Dell Closing All U.S. Dell Direct Kiosks, Effective Immediately

There was a rumor going around since last night that Dell was shuttering its 140 mall kiosks nationwide in another wave of belt-tightening. Now it’s official: “Dell Inc. will close its 140 kiosks in the U.S. as the computer maker is changing its retail strategy to sales in partnering stores. Kiosks outside the U.S. are not affected.” Our tipster has more details after the jump.

All stores were taken down last night around midnight. Conference calls were issued today and ALL employees associated with Dell Direct Stores (marketing, training, sales, management) were laid off with little to no hope of lateral job changes within Dell. Severance seems to be 60 days with pay. If you had a Dell Direct Store near you go check it out – it should be gone today.

Severance packages are arriving to employees’ homes this morning

(Thanks to DN!)

“Dell to Close Mall Kiosks As Retail Strategy Shifts” [Wall Street Journal]

Comments

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  1. MickeyMoo says:

    60 days severance isn’t bad for retail – but why no option of lateral transfer? There must be some stateside call centers left that could absorb a few of the retail employees, even if most would decline because of the move, it would offer the illusion that Dell cared and was “taking the matter seriously”

  2. cde says:

    No more serving dell kiosks with suits now :(

  3. Zgeg says:

    And they just sent me coupons yesterday..

  4. odhen says:

    So I guess they’re offering the severence deal because they closed them all? When they closed the one my friend worked at it just closed. He went to work, and had no job. No pay or anything.

  5. odhen says:

    No severence pay, I should say.

  6. @MickeyMoo: There is only one Dell employee at the Kiosk, the rest are outsourced from Spherion.

  7. luckybob343 says:

    Earlier, DDS kiosks could have up to four Dell employees (Dell Badged Reps) with the rest of the hours supplemented by Spherion. When I worked there, it was better to be a Spherion rep at an unsuccessful kiosk than be a DBR at a well-performing one, due to the half-assed commission structure.

    Having spent almost a year and a half working these kiosks, it’ll be weird walking through my mall and not seeing my kiosk. But then again, the pay sucked, the hours sucked and the cute chicks in the mall were all underage.

    There’s always Orange Julius…

  8. startertan says:

    60 days severance is nice. I remember when we had lay offs at Lockheed. They gave away 2 weeks + 2 weeks/year of service. One guy who got laid off had 26 years of service…54 weeks of pay ain’t bad. Especially since he got a job a few months later. He took a few weeks off and a trip to Europe from what I hear.

  9. EricaKane says:

    60 days severance may be required under federal law, i.e. WARN act.

  10. EricaKane says:

    see here:
    [www.dol.gov]

  11. @luckybob343: What state / city were you in?

  12. ooolam says:

    Does it mean no more sales tax when I order from Dell?

  13. Squeaks says:

    My brother-in-law was one of these people to get laid off. It really sucks that there’s no lateral job changes…at least it gives him an excuse to change careers (he’d been wanting to for a while now). I guess this is one of those times you are supposed to have an “emergency fund” stashed away.

  14. solidstate42 says:

    @ericakane – I think that you are right regarding the WARN act as Dell would most likely meet all of the requirements to be a covered employer.

  15. solidstate42 says:

    @ericakane – I think that your right about the WARN Act. Most likely Dell would meet all of the requirements to be a covered employer.

  16. evslin says:

    @MickeyMoo: Probably because a lateral move means a cubicle in Bangalore.

  17. Antediluvian says:

    @cde: Dammit, that was going to be my witty comment. 95 minutes earlier and it would have been mine! Curse you, CDE!

  18. mbz32190 says:

    I’m not sure why they had these kiosks to begin with…they seemed to expand greatly after Gateway shuttered their retail stores. And the kiosks were okay, but theres only so much that can be done and displayed there. As a positive, maybe the Dell sales tax will disappear from where I live (PA), where there is no other Dell presence except in stores like Staples and Wal-Mart.

  19. sleze69 says:

    @ooolam: Sure will. They never charged sales tax here in PA until these silly kiosks started popping up. Whoohoo!

  20. Anonymous says:

    It’s a shame. They were pretty helpful and usually more knowledgeable than Best Buy types, and more willing to help. It seems as if Dell is content with moving towards an HP image of mass-produced and mid-to-low quality service rather than Apple’s image of a high quality product and service.

  21. @Anonymous: I resent that dig on HP.

    HP spends a lot more money on R&D than Dell. Their customer service ratings by independent organizations are much much better than Dell. Their quality is generally higher than Dell, their design is updated, and, unlike Dell, they have Reps in major retail stores over the weekend that know a lot about their products.

    As far as your apple fanboyism, I think this video was meant for you Anonymous:
    [www.youtube.com]

  22. luckybob343 says:

    @anonymous: I don’t think Dell ever wanted to be equated to the Apple model of high-quality. Michael Dell found his niche in making computers faster and cheaper than the competition could.

    The company has had its day in the sun. Its business model (just-in-time inventory management) is copied throughout all assembly-line industries, the PC has been commoditized and the laptop is nearly there. Innovation within the PC/laptop industry is swinging back towards technology/design. Dell can not compete in a market that rewards that type of innovation.

    Apple’s success is in it’s marketing and design. There’s no innovative technology (save for the iPod, but that’s what, seven years old?) at Apple, but there are talented industrial designers and a top-notch marketing team. To borrow an old advertising idiom, they “sell the sizzle, not the steak”.

    Asus’ recent success with the innovations within the Asus Eee PC, however, is something Dell could easily compete with.

