27 Confessions Of A Former Circuit City Worker

I had worked at Circuit City for quite some time, until recently when I could no longer stand the shady operations of its business. While working at Circuit City I worked in the Media and Technology department. I believe there are a few things that people should know about Circuit City…

1. When buying any product, expect the salesmen to tell you that after around 13 months, a certain part or battery will need replacing. The common manufacturers warranty only covers 12 months parts and labor, so the customer is pushed to buy the extended warranty under the impression it will fail later…

(Photo: VincenzoF)


2. If you do get an extended warranty (Circuit City Advantage Protection Plan), push for a lower rate. Nearly half of the cost is profit, so if you’re buying a 2 year plan for you laptop that’s running you say 200 bones, you could easily talk them down to 170, possibly 150.

3. Every salesman is ranked individually (unlike Best Buy) by the number of accessories they sell. When you pick up that desktop, salesmen are expected to add several hundred dollars in accessories and protection plans. If you opt to buy just the computer “naked” (meaning no attachments or extended warranty), prepare to be hammered. While being asked to buy certain items such as a wireless mouse, ask for a discount. Also, as for a “deal” on the protection plan covering it. For the salesman, it’s a win-win situation; all the salesman has to do is discount that 30 dollar mouse 5 dollars or so, and throw in the protection plan. This brings up the next point.

4. Every salesman is ranked by the number of protection plans (or extended warranties) that they sell. At my store all the time we would throw on scratch protection plans to CD’s, since they’re only a buck, most people don’t notice. During the $9.99 CD special days, customers who weren’t aware of the sale were easy prey.

5. If you get an extended warranty, for the remainder of the manufacture’s warranty you will be asked to ship it to them. We have all been trained to tell people to ship their defective computers back to the manufacturer, claiming that it will be “quicker.” If the customer refuses, we may send it back to the manufacturer, only on the customer’s part. Also, to avoid having to pay for fixing the computer themselves, see the next point.

6. For Compaq and HP computers, the “firedog” (Circuit’s answer to Geek Squad) technicians are now certified to work on them, all paid by the manufacturer. For any defective Compaq or HP computer that is still under manufacturer warranty, you can take it in to Circuit City for work free of charge. HP pays “firedog” to work on their customers’ computers. So whether you buy that extended warranty or not on that HP or Compaq of yours, for the remainder of the manufacturers warranty you have free rights to the technical use at “firedog.” If you purchased a laptop, feel free to ask for accessories such as a remote or headphones, we can order them for free. This applies to mice, keyboards, and sometimes remotes for desktops.

7. If you want to try and save money, get an expensive protection plan and return it. The most expensive protection plan I remember seeing on a laptop was around $600, and when thrown on ask for a big discount, expect up to 150 to be knocked off the price of the computer. Then as soon as possible, return the protection plan, and keep the discount on the computer. All discount will always be applied to the product, not the protection plan itself.

8. When being pushed for additional products and services, there are a few different tactics. One is that once you refuse it, it is thrown in anyways. The other is one common at Best Buy, called “Code Green”, in which we have another associate ring you up, and hammer harder to get the additional plans or accessories. Also while pushing sales associates will say that they’re not on commission (true) and it’s all from personal experience (not true).

9. When pressing customers to buy a software installation, we would tell a customer that they need to buy it because it has the AntiVirus and Personal Firewall by Norton, and Spysweeper by Webroot, all for $110. In reality if you want the firewall, you must pay additionally for Norton Internet security. Also, it’s $110 after mail in rebates. The mail in rebate requires that you had purchased their software before or a competitor’s, and have the UPC to mail in. When you’re spending a grand, you will probably not notice an extra bit of a charge.

10. When buying a PC you will be asked to have a backup DVD made for a charge of $30. This is done through an application found on all computers, sometimes hidden. You could do it yourself for free. Also, it was very common to sell this on Toshiba laptops. Little do the customers know, it’s already in the box. So we would charge, and do nothing.

11. Don’t bother calling in to check if we have a CD, DVD or game in stock, chances are they’ll say “no” regardless whether we have it or not. Just laziness.

12. Tags are often in the wrong place, so miss-tagged items are very common. You can use this to your advantage, and move some of those high speed SD cards onto a peg of cheaper SD cards. Customer service associates ringing up customers don’t know jack about anything, so they will follow you back to the product, and then apologize and give you the right discount, just you may need to look a bit upset. Biggest discount I witnessed was an item that was $69 discounted to $12. Also you can look behind the tag on the peg, often people just put new tags in front of old, and leave the sale prices in the peg. Use that to get the (old) sale price.

13. When looking at computers, make sure that the tag you’re looking at matches the floor model you’re testing. We often would only put the faster computers on display that looked the same, so the customer would think that they’re getting this fast computer when in reality, it’s for the tag 3 feet away, and it’s twice the price.

14. All protection plans are replacement plans. Which means it’s a one time use. If you break your computer within the first year on a 4 year plan, you just wasted 3 years of the warranty, and might as well have gotten the 2 year plan, and if needed add the additional 2 years after the plan’s up.

15. All accidental protection plans cover an additional month past what’s advertised. (2 year plan covers 2 years and one month, 4 year covers 4 years and one month.)

16. Don’t buy the protection plans just for the unlimited batteries, you can find laptop and camera batteries online for much cheaper.

17. Sales from ads primarily work off the bait-and-switch tactic. It’s most likely that the item you’re looking for is out of stock or no longer carried. It is hoped that since you came in to buy one and can’t, that you will find a better and more expensive alternative.

18. I’ve seen in the past of people hiding the less expensive speaker wires for car or home theater, or other such cables in the back warehouse. This makes customers buy the more expensive cables, assuming it’s all there is.

19. If you’re buying an item with multiple gift cards, check to make sure that you’re given back the gift card with the remaining balance. Several times I’ve seen associates give back the empty card, and keep the card with the remaining balance.

20. If you don’t get the accidental coverage on the item you just purchased that’s coming from the warehouse, it may be “accidentally” dropped a few times. It’s believed that when the customer comes back in with the messed up computer, that they will then opt for the coverage.

21. Our price guarantee says that we’ll beat any competitor’s price by 110%. In reality, we just beat 110% of the difference in price. Say you were buying an item that’s 110 bucks at Circuit, 100 at Best Buy. The difference is $10, and we will beat that by 10%, which means you only save a dollar by buying it at Circuit City.

22. Real names are not commonly used when answering the phone, just to avoid the chance of getting in trouble for bad customer service. Often used are other associates’ names.

23 . When returning items, with every return possible, we will label the item as defective. For that 3k plasma TV you just “changed your mind on”, it’s most likely that instead of selling it as an “open box”, that it will be shipped back to the manufacturer with some bogus explanation of why it’s no good. Something like “fuzzy picture every now and then”. Marking it down and reselling loses money.

24. Circuit City has violated “minor labor laws” to the extreme. I know of 16 year olds who worked 50 hour weeks, when it was only legal for 20.

25. Circuit City has laid off over 4 thousand employees recently to hire cheaper workers. They fired associates who were highly ranked in sales and service, and paid well for that reason.

26. Stores will keep great coupons such as “$10 off when you spend $100″ up at customer service next to our ads that we give out. Sometimes they’re only for the next week, encouraging that you come back Also almost everyday we were given a 10% off coupon to keep in our pocket in case we needed to give a discount to close a sale, making it look like we’re making some special deal for them when really, it’s just a plain old coupon that they could have brought.
27. Another shady fact that may not mean much to others is that they would send out 16 year olds to deliver tvs and computers. That’s strictly against company policy, you’re supposed to be 18 to assist or 21 to drive to a customer’s house.

Goodbye Circuit Shitty.

- Anonymous

Comments

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  1. acambras says:

    Quite a few years ago, I was in CC looking at new computers. A sleazy salesman approached me and started pushing the most expensive models (despite not knowing anything about me or what I was looking for in a computer). When I balked at the price, he offered to “help me out” with CC financing at “only 26%.” Give me a f***ing break.

    Over the years since then, I have spent a lot of money on computers and other electronics. But none of it at Circuit City!

  2. ExVee says:

    I don’t know that this reads as a confessional quite as much as a how-to guide for screwing over Circuit City. But still, some of the actual operational information is good to have confirmed even if many already suspected these truths anyway.

  3. Pupator says:

    Gee, a former employee points out shady tactics that some salespeople have used – big deal.

    By the way, #12 is clearly unethical and should be call theft. Consumerist would do well to remove that one.

  4. jwarner132 says:

    I saw a lot of the same stuff while working for Best Buy. Lying to customers, stealing gift cards, inboarding item prices to get the service plan attachment, violating state labor laws, attaching expensive and unnecessary accessories, etc.

    Is there no electronics store in the U.S. where one can shop for goods at a reasonable price AND not have to deal with this garbage?

  5. Antediluvian says:

    @Pupator: Yeah, as soon as I read it the words “theft” and “that’s called stealing” came to mind. It’s the equivalent of shoplifting, only technically you offer SOME money for the product.

  6. Earth2Kim says:

    #21 also isn’t right… Circuit City stores DO say “The difference, plus 10% of the difference.” I put that to use just a few months ago, finding a TV we had bought at Circuit City on sale for $200 less at Sears.com, went into a nearby Sears store to pick up their weekly ad listing the lower price, brought that back to C.C., and was refunded $220 off our original purchase. Rockin!

  7. VA_White says:

    @jwarner132:

    Is there no electronics store in the U.S. where one can shop for goods at a reasonable price AND not have to deal with this garbage?

    No. There isn’t. I don’t know why people still bother to go inside any of those places.

    FSM BLESS TEH TUBES!

  8. jharrell says:

    14. [...] and minus well have gotten the 2 year plan,[...]

    – might as well have gotten

  9. Lordstrom says:

    @Pupator: It’s not theft when both parties agree to the transaction.

  10. jmdecombe says:

    He forgot confession #28. You can get any product in the store with an 80% discount by dealing directly with a CC salesman. Cash only, thanks!

  11. Beerad says:

    @lorddave: It’s not theft when both parties agree to the transaction.

    No, technically it’s called fraud, and it’s still illegal. FWIW, the store didn’t really agree to what they thought they did, since you duped them.

  12. dudewithnofood says:

    I used to work at CC a few years ago over the holidays. I must say that it was the worst company i have ever worked for. I worked in the cell phone department back when CC didn’t have those Verizon booths which are run by Verizon I think. My managers would always get on my case for not selling the 3 year protection plans for phones sold with 1 year contracts (back then T-Mobile only had 1 yr. contracts).

  13. wobudong says:

    Yes, B & H in Manhattan. (NYC)

  14. MonkeyMonk says:

    I had one of my best consumer experiences at a Tweeter’s in the Chicago area. Ironically I also had a horrible experience at a different Tweeters located a mere 15 miles away. I guess it all comes down to luck and finding a truly helpful salesperson.

    I’d recommend Cambridge Soundworks as well. I’ve had some nice experiences with them as well. I wouldn’t be caught dead buying electronics at a Best Buy or Cicuit City.

  15. purdy says:

    That reminds me a lot of when I worked at Futureshop in Canada. It’s a bit too familiar lol.

  16. JonG119 says:

    Unbelieveable, my friend took his HP that he had purchased from there back to the “firedog” part of the store recently and they said that all they could do was send it back to the manufacturer. I guess they were lying. Way to go Circuit City, that plus the fifty dollars they wanted for a diagnostic that I could (and did) do for free is enough to keep me away from there.

  17. ishred says:

    I witnessed a best buy employee refuse to sell a $5k TV because the consumer didn’t want the $700 protection plan.

    The sales associate said “your not buying that tv without the warranty” and walked away.

    The manager came over and backed the employee.

    Bottom line – buy your electronics from online retailers…they usually sell items below cost and make money on shipping, which still comes out cheaper than these chain stores.

  18. goldaar says:

    As a current employee of CC, i must say that some of this applies to all stores, but quite honestly, most of the things mentioned would only happen in a POS store. Honestly, you must have worked at a very shady CC. For the most part, most of this was probably glamourized for the sake of hits. As for attaching things without customer consent, it would take a very stupid maanger to not fire people for that.

    Enough with my rant about your rant though, for the most part I agree with your take on the whole thing, and honestly am getting out as soon as a I find a job with flexible hours as this (in-store firedog).

  19. bourgeoisie says:

    What a disappointment to see something like this on consumerist.

    About 50% of what’s written actually belongs on consumerist, the other 50% belongs in the garbage because good consumers are not good consumers because they steal or cheat.

    Articles like this just teach more idiots how to rip off corporate america, so corporate america can rip off the rest of us.

    Thanks Consumerist.

  20. xamarshahx says:

    I used to work at a BB, most of this stuff is on a store by store and person by person basis. My store was never that bad, but one nearby got hammered by corporate after they got caught pulling stupid shit such as hiding products and “packaging”. I personally never tried to screw the customer while others in the store would get to the point of harassment. It all depends, its like any other big corporation, you just need to be a smart consumer.

  21. rubberpants says:

    @VA_White

    I think that the Internet has really exacerbated these types of scams at brick and mortar stores.

    1. People are buying more online because they don’t have to deal with all the crap.
    2. Stores lose sales
    3. Stores lose profits
    4. Managers/Corporate increases the pressure to sell more of the most profitable items (extended extended warranty, ‘high-end’ cables, etc.) in an attempt to curtail the hemorrhage.
    5. Sales drones become desperate to meet their now-stricter quotas and pull all manner of shady crap.
    6. Goto 1

    It’s a death spiral and I think many retailers are trapped in it. Good riddance I say.

  22. @jwarner132: Not that I have found.

    I was not going to Circuit City since the 80s. I didn’t think they got any better.

  23. Hawk07 says:

    When I was shopping for my DLP, I stopped by CC and had a pretty nice associate approach me to answer any questions I had. Real friendly and patient guy and explained that none of them were on commission, etc.

    Anyways, what did catch my ear was that he highly reccomended the service plan which was going to be another $400 or so and how that “anytime you needed a bulb replacement, CC would come in and do it for free”. He went on to say that, “if at any point you feel the picture output isn’t as bright as the day you got the tv, they’ll still replace it.” Considering the bulb for my set right now runs about $215 or so, if it truly was “unlimited replacement” a $400 service plan would actually be cost effective.

    Anyways, I went to CC.com, added the TV to my court and of course the website reccomended that same service plan. I pulled up the Terms of the plan which was in a box roughly the size of Consumerist’s little comment box here. Started reading it, got mad and Copy and pasted the entire thing into a Word document for better reading. it turned out to be 26 PAGES put into that little box!!!! Anyways, read through, found the area on bulb replacement and of course what the salesman was saying was too good to be true. They only did one replacement and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were dicks about replacing it (i.e. you had a blown bulb, not one that was no longer bright enough).

  24. cametall says:

    What the hell kind of store did you work at? When I worked in tech at CC we NEVER discounted the computers to add a warranty because we knew the customer would return the warranty and keep the PC. The only time I saw a PC get discounted with warranty was due to a customer service issue and the receipt was TAGGED in the PoS system as non returnable unless the warranty was returned also.

    1 time use warranty? Only if you smash the laptop, we shipped out and received repaired units all the time.

    While much of the last part of the article is true (22. on down) this employee allowed themselves to be warped by bad management was dicked with customers himself just to have “fun.”

    I quit CC because of the shitty management but half the crap this employee claims was done at their store only. I only knew one employee (after 2 years of working in tech) who would pull this crap.

  25. Hawk07 says:

    @rubberpants:

    I don’t think the B&Ms necessarily scam consumers, but prey on the uninformed.

    For example, if you pay more than $5 for an HDMI or USB cable online, you’re being ripped off, yet they’re about $100 and $30 a piece at any B&M. Most people aren’t aware all these cables probably come from the same factory in China.

  26. cametall says:

    Gah, no edit button. I meant, “this employee dicked around with customers himself just to have “fun.”

  27. confab says:

    Agreed on B&H, I was going to say that! Also, I found the honest sales manager at Best Buy in SF, but he’s just from a parallel universe.

  28. Invisobel says:

    @MonkeyMonk: i worked at a Best Buy for almost 4 years and I can say that I did my best to help the customers out. It’s possible to do your job and be honest. A lot of these sales tactics are condoned or even suggested by management. I continue to use Best Buy or CC as a alternative to online shopping. It’s simply important to be educated about what you’re buying and take everything they offer with a grain of salt.

  29. VA_White says:

    @rubberpants:
    It’s a death spiral and I think many retailers are trapped in it. Good riddance I say.
    ___________________________________________

    Me, too. Best Buy, Circuit City, and their ilk disgust me. I much prefer to research a purchase online, shop around for the best price, then have it shipped right to my door.

    Internet shops used to be touch-and-go as far as customer service but my experience has been that they are better than B&M stores these days because one or two bad experiences tend to get magnified through the tubes. A commited blogger can trash a stores reputation quickly especially in a niche market.

  30. homerjay says:

    @ishred: When I was a vendor for CompUSA the act of not selling a product without the ESP was common. Since most of CompUSA’s computers were ‘in the back’ they’d try to sell the ESP before ‘checking inventory.’ If the ESP didn’t sell, the computer was out of stock.

  31. legerdemain says:

    I worked at Circuit City. Most of the policy stuff is fairly accurate. We didn’t get into the shady business of keeping customer giftcards, adding items without customer consent, mishandling merchandise, or that kind of thing. We were very good at knowing where the lines were, and we were willing to push to the edge of them.

    One trick I did do was to offer the customer a free remote. At the time, customers buying multiple coverage plans on a single ticket would get an automatic markdown ticketwide for all coverage plans. If a customer was buying one large item with a single coverage plan, adding a $4.99 TV remote and a $6 warranty would save the customer $30 overall.

  32. delphi_ote says:

    @Beerad:
    Sure, it’s fraud. As long as we also count #8, #9, #17, #20, and #23 as fraud on Circuit City’s part.

    Oh, right. In that case, it’s just a few bad employees. If the poorly paid employees systematically “screw up” in the company’s favor, that’s not Circuit City’s fault. Havens no. But if they screw up in the costomer’s favor, it’s a crime!

  33. kingdom2000 says:

    I am inclined to believe the post not because of personal experience but because of the simple fact: follow the spreadsheets.

    For employees, the shadiness is necessary to keep their jobs via the stats that are used to rank them.

    For store managers, the stats are a difference between a small bonus or a large bonus. If you have a store that is a PoS, its always starts with managers that are more focused on the stats and their effect on their own bonus then any real concern over whether a job gets done or not.

    Its all about the spreadsheets nowadays. Name that business and you have managers that quantify you not by your abilities/skills, but by whatever stats that person thinks is important.

  34. skrom says:

    @jwarner132:

    No because in order to stay competitive on the core items, IE PCs, laptops, TVs etc they have to mark them down to the point they make like $20 on them so if the company is to make any money they have to sell accessories and service plans. In fact most of those ad items are sold for less than the store paid for the item which is why they only have like 5 of them and they sell out an hour after the store opens on the first day of the ad. This is why they hate “naked” or “dry” sales. If a store was to open where no employees offered you accessories and service plans you would then complain that the prices are too high.

  35. Daemonati says:

    As a former CC employee for nearly 5 years I can attest to the truth off all of those statements.

  36. ericclapton says:

    if only we had a bad ass salesmen like dwight schrute at staples…

  37. sk1d says:

    There’s a store called Visions here in Canada where, if you purchase a protection plan and don’t use it, when it expires, you can use the value of plan as store credit. I guess their whole plan is to hope you forget about 2-3 years later, but we haven’t and have gotten plenty of dvd’s using the credit from the protection plan.

  38. keylight says:

    Ugh.

    I love that this guy starts off his letter by writing, “I had worked at Circuit City for quite some time, until recently when I could no longer stand the shady operations of its business.” But apparently he is fine with his own shady suggestions:

    Circuit City may be a crappy place to buy stuff, but does Consumerist really want to promote the idea that it is okay to be a consumer who commits a crime to save money?

    Just because some corporations may use deception or questionable means for making $$ does not make it okay for people like you and me to steal.

    Item #12 is nothing more than committing theft (by deception):

    “move some of those high speed SD cards onto a peg of cheaper SD cards…. you may need to look a bit upset…. Biggest discount I witnessed was an item that was $69 discounted to $12. Also you can look behind the tag on the peg, often people just put new tags in front of old, and leave the sale prices in the peg. Use that to get the (old) sale price.”

    Some people have no sense of moral right or wrong. Maybe working at a place like CC causes people to loose their sense of right and wrong. Or maybe some people are attracted to the work at CC BECAUSE they are immoral.

  39. kopfhorer says:

    So that low-grade “sleaze” vibe I pick up every time I go into Circuit City isn’t my imagination? Oh well, they do sometimes have interesting CDs, cheap. I know someone who works at the local CC. He told me about the big layoff of the qualified, experienced people. Sounds like certain accountants and/or managers REALLY want to keep their jobs. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!

