Circuit City Removes Walls and Running Water for Call Center Workers

Reader Kelly drops a dime on Circuit City, whose call center will be moving, presumably to reduce expenses. The new location won’t have dividers between desks or running water on Sundays.

Circuit City’s proposed shift might be meaningless small potatoes to most of the heartless bastards who call their toll-free hotline, caring little for the human being at the other end of the phone, concerned only with their own billing complaint. But if these changes go through, everybody loses.

Call center workers will lose the little dignity they had left, as they pine for the two-foot cubicle walls that once separated them from their neighbors. All the while an electronic slave ship master lords over them, beating a rhythm on his drum.

Customers will suffer the wrath of abused and humiliated call center employees. How much slack do you think a perpetually-watched Circuit City employee is going to cut you?

And other employees of the company will arrive at HQ Monday morning, to find the toilets overflowing with the weekend shift’s excrement.

Kelly’s e-mail after the jump…

I don’t know if this would be helpful to you or not, but a friend of mine who works at Circuit City was
recently complaining about how poorly they treat their customer service reps. He works in the top tier of the customer service tree and he says they have plans to move the department to a cubicle-less room with just rows of desks (and a monitor at the end of each row). This means that that in addition to having zero personal space for hours at a time, there will be nothing to dampen the voices of all the other reps nearby, which means all the reps will be shouting over each other to be heard.

Also he mentioned that since nobody is supposed to be working in the corporate office on Sundays, they shut the water off in the building. Awesome. Maybe they could save even more money by shutting down the water altogether and setting up some Port-O-Potties outside!

It might be a good idea to warn your readers to expect some disgruntled reps next time they have a serious problem “Where Service is State of the Art.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. creamsissle says:

    Does shutting off water really save them any cash? I’ve heard of offices turning off A/C or heat during non-business hours, but water?

  2. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    I’m not sure what benefit it has other the possibley curbing any vengeful employees attempts at running up their water bill by leaving the faucet on overnight.

  3. DeeJayQueue says:

    just don’t call on a sunday.

  4. OSHA says any permanent place of employment must have running water:


    Lavatories shall be made available in all places of employment. The requirements of this subdivision do not apply to mobile crews or to normally unattended work locations if employees working at these locations have transportation readily available to nearby washing facilities which meet the other requirements of this paragraph.

    Each lavatory shall be provided with hot and cold running water, or tepid running water.

  5. Also, potable water for drinking must be supplied. If they don’t have running drinking fountains, they would need to supply bottled water.

  6. acceptablerisk says:

    I feel so sorry for these people. I say this as a former call center employee, that working in a normal call center is like working in the festering asshole of the earth itself. The idea of being further subjected to this kind of bullshit is just boggling.

  7. Elara says:

    Those of us who live near CC headquarters and have friends there are thinking this is bogus. CC headquarters is HUGE, and I can’t imagine that that entire place turns off water on Sundays just to “save” money, or whatever. There are always people in the buildings, every day of the week. We’re asking around to see if we can’t get this verified.

    Now, the removal of cubicle walls, I can see- as they were already about 6 inches high to begin with.

  8. LafinJack says:

    Drum beaters cost by the hour, I’d expect more of an MP3-and-returned-laptop-speaker-set affair.

  9. rogerhicks7 says:

    ********************THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU******************
    October 5, 2006

    Our Church purchased a Hitachi 42 inch plasma TV, Model 42HDS52, from Circuit City and paid $2849.99 on 8/26/2005. The Television never worked correctly.

    The left speaker often buzzed, and the picture didn’t seem to be any better than a very cheap TV. The store was called, and we were told that since we hadn’t reported the problems within 60 days we’d have to deal directly with Hitachi. Hitachi told us to contact Alex Audio Video and informed us that they were the ONLY authorized service center for our area.

    Alex Audio Video, said they’d pick it up, do the repair at their facility, and return it promptly. We told them we’d like it back for the 4th of July because we had something we’d like to watch at that time. They said, “That should be no problem”. They finally sent someone to pick it up in late June 2006, well within the warranty period. The Forth of July Holiday passed, and the TV was not returned.

    The service center informed us that there were no speakers available for the TV, and they would have to be ordered. When weeks elapsed, and we’d heard nothing, they were again contacted. We were now informed that the speakers had come in but that there was an additional problem. It seems that there had never been a “high definition digital signal” because of a problem in the manufacture of the digital circuit board (thus the poor picture quality). They said they’d have to order one. Weeks elapsed with no word. When we again contacted them, they said there was not a “digital circuit board” available anywhere in the United States, and that it would have to be ordered directly from Hitachi.