  23. SteKos says:

    Oh yeah, I’m sure that the mall kiosks is the source of their money problems, not all the high priced management.

  24. ELC says:

    Luckybob43 got it right about Dell – sell cheaper, ship faster. Another market that China is gobbling up. That’s a one trick pony that in the generic PC world (if they run Windows, they ARE a generic PC) has run its course.

    Luckybob43 got it wrong about Apple though. They sell much more than sizzle. The iPod wouldn’t be nearly the phenomenon it is without the iTunes store. Apple sells an entire package – capability that the consumer wants and can easily use. The fact that they take physical design and quality serious are just extension of their overall philosophy. It’s one of the big things that “PC people” have never seemed to grasp. It’s also one of the main reasons that Apple has always been one of the largest “PC” makers – even with their tiny overall market share.

  25. luckybob343 says:

    Without this turning into a PC/Mac flamewar, I would like to say that iTunes/iPod was not innovative on Apple’s part. Creative was first in the hard drive-based mp3 player. Apple made it pretty (e.g. made it sizzle) and sold the hell out of it.

    iTunes was not the first media player to incorporate everything into one package. Microsoft, WinAmp…even RealPlayer (shudder!) beat Apple to that. Apple made it pretty and sold the hell out of it.

  26. nardo218 says:

    @MickeyMoo: The mall retail employees might be part timers and kids, not office worker stock.

  27. Anonymous says:

    @ANGRYSICILIAN:

    I am far from an Apple fanboy. I was a lead at two different DDS locations and I am about as anti-Apple as you can get. However, bashing the competition NEVER resulted in good sales, and acknowledging your competitor’s virtues often earned respect from customers and quite often a sale. I loved getting an Apple customer come up to me because I can turn them to Dell 9 times out of 10, unless they were a complete fanboy.

    What I saw from customers was the ultimate devotion to all things Apple, especially when it came to customer service. Meanwhile, they often complained about HP and Compaq right to my face, mainly about their cheap systems they bought in Best Buy. On the other hand, we’d have people complain about our $799 1520 but then be perfectly fine with plopping down double that on a Macbook.
    My point was not to praise Apple’s product, but rather their approach. Yes you can find them in Best Buy but they are far from relying on that channel. Instead they focus on their store locations to do most of the work for them. Opposite to that is HP who mainly focuses on cheap systems in Best Buy, and then their customers complain when their systems don’t work. Can you get a good HP? Sure, if you don’t spend $399 on a computer. The same goes with Dell.
    If Dell would have concentrated on Apple’s approach instead of something like HP’s, they might have been more successful and earned their customers back. Instead, they’re just going to be another brand on another computer in an endless line of poorly displayed systems presented by badly misinformed sales reps in Best Buy.

  28. krunk4ever says:

    @ooolam: exactly what i’m hoping for. no more sales tax in CA and WA :)

  29. DrTweeker says:

    Dude! Where’s my Kiosk?

    Just imagine the ones walking in this morning that didn’t get the news, wondering who moved their kiosk.

  30. python_boot says:

    I wonder if Dell is closing all of the kiosks because they got tired of losing in small claims court.

    [consumerist.com]
    [consumerist.com]

  31. upokyin says:

    I hate those kiosks. The environment is noisy and poorly lit. The off-putting sales people hover over you, partly because they have nowhere else to stand. And you can’t actually take a computer home that day. Nothing about these kiosks is conducive to making a well-informed, satisfying purchase.

  32. Anonymous says:

    @DRTWEEKER:
    When the other closings happened LAST February, that’s what happened. I had a guy that showed up to a location near mine and thought everyone was playing a joke on him. He eventually drove over to my store and looked like a whipped puppy when he walked in.

  33. disc24 says:

    My boyfriend was effected by this. So yea 60 days isnt bad but they cut off their health care right away!

  34. disc24 says:

    I hope people understand non-English speaking people since if you have a ? that is all you will hear. I’m sorry but dell is going to loss a lot of sales

  35. @Anonymous: I worked at a Dell Direct Store in Orlando’s Fashion Square Mall while in college. I have also worked for HP… Now I work for neither….

    HP does not focus on BBY for their entire business model. HP (like Dell has been) is a major supplier of corporations — globally. Apple barely has schools now, they are dependent on consumers more than ever before.

    Apple is selling a lifestyle image more than their products, regardless of what they say… like Starbucks selling shitty burnt coffee in a nice cafe environment.

    Any computer costing 399 is going to be crap regardless of the brand. That we can agree… but HP technically isn’t selling a 399 computer in Bestbuy or other mainstream electronics store, that’d be a 399 Compaq now. You get what you pay for, generally.

    The cheapest HP in store is typically going to be about 515 for the Slimline in the Bestbuy channel. Even that thing is going to come with 2 gigs of ram, a decent 2+ghz processor, 500 gigs of hardrive space and a 6150 nvida. It’s a decent computer.

  36. sventurata says:

    @MickeyMoo: They’re laying off call centre workers too — [www.cbc.ca]

  37. DamThatRiver says:

    It’s 2002. DamThatRiver and his friends, in their teenage mallrat days, are killing time at the Dell kiosk at Clackamas Town Center. We’d play that Space Pinball game and Solitaire on the demo laptops until whoever was working there that day told us to go do something else (though usually they were too busy trying to sell a computer to someone else to care).

    (DamThatRiver eventually grew up to become one of those “get what I want and get the hell out of the mall” kind of guys, and now prefers Super Pinball on the Super Nintendo.)

  38. Unnamed Source says:

    Hardly surprising given the relationship with Staples.