    Once upon a time, when Toni Basil tunes wafted out of radios all over America, I worked at a mall department store (doesn’t matter which, they’re all quite similar in a lot of respects). I was stationed in that store’s camera department, but my knowledge of cameras born of years of experience with cameras and darkroom work didn’t cut any ice with my supervisors. Indeed, I seemed to be the only guy in my department who knew *anything* about cameras apart from how to put the film and batteries in. I once got written up for politely informing a customer who’d brazenly traipsed into the cashier booth (where he was definitely not allowed) that I’d be with him as soon as I finished with the customer I was with, who was trying to see if a lens that we sold would work on his camera. I got no credit at all when I helped another client find a new bulb for his slide projector. Many little technical things would go wrong (cash registers wouldn’t read a product code properly, you got a mild shock when you touched the metal trim on the display cabinets, etc.) which would never get fixed. When it came time to lay some of us off, instead of giving us pink slips, they simply cut us down to 4 hours a week in order to avoid paying unemployment benefits. Conclusion: mall stores are about doing things cheap, cheap, cheap, even if it actually hurts the company.

    About alternatives to mall stores: a lot of towns have their own local “geek store”, an electronics shop which caters to ham radio operators, hard-core computer geeks, engineers for local radio and TV stations and electronic experimenters. It’s probably nowhere near a mall. They may or may not have home entertainment gear. They sometimes carry overpriced garbage, but most have better deals that the mall stores on certain things, like computer components and audio cables, and are usually staffed by folks who actually know what the hell they’re talking about. Look in your yellow pages under “electronics” and see what you come up with.

  40. veterandem says:

    Ishred said:

    I witnessed a best buy employee refuse to sell a $5k TV because the consumer didn’t want the $700 protection plan.

    The sales associate said “your not buying that tv without the warranty” and walked away.

    The manager came over and backed the employee.

    As well he should have. My wife and I bought a 61 inch Sony Wega LCD flatscreen for $4K, and bought the ESP for $500.00. Within 6 months the picture on the screen had bright yellow vertical lines and a nice red circle in the lower right corner. The part was $1400, and the labor was right around $400, plus a disposal fee, so we more than made the difference up, and we still have 3 years left on the ESP. The more expensive the technology, the higher the cost of repair(the manufacturer’s warranty would not have covered our costs, making a $4K TV almost $6K!)

  41. Major-General says:

    #12 is half correct. I dropped into my local CC to look at ink cartridges, and asked for a price check on a set (CMYK, $70 retail). I got them for $15 (3 color set) and $20 (black) because the price labels were so badly labeled that none of the labels matched the products on the shelf.

    Also, a price tag is a price offer. The consumer can counter offer, and the sale is legal if accepted. I read about a man in Canada who wanted to see if a poorly designed online store would let him enter a lower price.

    His consultation with a lawyer after receiving the item for 10% was that since the site emailed him to let him know they were reviewing his order, and then shipped it and charged the lower amount to his credit card, it was a legal transaction.

  42. moodymoe1 says:

    I always purchase protection plans on items I think will break in a few weeks. For example I purchased a computer headset which only cost 40 dollars at newegg.com, costed me 72 +tax at Best Buy. Paid 10 bucks for a 2 year replacement warranty, and have replaced it like 5 times since. I just tell them it makes a fuzzy sound when I put it on. The wire was torn, the headset was falling apart. They never asked 1 question just take it back and give me a new one. Off course they had to call the company to get a RMA number but they still give me a new one. All in all I think Best Buy is a good store I haven’t had a problem with them, but then again I haven’t purchased something that cost a lot from them. Also when waiting on line for the customer service i let people pass me if i think the person on the register will give me trouble. So i say “its no problem you can pass,im waiting on someone”. Then the other register is free with the easy to work with person and theres my chance.

  43. Gronholm says:

    Not surprising as Sony products have a 90 day manufacture warranty. Spend your money on a brand that backs up the quality of their product with a quality manufactures warranty.

  44. @skrom: It’s called Wal-Mart.

  45. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    I am glad Anonymous came forward with his or her report. The information about Circuit City’s slimy practices is important for consumers to know. I don’t at all approve of customers cheating Circuit City, but I also believe Circuit City invites that kind of disloyal, game-y behavior by virtue of the environment in its stores, which is, I gather, rife with manipulation and frank deception. It’s like, if you beat your kids, don’t be surprised if they hate you in return.

    My last time in a Circuit City was several years ago. I had some done research, and came in with pages with Consumer Reports, looking for a very specific model of air conditioner. I explained my interests to a sales associate. He pretended to not hear me, and immediately tried to sell me on a much more expensive model than the model I was seeking. It was incredibly insulting. My interests were clearly not a factor motivating this guy’s behavior on the job. He had obviously been trained on the value of selling, not on the value of customer satisfaction. I left, vowing not to give them a dime of my business. That’s the irony that always gets me: Businesses that care about sales instead of customer satisfaction make fewer sales.

    @jwarner132: Wal-Mart has been criticized for other, good reasons, but the truth is I’ve had excellent experiences buying electronics items there. Their selection is certainly smaller, but their small inventory of desktop computers, laptops, etc., seems well-chosen, and has the huge advantages of a hassle-free buying experience (no add-ons, no upselling, no $1 scratch protection BS or other sneaked-in charges, zero pressure) and a very reasonable price. A breath of fresh air compared to Circuit City or Best Buy. And cheap is not necessarily crap: Wal-Mart, because of their scale, puts their suppliers through major rigors relative to quality. As a matter of self-interest, I’m sure Wal-Mart seeks to avoid selling crappy goods (e.g., a computer that people en masse have to return).

  46. skrom says:

    @Moonshine Mike:

    And Wal-Mart sells cheap Chinese garbage. Youll never find a Sony Grand Wega TV at Wal Mart or a HP PC for that matter. The sell no name TVs, and Emachines and dell PCs.

  47. legerdemain says:

    @skrom: Wal-Mart does sell HP computers and Dell is hardly no-name.

  48. I buy all my electronics either online or from local mom-and-pop stores exactly to avoid the sleaze in big chain stores. And on top of superior customer service, I also get much better price. Why would I ever want to buy anything (other than sales items) from CC or BB?

  49. alterboy says:

    When I worked at Best Buy most of the shady things i hear about didn’t apply to my store. I’m starting to think that we were either in the minority or best buy has changed.

    I worked there over 5 years ago so their policies might have changed but the only things I really sold replacement plans on were phones and vacuum cleaners. The reason is that for phones it was an easy sell because we’d mention that the battery would die before the warranty or would at least not work as well. The Vacuum because the belts break. The replacement plan is different than the warranties in that Best Buy didn’t try to fix the product. They just gave you a new one. If they no longer made the new one then you got the newer model. I saw a lot of PDA’s get upgraded. We also didn’t check most of the items to see if it was your fault or not. If your kid dropped it in the toilet just make sure it’s dry before returning it.

    I was a cashier and didn’t sell too many extended warranties because they did not count for the operations number only sales.

    Some interesting facts. It’s true that most sale items are sold at cost or close to it as well as CD’s. What isn’t is home and car audio. That stuff is marked up 100% no joke.

  50. SmoovyG says:

    Re #5 – it’s actualy perfectly normal for a store to insist on the customer contacting the manufacturer directly for an item under warranty. This is usually done at the behest of the manufacturer for several reasons, not the least of which the manufacturer doesn’t want the stores to be aware of the true number of damaged and broken items for fear of the store cutting orders in the future.

  51. balthisar says:

    I admit to shopping at CC — but only kind-of. Their in-store pickup from web-ordered items nets instant satisfaction when I need something right away and don’t care that it’s a couple of bucks more than online. You order just like any web outfit, go right to the pickup desk, sign the credit card receipt, watch your item roll down the ramp, and you’re off. I’ve never been hassled with “want a warranty” or any of that crap.

    What’s strange given CC’s reputation is that *other* stores don’t have this instant system. When I try the same at Micro Center, they insist I have to wait for email confirmation, which may take up to four hours. The now-defunct CompUSA was the same way. Sam’s was so slow that I had to go buy the TV that I “click’n’pulled” off of the shelf rather than wait for them to get their act together.

  52. swalve says:

    veterandem: How long was Sony’s factory warranty?

  53. swalve says:

    balthisar, that’s probably because the other stores have bad inventory management practices, and need to “put a hand” on the thing you ordered before they’ll say ok.

    Used to drive me nuts at Office Max when there’s be some item where you pull the tag and give it to the cashier, and then they fetch the product for you. There will be fifteen tags, covering up the “sorry, sold out” sign. To me, this means that they have fifteen in stock. And if there was only one tag left, there was only one item in stock. This, apparantly, isn’t how *they* do it. They just cram the thing full of tags and hope they’ll have it in stock when you want it.

  54. OBoogie says:

    I’ve had shit experiences at Mom and Pop stores, too. To suggest that their customer service is better across the board is as silly as saying all sales people at CC and BB are schiesters. I’ve had good and bad experiences at locally-owned joints and big chains.

    As someone stated above, do your research and go in armed with knowledge. That’s the way to beat these kinds of sleazy tactics.

  55. bbfreak says:

    Well let me be the first to say that I’m glad your leaving the retail industry, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I mean where do you get the nerve to think that your holier than thou? I mean your solution to being screwed over by a corporation is to screw ‘em right back. I assure you, there are more effective and moral ways to achieve the same goal (wait, morals don’t apply when its a corporation? Huh? -_-).

    Not that I’m saying the corporations aren’t bastards, but you seem to neatly blame only the corporation. Nooo, it couldn’t be individuals, and yes all CC employees are evil except you, right? -_- Oh, and lets not forget the customers, they’re always saints themselves aren’t they? They never try to cheat stores, and only now will because they have the justification after y our guidance. Oh please give me a break, there are 15 million people in the retail industry and your part of the problem of the retail industry, so let me say again that I’m glad your removing yourself.

    Anyway, my point is that there is plenty of blame to go around. From the evil corporation who will do anything to bring in profits, which usually pisses their employees off. So then the employees get the bright idea that since they’re being screwed, they should screw right back and either screw the corporation or the customers or both. Though what it really comes down to are the customers, because they are the most important factor in all of this. After all you get what you pay for, and America is only too happy to pay the price for low prices, inapt workers and crap from china.

  56. rich.h says:

    Re #1: My GF of years ago had a kickass comeback for the “sure to fail the day after the warranty runs out” hard-sell: “My last TV cost [$amt], and ran flawlessly for over a decade. So why am I even considering paying you four times as much for a set you’re so damn sure will break down a year from now?” … [silence, usually,] … “I don’t know either. Bye,” and off to a store with less-slimy salespeople. I don’t miss her, except when I’m shopping.

  57. acquaroyale says:

    Here’s an old-school nethod that works well for me, since most salespeople in these stores are complete uninformed blowhards.

    1. Do some research online. Go to different stores’ websites. The web has all manner of reviews, prices, shipping method, etc.
    2. If you just have to have it now, when the salesperson comes up you can:

    a) Tell him you’re just looking
    b) listen to his shtick, and figure out if he’s full of shit
    c) if they just won’t leave you alone, I’ve found yelling “Can I please get a (insert expletive )manager” at the top of your lungs

    A happy consumer is an informed consumer

  58. AdmNaismith says:

    “Is there no electronics store in the U.S. where one can shop for goods at a reasonable price AND not have to deal with this garbage?”

    I would have to say that I have not really had a bad experience at Fry’s. Very fair pricing and generally helpful and attentive salespeople.

  59. M1s6 says:

    I am a current circuit city employee. and this entire article is BS. I know at my store, management and the employees actually care about the customer. our latest addition is “north star” in which our goal is customer service. we want to help the customer while guiding them, supporting them, and exciting them with the latest technology.

    In recent store meetings, we were shown a pie chart, walmart has best prices, best buy has best inventory, but no one claims customer service, and that is circuit city’s goal.

    recently a manager told us, dont push anything, give them what you have to offer, put it all on the table, and LET THE CUSTOMER DECIDE.

    this sounds like a disgruntled employee, who was probably fired because of internal theft or fraud. I wouldnt be surprised if HE/SHE was the employee that was describe in the above rant.

    sure prices may be cheaper online, and i usually shop at newegg and online retailers, but for the people who dont have a clue about technology, it is well worth spending some extra money for good service, and ultimately an education….

    and for the record…. employees themselves buy warranties… sure we have a 15-20% discount on warranty, but the point is we recommend to you the same service that we buy for ourselves. i tell all of my fellow co-workers to buy a warranty on any item over $100, as i do the same.. i put 4 year warranty on my 22″ monitor, 2 year accidental on my zune, etc…..

    dont be fooled by this phoney….. your experience shouldnt depend on one employee…. just because 1 person is having a shitty day, doesnt mean it is the company’s policy.

  60. Lordstrom says:

    @Beerad: Good luck proving that in court, guy.

  61. M1s6 says:

    I am a current circuit city employee. and this entire article is BS. I know at my store, management and the employees actually care about the customer. our latest addition is “north star” in which our goal is customer service. we want to help the customer while guiding them, supporting them, and exciting them with the latest technology.

    In recent store meetings, we were shown a pie chart, walmart has best prices, best buy has best inventory, but no one claims customer service, and that is circuit city’s goal.

    recently a manager told us, dont push anything, give them what you have to offer, put it all on the table, and LET THE CUSTOMER DECIDE.

    this sounds like a disgruntled employee, who was probably fired because of internal theft or fraud. I wouldnt be surprised if HE/SHE was the employee that was describe in the above rant.

    sure prices may be cheaper online, and i usually shop at newegg and online retailers, but for the people who dont have a clue about technology, it is well worth spending some extra money for good service, and ultimately an education….

    and for the record…. employees themselves buy warranties… sure we have a discount on warranty, but the point is we recommend to you the same service that we buy for ourselves. i tell all of my fellow co-workers to buy a warranty on any item over 100 dollars, as i do the same.. i put 4 year warranty on my 22″ monitor, 2 year accidental on my zune, etc…..

    dont be fooled by this phoney….. your experience shouldnt depend on one employee…. just because 1 person is having a shitty day, doesnt mean it is the company’s policy.

  62. bbfreak says:

    For more insight into the wonderful world of retail, here’s a comic!

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/fun/retail.asp?date=20070606

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/fun/retail.asp?date=20070605

    “Is there no electronics store in the U.S. where one can shop for goods at a reasonable price AND not have to deal with this garbage?”

    Whats a reasonable price? Isn’t this garbage part of the price? I mean is safe to say that its nearly impossible to actually live off the wages that you make in the retail industry without working yourself to death? So how can you expect apt employees/managers if they’re certainly not being payed enough to give a damn. Indeed, most managers get payed a flat rate and as such they work themselves to death at jobs that other people would be doing if corporations weren’t so insisted on their bottom line.

    Then there is the product it self, from CHINA, KOREA,anywhere but America! *gasps* Maybe because it cost less, and as a result you get the “reasonable” price that you wanted. Or you can just buy everything online, and keep pretending that the corporations are the soul bad-guy and ignore that consumers have the overall say. I mean god forbid you pay more for a product so its made with quality rather than by quantity. So in the end your left with inapt workers, who don’t get payed enough to care and those who have stuck with it enough in the first place have either left for something that they can actually live off of and have a life or simply been fired/let go because they were NOT a inapt worker (cheap worker).

  63. Henri says:

    Publishing this article was a mistake for The Consumerist.

    Yesterday, I could argue that I read something in The Consumerist but today I have to worry that someone will say, “Oh, the blog that tells people how to rip off stores…”

    It’s your reputation, but if you want to treat the marketplace as a free-for-all, don’t whine when you get the short end of the stick.

  64. rbf2000 says:

    14. All protection plans are replacement plans. Which means it’s a one time use. If you break your computer within the first year on a 4 year plan, you just wasted 3 years of the warranty, and minus well have gotten the 2 year plan, and if needed add the additional 2 years after the plan’s up.

    This makes me wonder if this guy even actually worked at circuit city. Not all plans are replacement plans. There are actually three types of warranty that CC offers, the replacement plan (for items such as mp3 players, remote controls, etc.) For these specific items it’s true that you send off the product and get a gift card for how much you paid for the product. With that gift card you then re-buy whatever you want. If you want the warranty on the new one you would have to rebuy that out of pocket as well.

    There is also ESP and CSP. ESP (extended service plan) was for items like a TV or a stereo. Depending on how large the item, it is either in store or in home repair. For items covered under ESP, you don’t go through the manufacturer and the extended warranty runs concurrent with the manufacturer’s warranty.

    For CSP (computers, monitors, printers, etc.), the extended warranty also is concurrent with the manufacturer warranty, but for the first year you go through the manufacturer, after that it’s in home service for desktops, or through the mail service for everything else.

    In addition to CSP warranties not being one time use, you can always cancel the warranty, even if work has been done and they will give you a prorated refund. They just take out an administrative fee (no more than $20) and the cost of any repairs done.


    This entire piece isn’t really the confessions of a Circuit City employee, it’s the confessions of a shiesty mofo that just happened to work at Circuit City. These are by no means (at least during the four years I worked there) common practices among the company.

  65. l0stn0tfound says:

    So we hear one persons shady sales tactics and the whole company gets blamed. I love it. This would be more interesting if there was some company news letter about how they SHOULD rip off customers.

  66. stublag says:

    I’m just chiming in to say that I delivered TVs, by myself for Circuit City when I was 16/17. They payed me off the record(in cash) to do so.

    I was the only employee with a truck.

    That job was awful.

  67. d12311 says:

    I work at Circuit City and this sounds like this is happening more at a specific location. None of the salespersons at my store act in the ways described by the “confession”. Most of our business is actually high repeats. I wouldn’t consider #12 at all! Switching price tags or moving products to a different shelf or peg with a lower price intentionally to pay a lower price is theft. Don’t do it it’s not worth the legal drama.

    ps
    A lot of products at Circuit City are sold for less than they cost to buy from the manufacturers. That’s why salespersons try to sell accessories, it’s to make a profit. There isn’t one place you can go to on Main Street that dosen’t exist to make a profit. It’s jsut business.

  68. notrix16 says:

    Did you really work at Circuit City? Because, and believe me I do not like the place much either, hardly any of your information was accurate.. at all. Since when can your employees bargain and price adjust items? Firedog can order you free HP parts? I dont think so. (Me being a firedog I would know) Let me guess, you worked there for a week and now know everything that goes on there right? Ha..

  69. swissdietcoke says:

    Also a Circuit City employee, I’m astonished at what this list has to offer. Its no wonder retail electronics chains get bad raps, if this is what the average employee is like. I know that our management would never allow something like this to happen. Circuit City is a college job, not a career choice for me, but to think that an entire corporation is this dishonest is insane!

    We do get rated on our sales numbers. We’re salesmen. Duh.

    I’m not too proud to sell a customer a ‘naked’ TV if that’s all they want. I bought one. Been working great for three years. My friend bought one, and after six months, spent the next four months dealing with Mitsubishi trying to get it repaired? What, they only have 5 repair centers in America? Tough, ship your broken TV, at your expense!

    Extended Warranties are not for everybody, and they aren’t always a good deal. For projection TV buyers, its a no brainer. My father recently bought a Sony SXRD projection. The 5 year warranty was $319. I did a little research for him, and found that a bulb was about $250. Worst case scenario, he was out 70 bucks. He knew he could call for a replacement bulb.

    Alas, please do not let the foolish comments of one disgruntled (see: fired) employee. He was most likely fired because of these unethical practices. That is not how Circuit City is run.

  70. MrTankJump says:

    @People saying #12 is stealing

    Anyone who took high school law would know that not a single price that is advertised in any store is what it costs. The final cost of a product is what you offer to pay for it, if it is accepted by the selling party. It’s entirely legal for you to try to confuse the idiot sales clerk at the help desk in order to get a lower price, and if it’s found out, it’s the sales clerk that would be in trouble. Any smart salesman would know it was the wrong price. Now whether or not it’s something that is moral or not completely depends on how you were raised. Besides, they try to screw you over every chance they can get, so why not hit the man back sometimes.

  71. muchavo says:

    If your going to discuss how the store rips off customers you should discuss how the customers rip off the store.

    I don’t see what the big deal is.

    The article is designed to inform not to trick some one into stealing.

    Thats what the point of an article is. It doesn’t degrade the website.

    It also doesn’t advocate stealing.

    It only reports it.

