14. Managers have coupons kept in the safe that they can use for dissatisfied customers. If you have a problem ask to speak to a manger and most of the time they will offer you some sort of discount on a product or a free service in the store.
13. Easy Tech’s are in every store to provide technical support for the customers. The fees are lower then Best Buy. Most techs are just Business Machines associates who have a little computer background. While I am a tech in a store, I wouldn’t trust some of the other techs in the chain. Deals can be had with Easy Tech service. An example would be you could get Norton 360 for 30 installed, or pay the 60 for it without the Easytech service.
12. Associates do not make commission, so there is no incentive for selling plans and attachments. The managers make HUGE bonuses (as there bonuses are tied to the profit margin). Most of the time a big sale (laptops, etc) will have a manager approach you before the sale hits the register if you leave without any attachments.
UPDATE: A current Staples supervisor writes, “Employees make quarterly bonuses if they meet sales and margin goals for every period during a quarter, which are payed out as 10-20 cents per hour worked during that time. It’s hardly commission, but there IS sales incentive. “
11. Associates cannot give you random coupons (mainly the $3 ink ones) due to the new lost prevention procedures in place. Every coupon is counted in the book before a shift starts. At the end of the shift the number of HP, Lexmark, and Dell cartridges are counted against the number of coupons offered.
10. Sales Associates are not able to offer any special discounts to you. However because the store gets judged on the number of service plans that are sold (total dollar amount) coupons do exist. An example is there was a $10 off a $60 shredder coupon. This coupon was only distributed in the stores, so customers did not know about the true use for the coupon. A common sales pitch would be, for this day only my manager has authorized me to give you a free service plan. When shopping at Staples remember that it has to be done by a coupon and you can ask to see the coupon before purchasing the item.
9. Staples does not offer rainchecks, so if the product is out of stock in the store, three options exist – order the product from Staples.com, find the product in another store, or substitute a similar item. I have seen items that are of better quality be substituted in for an out of stock item. All you have to do is ask a manager.
8. Stores are authorized to offer up to 15% off of the clearance price of an item in the store. Most stores will sell the product at cost. If you say that you want the warranty before the associate goes to speak to a manager about a discount, the discount will be larger. When you get up to the checkout just say you no longer want the warranty and pocket the extra savings.
7. The Copy and Print Center offers a 100% money back guarantee. Many stores, including my own, have covered up that guarantee. If you are not satisfied with the way the order was done, you simply need to state that you want it for free. The manager will most likely come over and stand firm (they will offer you 50% off or something similar) and you will receive the order for free. Staples will even reprint the order correctly without charging you.
6. Staples still has its guarantee that your ink will be in stock or you get $10 off. Most of the time the ink is able to arrive the next business day at your door, so customers don’t force the issue (or even know about it). Make sure that you are clear that you want your 10 dollars off the ink if you order it – sometimes the ink will magically appear.
5. Almost all printers in the store come with full ink/ toner. The few machines that don’t are the “low” end machines in a series. The HP Laserjet 1600 has starter inks while the 2600n has full toner. The box will make it clear if it has full or starter toner in them. All INK JET machines have full ink in them.
UPDATE: A current Staples supervisor writes, “most of the printers we sell come with the starter cartridges, not sure where s/he got the idea that they don’t (few manufacturers put this on their boxes at all) “
UPDATE: A current HP sales rep writes, ” all inkjet printers come with FULL cartridges. We no longer use starter cartridges. It says so right on the box the capacity of the cartridges included. Compare them with the separate retail cartridges, and you will see that they are the same. The author of the piece is correct when he/she mentions that the lower end lasers (1600 and 1018) do come with half-full starter toner cartridges.
Most retail employees have no idea that HP inkjets come with full cartridges. They just take the word of their superior and tell customers that the printers come with starters. They never take the time to verify what the printer comes with. Since the most, if not all, retail stores are ranked by their respective companies based on sales and/or margin, they tell customers that they’ll need to pick up extra ink since printers only come with starters, which is false in most cases.”
4. Machine sales are judges on a CIPS basic. Cable, Ink, Paper and a Service Plan. A great sale is a sale that has all of them. The warranties for the most part are a rip off. You need to call up a phone number and they will mail you a refurbished machine within a week or so. If they don’t want to do that they will send you the amount they can buy a used machine for (normally 1/3 of the buying price, or double the price of the warranty).
UPDATE:A current Staples supervisor writes, “We’re now actually judged by what’s called ASPs, where all electronics in the store have a metric that has qualifying attachments, not just CIPS on printers (in fact, we no longer use that term). The more attachments you sell, the better your percentage, and the better you look.”