    Finally, by mid September we had expended all our patience in dealing with Alex Audio Video, Circuit City Store 3624, Circuit City Corporate Headquarters, and Hitachi. We had paid $2849.99 for a new plasma television, and had nothing to show for it.

    We had the expectation when we initiated the purchase from Circuit City that we would receive a television that worked properly.

    We also had the expectation that Circuit City would deal ethically with us, and that should anything should fail to function correctly, that Circuit City would promptly “make it right”.

    Neither of those expectations was met.

    The television for which we paid $2849.99 has been under the control of Circuit City, or their authorized service center for one fourth of a year. Circuit City (along with their authorized service center) had our money, and our television.

    Out of frustration, we contacted Circuit City and told them, that since we were making little if any progress in getting the television repaired, we no longer wanted the television. We explained that we had purchased the television to watch, and that it wasn’t doing us any good, since it had been in their service center for 3 months.

    Circuit City told us that they were not going to do anything about our problems. They claimed no responsibility for selling us a faulty television, and were very “curt” with us, and were told that they had no responsibility (even though their store had sold us an improperly manufactured television). They told us to go ahead and file a lawsuit against them if we wanted to.

    At that point, we asked store #3624 for Circuit City Corporate address for “Service of Legal Papers” (we were in the process of preparing documents for the filing of a law suit). They claimed not to know the address. Another time that we asked, they would not give us the address, but told us to have our lawyer contact them for the address. We finally went in to the store and demanded the address of Circuit City Corporate from Mike Arndt, Sales Manager. Very reluctantly he gave it to us.

    We also contacted Hitachi and asked for their legal address. Hitachi acted very concerned with the way we had been treated by Circuit City, and asked if we’d give them some time to try to work this out. We did so.

    Hitachi said they would issue a “Merchandise Return Authorization” to Circuit City, giving them full credit for the television. They told us that we could then go into the store and use that credit toward the purchase of another television.

    Mike Arndt, Sales Manager for Circuit City Store 3624, called us on September 29, 2006 and insisted that we go to Alex Audio Video and pick up the television and return it to his store. We returned the TV to the store on on September 30, 2006. Circuit City has possession of both our $2849.99 and the television.

    Mike Arndt called us on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 and told us that Circuit City was issuing us a credit for only $1750 toward the purchase of another television., when we’d paid them $2849.99.

    Circuit City plans to confiscate $1099.99 of our money, after selling us an improperly manufactured television and dragging their feet for over 3 months to settle the matter, while we’re without a television. (And now, they want to allow us only 61% of what we paid them.)

    After discussing this with only two other people, I was shocked to learn that both had experienced similar horror stories in dealing with Circuit City, and had vowed to never enter another Circuit City store.

    This could happen to any consumer. Circuit City apparently is only interested in getting the consumer’s money, and apparently has no intention of serving the customer, or rectifying any wrong that has occurred.

    Unfortunately, Circuit City has just thumbed their nose at us, and insulted us with an offer of 61% of what they charged us for the television … after having it in their authorized service center for 1/4 of a year.

    Every potential customer should ask himself or herself, “Since there are so many reputable companies that sell high end electronics, is it worth taking a risk to deal with Circuit City? Am I willing to just hope and pray that everything works correctly, and that I won’t need any help … once Circuit City has my money? Am I willing to give Circuit City my money, wait for a fourth of a year for the item to be repaired, and then be insulted by Circuit City offering me 61% of what I just paid them?”

    In a discussion with Hitachi on October 4, 2006, we were informed that Hitachi had credited Circuit City with the full amount of their purchase, and that the insulting 61% offer was from Circuit City … and not from Hitachi.

    We just wish we’d heard those other horror stories before we did business with Circuit City; maybe it would have saved us from this experience.

    Oh well … maybe our sounding the alarm, will cause others to check out Circuit City’s reputation before laying down their hard earned cash … and losing it.

    Maybe we can turn our sorry experience with Circuit City into a positive. If making our experience known to others, saves them from falling into the same trap as others and ourselves… then some good will have come from this terrible situation.

    Meanwhile, we will do everything in our power to recover our attorney fees, court costs, the $2849.99 we paid Circuit City for a properly operating TV, and reasonable compensation for the months of phone calls, time, and loss of our television.