  72. chop88 says:

    I agree with alot of those pointers but not all of them.i myself work at a BB and it definetly depends on the salesperson you get. in my store there are both the good and the bad. im always glad to help out customers and explain products and their uses even if they dont buy anything. its true we dont get paid commision so i dnt care wether u buy something or not, however the service plans and geeks squad security setups are for customers benefits. the service plans are really a gamble you might need them you might not i’ve seen way more customers then i expected come into the store happy they had bought the service plan and customers mad they hadnt.theres alot of truths and alot of lies behind all of it. the customer just has to figure out which one’s which.
    i myself tend to do all my shoping and comparing online because i got to admit it is a lot cheaper then at a retail store but i’m knowledgeable about electronics, you have to remember that wen you go to a retail store ur not just paying for the product your paying for the people to operate the store and give you customer service. sales people are their to answer the questions you have about the products you are buying. however that is not always the case. i might know about the main things i sell(pcs hardrives cd drives etc etc) but i dnt know every single thing about every single product in my department.
    in response to #12 about the tags, yes that is stealing and the people who get blamed are the salesreps who have been there for a year or less. the shity pay we get dsnt amount to the work we have to do. every night wen all the consumers are at home with their families enjoying their new “toys” we the sales people have to stay int he store sometimes till midnight cleaning up the mess that customers make product all over the place and under the wrong tags so wen u c a product under the wrong tag more then likely it was a customer that just put it in the wrong place. i’ve had customers who pik up a box in front of me to ask questions about it and then put it down in a totaly wrong spot wen they could of just put it bak where it was. oh and dnt try to scam salespeople by putting wrong product into different boxes its not possible and ur jus gonna make it a worse experience for yourself.
    well i cant keep going otherwise there gonna have to have a page just for my comment so next time u DO come into a retail store remember to look out for the honest salespeople and be nice.

  73. eltirado says:

    After reading all the comments, I am suprised no one mentioned Apple. I used to work for Apple Retail. I wanted to say that the Apple stores are a good place to go but I was there the other day and got hit by slobbering salesmen, no less than 6 people asked us what we needed – if we were being helped (GAP sits on the Apple board). But the point I want to make is this reminds me of all the confessions of Mac Genii (which are all true) and I support what he/she is saying and it is all apart of the retail sector and what they stand for. If you want a better experience then CC, go to Apple stores. If you want better prices and discounts go to dealnews.com and the like. Yes it is all about spreadsheets and Kudos to the Consumerist for posting this.

  74. Killian says:

    I always find it funny that when I visit a place like CC or Best Buy that no one will help me until I start looking at big ticket items. If there is any way I can avoid dealing with a human being when buying electronic items, I find am much happier with the purchase. I think the net has really leveled the playing field. Plenty of places you can do research on things and always plenty of people willing to proffer their opinion on their own experiences with a product. Why would anyone want to consult someone who really could care less about you anyhow?

    For those of you working at these places, you have better things you can do for a living.

  75. Hawk07 says:

    @skrom:

    first, within the last week or so, Wal-Mart began selling Dell PC’s. your matter of fact statement sounds as though they’ve been doing it for sometime.

    Second, consumers in the market for your described Sony Wega tv aren’t going to be shopping at Wal-Mart.

    Third, pretty much all tvs we buy nowadays come from Asia. Yes, Walmart does tend to sell the lower end stuff since they’re built around giving consumers the cheapest priced goods for whatever they’re looking for

  76. XStylus says:

    Something similar to #8 or #10 happened to my dad the other day.

    My father decided to surprise me by buying me a notebook for college (an Acer Aspire 5100-3949) the other day at Circuit City. This made me cringe since I semi-proudly work for Geek Squad (my pride varies with the the schedule), but he at least had the sense to haggle with them rather fiercely and got it for $360. Not bad, pop!

    HOWEVER… I looked at the receipt, and noticed that there was a $29 Restore Fee of some sort listed. I asked him what it was, he didn’t know. He told me that the rep had said they were going to restore the operating system for free. Well, guess their idea of free is $29.

    I’ve worked several Best Buy locations, and yeah, it has its shameful days too, but these allegations at CC are FAR worse than anything I’ve ever seen or heard at Best Buy.

  77. SOhp101 says:

    @skrom: Funny you say that, because I stepped into a Wal-Mart a few weeks ago and I could’ve sworn I saw a Sony, Samsung and some other good brands.

  78. Ching says:

    @jwarner132:

    “Is there no electronics store in the U.S. where one can shop for goods at a reasonable price AND not have to deal with this garbage?”

    I think this is why I shop online. Tiger Direct and New Egg are pretty good options.

  79. millyvilly says:

    I worked at circuit city several years ago, and while some of their policies have changed since i worked there (ie. Sales People on commision)some of these ring true. I worked as a Customer Service associate, which basically means I was the person you go to see to return your product. The biggest concern that hasn’t been mentioned was that we (customer service) would get yelled at in the back room for returning big ticket items, because it made the specific store look bad. God forbid we return service plans. We would also get paid under the table by sales people to ring up accessories for people that weren’t already commissioned, or even change the sales associate’s code to a different associate. While that doesn’t affect the consumer it still was dirty.

  80. Shadowman615 says:

    These are just more reasons I buy all computer and electronics from Newegg, Tiger Direct, or even Amazon. The big brick-and-mortar retail electronics shops are hurting more every year. Lets do our part to help put those nails in their coffins!

  81. TechnoDestructo says:

    Sometimes when I’m in Korea I wonder why they have these multistory markets with dozens of little shops all selling almost the exact same selection of products in various categories, all clustered together by what they’re selling.

    Then I see something like this, and I know the answer.

  82. jstern2 says:

    I worked at a Circuit City in high school, and while not all experiences are universal, most of what this guy said rang true for the store that I worked in. I often got in trouble with the manager, because I wouldn’t bullshit with a customer. For instance, I usually didn’t push our extended warranty because it was terrible. Also, we sold prepaid Virgin Mobile cell phones that were free after like 3 different mail in rebates. In fact, I sold one to my brother, and he eventually got made because the mail in rebate wasn’t cash, it was a Circuit City gift card. When I started telling customers about this, my manager told me to stop. Also, I worked during the school year, so, obviously, I could only work weekends and nights. Well my manager started scheduling me for weekdays, and when I told him that I could not work as I was in high school, he would make flippant comments like “Can’t you take a couple of sick days or something?”

  83. Andrew says:

    Being a bit of a computer guru I like to go into the local CC and pretend to be in the market for a PC.

    The salespeople are very nice and explain all those technical details to me that I, a simple minded computer n00b don’t understand ;-P

    The funny part is when, after spending 20-30 minutes explaining why the mediocre, overpriced PC is worth a grand (plus all the extras, of course) I just say, “Ah, nevermind, I’ll just go build my own.” and walk away.

    Obviously, I can’t do this at the same store twice in a year or so, but it’s still fun.

  84. Wildarms7000 says:

    I work at Circuit City… In the technology department, and honestly, our service isn’t as appalling as that. I know some Circuit City’s where it is though. My Circuit City doesn’t even hire 18 year olds and were more based on customer service than if we get CCA (Protection Plans) or Firedog Services.

  85. theredscarf says:

    I currently work for Circuit City (which gives me an obvious bias, I know, but bear with me). What I can say to these “confessions” is the same that others have said: some of it is true, yes, but much of it is not company-wide by any means. At my store, if I did half of the stuff on that list, I’d be canned instantly. Heck, even most of the stuff that is true is also true for other companies as well.

    I think much of these type of things are blown out of proportion. In many industries, retail especially, you can’t judge an entire company by the things that go on at one store. Sure, we should do our best as a company to try and alleviate those issues to make the company as a whole better, but you can’t fix every little issue.

    All that said, even working for Circuit City, I severely doubt our ability to stay viable as a company. Having worked for the competition in the past, I know that CC is very lax in terms of rules and standards, which I believe is playing a huge role in our downfall as a company. Dress code and other basic SOPs are essentially ignored, let alone big stuff like how to handle customer situations, repair, discounting, etc.

    But as far as customer service goes, the issue Consumerist is really all about, I believe there are still some great people out there who really want to help. I hope that I myself am considered one of those people to customers whom I’ve tried to “go the extra mile” for.

  86. ryanhgwu says:

    I worked at Office Max for a summer, and in my time we definitely did not try to do anything sketchy or try to rip-off customers in anyway. We actually got screwed sometimes, since we had to make very good deals in order to compete with the Wal-Mart and Office Depot that were adjacent to us. Maybe you can try these:

    1. We would push the extended warranties/service plans, but not that hard. I think we’d ask twice and then stop. But we had a secret deal. We would actually let people wait to buy the extended warranty until after the product broke. So they’d buy a camera or something, and if it broke, they could bring the broken camera to the store, pay 40 bucks for a warranty, and immediately get a new one. This was because the store got so much pressure to sell the warranties, that they’d do it even if it didn’t help the store financially.

    2. The number one product we tried to sell was ink (followed by paper). We got pressured to try to make sure we always had customers buying ink and paper with whatever purchase they made If people told us they thought they could get it cheaper at Wal-Mart, we’d ask them “what do you think it will cost at Wal-Mart,” and then just charge that amount, essentially allowing customers to name their own price.

    3. In the furniture section, it was a free for all. There was lots of haggling. The best deal I saw was a customer asked to have the hutch included for free when he bought a desk, and the manager happily obliged.

  87. macsmith230 says:

    I’ve always had good luck with Circuit City. My wife got the 4 year extended protection plan on her surround sound player. When it broke down after 3 1/2 years we took it in, they told us to find a similar one we liked and they gave us the full price for the original. No excuses or special restrictions.

    I was also looking for a discontinued item last year and the employee checked the computer and tracked one of the last ones down for me and shipped it to me free of charge.

    I get lousy customer service there from the general salespeople on the floor, but I’ve gotten enough help in special situations like these that I continue to shop there (at least over BB).

  88. Cogratchet says:

    I currently work at Circuit City and almost every single item on this list seems totally bogus when I think back on the time I’ve spent working for the company. A lot of the things listed are just shitty salespeople that, in my experience, haven’t made it past seasonal work. As for the protection plans, do you blame a company for selling its product? Anybody with half a brain already knew that we were making a profit on protection plans and accessories. A lot of the time we sell our computers, cameras, TVs etc. under cost, a company can’t survive without recup’ing somewhere.

    As for the bait and switch technique, we don’t have an unlimited supply of $100 laptops, so when black friday rolls around and we already handed out all 20 vouchers, don’t bitch and moan because you didn’t get your cheapie. Also, when other items go on sale and are listed in the ad they usually will sell out pretty fast. We send out more than a handful of ads. Don’t expect to be the only one shopping for a particular advertised item. If we are sold out of it and we’re getting it back in, ask for a special order. Most times special orders take around 3 or 4 days to come into the store.

    $30 restore disks– I can change my own oil, but I don’t really feel like it. So instead I take it somewhere and have them worry about it. Same with restore disks and software installations. If you can do it by yourself feel free, if you want us to do it, we will. Our recent company mottos are all about making it simple for the customer. What is more simple than having someone else do it for you? And even though it seems easy to make a restore disk for someone who knows their way around the computer, it’s not all that simple for someone who is just buying their first computer in 50 years of living without one.

    “6. For Compaq and HP computers, the “firedog” (Circuit’s answer to Geek Squad) technicians are now certified to work on them, all paid by the manufacturer. For any defective Compaq or HP computer that is still under manufacturer warranty, you can take it in to Circuit City for work free of charge. HP pays “firedog” to work on their customers’ computers. So whether you buy that extended warranty or not on that HP or Compaq of yours, for the remainder of the manufacturers warranty you have free rights to the technical use at “firedog.” If you purchased a laptop, feel free to ask for accessories such as a remote or headphones, we can order them for free. This applies to mice, keyboards, and sometimes remotes for desktops.” True . . . How is this a confession? You’re advertising a great service that Circuit City offers.

    1- Batteries do tend to stop holding charges and parts do wear out… It’s not a 100%, but it happens. Again, can you blame a company for advertising a product? How a particular saleperson promotes the service is another story.
    2- I have never seen the cost of a protection plan lowered. Ever.
    3- At least at my store we rarely haggle, feel free to ask for a price drop, but I doubt it will happen. As for being expected to sell products… yea… I’m a salesperson, I sell things… How is this sinister in any way?
    4- This is just a sleazy salesperson, not a corporate issue.
    5- The protection plans do overlap, I’ll agree that the first year isn’t that great. If the problem is covered by the manufacturer you send it to them. If it is covered by circuit city only, then you bring it to us.
    6- I don’t see how Circuit City offering HP repairs is a negative. Circuit City encourages people to use our free services.
    7- Fraud?
    8- Bad sales staff, not company wide
    9- This was a very specific promotion that ran through the holiday season. I haven’t ever read the rebate, you might be right.
    10- Back to the topic of convenience.
    11- Sales staff… individuals >again
    12- Fraud
    13- Bad management and poor merchandising is on a store by store basis. In my particular store we re-do tags every night by scanning the display tags on the model itself to make sure we have the right tag with the right computer. We do occasionally put out tags for computers that we don’t have on display, but they are behind the floor model in the flip book. Also, what is on display isn’t decided by the store, so in short… You did not decide to put the faster computers out.
    14- completely false
    15- The accidental plans are clearly listed as 25 and 49 month protection plans.
    16- Nobody should buy anything just because of an extra added feature, free batteries are just a perk, what you’re paying for is a protection plan.
    17- See above
    18- Individual stores/salespeople
    19- ”
    20- ”
    21- No, our price guarantee says that we’ll give you back 110% of the difference, which we do. We give you the entire difference (we drop the price to match it) then we give you 10% more. Read the guarantee before you bash it.
    22- The only time I’ve seen someone use a different name to answer the phone was when another employee was wearing a placeholder nametag until his own engraved nametag was delivered. He did it specifically so customers could find him when they came into the store.
    23- False, we just had a huge open box blow out, and we are rewarded for selling open box items. Often times managers make extra bonuses for having MORE open box sales.
    24- Individual stores again
    25- Circuit City laid off employees who were over their departments pay cap, which has been set for years. All information for employees is readily available on company forums and career path webpages. The information was all there. It was just enforced is all. I agree that we lost a lot of good salespeople, but people that were making 10-15 dollars an hour MORE than the maximum that they were ever supposed to make for a job that other people are being paid 8-10 dollars for, total, is somewhat unreasonable. It was a smart business move that needed to be made. Economists agreed, and CC stock shot up a few bucks in the next couple days.
    26- We keep coupons like that at every register. When we are working a deal we get a manager, because basic sales staff can’t even over-ride prices or add special financing options. Only customer service associates and managers have the proper security licenses in the system.
    27- Our youngest guy that does deliveries is about 26. I looked into changing into that part of the company and was declined because I have a single speeding ticket on my record. At least at our store we do extensive background checks for any of the positions, let alone the driving positions.

    Overall it seems like this guy is just grumpy about working at Circuit City. Most of what he says here is twisted and false, or has nothing to do with Circuit City as a company.

  89. Daniel @ playreadwrite.blogspot.com says:

    The code green at Best Buy is not the same as the code green described above.

  90. RedBeard says:

    I can see where this is sadly used to take advantage of the less ‘aware’ but i bought my computer from CC (sony vaio) a couple years ago. and i bought it naked (well i bought a new graphics card but i’d intended on that). i don’t remember being hounded to buy anything stupid but i’m sure i would have refused. as they say

    “let the buyer beware”

  91. stevesword says:

    I was one of the lucky associtates to get let go recently, and I will say that that guys is 100% telling the truth.
    only thing i would like to add, is that DO NOT BUY NORTON AND SPYWEAPER FROM FIREDOG. you can buy them both seperate, and install them. same thing with the printer, I can train a monkey to install a printer. or you can pay to have firedog install it and the software. you make the choice.
    NEVER BUY THE WARRANTY, waste of money, i worked there and the company would not fix my laptop, i had the city advantage on.
    When they harrass you to buy it, just tell them that you know you have 30 days and will be back to get it, of course dont buy it though.
    Do however work the warranty to your advange if possible, mainly on tvs, or expensive equiptment. he did mention, buy it ONLY for a discount, then return the warranty within 30 days. they will not discount the city advantage, they CAN NOT IN ANY WAY, it will be discounted on the product.
    Last thing i can add…
    ALWAYS CHECK CIRCUITCITY.COM, the price is almost always cheaper. If for some unknown reason, you are heartless and do not care about all the associates who got let go and want to shop there still, go to circuit citys web site, cameras and tvs are always cheaper online, and they have to honor the price in the store.
    well time to use #22.
    Steve Sword :)

  92. Destardi says:

    *Walmart

    I’m 50/50 on Walmart. I’m 50% embarrassed to say I bought a laptop at Walmart, and I’m 50% (ok, 100% really) happy I did.

    It was that $378 (in some states) Black Friday special from two christmas’ ago; electronic snobbery said that it would be a barebones piece of crap, and wouldn’t last at all.

    Well, I’m proud to say that the HP laptop I bought for a total of $400, and an extended service plan for $68 was a very wise buy. The laptop is going strong, with the only mod being an added memory card. For my purposes, the laptop is fine, and it didn’t cost me alot.

    Two months ago, the DVD rom drive stopped working (think my nephew did something to it), so I called up Walmart’s call center for the ESP. They shipped a box to me in 3 days; I packaged it up, dropped it off at UPS…and got it back in 5 days. WOW. I also requested the screen hinges be tightened. I’m really happy with the ESP plan, because it doesn’t run concurrently with the manufacturer’s, meaning it added an additional 2 years when the 1 year mfr warranty ended.

    I bought a Toshiba for $1,000 a few years ago…it lasted about 1 month past the 1 year warranty, then motherboard crashed.

    Screw the tech snobs.

  93. Destardi says:

    (Oh yea, I used Verizon wireless broadband service for about a year; in February they disconnected my service for my overage, and called me a criminal. THEN they reconnected (me, the criminal’s) the service, and after 5 more calls they removed the early termination fee of $175.00. I just switched to Sprint, and so far I’m happy with their Unlimited broadband.)

    F*ck u verizon! How’d you like that FCC complaint?

  94. rikkus256 says:

    This confession perfectly describes all 4 local CCs in my area (Orange County, CA). Most of the employees I’ve seen are lairs. They often trying to talk/scare uninformed people (usually moms and elders) into buying those more expansive(more profit) models, unnecessary accessories and/or service plans. And they would give you all kinds of craps to deny a legit price match request despite it is clearly in CC’s policy.

  95. Havok154 says:

    Sounds exactly like CompUSA. Funny enough, Circuit City is following every aspect about CompUSA, even the path to closing. About a year ago, Comp fired all of it’s high payed, good salesmen to higher low paid ones. Circuit just did that also. I didn’t know their sales practices/goals were the same too.

  96. arachnophilia says:

    re: confession #11,

    i don’t blame them.

    have YOU ever tried to find a cd or dvd at circuit city? good luck with that.

  97. Mjohns0469 says:

    While I agree with almost everything in this blog I do have to point out that indeed you do have Good and Bad sales people. From my experience however the employees who don’t meet their goles on ESP’s or PSP’s generally don’t have a job. I was never paid on commission but I might as well have been because getting an extended plan on a computer was a “MUST” in all retail stores I have worked at. Go to any electronics store and just try to purchase a printer… No cable, no ink, no paper, no service plan and count how many times your asked to by the extras, the reason for this? Well it’s simple profit they make little to no profit on the unit itself but when it comes to cables and addons they make a ton of profit. As consumers we need to stand up and no take it anymore.

  98. gadjitfreek says:

    Many times I will go into Best Buy or Circuit City and just have a look at the item I want to buy before ordering it online. I will occasionally use BB or CC’s online ordering for pickup, that way I don’t have to deal with the salespeople. I have found that the salespeople usually have no background on the items they are selling, and when they ask if i want the warrantee, I generally just laugh. I have walked out of the store when they have an item that is advertised at a lower price and then I am told that the sticker was from a prior sale and the salesperson neglected to remove it after it expired.

    I generally do not deal with CC anymore, as their “sales” are usually nothing more than applying rebates to regular prices. I have had really bad luck with rebates and I will have nothing more to do with them. At least when Best Buy has a sale, the items really are on sale. None of this gift card or rebate nonsense.

  99. aikoto says:

    I worked at Circuit City until all of the good employees were “fired” by making the conditions so bad that we all quit (just like he said above, but it wasn’t actual firing). Then I went to work for Best Buy. Though Best Buy was the far better store, I’ve seen tactics like this in both places.

    The key is how much pressure management is getting. You don’t have to be on commission to become a dirty sales guy because management will pressure you every single day telling you what you didn’t do right and that it’s a “problem” etc. etc.

  100. RadioPWEi says:

    I think all of these stores have issues, although I agree with the comment about hit and miss. I bought a laptop from BB that was complete garbage, mislabeled, etc. and it took me about an hour argueing with the manager about the return. They wanted to charge restocking, etc. which I wouldn’t agree to since it was mislabeled with USB 2 and actually had USB 1, etc.