UPDATE: The original Staples confessor replies, “While the CSIP System is no longer being used as a measure of success on selling printers, it is a good way of measuring the ASP that are published every Monday morning. Computers and other items also have attachments that associates are suppose to sell. The information about bonuses for the most part are correct. However for an associate to be able to get the high end of the scale the exit survey needs to be above a 90% (meaning every question received a 5, or a perfect score) which gives a 10cents bonus, and sales need to DOUBLE the budged sales for the store and the gross margin needs to be extremely high. The only time that I have seen a bonus above 1.00 an hour was during the back to school season.”
3. Sales tags are often outdated and Staples needs to honor whatever prices are on the shelves. Make sure you ask for the lower price if there is one.
2. Associates are not allowed to accept tips, but sometimes customers bring in gift baskets of goods for the copy center. Next time that customer needs an order it will be completed faster then other orders because all the associates know the customer. Make yourself known to the associates and they will treat you well.
1. Copy and Print Center associates have the ability to not charge you for a service. While they are not officially allowed to due this, many will do so.
Is this “confession” legit? We don’t have any Staples insiders in our database to check, so current and former Staples associates, let us know what you think in the comments.
UPDATE: Staples insider #2 adds these 3 more buying tips:
15. Extended warranties… they are designed so that the obligor must pay out the full value that you payed in the event that they do not fix or replace the printer you bought. I’ve mostly worked with the HP warranties, but they usually send a replacement “core” unit back that is essentially all parts of the printer except for your ink cartridges and a few outer cosmetic plastic pieces. Also, the EasyTechs are allowed to do HP warranty work (both HPs actual warranty, and the staples extended warranties).
UPDATE: The original Staples confessor writes, “With the extended warranties, they are outsourced to a company called Assurant. When they offer you a cash card for a machine they will go by the replacement value for a comparable machine at TODAYS value which is normally half of the actually cost of the machine. Numerous customers have come back into the store complaining about it, with little the store can actually do.”
16. Staples offers free delivery on all orders done through Staples.com over $50. Customers can use this to their advantage if they are buying bulky furniture or printers and the like. Staples associates can place “dot com” orders for you in the store so that you can pay as though you’ve bought the item in the store, and the shipment time is usually within two days on most products, but can be up to 7 business days on some furniture.
17. If you go to a store looking for a particular product and that store does not have it in stock, you can ask associates to check the SKU for quantity at other stores. If another store is shown to have it, managers have the option of doing a “save-the-sale” so that you actually purchase the item in the store you are currently in instead of having to drive out to the other store. This is much better than asking them to hold something! If you wish, the item can also be shipped to you, from the store, via UPS on Staples’ dime. You may ask to do this, but please note that the manager of the store with the product always has the option to refuse to do this if they want to keep the sale.
UPDATE: Yet another employee has a few more to add:
18. Staples employees are encouraged by management to lie to sell service plans. One very popular lie is that the staples extended service plan covers you from date of sale. This is wrong, the staples plan covers you after the manufacturer’s plan expires. So if you buy a two year plan, staples won’t help you for a year, you need to contact the manufacturer.
19. We also tell customers that our warranties cover accidental damage. Some employees even say that customers can literally roll printers down the stairs, and it will be covered if you say it’s an accident. This is NOT true.
20. We tell customers that service plans cover them all over the world, so if they are in Canada or England or Africa they can take it to any staples and have it replaced for free. The truth is, Staples is not in any other countries we are in, such as Canada, we use a different name and the warranty is not able to be used there. For the brighter customers who would question the world-wide coverage of the service plan, saying that staples is not in a place like Hungary or China, we would tell them that Staples will pay to have the defective unit shipped back to the USA, fixed, and we could send it back, free of charge. This is a total lie.
21. Employees will lie their heads off about laptop service plans too. We will tell customers that water-damage is covered, so if they drop it in a pool or spill coffee on their laptop, we will replace it. NOT TRUE. We also will tell customers that the laptop warranty covers batteries, so if the battery dies, we will replace it, free. This is a total lie. If you read the fine print in the pamphlets we have, it says it does not cover batteries.
22. It is totally 100% true that the CIPS program and the new ASP (I worked under both) did push the sales of attachments (cable, ink, paper). What the author of this article forgot to mention is how much money Staples makes off of USB cables. Staples will buy a 25-foot “gold” usb ” 2.0″ cable for $2.83/cents as of 2006. We charge $24.99. This is why we push cables. You can buy the same cable at Wal-Mart or Target or Kmart for under $10.
