/2007, but still no reciept.
    Unfortunately, I have misplaced my original that will show that I had also purchased a extended warranty for our Ativa Shredder.