    I ended up finally getting a full return by calling citibank in front of the manager and reversing the charges since citi cares more about me than best buy. I bought a new toshiba laptop from circuit city and, unfortunately, there was a scratch on the screen. They returned it in about 2 minutes, asked if i wanted another, gave me another and I was out of there in 5. It all depends on the store, IMHO.

  101. Balance_In_Life says:

    Well here on the west coast, CC is trying a new tactic. Self checkout in a bunch of stores. They are getting rid of all of their checkout people and bringing in these machines. CC doesn’t have much longer and we won’t have to worry about this.

    Ohh and I work for best buy right now, and a very honest store for the most part. I try my best to help out customers. Its not always about getting the biggest sale. Shit i’m getting paid if i sell or not.

  102. FezMan88 says:

    Ok, i worked at CIrcuit City over the summer, and most of this stuff had to have been in his store. Sure we had “rankings’ in the computer system, but it gave us no personal gain if we were at the top of the list. No Monthly awards, no bonuses, no commission. It was fun to have to try to be a good salesman and really earn our paychecks.

    And the lazyness factor, as well as the sleazy practices He talks about? None of that happened at our store. People came to CC rather than Best Buy simply because we were more honest all of the time

  103. kburwell says:

    Over 17 years ago, I worked for a company in Ohio called SunTV. This was a local chain of stores similar to what Circuit City is today. I recognized every comment above from those days as well. These were exactly the things that happened way back then. SunTV went out of business as Circuit City and BestBuy expanded. I sometimes wonder where a lot of those people ended up.

    We need to get some honesty and scruples back into retail. Otherwise, the consumers continue to feel justified in cheating their “system”. And the “salespeople” develop such an apathy and misanthropy that consumers are nothing but something for them to make fun of and abuse.

  104. umbralspace says:

    I want to say a few things because I worked at CC for 2 and a half years.
    1st – I did see alot of shady things happen. There was one Tech sales guy that would promise everything under the sun and all of it was lies to sell a ESP ( Extended Service Plan.)
    2nd – If you want to talk to the people who are most honest in the store, talk to the customer service department.I worked at CS department for a year and at least in my store we were like the hippies of the store. I want people to be nice to the customer service people, honestly they are the lowest paid employees in the store and have to deal with alot.
    3rd – I was the highest volume, ESP seller, and accessory attachment seller in the store most of the time when I moved to Tech Sales. I didn’t do it by cheating people, I did it by letting people know how things had value for them. When I sold attachments to products I was creating a solution to the customers needs and I could bundle things to lower the price. Honestly. For all of you who are out there complaining that they push accessories, many times I had people come back to me and be very upset that I didn’t tell them that it didn’t come with a.. (optical mouse, extra ink cartridge, mouse pad, CDs or DVDs)
    4th – Installations- When I worked at CC the Tech Repair place was called IQ CREW (LAME) and I did sell a lot of things I would have never bought myself, but what I sold was convenience, nothing more. Yes, Paying 20 bucks to install a printer, or 20 bucks to “tweek” PC after opening the box for some people is a freaking rip off, it is for me. However, people need to remember who shops at big box stores,most of the time it isn’t people looking for the absolutely best deal and they aren’t internet tech savvy people like yourselves. For them having everything done, installed and put together so when they get home all they have to do is plug it in is WORTH IT FOR THEM. They just don’t want to deal with it and for CC and BB to have these services is just smart.
    5th- There are good and there are bad managers at these big box stores. My comment on this is listen BB and CC get what they pay for, these managers make really poor salaries. I work because it gives me some pocket cash while im in school, for me (dont want to sound spoiled) everything is payed for. My manager when I worked in CS drove a 1998 Acura Integra and I was driving at the time a 2004 Infinity G35. I really felt for her because here she was trying to assert authority over KIDS (almost all of us were kids)and most of us were better off financially then she was. She depended on us, much much more then we depended on her.
    6th – Last thing, working at CC ( I was 18) was a enormous learning experience of how the world works. Now, I’m in my last year at USF and planning on going to Grad school next year and I don’t think I would have the understanding and sometimes the drive to better myself if it wasn’t for the lessons I learned there.

  105. WageMonkey says:


    I have to agree with those skeptics who are questioning this author’s authenticity. I have worked at CC for almost five years now and some of what this guy is saying is just complete BS.

    To wit:

    2. If you do get an extended warranty (Circuit City Advantage Protection Plan), push for a lower rate. Nearly half of the cost is profit, so if you’re buying a 2 year plan for you laptop that’s running you say 200 bones, you could easily talk them down to 170, possibly 150.

    Say what? The plan prices are fixed and no one – not even a manager can change them. Never have, never will. It’s in the system. That comment makes me really wonder if this author ever worked at CC….

    6. …If you purchased a laptop, feel free to ask for accessories such as a remote or headphones, we can order them for free. This applies to mice, keyboards, and sometimes remotes for desktops.

    Sure, feel free to ask – we enjoy a good laugh. Our FireDog techs can’t even get those items for themselves without waiting weeks, so of course we love handing out freebies to customers. Do you really think ANY retail store is just going to hand out products for free that are sold two aisles over for profit?

    7. If you want to try and save money, get an expensive protection plan and return it…then as soon as possible, return the protection plan, and keep the discount on the computer.

    Yes…I can see how great a loss it was to CC to loose such a honest and trustworthy employee. Note to the jackasses who might think this a good idea: unless you get a trainee who doesn’t know a computer from a stapler, this little scam is rarely going to work.

    11. Don’t bother calling in to check if we have a CD, DVD or game in stock, chances are they’ll say “no” regardless whether we have it or not. Just laziness.

    Yes, of course. Your experience and ethics make you the perfect person to make such a sweeping generalization towards every CC employee at every store across the land.

    12. Tags are often in the wrong place, so miss-tagged items are very common. You can use this to your advantage, and move some of those high speed SD cards onto a peg of cheaper SD cards. Customer service associates ringing up customers don’t know jack about anything, so they will follow you back to the product, and then apologize and give you the right discount, just you may need to look a bit upset. Biggest discount I witnessed was an item that was $69 discounted to $12. Also you can look behind the tag on the peg, often people just put new tags in front of old, and leave the sale prices in the peg. Use that to get the (old) sale price.

    Okay, now here is the biggest red flag. First of all, don’t you think it’s slightly hypocritical to blast on CC for their unfair and sleazy practices but then give pointers on how to cheat them? Second of all, what store did you work in? Sliding higher priced items unto lower priced tags is just going to result in the clerk and/or manager explaining to you that “sometimes customers put it back wrong.” You’ll get an apology at best. Customer service employees don’t have the ability to change prices, and even when they did – they still had to justify this to a manager. The higher ups only care about profit and they will take the verbal abuse and walk-out of a pissed off customer before they take a hit that big.

    13. When looking at computers, make sure that the tag you’re looking at matches the floor model you’re testing. We often would only put the faster computers on display that looked the same, so the customer would think that they’re getting this fast computer when in reality, it’s for the tag 3 feet away, and it’s twice the price.

    Yeah, CC is better for having lost you because you really didn’t understand anything, did you? We have limited floor space so we will often put three tags under one floor model THAT ARE PHYSICALLY IDENTICAL. This explanation is given to make sure the customer understands that while the computer looks the same, it will have different specs for the different price. Your explanation of bait ‘n switch is absurd. There is no way we could sell an inferior model to customer after customer with no one noticing.

    15. All accidental protection plans cover an additional month past what’s advertised. (2 year plan covers 2 years and one month, 4 year covers 4 years and one month.)

    Nice try. The extra month is explained by the salesperson and is listed on the receipt. The extra month was added to both give an extra bonus to those buying the accidental damage and to help the more “mentally challenged” salesman recognize the difference between it and the standard warranty. Apparently, even that wasn’t enough to help you figure it out. This is not “hidden.” It’s noted on your record.

    17. Sales from ads primarily work off the bait-and-switch tactic. It’s most likely that the item you’re looking for is out of stock or no longer carried. It is hoped that since you came in to buy one and can’t, that you will find a better and more expensive alternative.

    Again, wrong. It is illegal for ANY company to do this and even if we do sell out of an item (gee, a low priced computer – can’t see why that would sell out so fast!) we must offer to special order it at the same price.

    19. If you’re buying an item with multiple gift cards, check to make sure that you’re given back the gift card with the remaining balance. Several times I’ve seen associates give back the empty card, and keep the card with the remaining balance.

    Yeah, this is the fault of CC, to be sure. The blame surely can be put unto them. After all, they hired you and those employees and trusted them.

    21. Our price guarantee says that we’ll beat any competitor’s price by 110%. In reality, we just beat 110% of the difference in price. Say you were buying an item that’s 110 bucks at Circuit, 100 at Best Buy. The difference is $10, and we will beat that by 10%, which means you only save a dollar by buying it at Circuit City.

    Yes, that’s how a price match works. Why exactly is this any different at CC than anywhere else?

    22. Real names are not commonly used when answering the phone, just to avoid the chance of getting in trouble for bad customer service. Often used are other associates’ names.

    I’ve heard this joke before, but in reality few people are stupid enough to do it. If a customer gets pissed, they hunt down the manager. The manager hunts down the employee and this little ruse gets busted pretty damn quick.

    24. Circuit City has violated “minor labor laws” to the extreme. I know of 16 year olds who worked 50 hour weeks, when it was only legal for 20.

    An exaggeration, to be sure. This reeks of “a friend who told me what my other friend said…” Now I’m not saying it’s impossible, but CC is ultra tight on overtime, except during the holidays…and even then, if they aren’t complaining, then who cares? They are making money, and if they have a problem – report it.

    27. Another shady fact that may not mean much to others is that they would send out 16 year olds to deliver tvs and computers. That’s strictly against company policy, you’re supposed to be 18 to assist or 21 to drive to a customer’s house.

    Yeah…again, I don’t quite buy that. No manager would be desperate enough to risk having their delivery truck be driven by a 16 year old. There are insurance requirements and legal standards whose penalties are severe enough to scare even the most desperate manager away from doing that.

    After reading the bulk of this author’s complaint against CC, my first response is simple: grow up. I have a feeling that this writer did not leave so much as get the boot and this is his petty revenge.

  106. MrCitizen says:

    Just buy stuff on eBay… It’s cheaper and you dont have to deal with sales people.

  107. elf6c says:

    Just shop at Crutchfield, Amazon or Newegg (love the egg!).

    Best Buy, Circuit City (soon to be bankrupt anyway), Walmart, ect are SLEAZY you know it if you are here. Don’t shop there. Problem solved.

  108. robdicken says:

    Most of what is listed here are normal practices from any type of salesman whether at Best Buy or Circuit City.

    These guys work for hourly wages and don’t get paid commission, but are forced to sell things as mentioned above, so considering these guys as “sleazy” is rather moot. Most of the guys/gals working at Circuit City are High School or College students anyway.

    I worked for Circuit City before, and can’t say that I’ve ever heard of salesmen knocking off $150 on the unit just to sell the protection plan. As mentioned by a guy earlier here, this must be something that YOUR store was notorious for doing, not every store.

    This article is more or less a way to scam or basically THIEVE your way into getting stuff from Circuit City. I definitely wouldn’t recommend following any of these tactics, as more often than not you may find your ass getting arrested for fraud.

  109. Hschwarzkopf says:

    Entertaining Blog post; in addition it is proof positive that your earlier bid for inclusion in Google News is entirely without warrant.

  110. robdicken says:

    @gadjitfreek: Best Buy has rebates all the time, dude. It’s rather obvious you don’t shop much at either.

  111. robdicken says:

    @Destardi: If you remotely know anything about computers, then you would know buying a $300 computer from Wal-Mart is like investing into a computer that’s damn near 2-3 years old. In all honesty….NOT very wise on your behalf.

  112. trm382 says:

    But isn’t there a problem with that? I mean, I dont want ALL bussinesses to shut down because of everyone using internet bussinesses. First of all there will be no jobs in sales, half the country would be out of bussiness if all best buys, barnes and nobles, walmarts, etc. went out of bussiness. Granted, yes, I hate many of their practices, but in some cases (definitly not walmarts) they have to charge so much more because everyone has to meet demands. Employees need health care, good pay, vacation…. companies need to pay building rent, taxes, and other bills… basically online companies skip out on this by not having to stock show rooms, and not having to hire sales people… that kinda scares me, im afraid of a world where i just sit on my computer and order everything, no matter how comfortable it is…

  113. eldergias says:

    @Pupator: You think that #12 is literally stealing? How is that possible when the person is paying for the item? I grant that it is shady, but how is that even remotely illegal? CC can choose not to honor the wrong sticker that the customer looked at, but they choose to honor it. You can’t steal something when it is given to you.

  114. robdicken says:

    @eldergias: Because when you buy a warranty, it’s pure profit for the company, so technically when you’re buying a computer, they are taking the $150 or so off the warranty price. When you return the warranty, then it comes off the computer they just sold you. These computers have little to no margin because they are premade and are retail priced by the manufacturer (HP, Sony, etc.). So in essence, whether you are buying the computer or not, you’re getting $150 off a system that wasn’t intended to be. Returning something after given a discount and getting full price in return is stealing from the company you just bought the item from. It’s buyer fraud.

  115. MetzGerMerks says:

    To everyone whining about #12: This sort of exception VERY RARELY occurs. Most of the time, super expensive things (or significantly expensive things) will be set far away from other items to be impossible to “mess up”. The goal of the #12 situation is for the company to be wrong in their labeling and the customer to be allowed more slack. But you can only get so far with it. Not to mentioned, if it’s happened once with a certain item, it won’t happen again — either the tag will stay corrected, or the word will spread through the employees, so if you DO try to switch them, you’ll usually get nabbed.

    That situation of a $69 to $12 will only happen if you throw a huge, childish temper tantrum when you don’t get your sale price; most of the time, they will apologize for the misplaced tag and still go at the full price, or maybe a SLIGHT discount, but one THAT big is ridiculous. Also, the average watchful staff will be able to see people switching prices (I’ve seen it happen before!) or even better, see them TAKE the new prices and put them in their pockets!

    I’m not wanting to support any of the corporate chains here, by any means; god knows I am glad to have left OD. I just want to set that record straight because everyone is attacking Consumerist for letting someone post about stealing. Look — there’s more to his post than that, a lot of it significant. Perhaps if you read the REST of the list, you might find why this article is so compelling!

    One more thing, and this is a general rule that you should always go by: If you find a local electronics store that works for you, whether it’s a corporate chain or privately owned — and by “works for you”, I mean that EVERY TIME YOU GO THERE you get good customer service — stick with it. If you EVER get treated badly, and the manager will not compensate you (or, like Best Buy managers, will try to screw you even more), tell them to shove it and go online. It’s cheaper (usually), though a bit slower, but you don’t have to deal with nagging salespeople or lousy service.

  116. kerry says:

    #21 must have just been at his store, the one I used to go to (now closed) always honored the true 110% guarantee. I used to come in with printouts from bestbuy.com for sale DVDs (prices which Best Buy would not honor) and buy them for 10% less at Circuit City.

  117. jeffj-nj says:

    Ordinarily I stay far, far away from all warranties. They always strike me as extra money for empty promises. I made an exception to this rule, however, a few years ago, and I don’t know if it was a good idea or not…

    I bought a Sony 51″ rear-projection HDTV from a Sony outlet store. They offered me an extended warrenty which included 5 years of in-home service, and that’s what got me. If this TV ever did need any work, I sure didn’t feel like moving it. Heck, I didn’t even wanna move it home.

    Reading stories like this, I always wonder if I should’ve just said no, thanks.

  118. TheDarkArcher says:

    A few words on the other side of the coin:

    My knowledge comes from the operations and Technology side of the business.

    1. Yes, Circuit City does advertise a $399 – $499 laptop computer in the flyer to drive business into the store. The item is usually a closetout or limited quantity item. It is also usually a P-O-S computer. You can’t expect to buy a laptop computer for $399 and have it work well. Just because you are only going to use it for “email” doesn’t change the fact that it is crap.

    2. That same computer that is advertised at $399 – $499 probably costs the store $599 – $699. The store is going to lose atleast $100 on that item. So any of the tatics mentioned about getting a warranty and expecting a discount will never happen.

    3. Everyone seems to be complaining about being offered accessories / warranty / service…..So what we should take from that is you only want to purchase the hardware and get out. Hardware that the store is losing $100 per unit. So BB / CC do what you ask, sell everyone just the hardware and no accessories and the store is out of business. A store can’t survive losing that much money per item. Offering the accessories/services/warranty is the only way for the store to survive let alone be profitable.

    4. The warranty does offer many benefits when you have it. It gives the store the ability to go above and beyond. You bought that nice new computer and a month and a half in it breaks. If you have a warranty you can probably speak to a manager and get it exchanged for a brand new one. Policy says nothing returned/exchanged over 14 days but the store has the ability to take things back past that. They will bend the rules for a good reason. If you only bought the computer without the warranty and it breaks….I will tell you without hesitation to contact the manufacturer. You didn’t do anything for me so why should i do anything for you? Which usually has the comeback of “I bought the computer from you instead of someone else”…..well thank you, you came in and bought a computer that we lost $xxxx money on.

    A lot of the things mentioned in the confessions above are limited to certain store or associates who aren’t ethical. Stuff like just putting something on a ticket is just wrong. Or lying and saying a computer isn’t in stock.

    I welcome anyone to come into my store as I will gladly take the time to educate you on the business, how the operations side works, how profit and sales ranked and used to determine how the store is doing. Honesty is the best way to sell something. An associate who is honest will outsell someone who lies every month.


    Someone who wishes everyone would take the time to think about it from the stores side.

  119. Wormfather says:

    If you’re ever in the market for an HDTV and they try to push the protection plan on you because of “dead pixles” that rarely happen with plasmas or the “half life” (dimming) problem that happens with LCDs (after 600K hours of watching) dont fall for it, even if one of these problems occurs, it’d not covered anyway.

  120. Jon Mason says:

    @eldergias – its not “literally stealing”, its fraud or “theft by deception” and it is completely illegal to change the price of an item yourself with the intent to defraud the store by paying less for the item.

    Its a more elaborate way of doing it, but these guys got busted for changing walmart barcodes for the same reason: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1748274,00.asp

  121. jwarner132 says:

    @XStylus:

    “I’ve worked several Best Buy locations, and yeah, it has its shameful days too, but these allegations at CC are FAR worse than anything I’ve ever seen or heard at Best Buy.”


    If that’s worse than anything you’ve ever seen or heard at Best Buy, then you haven’t been reading BestBuySux.org. The customer complaints on that site are mostly just dumb whiny people, but the employee complaints are amazing. You’d think they were exaggerating, but when you see a thousand employees all saying the same thing, it’s pretty convincing. After working at BB for a year, nothing on that site even surprises me though.

  122. I-give_up says:

    You want a true confession, heres one. Some of the stuff this guy says is true but it also points to one of the biggest trends that Circuit City is going to and thats that they’re salesmen really have a limited knowledge of anything outside getting your money.

    For the record, I worked at CC all through school, working almost full time hours and worked completely full time once i finished school until I found a real job and stayed part time. I started at the front counter and moved back into the warehouse as a lead (comparable to a supervisor at other places.) I quit 2 weeks ago (actually kinda forced to resign) amid their management restructuring because I didn’t want to leave my real job and come back full time and accept a promotion (without pay increase) to a supervisor position with more responsibility (i.e. work.)

    This guy makes alot of good points but I’m not sure if he’s going a little over board or if his store was just that bad. Ya it’s true CC has gone more to a sales platform based more on stats and charts but to be fair the level of shadiness I’ve seen is nowhere near the picture he paints.

    First one, warranty issues. Yes CC makes a killing on margins for extended warranty, as does car insurance companies. It’s actually quite similar, I’ve read Consumer Reports magazines and yes the odds of some repair being more than you spent on the warranty are quite low but it still happens, especially with TVs. Plus with all extended warranties of TVs over 27″, it qualifies for in-home service. Some times it’s kind of a pain in the ass to get someone out but it’s still better than loading your 60″ Sony into the back of your car and dropping it off someplace in Chicago (which if you are reading this from Madison, WI is the closest place for your Sony TV to be worked on under their warranty.) Not too mention that for alot of stuff once it’s past the return policy we can’t do much, ya we have a service center, 300 miles away, and even then that doesn’t mean they are authorized to fix everything.

    As for returning everything Defective and sending it back to the manufacture, ya thats true for 75% of the things we sell. Any big ticket items like a tv, computer, home/car stereo we can’t. If we return it as Defective we send it to get serviced (which the store pays for, and they’ve also instituted a new policy recently that the store is charged an extra $50 for each item serviced with no defect found.) Same thing applies for really old stuff (ex. old ipods), stuff thats really cheap (that Nexxtech crap they sell), or in the case of Omni Mounts stuff that the manufacture won’t take back. Stuff like that when we return it basically gets sent off to a distribution center and gets tossed, so basically we gave you the $ back for that and then junked it. Thats accounts for maybe 10-20% of our defective stuff.