23. Staples employees also LIE to get you to buy cables! Some of the printers (Brother) come with a cable, and we will say it does not, unless a customer notices it on the box. We will also tell a customer that their old USB cable will not work because it is probably a USB 1.0 or 1.1 cable, incompatible w/ USB 2.0. THIS IS A BOLD-FACED LIE. USB CABLES ARE USB CABLES! There is no 1.1 1.0 or 2.0 cable, its only the components that have this, not the cables. I have single-handedly sold over 200 cables to unknowing customers. Managers force employees to say this, and they know its a lie too.
24. TIP: If you are shopping at Staples for a computer and would like to get a nice discount, find a floor model that is on “clearance”. Ask to buy it and demand 15% off. The manager has the ability to drop the price by 15% but will only do so when you buy a warranty, usually. Buy the warranty. Then leave the store and the next day drive back and bring in your receipt and ask them to return the warranty. You will get your money back and keep the 15% savings. You could also go to any other Staples store and return the warranty, so if you are uncomfortable going back to that store and seeing the same manager, go to another Staples in your area.
25. You may wonder why Staples employees will lie so much to get you to buy accessories and service plans. We are not paid on commission, we don’t even see a dime of any sale we make. The incentive most employees have to sell these things is so they do not get moved from electronics department to furniture or office supplies, which are much more boring. Managers WILL threaten to move you if you do not sell.
26. TIP: Staples stores will get hell if they receive negative feedback for a particular store. If you are dissatisfied with your experience at staples, or discover that you have been lied to, file a corporate complaint. Call 1-800-3STAPLE (1-800-378-2753) and tell them you want to file a corporate complaint against a store, and they will direct you to it. This will cause the person you report to, to send it in email to the offending store and this will cause chaos for a day or two. Do this enough and the manager will be replaced.
UPDATE: and another:
27. If you need business cards, and you want to order them from Staples, order them online. They go to the same 3rd party company, and instead of having to come back in and pick them up, they’ll come to your house instead. In fact, they recently changed the system to go paperless for us too, so it’s the same procedure for us to order the cards/stamps/etc in the store as it would be for a customer to do it from home.
28. Easy Techs will try to sell you everything they can, even though there’s not much incentive to do so. Plus, as previously mentioned, they aren’t specifically trained as computer techs. Mainly they’re catering to the “The drink holder got stuck” crowd.
29. Don’t send us emails. Half the time we don’t get them, and when we do they are the lowest priority jobs we have, since you’re not in our face telling us to get the job done. Often customers come in and expect their jobs to be finished when they’ve just emailed it an hour ago. This will never happen.
30. If you want your copies to look good, bring in a file. Preferably a PDF, but any MS Office file or graphic (.tif, .jpg, etc) file will be fine too. Make sure it’s the only thing on the thumbdrive/CD/floppy though. There’s nothing that makes us not want to work on your job than having to root around looking for your cryptically named file that’s buried in 30 subfolders. If you’re not giving us a pdf, don’t use strange fonts that nobody has. We don’t have them either.
31. They lock down our computer so that we can’t even right-click on things, and don’t have access to the C drive, or half the other things that the computer is supposed to do. So no, we can’t just install Print Shop Pro, or your crazy fonts, and No we can’t just let you connect your laptop to our network, and we can’t get on the internet except to check our own copy center email. I’ll give you a blank CD though or a floppy to transfer your file.
32. The Ship Center kiosk is designed so that customers can type their information in themselves, so please feel free to save us both the time when you want to ship something, don’t bother filling out the form, just type it into the kiosk, then call me over.
33. The managers are trained to pretty much bend over backwards to help customers. They can wheel and deal up to a certain percent, and sometimes they can even break that rule if the need be. Don’t be afraid to lean on them if you feel like you’re not being treated right.
34. The Express Cards that we all switched over to recently for Self-Serve copies can be used as cash cards in the store if you don’t spend all of what you put on there, but we can’t cash them out at a register.
35. Once you get a receipt for your transaction, we can’t help you if you forgot to hand us your rewards card. There’s a number on the back, call it and they’ll fix you right up.
36. Staples Rewards are pretty much a scam. It used to be that you got 20% back on any copy center purchase over $200 in a month. Now it’s only 10%. They changed that but didn’t tell anyone, except now it’s 10% back on everything in the copy center, so sometimes that works out better. All I know is that I see a lot fewer rewards checks these days since they switched the system.
37. Despite having a computerized quote system for copy orders, we still have to key in exactly what you got, so there’s some room for fudging, and depending on the specifics of your job there might be several ways of putting it into the computer. If you ask for a price, make sure to get the Copy Hold slip, that way you can come back and be assured the same price you were quoted. Plus, there are some things that we’re supposed to ring up that I just don’t bother with because I know for a fact that other chains don’t, like RIP fees, scanning fees for signature stamps, ringing for copies on colored paper when it belongs to the customer, etc.