    On to some other points.

    *All service plans are not replacement plans. The only true replacement plans are car speakers, small electronics (ipods, game systems…), and movies/games. Out of those only car speakers are replaced in the store, the rest you call the warranty provider and they give you a shipping label to ship it to them and the send you a gift card in return, or in the case of a movie the exact title,and in the case of MP3 a compareable replacement. The only way to get high ticket items replaced is if the service provider deems that item un-repairable, or if it has been serviced over 3 times for the same thing, after that you get a store credit or in the case of TVs a comparable replacement to what you bought. It’s usually a last resort and kind of a pain in the ass process but ass long as you’re working with an intelligent associate it shouldn’t be too bad. Also if you’re hesitant about choosing a 5 year plan over a 3 year plan keep in mind that yes you can decide to extend the plan after the 3 years but the majority of the time the cost has gone up exponentially. Ya $500 is alot for 5 years compared to $300 for 3 years, but then again so is paying an additional $350 after the 3 years is up to add on another 2 years. Bitch all you want about the up front price but I guarantee when you get the warranty extension crap in the mail you’ll kick yourself in the ass.

    *Firedog Techs are certified to work under HP/Compaq warranty. Umm, no. When they first introduced Firedog that was one of the big plans but very rarely did it ever come to fruition.

    *Swapping tags to get a better price. Part of the restructuring that took place was to take alot of responsibility away from salesmen so now there are people that take care of all the tags instead of leaving it to salesmen. Not too mention that on every tag it has the model number and the date that the promotion expires. Yes technically if you found a dumb Customer Service Associate or put up a big stink you could get it but really you have no course of action. For the record though alot of times since the tag mess ups are associate errors if you’re nice about it they’ll let it go, but the more of a dick you are the more effort that will be put into thwarting it. As for tag switching, I’ve never seen that. Plus with the new plan for tagging, the people that are doing the tagging have no incentive to miss tag items because they don’t sell anything, and at least in our store the people who do the tagging hate our salesmen so theres really point in giving them an extra leg up.

    *Bait and switch does happen at times, I’ve actually heard managers push for it but it’s not like they’ll go out of their way to pull it. Items that are no longer carried are not put in the ad. They also are not stuff thats purposely out of stock, with stuff that will be popular they usually get a few extra in the week before. Theres also a minimum for product decided by some guy(or girl) in some office in Virginia. Items that are still in process almost always have a minimum of two, which means that there physically are two or someone has bought them and they’ll have two more on the way whenever possible. Basically CC usually gets 2 trucks a week, (Tuesday and Friday for the WI area), ad comes out on Sunday, if you come in on Thursday night theres a good chance they’ve already gone through the ones they’ve had and on top of that taken special orders for people willing to wait so even if more come in on Fridays truck they have already been bought and paid for by someone that was in on Monday.

    *My last point and the biggest one, alot of our salesmen are complete idiots. And alot of those salesmen over the years have moved up into positions of authority. I take that back they’re not complete idiots I’m sure they are pretty intelligent people, well maybe. They for sure don’t care about anything other than how high on some graph they are. A whole lot of the stuff I just said they would have about as much knowledge about the stuff as you would. They really don’t have any interest in knowing anything about Circuit City other than how to get your money and a little wink and a little gold star or something from their boss. It’s basically a big dick competition, with sales numbers being the proverbial dick. With that alot of other things get left aside, like customer service, store policies, even loss prevention/inventory issues in some cases.

    Well I could put up plenty more but I’m supposed to be working. If you want to know more leave me your myspace or something, I’d be more than happy to share my lovely experiences.

  123. landu13 says:

    Sadly, I can tell you a lot worse stories coming from game crazy. I flatout told my manager/district manager no to not wanting to rip off a customer in the back office, went out to the floor and told the customer in the store what was really going on, showed them the real price and they said thank you very much and left. I was written up for that outburst for being rude to the customer.

    Or how about my boss taking peoples pre-order money for a x-box 360 and buying beer during inventory night?

  124. GrandmaSophie says:

    @veterandem: “As well he should have???” Bull dookie! If it’s so expensive to repair, that risk should be built into the cost of the item and it’s automatic warranty. If the manager felt that warranty was insufficient compared to the real liability of repairing the item, then the store should reconsider carrying the product. If the extra warranty is in fact necessary, then it’s not an “extra” product; it should be sold together with the item as a package for a single price. Promoting an item for one price, then saying, “But you can’t buy it without buying this too,” is bait and switch.

    I agree with those who feel #12 is promoting fraud. I do think Consumerist should strike that to protect it’s own reputation.

  125. chipmonkfaerie says:

    I have worked at Circuit City for the last year and a half as a “firedog” technician. While some of this is true, we have never been allowed to mark down either services or the protection plan. Our performance rating, however is heavily dependant on how many protection plans we sell and how many services are there as well.

    In our store, we are allowed to take up to $50 dollars off of products to “cover” the installs, but in reality we were just using the rebates provided on the computers anyways.

    We have had several associates get written up for not selling enough services, and most of us have been threatened with our jobs, so there are many underhanded tactics going on by associates to keep their numbers up.

    To add to the list of confessions, while we do take computers in to be worked on (including HP/Compaq warranty work), most likely your computer won’t even be looked at until a week later when you call to check the status. There are times that we haven’t sent a service piece off two weeks later, and when the customer calls, they are told that “the computer is being looked at by our service center and we don’t have an eta”. If you are told this, insist on getting the incident number. You can follow up with the repair center to find out the actual status. The technicians are only concerned with selling the services, not actually performing the work.

  126. Yogambo says:

    Having worked in the late ’90s at Circuit and then having a few months in ’01 in their management training program, I can tell you much of this post is a pantload of crap. Let’s face facts here this is a disgruntled scumbag. No one that tells you how to rip off a company by switching tags is worth listening to.

    These are not company policies. Does anyone honestly think there’s a company policy to use 16 year-olds to deliver televisions? At the five stores I’ve worked in, the delivery guys needed to be 18 so they could be bonded. If a 16-year-old went out, as he/she suggests it would be a fluke not a policy.

    And as the closing notes, Circuit did just let a bunch of people go that were making bigger paychecks. It’s a crap deal but follows the downward spiral of life in retail electronics. Back when I was there margins could support commissioned salespeople who made money with their knowledge and helpfulness. But margins can’t support that and so that configuration was changed and then changed again to a store with low-paying cashiers.

    At least 60, likely 70%, of the items listed here are really just ways to rip off a company, ways to steal. I’m not sure why Consumerist bought into a scam modelled as an “insider” story so easily. But they should reconsider.

    I will note one curious thing about the “return to vendor” when a return is made — number 23. Some manufacturer’s have a “Return to Vendor” policy. Almost any open item is sent back to the vendor for full credit. Circuit was one of the earliest to offer hassle-free returns on items and part of it was due to this arrangement. Some companies, like Alpine and Soundstream, had to either reorient their production and repair systems or they simply couldn’t function in an environment that allowed the retailer to return customer returns for full credit. It was a system that worked for the customer and the retailer — any problems, the customer could get a new unit without needing an extended warranty and the retailer wouldn’t be stuck with an open-box item to try and move, cutting their margins.

    But vendors never liked it that much and now that margins are so tight on electronics, it’s a practice that will likely disappear.

    Bottom line, most all of this post is just crap. Many of the ‘secrets’ are just the rantings of a disgruntled former employee and would easily fit under a “Best Buy” or “Tweeter,” etc. banner. And let’s be honest, the guys a theif or he wants readers to become one. I am a former employee but I’ve got no axe to grind. I do come from a former era, when salepeople made $80k a year. But it was bound to bust. Plasma/LCD has been the final nail in the coffin for many electronics retailers; Wal-Mart is controlling the playing field almost in full and putting many of these guys into the dirt.

  127. higginsrj says:

    “buy your electronics from online retailers…”

    But not just any online retailer. As with B&M stores, many of them are extremely shady. And in many cases they’re impossible to deal with: no phone, no response to e-mails, no store you can march into and raise a ruckus.

    You can get screwed just as badly — or worse — online, if you’re not careful.

  128. jbizzle082 says:

    Don’t forget the fact that some CC stores will refuse to sell you a computer if you don’t purchase the $110 antivirus/spyware package with it. If they know you wont get the install package they will tell you the computer is out of stock. I have seen this happen first hand on several occasions!

  129. gorckat says:

    At CompUSA, we would sometimes offer a discount when the warranty was purchased. When someone tried to return just the warranty, the amount of the discount was knocked off since it was a “package deal”.

  130. eldergias says:

    @masonreloaded: Okay, now that I agree with. Fraud is different from stealing. However, I’m not sure how much this tactic is really fraud. Sales people don’t ring up the item off of the item tag, they ring it up off the bar code. If an employee stocks an item on the wrong shelf or a customer moves and item to that shelf, either way the tag does not apply to that item. And the older “sale” tags have dates on them that the tag is good through. All price tags in CC have a “valid until” date. If a sales associate or manager decides to give someone a discount for an old tag or an item on the wrong shelf, that is their action, but it is not store policy or what they should be doing. I would agree it would be fraud if it was something that the store had to comply with, but these are the actions of individual employees against company policy.

  131. GreenGrunger says:

    @swalve:

    “They just cram the thing full of tags and hope they’ll have it in stock when you want it.”

    As a former Office Depot employee, you have no idea how hard it is to keep those tag things in sync with inventory… if people are just shopping but not ready to buy they often take those little tag things without actually buying the product to use as a reminder of price and features or just to write notes on. They were constantly disappearing.

    And often times there were items that the store had a display of but could only order – forcing you to have tags that didn’t reflect store inventory.

    Not only that, but many employees were slack about refilling those tag things when they were empty – often causing customers to think an item was out of stock when it actually was in stock.

  132. doktorbad says:

    I currently work at ccity, though hopefully not for long. I worked in the Entertainment department for a very long time, then the customer service desk, and now warehouse. In every department you’re encouraged to be a vulture, always asking about warranty, pushing accesories. At my store, we too are encouraged to “offer discounts”, meaning using the current add or coupon to our advantage. There is one thing you always need to remember when shopping at circuit city for a tv, you can get a few hundred taken off at any time. When it comes to associate buying, we can get up to 500 bucks off a tv which you, as the consumer, never think to ask for. Haggle. Ccity always haggles, on damn near everything. You’ll get alot of “oh, but you’re already getting a great deal, the best you’ll find locally”, but in all honesty, they’ll take it down a hundred bucks or so, maybe more. The thing that gets me right now is not so much what they’re doing to the customer as what they’re doing to the loyal staff members. The constant firings, the way they tell everyone that if you’ve been working there for over 4 years, you’re expendable to make room for newer staff that will work for less. Then to top it off, if you don’t add on accessories, warantees, if you don’t bug the customer till they give up and buy whatever you say, you’re told you’re worthless by management. Circuit city is circuit shitty, for you the consumer and for the staff.

  133. shdwsclan says:

    8. ACTUALLY at best buy there are stockboys and then there are sales associates. Unfortunately you have to understand best buy slang. A “sales associate” is a stockboy, therefore uncomissioned. A “floor manager” is a sales associate, therefore comissioned.

    “Code Green” means the stockboy got stuck and needs a sales associate.

    10. Most PC manufacturers follow in IBM’s footstep, and a specially made image on the hard drive which consists of:
    1. Quiet bootloader [some key you need to press to get into it which makes the restore partition unhidden, active and primary, and boot the quasi os, which is sometime stored on an embedded flashrom so it is not hosed when you decide to trash the entire hard drive, including restore partition.]

    2. NTLDR – which is the windows bootloader, stage 2 i guess

    3. Hidden partition containing a quasi-os that can run tests on your machine[sometimes located on embedded flashrom] , this partition contains a COMPLETE factory backup [no need for dvds].

    4. Your NT partition contaning windoze [yawn..]
    On an ibm(lenovo) machine you have a thinkvantage button that does this, and there are tutorial to make it do other things like run memtest 86, but those are aftermarket modifications…..

    Also, if your gonna do a full backup, ask if the DVDs are bootable, that mean, if you hosed the OS, and you put in these disks…and set primary boot drive as DVD ROM, then youll get a funny looking OS that will let you restore from those disks.

    Toshiba is probably this only company that I know of that offers externally stored backups on dvds.

    Oh, yeah….that quasi-os i was talking about, it has an app built in that lets you create a live disk [thats a disk with an operating system on it...the os is the quasi-os...and this disk is obviously bootable] and this disk also contains a split image[may need multiple dvds] of the factory image of your windows partition, since these are generally stored with high compression at 500mb sections.

    Also, HP doesnt always make the restore partition hidden, so be careful, cause you can hose it from within windows. Its that partition, that windows says you shouldn’t mount it…

    There are upsides and downsides to both….so the best way would be to have a hard drive backup on the hidden partition and the dvds later….cause…

    You can loose dvds.
    Hard drives do die, especially on cheap retail computers that user sub-par components.
    So have both handy….
    Also, if you think your crafy, your not, these will not work any any other computer, due to a bios check by the quasi-os/backup app, and windows nt itself…

  134. SaraAB87 says:

    This is WHY I shop online nowadays for small electronics and most other items except for obvious stuff like groceries (which when I do buy the receipt is gone over after getting home and packing everything away, we are not afraid to go back to the store even for a 1$ overcharge, we just do it next time we are in the store).

    I do know that some of this is exxaggerated but there is some truth to it, and #12 is fraud and should not be done, I would never do something like this to a retail store but I do appreciate being informed on what the big box stores are really like.

    I have bought quite a few clearance video games in CC and my experiences are nothing like what is described above but another thing you have to understand as a shopper is each individual store is different, I have gamestop’s near me that are very excellent stores to shop in yet everyone seems to hate on the corporation.

    If you are buying something the best defense is knowledge, know your product or else be prepared to be taken for everything you have. Think of it more in terms of used car sales tactics than anything.

    Its still cheaper to buy online, especially with NY state sales tax at 8.75%, whenever I want a bigger electronics item I just hit amazon, even if I had to pay for shipping most of the time (which I don’t with amazon) it would be cheaper than paying the tax, plus the prices are much much lower than retail stores. Don’t be fooled by that digital camera that is listed in the sale ad as 50$ off, its usually much cheaper if you just look on amazon or another website. I bought a digital camera on amazon that was 127$ on amazon but 150$ in all retail store ads and that is with the supposed 50$ off!

  135. gershinator says:

    That’s why you buy online and pick up at the store.

    Take advantage of the deep discounts (sure they’re hard to find…) without any of the upselling.

  136. chipmonkfaerie says:

    @jbizzle082: I have seen that happen too many times to count. I work in a market with several other stores, and one in particular will pawn off their customers on us if they aren’t buying anything. Rather than selling the item out of our location, they send them on a half hour drive for the last computer we have just so they don’t take the hit.

  137. Cottoneyejoe says:

    Circuit City is not shady. It is the employees who don’t know shit that are shady. I have never had to be shady to sell any product or CCA(Protection Plan).

    It is a damn shame some moron would tell a customer that he gets unlimited bulb changes. With a short tear service plan you get one bulb. With the longer version of the warranty you will get two bulbs.

    For you online shoppers that think you are getting a HUGE FREAKING DEAL!!!! Most electronics you get online are refurbished, repackaged, and/or defective in one way or another. Why the hell do you think you get such a good deal for them retards? LOL

    I will give you guys a tip on how to shop for a trust worthy associate with great product knowlage.

    First, before you go into the store find a product you like online.
    Lets say you want to know the difference between 720p compared to 1080p.
    The kind of question you want to ask is “What will give you a better picture?”
    If the associate gives you an answer then you know he is full of crap. I will explain(for you tv shoppers)

    There is only one way you will get a better picture out of a 1080p TV then a 720p picture. You need a 1080p source. Such as a HD DVD player, a Blue ray player, or a Playstation 3. Without a 1080p source the picture on a 1080p compared to a 720p will be pretty close to the same.(this does not apply to some of the older HD TVs).
    If you put a 720p signal into a 1080p TV and a 720p signal into a 720p TV which do you think will look better? Answer the 720p TV because it is the native resolution.

    In other words the associate should ask you what sources you will be using and are planning to purchase in the future.

  138. Hooterville says:

    I think the whole message here is “buyer beware”. Some of this sounds like a warning to consumers and some of it sounds like bragging about ripping them off. Just do a little research before heading out to buy and you will ususally come out OK. I know more about a PC (or a car) than the salesman does by the time I buy one.
    The odd thing here is that posters complained about several companies that I would not have a problem doing business with but the company that two posters held up as an example of a good one to do business with (B&H) is one that I wouldn’t buy a free camera from if it came with $100 worth of beer coupons. I have ordered several Sony projectors and spare lamps from them but the last time I ordered a couple, instead of sending me the lamps they sent me a coupon for a free lamp. When my guys are traveling and a bulb goes out, they need to be able to reach in their bag for another one….not send off a coupon. I tried to explain that to the guys at B&H and they were unprofesional and rude. I did not get what I asked for originally and they did not send what my PO listed but they would not even discuss it on the phone. I’m proud to say that I have over $40k of projectors bought since then, and not one is from B&H!

  139. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    TheDarkArcher: I appreciate your contribution, because it is (a) candid, (b) informative, and (c) points out how profoundly systemic Circuit City’s problems are.

    Let’s start with this:
    - – - –
    1. Yes, Circuit City does advertise a $399 – $499 laptop computer in the flyer to drive business into the store. The item is usually a closetout or limited quantity item. It is also usually a P-O-S computer. You can’t expect to buy a laptop computer for $399 and have it work well. Just because you are only going to use it for “email” doesn’t change the fact that it is crap.
    - – - –

    Circuit City is “driving business into the store” by a trick, then, is it not? That is sleazy (and, arguably, dishonest), right off the bat. It sets the tone for all subsequent interactions between prospective customer and prospective vendor.

    An alternative: Build your reputation for thorough honesty, integrity, and fairness. In particular, don’t play games with customers. Price all items with a consistent profit margin. That is, don’t have your CPUs be loss leaders that get people into the store and/or contribute to an illusion of how much one is spending, while making the “real” profits off of wildly overpriced accessories.

    I feel the same about restaurants that underprice meals and overprice the drinks — to trick me into thinking that “so-and-so’s is cheap.” Consequently I will order water in retaliation. Two are now playing at the game the restaurant started (and ordering water is not actually unethical or illegal, and it makes a point — just as I refuse any attempted-upsell items, even if I need them, on principle).

    TheDarkArcher also said:
    - – - –
    I welcome anyone to come into my store as I will gladly take the time to educate you on the business, how the operations side works, how profit and sales ranked and used to determine how the store is doing. Honesty is the best way to sell something. An associate who is honest will outsell someone who lies every month.
    - – - -

    That is very cool. I appreciate TheDarkArcher’s willingness to be open and transparent. But it seems to me that, unfortunately, the honest truth about what TheDarkArcher has to contend with, and Circuit City’s overall business model, its corporate ethos and its whole mentality on how to treat customers, stinks. See the bit about the $399 to $499 laptops, above. (And, also, why aren’t they priced as $400 or $500? Is it, maybe, to deceive [even further]?)

    I’m waiting for people at Circuit City (higher up than TheDarkArcher — while I’m glad he or she has a good heart) and Best Buy and certain other places to question the fundamental business model that customers are to be manipulated. I’m waiting for that stuff to go the way of 8-track tapes, and paying off the police in old Chicago.

    How about, instead: Provide honest value, at an honest price, with no tricks? (More or less, that is what Trader Joe’s does, by the way.) I think every one of us — consumer, employee, manager, etc.) would be happier and better off.

  140. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    An earlier poster wrote the following about his or her experience working at Office Max:

    We would push the extended warranties/service plans, but not that hard. I think we’d ask twice and then stop. But we had a secret deal. We would actually let people wait to buy the extended warranty until after the product broke. So they’d buy a camera or something, and if it broke, they could bring the broken camera to the store, pay 40 bucks for a warranty, and immediately get a new one. This was because the store got so much pressure to sell the warranties, that they’d do it even if it didn’t help the store financially.

    If that’s not a classic, I don’t know what is.

    I would argue that this phenomenon is a symptom of people who set corporate policies not taking time to think, and not understanding their own systems and system capabilities. The same applies where corporate “numbers” pressures end up strongly encouraging out-and-out cheating of customers (Jiffy Lube, AOL, and Best Buy come to mind…and Enron).

  141. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    From an earlier post:

    We need to get some honesty and scruples back into retail. Otherwise, the consumers continue to feel justified in cheating their “system”. And the “salespeople” develop such an apathy and misanthropy that consumers are nothing but something for them to make fun of and abuse.

    Hear hear!

  142. Brad2723 says:

    # 27, I didn’t even know Circuit City delivered.
    # 26, Every business will do that. No big deal. Their goal is to keep you coming back to spend money.
    #25. Sounds like sour grapes and the basis for #’s 1-24.
    #12, it is fraud, and the last time I checked, fraud was illegal. It would be the same as if you were to print off your own barcode label and affix it to the merchandise.

    Yes, salesmen are supposed to upsell. The more they sell, the better they look to their employer. While there are some dishonest salesmen (any large chain has this problem), most of the ones I have dealt with at Circuit City are honest and pretty knowledgeable.

    I think this article was written by a disgruntled (ex)employee.

  143. ogman says:

    A couple of years back I bought a computer from Circuit City. The machine was defective, so I took it back and got another. The new one was defective, too. I was tired of hauling around computers and I asked that I be allowed to return the defective computer for a refund so I could purchase another somewhere else. The clerk returned my money, minus a 15% restocking fee. I objected to this because the machine was defective, not just being returned because I didn’t like it. I asked to speak to the manager of the store.

    I told the manager that charging a restocking fee for a defective computer was theft. I said, “You’re stealing from your customers.”

    He replied, “Well, we have to make money somehow.”

  144. hop says:

    i had one problem with cc…i needed some memory for a laptop….the memory would have cost me a little more than i was willing to spend at the time, but the kicker was, the clerk told me i would have to pat $115 to have the memory installed…i asked him what the big deal was and he said they would have to adjust the system to accept the memory….i bought the memory over the internet, and dropped it in the laptop slot…works like a charm….didn’t have to do a thing….that was the first piece of underhanded dealings i had with cc tho….cc has been pretty good about returning/replacing things…no complaints there…..

  145. tjolnick says:

    I bought a digital camera online from B and H in NYC–great service, they took a film camera on a trade-in, would highly recommend them. Bought a Sony Vaio laptop a few years ago for my son in college–this time online from J and R in NYC..again, easy, and pleasant.

  146. Lapdog says:

    In 1997 I was interviewing with CC for a position in software development. Halfway through the interview I told the lady interviewing me that I did not want the job and to please remove me from consideration. At that, I got up and walked out. Never before or since have I done that. I was asked questions about my religious and political beliefs during the interview. They are lucky I didn’t report them to the EEOC.

  147. dolphin824 says:

    I also used to work for circuit city (Yes I am very happy to leave retail!) I spent 1.5 years working there. I spent 6 months in Entertainment sales, 2 months in tech sales and 8 months as a Firedog. Since I was an in-home tech for a while I got to see a bunch of sales people in a lot of different stores.

    Several other CCity associates have already pointed out the mistakes in these 27 “confessions”.

    In my 1.5 years I saw TV’s get price adjusted frequently, and computers hardly ever. I have seen good and bad sales people who were as bad as the ones described above and some who actually tried to help the customers. HOWEVER…

    The ONLY THING THAT MATTERS TO “CORPORATE” and by extension the “MANAGERS” is if you get the “complete customer journey”. This revolving around the “North Star/ It’s All about Helping You!”

    The managers at the store I was at bought into the idea and concepts of the North Star which was to ask all the right questions in the store so you left the store with “EVERYTHING YOU NEEDED.”
    (even if you didn’t need it) On Top of this…
    I would go to a customers house with 6 hours of scheduled services (most of which we were prepped in store) and then be EXPECTED TO ADD ON $20-40/hour in the home of up sells! This was in a district training in may. So you “the customer” are supposed to leave the store with everything you “needed.” only to find the firedog tech try and sell you additional services that you “need!”
    Maybe I’m just a bad sales person but…the managers always expected us to get additional sales and the district trainer refered to us as “sales techs”
    The Problem I had was that I refused to charge people for services they did not want or need. (I had no Problem Charging customers when things NEEDED to be fixed or replaced.) But When I was setting up a computer I was supposed to offer services like; Digital Camera Training, MP3 Training, Windows Vista Training, Home Theater Design, TV Calibration (which is usually a waste of time on MOST TV’s built in the last 3 years), wire management, destroying old hard drives, etc…

    And No matter how many times I tried to explain to the managers that I WAS offering additional services EVERY Time, It was never enough. Which is why the sales-force seems to try underhanded, barely legal or at least marginally ethical business practices. Because no matter how much you sell, or how well you do your job…. it’s not enough. You can always do better in the eyes of corporate.


    About The layoff’s.
    The one person trying to justify the layoff’s is out of his mind. The 17 people in MY store were being paid between $.51 and $4.00 over the “salary caps” for their positions. And EVERY ONE of those employee’s did the work of 2-3 of the teenagers hired to replace them. Oh, and as a direct result of the layoff’s at least another 10 associates quit since the layoff’s. Not my problem since I no longer work their.

    I hope this helps provide additional insight into what is going on a ccity. I’m VERY happy to have resigned and move onto a much less annoying tech position. I hope this reads okay since I am typing this at 1am.

    For those of you still working at circuit city… my advice would be to start looking for another job. Walmart is trying to break into the same TV markets as ccity and bestbuy. They are a juggernaught and will put a hurting on the city. As for consumers… hopefully you will get a little bit better understanding of what is going on in retail.

  148. scotrina says:

    As a current Circuit City Employee, I can say that I’ve seen a few of these practices, but by no means is this as common as you make it sound. True enough about the 3,600 employees being fired, but you are basically teaching customers how to lie, cheat, & steal from Circuit City. The employees I work with do their best to offer the services Circuit City sells, but I’ve never heard any of them use the above practices in order to sell a product or service. I understand that not all stores do things the same way, but you must understand, poor actions happen because of poor leadership. We have a great store manager that challenges us, but does not ride us when the numbers are not where they should be.

    Look at your leader, that will explain your rantings above…

  149. The Walking Eye says:

    @skrom:

    Too bad some of those no-name brands are just “names” with a different tag on them. A friend of mine got a no-name Toshiba for less than 1/2 of the “name” price.

  150. cotrackguy says:

    So, has anyone put any thought into this being written by someone wearing a BLUE shirt? I’ve worked for a number of different consumer electronics stores and places that have sold them (CC, Ultimate Electronisc, Sears, CompUSA, Office Max to name a few) and I can honestly say that this kind of thing DOES NOT HAPPEN, except in a couple of very shady stores.

    So let’s talk a bit about the consumer electronics market, shall we?

    There are basically two types of employees, no matter where you go. There are the sharks, like what you’ll find commonly in commision atmospheres like at Ultimate Electronics, though occasionally you’ll see them at CC or Best Buy. These are the shady types of characters that WILL throw on the protection plans to CDs, hoping you won’t notice, the ones that will corner you into buying a protection plan, the ones that will ask for every last attachment.

    The problem that people have with the sharks is that they are commonly associated with being pushy, rude and arrogant. The term “used car salesman” comes to mind. In their defense, however, they’re only doing what maximizes their paycheck (if they work in a commission environtment) and their chances of getting promoted to management in the future. As I said before, this kind of guy is usually only found in commission environments, and in my experience there are very few true sharks at CC.

    There are also lambs, too. These are the timid salesmen, the ones that will “help” you for two hours by standing next to you and answering any question you may have, but never actually attempting to gain your business. It’s a fact of the consumer electronic industry that you’re asked to offer protection plans and accessories to each customer, partially because it’s what’s most profitable for the company, and partially because it’s what’s best for the customer (afterall, who wants to get home and not use the product they bought for what they wanted to because they didn’t buy the right accessories, or have the product break in a year and have to go buy a new one?) The lambs will almost NEVER attempt to sell you either accessories or plans, and are often looked down upon because of it.

    In the lamb’s defense, they’re only doing what they think is right. They’re not pushing customers into spur-of-the moment decisions and not forcing them to buy any protection plans that they may not “need.”

    So let me ask you this: If you were running a company, which kind of associate would you want working for you? The one that produced results at a high level, but needed oversight to make sure that they weren’t doing anything against the rules, or the associate that, no matter how much you goaded and poked never produced the results that you were looking for?

    The best associates are a balance between the sharks and lambs, who can create a good environment for the customer as well as a profitable environment for the company. This has to be done by offering a total solution every time, by closing the customer and providing the consumer with an experience that they’re happy with. In truth, the sales associate’s job is two-fold: he must maximize company profit, and must also provide a great customer experience.

  151. Ccity3510 says:

    Okay, this guy and some of you who have said you worked for CCity and say you agree.. You must have worked at some really freakin’ horrible stores. I worked, and I have no problem admitting it, at the Circuit City Store in Tulsa, Oklahoma (3510). We where one of two stores in the Tulsa/Northeastern part of Oklahoma Circuit Citys. I started working there March of 2005, part time in the Merch Department. At the time, yes we had the shaddy manager and assoicates but they where quickly weeded out, the first round.

    From what I was taught, we are not that shaddy. And Yeah, unless it was a product like what dude suggested with the high speed memory card for a normal memory card price, we would price match as long as it wasn’t rediculas. Which something like that would be and our CSA’s aren’t that stupid as the other guys’ was. But then soon I was put to second lead in the Merch department after 6mths but I did a lot of the work. And I learned a lot about our plans and then things we do. Of course I didn’t care about TVs, Home Audio, Tech, Imaging, or Roadshop because it wasn’t my place. But from what we did in Merch, I know that it wasn’t a joke or a rip to try and make more money for Ccity. We where about helping the cutsomer. As for when they did the protection plan for Cds, Movies and Games, we all thought it was a joke and never offered it. That was mainly our CSA’s who’d offer it and most of the time get the sale honestly, not like the other guy’s store which is completely dishonest.

    Then that holiday season I became the first MP3 Product Specialist at our store. And I spent a lot of time learning the products and I can agree with atleast one thing he said, I didn’t suggest it because of personal use because I never had any personal experiece of a MP3 Player, but from what I thought the product did and what the customer wanted to do, I suggested it. I never EVER tried to get “big ticket” sales, that is why Merch didn’t go into the hole every month because of returns like the other “big salers” did. And as for the keeping the gift cards, I have never heard of a case of that happened at our store from an associate being basically an ass.

    Yes, I will agree I do not work for Circuit City anymore but my reason is for the same as for a lot of good associates who left, the direction that CCity is going now is crappy. Not for the customers, yet, but for the associates. They are screwing us over, managers are over promising and then making us choose either a personal life with part time pay or no life and full time pay. That is one of the many reasons why I left, I am soon getting married the 21st of this month and they where mad at me when I told them! What you people don’t realize that do not work for the company is that the good sale associates who work with you and don’t bullshit and go threw hell trying to make you happy (not getting the big ticket or sales) they get put threw hell with their managers for just trying to work there.

    I left because I got completly tired of not having hours, not being paid enough, dealing with screaming customers when managers wouldn’t, training people in other departments then the department’s seniors where not doing their job properly, and once they did all of those layoffs, (which our store hurt horribly for) and I heard there was going to be another wave this time with managers, I knew I needed to get out of there. And like one of the former employees above said, once they found another job they where gone.. That’s exactly what I did last month on the 30th. Customers don’t give the good associates who work at these places who aren’t curropted or jerks credit that they seriously deserve. We bust our asses and the company sees this and doesn’t give a shit. Non the less, after I left our store lost 2 managers and a lot of associates when they heard I left.

    I am sticking up for my store becasue the store wasn’t like that when I worked there. I’m not saying that there wasn’t anyone who did that, but I know I didn’t. I can not speak for everyone at my store but the people I knew didn’t either. But with all the layoffs that Ccity is doing to “save money and help better the customer” is going to make Ccity close their doors for a while.. And that’s all I have to say, if you agree or not is up to you, but that is my insite from a different Ccity employee.

  152. nacoran says:

    I had a friend who used to be a manager at Circuit City. He told me a story one day about how he’d caught someone trying to shoplift red handed, no doubt that he was guilty. My friend let him go. Apparently it’s the store’s policy not to prosecute. They don’t see good returns on it. I decided that day that the world had given up. They have signs up saying they will prosecute to fullest, yada yada. It seems to me that prosecuting a shoplifter isn’t about prosecuting that one person, but sending a message to other shoplifters. I guess the message is ‘Free Computer Cables’ at Circuit City. I guess, according to the news today, Walmart is doing the same thing.

  153. BallHawk says:

    My “favorite” Circuit City experience. This occured about five years ago. I wanted a specific Polk Audio surround sound system. Considered ordering on Crutchfield but CC had it for ~ same price with no interest for 180 days. I spoke with salesperson about the speakers who “lead” me to believe they were in stock. In order for me to get the no interest financing, I simply had to fill out a credit app at the customer service desk. I did, was approved, and came back to purchase my speakers. Suddenly the speakers were out of stock and the salesperson offered me the floor model. Man, did I pitch a fit and create a scene. If anyone here was in the vicinity with small children, I apologize for my “F” bombs laid on the salesperson and CC. As for the salesperson and CC? My position still stands.

  154. CC_Firedog_Slave says:

    I am a current employee. I have to say that I honestly have no idea what the original poster is talking about when he describes getting the protection plan lower. I can’t lower it or do anything to change it. That’s besides the point.


    The layoffs and “white lies” you tell customers are what piss me off. I refuse. I flat-out refuse to lie. For the past 2 weeks since laying off all my so-workers AND the woman on maternity leave, I have flat-out told customers where to get things for free and at lower prices. I have directed them elsewhere and flat out told them about the firings. That is how I explain why they have waited for 20 minutes for assistance- the truth.

    They have fired so many people who were “making too much money” that I am the only one in computers, the Firedog bay, and sales for 3 hours in the morning. And I’m not even a firedog. I just know more than what is necessary and can do all the jobs. I prefer repairs as opposed to dealing with stupid people.

    I will NEVER buy from them, regardless of my 1% discount (amazing, I know) or any other incentives. It’s all lies. We are taught to sell accessories. The only reason I wanted the job was for the scholarship and a summer position. Also, they were going to pay for my MS certification that I didn’t feel like shelling out 500 for. I can’t handle the stress and B.S. for having to run 5 sections of a department because there are NO employees due to layoffs. there is MAYBE one person per department now if you’re lucky.

    They are sinking…slowly but surely they will go down. All best buy has to do is beat them on another black friday or other sale day.

  155. kcvaliant says:

    I’m sorry most of this is BS on company wide stuff or just made up all together.. I worked there for 8 years until I was laid off for how much money I made a hour… Worked all depts. except Roadshop(car stereo) and was Warehouse lead when laid off.. So I worked there from commission days till two months ago..

    The corporation sucks it is the worse ran company I have ever been apart of.. They shit all over their store employees from the corporate level.. Do not get me wrong and they do a lot of dumb shit but the majority of what this guys said is false.. Some of it is true but most of it is him being jaded…

    1. When buying any product, expect the salesmen to tell you that after around 13 months, a certain part or battery will need replacing. The common manufacturers warranty only covers 12 months parts and labor, so the customer is pushed to buy the extended warranty under the impression it will fail later…

    Only if you are a shitty outright liar.. I am sure that some associates suck at life and would do this.. CC policy is 2 out 10 dumbshits will say yes.. Yes CC does not care about you the customer until you write a letter to RVP or CEO…

    2. If you do get an extended warranty (Circuit City Advantage Protection Plan), push for a lower rate. Nearly half of the cost is profit, so if you’re buying a 2 year plan for you laptop that’s running you say 200 bones, you could easily talk them down to 170, possibly 150.

    Yes the plans are mostly profit, no you cannot negotiate the guy is full of shit… You might be able to convince a the sales manager to drop the price on a OB unit but new units no.. And if they do drop the price(it can happen) that employee will not be employed much longer when caught on the reports…

    3. Every salesman is ranked individually (unlike Best Buy) by the number of accessories they sell. When you pick up that desktop, salesmen are expected to add several hundred dollars in accessories and protection plans. If you opt to buy just the computer “naked” (meaning no attachments or extended warranty), prepare to be hammered. While being asked to buy certain items such as a wireless mouse, ask for a discount. Also, as for a “deal” on the protection plan covering it. For the salesman, it’s a win-win situation; all the salesman has to do is discount that 30 dollar mouse 5 dollars or so, and throw in the protection plan. This brings up the next point.

    Yes everybody is graded on numbers, units/attachments/firedog/warranty.. They will be fired/let go if they continuesly do not hit quota’s.. But the quota’s are small/easy to obtain unless you are really really not trying.. Again CC policy is to try and convince the stupid customers to spend money.. IE 30$ usb cable that costs 3$ online… Again they do not deal discounts, the more this guys talks about it the more he shows he has never worked at a Circuit City.. You can tell the customer they will save money buying multiple plans but they are just spending more money on something they will not use…

    4. Every salesman is ranked by the number of protection plans (or extended warranties) that they sell. At my store all the time we would throw on scratch protection plans to CD’s, since they’re only a buck, most people don’t notice. During the $9.99 CD special days, customers who weren’t aware of the sale were easy prey.

    Yes there is a quota per item they sell and every item is different on how many plans they need to get(ie 3 plans for every 7 plasmas) Adding extra plans on to CD’s is a crime and you could have went to jail and the company to court.. You were just praying on dumb people.. If your management actually supported it you all suck…

    5. If you get an extended warranty, for the remainder of the manufacture’s warranty you will be asked to ship it to them. We have all been trained to tell people to ship their defective computers back to the manufacturer, claiming that it will be “quicker.” If the customer refuses, we may send it back to the manufacturer, only on the customer’s part. Also, to avoid having to pay for fixing the computer themselves, see the next point.

    Each item is different, TV’s go out locally to 3rd party repairmen.. Computers are actually quicker if the customer does it.. Yes, the store can ship them out UPS but they are lazy and the item will sit a few days before it is done(you are also letting someone that does not care about your stuff at customer service do it).. As for making the customer paying for it to be shipped from the store his is lying again.. Each store has a budget or a UPS label book that is budgeted to them, no store even comes close to maxing out shipments(it would have to a couple hundred a month for that to happen where corporate would say something) If the item is under warranty or plan it is covered, no extra qualms about it.

    6. For Compaq and HP computers, the “firedog” (Circuit’s answer to Geek Squad) technicians are now certified to work on them, all paid by the manufacturer. For any defective Compaq or HP computer that is still under manufacturer warranty, you can take it in to Circuit City for work free of charge. HP pays “firedog” to work on their customers’ computers. So whether you buy that extended warranty or not on that HP or Compaq of yours, for the remainder of the manufacturers warranty you have free rights to the technical use at “firedog.” If you purchased a laptop, feel free to ask for accessories such as a remote or headphones, we can order them for free. This applies to mice, keyboards, and sometimes remotes for desktops.

    As for the HP/Compaq yes they are certified to work on desktops(laptops usually still have to be sent off since they have no clean area to work on them or the parts, unless they are fixing a broken key) But the Firedogs generally will not work on a unit for free that you did not buy from them, if they do they will work on actual customers units first and then get to it when they are not busy or down with actually customers… The only thing free you will get out of them is a diagnostic..

    As for the free headphones, keyboards and such the guy is talking out of his ass again.. The stuff costs money unless you are replacing those items that are under warranty.. Well unless he figured out how to defraud the manufactures which is possible reading his other comments…

    7. If you want to try and save money, get an expensive protection plan and return it. The most expensive protection plan I remember seeing on a laptop was around $600, and when thrown on ask for a big discount, expect up to 150 to be knocked off the price of the computer. Then as soon as possible, return the protection plan, and keep the discount on the computer. All discount will always be applied to the product, not the protection plan itself.

    Good luck on this, If you can actually get a sales manager to do this then props… Most will not because they know it will get returned.. They will do it more often on openbox items(used/display)..

    8. When being pushed for additional products and services, there are a few different tactics. One is that once you refuse it, it is thrown in anyways. The other is one common at Best Buy, called “Code Green”, in which we have another associate ring you up, and hammer harder to get the additional plans or accessories. Also while pushing sales associates will say that they’re not on commission (true) and it’s all from personal experience (not true).

    It seems to me someone just brought over their Best Buy tactic when they came to work at Circuit.. Generally the associate will ring you up all the way unless they are lazy.. A manager might try and convince you into something extra, but seriously how many people say yes??

    9. When pressing customers to buy a software installation, we would tell a customer that they need to buy it because it has the AntiVirus and Personal Firewall by Norton, and Spysweeper by Webroot, all for $110. In reality if you want the firewall, you must pay additionally for Norton Internet security. Also, it’s $110 after mail in rebates. The mail in rebate requires that you had purchased their software before or a competitor’s, and have the UPC to mail in. When you’re spending a grand, you will probably not notice an extra bit of a charge.

    If the associate lied to you then yes this would be true if you only needed certain item.. Most associates will get what you need on software… Mostly, anybody that pays for a software install is dumb, I am sorry.. That is one thing that pissed me off about the company 50$ to install software??? All they do is put in the disc and hit install and then update that is it… This again where the company goes after the uninformed customer..

    10. When buying a PC you will be asked to have a backup DVD made for a charge of $30. This is done through an application found on all computers, sometimes hidden. You could do it yourself for free. Also, it was very common to sell this on Toshiba laptops. Little do the customers know, it’s already in the box. So we would charge, and do nothing.

    This I will not argue with, I saw one of my firedogs do this and ripped into him.. Then told his manager who wrote him up.. Most systems have a built in backup cd maker installed on them since the discs no longer come with the systems.. Or you can just call the companies and they will send you one at the cost of delivery…

    11. Don’t bother calling in to check if we have a CD, DVD or game in stock, chances are they’ll say “no” regardless whether we have it or not. Just laziness.

    Again if you suck at your job then yes.. This is not widespread as most people will do their job..

    12. Tags are often in the wrong place, so miss-tagged items are very common. You can use this to your advantage, and move some of those high speed SD cards onto a peg of cheaper SD cards. Customer service associates ringing up customers don’t know jack about anything, so they will follow you back to the product, and then apologize and give you the right discount, just you may need to look a bit upset. Biggest discount I witnessed was an item that was $69 discounted to $12. Also you can look behind the tag on the peg, often people just put new tags in front of old, and leave the sale prices in the peg. Use that to get the (old) sale price.

    If you have a complete idiot at customer service who has price change… Wait only managers and leads have price change.. And they will go verify the correct item to the tag.. Then they will politely tell the customer that someone just hung up the wrong item and apologize.. If they are really lazy or in a hurry you might get this done but only if it is a small price not something like 30% or greater… They are looking after their bonus after all…

    13. When looking at computers, make sure that the tag you’re looking at matches the floor model you’re testing. We often would only put the faster computers on display that looked the same, so the customer would think that they’re getting this fast computer when in reality, it’s for the tag 3 feet away, and it’s twice the price.

    Again, this guys store obviously was crooked from the way he describes it… There are planograms for what items need to be on display for each week in certain locations.. It is called a A22 or (I forgot the other name)..

    14. All protection plans are replacement plans. Which means it’s a one time use. If you break your computer within the first year on a 4 year plan, you just wasted 3 years of the warranty, and might as well have gotten the 2 year plan, and if needed add the additional 2 years after the plan’s up.

    Not true, computers/televisions all are on plans that need to fixed 3 times in one year unless you get a damage plan that covers you physically breaking the item.. And if you got the smaller plan and then wanted to extend it, it would more then likely be twice the cost of the originally four year…

    15. All accidental protection plans cover an additional month past what’s advertised. (2 year plan covers 2 years and one month, 4 year covers 4 years and one month.)

    Half-True, but it is advertised that it covers 25 months.. But not all markets have damage replacement…

    16. Don’t buy the protection plans just for the unlimited batteries, you can find laptop and camera batteries online for much cheaper.

    If you are buying the plan solely for the battery then yes do not do it… That is added just to help convince people to buy the plan, most will never use it… And unless your area was different that plan was not unlimited batteries…

    17. Sales from ads primarily work off the bait-and-switch tactic. It’s most likely that the item you’re looking for is out of stock or no longer carried. It is hoped that since you came in to buy one and can’t, that you will find a better and more expensive alternative.

    Most of those ads have a little section at the bottom that says while supplies last or limited quantity.. And if you want one you need to be the first person in store on Sunday to stop the power buyers who buy and then resale online… Yes I am sure corporate tried to do the bait and switch but with customers being able to order online or special order that kind of kills that.. Will every customer be satisfied??? no… This is one thing that every company does…

    18. I’ve seen in the past of people hiding the less expensive speaker wires for car or home theater, or other such cables in the back warehouse. This makes customers buy the more expensive cables, assuming it’s all there is.

    Again your store and not widespread problem… I am sure your store never had to do inventory from the way you describe mislabeling everything and hiding stuff…

    19. If you’re buying an item with multiple gift cards, check to make sure that you’re given back the gift card with the remaining balance. Several times I’ve seen associates give back the empty card, and keep the card with the remaining balance.

    What??? The receipt shows the balances of all the cards.. Again your store is crooked, you would be fired instantly anywhere else…

    20. If you don’t get the accidental coverage on the item you just purchased that’s coming from the warehouse, it may be “accidentally” dropped a few times. It’s believed that when the customer comes back in with the messed up computer, that they will then opt for the coverage.

    I have never seen anyone drop a tv/computer hoping to get accidental coverage.. There is a 30 day return policy on the thing after all.. But I am not going to lie if a customer was being rude or had a small little car that he swore he has gotten a 50″ plasma in before then yeah I have banged the box before… The warehouse guys do not care about plans or what was sold… Which gets me to something, what is with all the idiots thinking they can get a giant tv in a small suv or car?? Are you clueless??

    21. Our price guarantee says that we’ll beat any competitor’s price by 110%. In reality, we just beat 110% of the difference in price. Say you were buying an item that’s 110 bucks at Circuit, 100 at Best Buy. The difference is $10, and we will beat that by 10%, which means you only save a dollar by buying it at Circuit City.

    Again you are just stupid, they guarantee is printed everywhere 110% of the difference.. I guess if you have a reading comprehension problem I can understand your difficulty…

    22. Real names are not commonly used when answering the phone, just to avoid the chance of getting in trouble for bad customer service. Often used are other associates’ names.

    Again your store, the store with all the thieves and crooks…

    23 . When returning items, with every return possible, we will label the item as defective. For that 3k plasma TV you just “changed your mind on”, it’s most likely that instead of selling it as an “open box”, that it will be shipped back to the manufacturer with some bogus explanation of why it’s no good. Something like “fuzzy picture every now and then”. Marking it down and reselling loses money.

    No argument here, lets see send back the plasma to the manufacture to rebox and reseal because the customer decided to change his mind??? They lose no money doing this, why wouldn’t they???

    24. Circuit City has violated “minor labor laws” to the extreme. I know of 16 year olds who worked 50 hour weeks, when it was only legal for 20.

    Again your store, do we really need to do this again… You guys sucked horrible at your jobs…

    25. Circuit City has laid off over 4 thousand employees recently to hire cheaper workers. They fired associates who were highly ranked in sales and service, and paid well for that reason.

    No argument here, Circuit City corporate is one of the most vile corporations I have ever seen.. I remember when their stock was 100dollars a share when they had appliances, it is 16 right now I think.. Unfortunately they have not been hiring more employees cheaper here, they are running on skeleton crews and three managers… Customers get pissed because everyone is busy and cannot help them in a timely manner.. My hope is the company goes under in five years…

    26. Stores will keep great coupons such as “$10 off when you spend $100″ up at customer service next to our ads that we give out. Sometimes they’re only for the next week, encouraging that you come back Also almost everyday we were given a 10% off coupon to keep in our pocket in case we needed to give a discount to close a sale, making it look like we’re making some special deal for them when really, it’s just a plain old coupon that they could have brought.

    Again your store, we had the coupons up front so customers would actually use them..

    27. Another shady fact that may not mean much to others is that they would send out 16 year olds to deliver tvs and computers. That’s strictly against company policy, you’re supposed to be 18 to assist or 21 to drive to a customer’s house.

    Yes it is against the law, and again your store doing it..

  156. kcvaliant says:

    For nacoran, we had a girl get wrote up because she chased after and stopped a guy stealing two ps2′s.. He used the spider wraps as handles and bolted out the front door..

  157. SaraAB87 says:

    This is something we have not touched on yet, mainly the extreme amount of “misprints” in circuit city’s weekly ad. Every time I go into a CC store there are several signs (at least 5-6 signs per week) on the ad rack stating and correcting “misprints” in the ad. I put misprints in quote because after seeing so many signs there week after week you wonder if they actually are misprints or if they are purposely printing a price then calling it a misprint so they do not have to give it to the customer. We need a law that says that stores have to honor their ads no matter if there is a misprint or not, having an oh we can revoke the ad price any time we want by calling it a misprint policy is not gonna get me to buy anything in CC.

    I also wish corporations were a bit more honest with ad-price sales, if something is in your weekly flyer for a stated price, then you should be able to walk in, buy it and leave, and not be FORCED to buy overpriced extras or warranties in order to have the privilage of buying the purposely underpriced laptop. This goes for any item not just laptops or computers. I would rather the corporation charge 100$ more for the laptop and not stick extra charges on the customers credit card on purpose or FORCE customers to buy warranties and other crap they do not want or need. Honestly if I was buying a laptop I have probably budgeted to spend a bit more than what I really need but it would feel very dishonest if someone was trying to upsell me things that I clearly decided that I do not need or even would use.

    Maybe you know, they wouldn’t be on the verge of being the next corporation to go out of business if they were being honest, and charging enough for the laptop to cover their costs without requiring sales associates to push and push items and just disgruntle the customers and then putting extra charges on your credit card that they did not authorize. Not only does it make the customers disgruntled but then disgruntled employees leak information like this since they are angry and feel they need to inform the public of what is really going on and sometimes exxagerate it which is bad for the corporation on both ends.

    There should be laws against these kinds of business tactics because it does not benefit the store at all and it puts all retail stores in the bad with the customers if one does it, then the customer thinks that all retail stores are like that. I know that competition is good but this dishonesty also forces retail stores into “too much” competition because if corporation x has laptop x in their ad for $999 and corporation y has laptop x in their ad for $1200 everyone will be going to corporation x even though they may be using dishonest sales practices such as those CC use. Which then forces the other retail stores to stoop to their tactics just to be able to compete or else they will get no business, its a real catch 22 and affects the whole retail industry. Look at the amount of people on here (proudly including myself) that shop online, there are other outlets for shopping people, we do not have to come to your big box store to buy a cable anymore, we have choices, and are not afraid to choose an alternate method of shopping if we feel that a certain big box store is dishonest.

  158. waverunner says:

    i am also an ex CC employee

  159. waverunner says:

    i am also and ex CC employee (worked there for 2 years) and most of the stuff in this article is the reason i left. there are a few things i never witnessed personally but most of it is true. i worked in the television department and we were hounded everyday to make sure we hound the Customers who come into the department and even if they say “sorry just looking” reply with “well what are u looking for” and not let up untill you leave or buy.

    Other big problems to address is, just because you have a coupon, dont expect to get the discount. CC is infamous for not exepcting coupons even though it clearly qualifys. the little stipulation on the botton “other retrictrions may apply” is their fav phrase and will bust it out in a time where the coupon lowers the price too much.

    TV associates are trained to tell you “you wont get the best picture just on the tv you need the equipment with it” and sure you need cables, but not $180 cables. as well as most the stuff they try to push.

    CC does haggle prices if you are getting a tv AND cables/warrenty/dvd player/surge protector. same with the computer side. the tvs/computers ARE priced with lead way to do that, that is a fact.(on the tv side they will discount more if you do the in home install). the reason for is because the warrenty and any installs are 100% profitt. so if cutting price on tvs/computers/dvd players will help get either of those. they will do it.(if they dont haggle the price right then, as someone said u do have 30 days to buy the plan, wait and come back later they will surely do it then)

    as for warrenty plans in general, do your research, dont just listen to the salesman. BB plans are HALF the price of CCs and cover the SAME THING.

  160. jdgoodwin3 says:

    Well Numnutz….

    Now that you just confessed (in writing, no less) to committing numerous felonies, you do have corroborating evidence to substantiate your allegations, right? Like the sworn affidavits of your coworkers who committed, or observed these practices? Like original documentation to substantiate the practices you confessed to conducting on behalf of CC? Hell no, because you do not have sense God gave a goat. By the way, just what are you doing with the originals of any CC corporate documentation? If you have any such documentation (and we know you don’t), that is theft.

    No doubt that you probably have legitimate complaints, after all, you are a disgruntled employee who left (i.e. was forced to resign) your company. Fortunately for you though, you are financially secure, so you will have no problem hiring the attorney’s to defend you when CC sues you for the Libel you have memorialized on this WWW site. Right? Hell no again.

    Did you take just one of your allegations to the local State/District/US Attorney offices where you live? If you had, you would probably have gotten a deal of 3 years probation in exchange for your evidence (if any) of RICO violations.

    Well, I suppose that it was easier for you to just make your confessions and allegations in this forum. It’s anonymous anyway, right? No chance that your ISP and web hosting service knows who you are or where you live, right? So its impossible for CC to bring a libel suit against you in court for your remarks here, right?

    You are indeed a poster child on how NOT to whine.

    Good luck.

  161. jdgoodwin3 says:

    @SaraAB87:
    There are laws against it Sara. Both Federal and State laws. But the whining idiot author of these confessions choose to commit libel here instead of having a lunchtime conversation with an assistant District Attorney about his allegations.

    The system works, so until CC is proven guilty, then just beware of CC, but refrain from swallowing this crap. Unless of course, you want to demonstrate that you are as ignorant as this loon.

  162. ketosuki says:

    @killershatner

    The “Code Green” commonly used at best buy is the code indicating that your drawer has exceeded it’s maximum cash balance. By paging “Code Green” you are asking your Admin Senior/Supervisor to come to your drawer to “skim” your register.

    I have seen associates use this code just to get their manager at their register, even if their green skim light isn’t on, just to get the manager to attempt to sell the service plan. It’s almost the same as saying “I’m having computer problems”

  163. mtelander89 says:

    I have worked at Circuit City for a year now and I have to say that these comments must be coming from a location that is shut down for fraud by now. As far as pushing sales, I was taught to ask questions concerning the customer’s situation, analyze that, then INFORM(not necessarily sell) them on what products may be helpful to their situation. just the other day, i sold a 42″ flat panel tv. i sold absolutely nothing else with it, no warranty, no cables, absolutely nothing. I went and told my manager and he was actually proud. Now how does something like this turn into a write up for not selling enough??

    As for the whole fraud thing…I am all about business ethics. When someone brings me a tag that has a different product, i will show them the difference between model numbers and direct them to the actual product. most stores are like that. there is very little as a retailer that you can do about theft in the first place. As an employee, I was not allowed to chase anyone, even catching them red handed i had to notify the manager. The manager cannot prosecute unless they view them stealing the object, not the employee. All you can do is hound them until they hopefully drop off the object.

    So all of these alligations against Circuit City are mostly false and are coming from a crook who was mad because the company finally busted him. about 1 out of every 1000 circuit city employees feel this way and they are eventually fired for internal theft anyway.

  164. Gutie11 says:

    I am just completely dumbfounded by most of the ideals and claims you have made here. I’ve worked for circuit city for a significant amount of time, and certainly enough to have witness any of these things. I have to agree with several of my fellow reviewers by asking “What kind of store did you work at” and of course where at (so i make sure i never show my face within a 50 mile radius).

    Circuit city corporate, themselves, prohibit at least half of the aspects of your store that you claim to be true. It’s not circuit city thats the problem it’s your management.
    #s 1, 3, 7, 10, 11,(I honestly couldn’t even finish reading this for a second time) are either completely absurd or just wrong.

    Now don’t get me wrong here I’m not the biggest fan of circuit city as a company, they have shady practices, but customer service is where i belive they shine (at least at my store). There is no pressured sales, really no major rank system. The sales reps just like bragging rights, but thats just natural. Other claims you’ve made about Circuit City could be made about several other stores at a much more severe level. Like miss-tagging, Bait-n-catch; Which doesn’t occur that often because if its in an ad then the store must MUST carry it at the store that day. If its out of stock, then that store was just below par on ordering.

    I think you need to restate your claim, with the store number and location so that people will just stay away from that location and its management and not hate the Circuit City’s that follow the law and corporate Rulings

  165. toomuchrock says:

    I’m not sure what store you worked at but we would NEVER do anything like you mentioned the above post. I’ve worked at circuit city for 4 years, and while i agree that the Management team can be rather stady, im my store the associates are not. Most of use value or jobs, and our customers and for that reason we provide excellent customer service! We are not allowed to offer deals. We do not walk around with hidden coupons. We can never discount service. Only a very few of the plans are ’1 time only’, (like on the playstations and cd playesr). I do not care about my budgets. I do not get incentives for selling city advantage. I do not get anything out of selling more attachments.
    I am one of very few people who can say that i love my job. I often dislike the people i work for, but i love what i do and the customers that i get to help. I cannot tell you how often i’ve had customers come back to thank me because they loved their product and felt completely confident with what i helped them to buy.
    Although i can admit that there are so ‘pushy’ sales people, this is not in every store, and its definatly not the case for every associate.
    Our store is clean, appropriately tagged, and has a very competant staff.
    This guy is either taking the truth and running with it, or is working for a very horrible peice of the entire retail chain.
    I hate what circuit city has done to some of its hardest working employess, but there is no reason to lie about the way the corporation does business.
    As much as i am upset by the recent layoffs and drastic changes the company is comitting to, I could never say these things (or allow them to go unremakred) about a company that has paid me very well to do a job that i enjoy.

  166. deucedown says:

    How much of a discount do CC employees get off of their lcd or plasma purchases? Aslo, how long before you start working their can you get a discount on TV’s?

  167. joellevand says:

    #23 – absolutely false. I used to work for CC. They just had a *HUGE* push to sell open box merch. and even when I worked there several years ago, it was get rid of open box by any means necessary, including additional discounts, as the cost of sending it back was a bigger hit than the token discount for open box merch.

    That said, the CSP is crap. Much like the Apple complaint more recently, when the hard drive on my Compac laptop went tits up and the man. warranty had expired, I took it to CC for repairs under CC. They returned it, unrepaired, a month later saying there was “liquid damage from a spill” and it voided the warranty. Being a bit of a geek, I bought a new HD, cracked the laptop open, and guess what? No liquid. In fact, based on how tight the screws in the laptop were, I believe it was never even opened.

  168. cayla-f says:

    Wait until you hear this one!! I bought a new computer system on 04/21/2007 and paid 950.00 for the whole thing!! Great Deal!! Right? Wrong!!!
    I was told by the salesperson that I would get rebates with in 2-weeks!! NOT!! I am still waiting on some of them and today my printer just fizzled out, I took it back to the store and was basically told TOO BAD FOR ME!! no warranties on any printers over 14 day’s old. So not only am I out a printer, I still didn’t get my printer rebate. So now I call the great customer service line to be connected to someone that speaks very little english ( and I do not know any other language) and from what I could understand is that they will do nothing also. My question is why have managers in the store to do nothing to help you out and then offer you a customer service line that can do nothing to help you out either?
    Sign me
    MAD AS HELL IN PITTSBURGH

  169. sarajean says:

    I have worked for Circuit City for a relatively long time. I am leaving in exactly a week because I am moving and honestly because I have not been happy with the lay offs that have been going on lately. HOWEVER, I am disgusted by this article making it sound like every store is like this.
    Like I have said in a few other posts, people who work retail are not deviants trying to get your money. While there are a few bad managers or workers trying to get their extra pat on the back for the month, the people that I work for and with are honest and genuine people who really do want to help the customer.
    Infact, the only instances where I have seen a customer treated “unfairly” is when that customer is acting rude or annoied.
    For the most part, we know you don’t want to listen to our speeches on extended warranties or installations, but there are times when, after seeing customers coming in with problems that could have been taken care of if they had a warranty, we know that getting that extra “just in case” is for your own good.
    I really wish customers could walk into a store and could act like reasonable and polite people and not think that everyone working in the store is going to try and screw them over because that isn’t always the case!

  170. snowycap11 says:

    My 1st experience with Circuit City will be my last. I ordered on the net a lap top and a bundle that they had with a printer, router and security soft ware. It was a gift fo my son in North Carolina and I charged it on my credit card. When I got to check out it would only ship the lap top and the bundle had to be picked up at the store. No Problem as I thought all my son had to do was show his ID and he could pick it up….Joke was on me. Even though he was the ship to person and had ID they would not give him the merchandise unless I was there to swipe my credit card. Oh sure I am going to travel 2000 miles to do that. I work retail and we handle charges and ship to orders everyday. I have never heard of anything so STUPID. Are they stupid, do they think they are the only electronic store out there???????

  171. Cintile says:

    Stay away from CC Firedog! My system crashed and the only thing I could do to get it back would be a system restore. But… if you do a system restore it erases your hard drive. So… I take my HP desktop to my local CC and wait 20 min. to see a Firedog Tech. I explain my problem and ask can you get my files off my hard drive so I can do a system restore. He hooks it up to his computer, I wait for 10-15 more minutes. Then he tells me yes he can get the files off my drive. I ask how much – Hey it is only $100.00, so I go for it! After all my photos were on there and fixing my computer and restoring it back to the way it was, was worth it to me. Then about 10 mins. later he asks if I want him to configure my new DVD driver (I had discussed this with him earler), for 50.00 more – I said sure and asked if he could just do a system restore after he gets the info. from my drive.
    The computer took 3 days longer than promised. The Tech did leave a message on my cell. When I did finally get the computer back, the tech showed me a file labled back-up and told me that is where all my files were. When I hooked my unit up the next day I found my “backup” file empty!
    So I schlep back down to the store – explain my problem to Steve (I guess he was the head tech guy). He looks up the file on my computer clicks into my Picture and the viewer comes up with numbers of the pix, but no actual photos appear. He says to me, “See they are here”. Now here is the Big DUH – I tell him right click the photo- he does and nothing is there. In fact after right clicking the entire folder he “discovers” nothing is there. No problem they keep a back up copy on hand for a week or so. After loading it onto the machine we find it is also empty.
    Now here is the kicker – after I asked for 50-75% of my money back because they failed to retrieve my files, as I paid for, Steve told me that I did not pay for a Data Back-up, I paid for a system restore, I should have asked for a Data back up! I told him “Hey, I am the customer and you are supposed to be the professionals, it is up to you guys to tell me what I need. How am I to know what to ask for?” Steve said I cannot get a refund on services already performed. Data- Back up he kept pointing out. They did not do the Data Back up – it is not there. I would not have needed a System restore if you could not back up my data! I could have done it myself at home. I argued. Finally he came back with an offer to refund $50.00 to my card. I accept, but let him know that I am writing corporate. He did not seem to care. He made a big deal of how hard it would be to do this refund – like I cared. Then to make matters worse I had to wait another 20 minutes to have them install a driver that would run my media center.

    Yes – I did write to CC headquarters. I feel like I have been scammed! Was it just a coincidence (sp?) that the total of the bill was the fee for a system restore? Or did the first tech guy realize he could not back up my files and added the 50.00 to make it appear as if I were getting a system restore? There are no signs posting the prices of their services or what services they offer.
    Then when I get home and look at the Services Work Order – guess what? The first item listed – Data Back Up! Am I stupid or what?
    The letters are going out to the CEO and CFO and Store manager tomorrow! I will not shop there again. I have Costco, BestBuy, Walmart, etc near me.
    I knew what I needed and still got ripped off!
    Make sure if you go for computer services anywhere to get an itemized bill. Make sure it is in writing that if they can’t fix the problem, don’t continue with the rest of the work.
    PS I Live in North Jersey.

  172. SusieToo says:

    I bought a top of the line HP desktop computer from Circuit City about 10+ years ago – along with the extended warranty.

    Hunk of junk crashed and burned a few months later. The service repair man CAME TO MY house and replaced the electrical box – got it all set up and working – and was gone. I didn’t have to go anywhere. How nice was that?!

    My, my, how times have changed. I’ve been having massive problems with Best Buy and their rip-off extended warranties on two of our three less than two year old computers.

    Just today I told my husband that maybe we should go back to Circuit City. Guess not! I do not need another store abusing our trust. . .already have the customer abuse at Best Buy.

    I have to say, that computer I bought from Circuit City is older’n dirt (so old it doesn’t even have a cd drive – those came out a couple of years later (dvd wasn’t even heard of then)) – but it’s still running. Can’t use it, but hey, it runs!!

    Shoot, I’m so bummed. Where does one go to get good service along with reasonable prices for decent products?

  173. ptcrusn says:

    Circuit City is one of the sleaziest businesses I’ve ever dealt with. I tried to order a GPS online. It was on sale for $249 plus I would get an additional 10% off for being a AAA member. The web site said they were out of stock in both the stores and online, but they would let me know when it was back in stock. Less than 12 hours later I went back to their web site to check on the GPS and amazingly it was in stock but now it cost $499. This was on a weekend so there was no way that additional product could have come in. I called customer service, and I use that term loosly, and they did absolutely nothing. They do, however, know how to apologize profusely. I’m sure they’ve been told to do that. But the bottom line was they could care less about their customers. Actually I should say former customer. I’ll never do any business with them again.

  174. RandomMrdan says:

    I use to work at Circuit City until April of this year. I really enjoyed working there, and I was probably one of the better sales people at my store. I was a supervisor in my department, and worked under a manger of the tech department.

    As for this post some of what it says is true, we are ranked, we have to sell accessories, warranty, firedog installs and so on. Most of this is based on a store by store basis. I’d say alot of this information is bogus and probably not close to true for the Circuit City stores in my area.

    Ccity is an authorized repair center for HP and Compaq, and they have to charge a diagnostic fee to find out what the problem is before they start working on it (so expect that fee when you drop it off) as well as when you take it to Best Buy, or any other retail store for that matter.

    As far as some of this shady stuff goes…Every store has budgets to meet, and sometimes you just can’t hit them. We have to do what we can to close a good sale. I rarely ever had to discount a whole purchase because I qualified the sale. It was my job to create the need by asking the right questions. sometimes people need a little nudge to get them to get the whole package setup, so a little discount on a bag, mouse, or USB cable doesn’t hurt anyone. The fact is, they probably wanted the whole package, but were getting a bit price shocked.

    When it comes to needing to attach accessories, alot of the people on this post think its because our jobs depends on it…well to a certain extent it does, but ultimately you are going to need ink with a printer, or paper, or a usb cable…Has anyone stopped to think that maybe we’re trying to help make sure you don’t have to come back into a store to buy all this extra crap, or maybe try and track it down somewhere else? I mean come on people, it isn’t like we’re suggesting things you won’t be able to use with this item?

    I was taught to qualify the sale, ask the questions you need to, and sell them what could potentially help them, and doing that has always helped me be successful in sales.

    I think any decent manager would replace someone who does alot of the shady things this person described in the post.

    Warranties are about half profit, and in some cases do help people who seem to have that “luck” with product that always seem to fail within 2 weeks of that one year ending.

    Lithium batteries do eventually die out, and I never tell anyone its shortly after a year, its usually after about 2.5-3.5 years you start to see it die out pretty bad.

    The bottom line is this, you might get some shitty associates in a store like this. But just be proactive enough to do a little research in advance, know what you’re looking for. and just be a little open minded when it comes to someone making a suggestion or two when it comes to things you might need with it(anti-virus, or warranty, etc). I have never tried to sell something to someone when they never had shown the potential need for it. Alright my rant is done.

  175. SamTheGeek says:

    @jwarner132: Yeah. It’s called “Apple.” The only time they push applecare is when you call in to tech support.

  176. beonguard says:

    I bought a toshiba laptop from CC 15 months ago. Last week I came home and found the top of the P key laying on the keyboard – not attached to the key. There are no children in my household. I bought the computer the day after Thanksgiving for $699 and was convinced sadly to buying a $299 advantage protection plan. I took my computer in for repair. Two days later I received a call telling me to call the CC service number. When I did they told me that because I did not buy the plus accident plan they could not repair my keyboard under the plan. How is it an accident that the little plastic thing under the cover of the key broke and popped the key top off? They said because the P still works when I push the pointy rubber thing under the key top it was not covered under the Disadvantage Plan that I purchased. Never again will I buy anything from there. $299 for that worthless plan. Sure I can type the P but it slowed me down to a crawl.

  177. lorreign says:

    OK I know this article is old, but it’s BS…through and through. Now, I’m at an rPOS store..so DPS is a dead language to me.

    2. You cannot do a price override on a protection plan. Not only that, but only management and some CSA’s have the license to do price overrides, period.
    3. Somewhat true. We don’t make any profit on most things in the store. Our profit comes from services. But this is anywhere you go, we aren’t commission based…but you want good numbers. As a store, we are graded on our attachment rate.
    4. There no longer are protection plans on CDs and DVDs and such.
    5. Depends on the type of service plan that is offered. As a salesman, you obviously should know the differences and explain it to the customer.
    6. Er, that is just not true at all. Replacement PARTS, yes.
    7. Never seen the purchase of a protection plan actually discount the item. Now, if you purchase more than one protection plan when you have multiple items, the plans are discounted from that.
    8. Not at my store.
    11. Sometimes true, I will admit. But NOT because WE are lazy. I’ve got no problem going on to the floor to look for a random CD for a customer IF we aren’t busy. There isn’t anyone scheduled for merch anymore, so most of the time it’s the CSA who takes care of those phone calls. I’m sorry, but if I’ve got 10 customers in line in front of me…the 10 year old CD you are looking for will just have to wait. If you really want this CD, you’ll either will have to come in and look for it yourself or buy it online where inventory is guaranteed.
    12. As a CSA myself, I resent the stupid comment. There are mistakes and more often than not, it’s an expired tag which we will price override, no problem. Cause that’s our fault. If it’s in the wrong place and the difference is under 10 bucks, sure…if we think it’s in the best interest for the store, we’ll take care of the customer and will fix the mistag ASAP. But if I have to fill out a price markdown form for it, not gonna happen. Customers are irresponsible when it comes to picking something up and just putting it down somewhere wrong. That’s not our fault and as a customer myself, I wouldn’t expect the same to be done for me. If it seems too good to be true, price check please!
    13. Usually if the ring up price is twice as much as you thought it was…you’d say something before the price was tendered.
    14. See my reply to number 5.
    15. No. The odd month is to tell them apart in the system.
    17. There is a special order option if it is available for the item.
    18. We do have plannograms you know. If we can fit it on the floor, we most certainly do.
    19. Yeah, I bet you were one of those associates, weren’t you?
    20. We actually inspect things like TVs for the customer before it leaves our store.
    21. Yeah, you should definitely reread up on this policy. There are huge posters behind customer service…hard to miss.
    22. lololllllll. No. I’m happy to give my name, and more than willing to repeat it if asked. If I’m wrong in what I tell you, then I’m wrong and I should be corrected.
    23. Yeah, I can tell you totally work customer service. If we send back something as defective that is really not…WE have to pay penalties for it. Not everything is a MAC write off.
    24. I’m sure if this is true at all, CC is not the only guilty party.
    25. Unfortunately.
    26. Yeah, never been handed a ‘coupon’ like that. We have bagstuffer coupons that really…exclude anything you’d want to buy. But that’s not the associate’s fault.
    27. Probably has happened, but not to my knowledge at my own store.

    Yeah so CC isn’t the job dreams are made of and it’s certainly not where I’ll be the rest of my life…but sorry, just can’t stand by and let the BS roll like that.

  178. JoanDeianeira says:

    Actually, I worked at Circuit City for almost three years until recently, and a lot of the things on this list sound more than a little familiar. No, he is not lying. Yes, they will use scare tactics and shady maneuvers to sell you a warranty.

    How about if I told you now that an employee actually gets written up (and eventually fired) for not selling enough warranties? You really think he’s selling you that service plan because he gives a crap whether you need it or not? No. He’s merely trying to keep his job.

    Circuit City is a joke. They’re a failure and they are applying ridiculous amounts of pressure on their new salesforce of 17-year old $8 an hour employees to hit numbers that are impossible given the laughable amount of traffic that comes in the store these days.

    I just found a “real” job where I won’t have to deal with this nonsense, and upon the day I start, I will begin publicly trashing CC and their unethical sales policies, as well as hiring and firing habits, with a zeal rarely encountered. I cannot wait. Fuck you Circuit City.

  179. Anonymous says:

    As an employee of Circuit City in Bolingbrook IL, I can honestly say I have never been treated more poorly. The managers at this store are out of control. I understand their jobs are gone soon, but the lack of respect they show to their employees is uncalled for. Screaming, yelling, swearing, etc… I am disgusted with the managers there – with the exception of one of them. SHAME ON YOU CIRCUIT CITY WEBER ROAD BOLINGBROOK IL. As a customer, don’t buy there because they have jacked up the prices, then thrown on a % off sign. It’s a catch 22 – you can’t quit until you find a new job, yet you know the company just declared bankruptcy. Get me outta there fast please!

  180. Anonymous says:

    I actually work at circuit city in customer service. I make it my business to provide excellent customer service. On the other hand, I hear exactly what you’re saying. The managers don’t give a damn about the customer. I have been scolded on numerous occasions about doing my job. When I first started working there i was not trained properly and had to learn by myself. They do suck something awful.

  181. Anonymous says:

    I have been a Manager at CC for the past 3+ years. It seems your experience at CC was extremely negative. I would guess that the management at your store is/was extremely incompetent, or perhaps you have a vendetta against CC. The practices you speak of would not be tolerated in my store. It is no secret that retail stores offer accessories and service plans to our customers, and yes we do place emphasis on these things. Which sales environment doesn’t have sales goals and quotas? For the record , I have 5 years in at BBY as well. To those of you who await the demise of CC. You will all be sorry when going to the store/mall means spending your day at Wal-Mart.

  182. Anonymous says:

    I worked at BBY for 3 years. And, I think you have no ethics, and neither do a lot of people that you work with. I would have complained to District/Corp. if stuff was going on like that in my store. A lot of the things u said were fraud, and could have landed you and your team in jail for a few years.

    1.) That is close to true, it depends on the user’s USE. think of a cell phone. How long is it before the battery life of your cell phone is diminished, laptop batteries are the same..just bigger.

    2.) That’s bullshit, service plans tend to be 15-20% profit. Because, 1 machine in 10, require the cost of 3 service plans to replace it.

    3.) I have seen this in Circuit City up until Dec. 2008.

    4.) Highly illegal, and could get you fired/arrested.

    5.) If circuit fixes it, the customer still has to pay for it if it is ourside of warranty work. It’s only for stuff that the manufacturer has deemed faulty. A lot of the companies do this, so that they do not have to have repair centers, they just write checks to BBY, CCY, or whatever…

    6.) As in #5, that is only if it is deemed faulty by the manufacturer, anything else they are gonna pay the normal repair cost.

    7.) This is called “in-boarding” and is illegal, you can be fired, and your store can be fined up to $250,000 for each occurance.

    8.) “Code Green” refers to someone returning something at customer service that belongs to your dept. so one of the associates will go up there, to find the reason for the return, and if they are there because they felt that they under/over purchase the associate will take the time to help them find the correct product that fits their needs. “Code Green” has NOTHING to do with attaching more accessories.

    9.) Once again, a shining example of your personal ethics, and of the team members around you.

    10.) a. It should be offered as a time saver, I know that when i bought my HP it took me 4 hours to get it done.
    b. another example of your ethics.

    11.) I am thinking that you have a team of managers that did not know how to motivate, train, or empower their staff to be everything that the customer desires.

    12.) that’s common, if the sales rep doesn’t know the area, it’s quicker to just give them a discount, though most of the time, stores will have an associate from that department check the price, and it is not the STORES fault if the product is on the wrong peg, customers RARELY put stuff back in the right place..i would say 9 out of 10 customers put the product back in the WRONG place right in front of the associate, who then moves it 2 pegs/spots.

    13.) That is really only gonna hurt your sales, when the customer asks for the cheaper model. I bet that cause you guys lots of grief and really helped out BBY’s sales.

    14.) A great option, but this is NOT always cost affective. Example, bby’s plans are usually like $50 different for a 2-3 year plan..but if you renew the 2-year plan u spend $200, and then $200

    15.) I think that you are referring to the grace period in which you have to renew your plan. I don’t think this is technically true in most applications. If you chose not to renew your plan, your product would not be covered.

    16.) True, but a lot of these batteries are refurbished/used and are 99% off-brand. A new OEM battery is going to be $150+ a refurbished OEM battery could be $80+

    17.) Once again, this is actually against the law in the United States. Customers have the right to get a raincheck unless otherwise posted.

    18.) Douche-baggary.

    19.) Theft / Embezzlement = Employment Termination / Jail time

    20.) More douche-baggary

    21.) BBY’s and a few others work exactly like that.

    22.) Douche-baggary Extraordinaire!!

    23.) That isn’t always the case, but could be depending on the partnership with the company that manufactures the product. In some cases, the manufacture will only reimburse 60% of the cost, knowing that most dmgs occur in shipping, which is CCY’s/BBy’s responsibility.

    24.) Those laws are different in states, and different times of the year, in school/out of school vacay…but i think most are close to 20.

    25.) Did that in the beginning of 2008. But, you forgot to mention that they gave a $1 million dollar bonus to upper level management if they stayed for the next 4 years. (But, they went bankrupt before anyone collected, so don’t get too mad.)

    26.) That technique is used in a lot of retail, it’s a great way to overcome that tiny bit of hesitancy. And, if the customer is happy, and excited to have their new product, and 10% was that last excuse for them to justify it to themselves, great. Who seriously thinks the car salesman is giving YOU that crazy deal….everyone expects one to some degree.

    27.) Coulda just been overlooked, can’t really expect mngers to remember EVERYONE’s age, but they should definately be checking on that stuff.

    - babl;lar;a

  183. Anonymous says:

    I don’t doubt that a lot of this does go on some places, but my local Circuit City store was a lot nicer. I purchased a DVD recorder there back in 2002 (when the first stand-alone units were being released by Philips) and got the 3-year protection plan. Those early recorders were not very good and were very, very buggy, so the thing konked out less than 6 months later. I took it back to the store and it was repaired. It konked out AGAIN. I got a replacement this time. A newer, better, cheaper model and because it was $200 cheaper than the first one I got, they transferred the protection plan to the new one and gave me 2 more years.

    About a year later, that 2nd unit died as well (it simply stopped playing or recording discs…it was another Philips). They attempted to repair it, but eventually gave me a Circuit City gift card with the full ORIGINAL PURCHASE PRICE of the unit AND the $90 I had paid for the protection plan. With that card I was able to buy another DVD recorder, which I still have, a 3-year protection plan on it (which expires this October), AND I had enough money left to buy a 19-inch flat screen computer monitor as well. So I’d say I have generally had very good experiences at my local Circuit City, wouldn’t you?

  184. Anonymous says:

    I have shopped at Circuit City since it came to my town. I have always been treated with honesty and fairness in all my deals with them

    Their employees have always been wonderful and spent much time trying to explain things to me. I never had a computer until I was in my 60′s, and I had a lot of questions for the salespeople They couldn’t have been more helpful

    I am so sorry to see CC close it’s doors. I see ads from other stores and I seem to have gotten better buys at CC.

    Thank you CC for the fine service you have rendered to our community.

  185. Anonymous says:

    I could have told you about this “company” years ago when I got shafted and was treated so badly, that I lost some $2500 worth of an HP computer, printer and whatever. Service? They don’t know the meaning of the word. Screw the customer should be their motto. bibi CC and good riddance.

  186. Anonymous says:

    This is quite the opposite of true, in my experience. I worked at CC and didn’t see much of what you said. I was always honest to the customer on the phone, and I always gave them what they wanted and nothing more. It seems to me that you in fact did not work for CC, but more than likely you work for Best Buy or some other outlet.

  187. Anonymous says:

    I’ve worked in this business since 1986, there are some managers that condone this behavior unfortunately, as well as employees that will do the same. The sad thing is, people like this give good companies bad names. I have terminated countless people for such things from store managers to csr’s. The bottom line is your experience is only as good as the management in that location. Shame on you for looking the other way and tolerating things like that to happen, you are no better then all of the people you complained about that you worked with. Had you opened your mouth, you could have made a difference.

  188. Anonymous says:

    i too worked at Circuit City for years. First off, #14 is the dumbest thing i’ve ever read. Protection plans were not only unlimited on replacements, but if you received more then 3, then you were able to return the item under the lemon law.

    also I thought I’d add one from my experiences in entertainment

    #28 Associates were always harassed by management to sell more installations, protection plans, and cables. At one point we were told if 10% of our monthly sales weren’t these “attachments”, then we would be fired. So in TV’s we took advantage of a 100$ off coupon. When you would sign up for HD cable inside the store, your cable compnay would pay for 100$ of your TV. However, we would put a 100$ installation charge on their receipt, and tell the customer “Their cable company is paying for the 100$ installation.” There was no official 100$ installation and it could only be used to have firedog calibrate the TV’s color settings.

  189. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for the information! I just wanted to share that I went into a Best Buy and to the “Geek Squad” to see if they could restore information that I had saved on a simple USB External Drive “Memory Stick”–For that they wanted to charge me $900.00 after telling me on the phone it would cost about $100.00. I thought about it mentioned that on the phone the gentleman told me $100.00, they said “Oh, we needed to look at it”…I told them they were ridiculous! Then they proceeded to try and bait me with “technical language” “waiting” and “scare tactics” seeing how upset I was about losing the information and probably because I was a sobbing woman. I let them know that I understood computer jargon and they weren’t fooling me. All I did to fix the problem was plug the USB into a MAC and I was able to retrieve the information and back it up onto another larger USB…GOD BLESS MAC!!!!! [By the way the error code was that the USB device was not recognized and the format was unknown etc.]. At any rate, I don’t trust those people. I understand making a buck but don’t do it at the expense of the little guy!…