Firing All The Smart People Isn't Working: Circuit City Sales Down 12%

Circuit City’s same store sales for the month of December are down 12% in the U.S., causing some to speculate that firing all the people who understand the products you carry might not be a winning sales strategy.

From the WSJ:

Chief Executive Philip J. Schoonover said, “Our sales performance, while disappointing, was in line with our expectations. The company saw significantly improved performance over the last two weeks of the month, but the sales improvement was not enough to offset the weakness experienced at the beginning of the month.”

So why aren’t you shopping at Circuit City? Tell us what’s wrong.

We’ll get you started with, “Where the hell do you pay?” Every time we’re in a Circuit City there is no one stationed even remotely close to anything that resembles a register. If you do manage to spot someone who is employed by the store, he’s usually c*ck-deep in boxes behind some sort of counter, trying not to cry. If there is something that appears to be a check out aisle, it’s roped off like a museum exhibit. “Gather round, kids. This is what people used to use to execute retail transactions, back in the early 21st century.”

Actually buying something is a 12-step process that involves little public library catalog kiosks that are randomly placed all over the store. Finding someone to able and willing to help you purchase your item is like finding a 1UP in Super Mario Bros., except instead of a free life, you get a sales pitch for an extended warranty. And you’re just buying AA batteries.

Your turn.

Circuit City Sales Fell in December [WSJ]


Edit Your Comment

  1. unklegwar says:

    I ran into CC the other day just to see if they had something I was looking for (they didn’t)

    There was a big sign out front declaring “NOW HIRING! ALL POSITIONS!”. I immediately thought of the 3400 poor souls who used to hold those jobs.

  2. darkened says:

    I should be placed as CEO, I could fix CC in minutes. Reinstate all the commissioned sales agents and offer commission bonuses for sales. Through people I knew, a sale rep at CC could make 50,000-100,000 a year with commission. A few years back CC moved them to salary based off an average of their performance (ie their 3 worst months of the year was used) and dropped them into the mid 20s range. From the pleasure this caused, these same employees had talks of burning down the store… seriously not sarcastically. Now I imagine these same sales people that didn’t quit or burn their respective stores were the ones that got fired to be replaced by idiots for $7.00/hr.

  3. Shawna says:

    1. They never have what they’ve advertised as on sale.
    2. It’s hard to find people to help you.
    3. They never have what you’re looking for.
    4. They never have what you’re looking for.
    and finally…
    5. They never have what you’re looking for.

  4. Shawna says:

    Oh, and I forgot. They keep new releases behind the counter of the one checkout they actually have open so you have to stand in line for literally at least 10 minutes just to find out if they have something in stock (which they didn’t).

  5. mejimmy says:

    I know a guy who is huge in stereo equipment, applied for a job at futureshop (canadian bestbuy), and was told he was told that he was to smart to work there.

  6. ogman says:

    “Our sales performance, while disappointing, was in line with our expectations.”

    It must comfort investors to know that the company expects to fail!

    CC is a lousy place to shop. The help sucks and the selection is horrible. Since Best Buy opened up where I live, I don’t even bother with Circuit City. They treated their customers like crap for years, so what do they expect?

  7. Syd says:

    I have to say that only ONCE out of the, maybe, seven times I’ve been to Circuit City I’ve had lesser-than-good experiences – ESPECIALLY the CC at Tyson’s Corner in Virginia. You can’t find what you came for; DVDs are seldom in any sort of order; the place is filthy; and YES you can never find a darn cash register!

    I hate saying this, especially on this site, but I actually have good experiences with Best Buy… except when I use that service where what you order online will be ready for pickup in-store. That, honestly, has NEVER worked right.

  8. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I bought some printer ink a CC the other day. They had it in stock…and the cashier was cute, even though I couldn’t find her at first behind the displays stacked infront of the check out counter. That was the best CC experience I had.

  9. davere says:

    I checked them out this Christmas while looking for an HDTV. Bad selection, high prices.

  10. thedude2u says:

    I concur. CC needs to get rid of the kiosk idea and organize their darn checkout areas. There is probably a dozen or more areas to checkout in our store in Ann Arbor and nobody is to be found anywhere. I like walking in to Best Buy, grab my stuff and proceed to checkout. It’s like a cattle drive in Best Buy…but guest what, it works! It gets people in and out quickly…and with less cash then when they entered. Are you listening CC?

  11. cmdr.sass says:

    I last set foot in a Circuit City about 8 or 9 years ago.

    I disliked the extended warranty pitches, but I guess that’s standard operating procedure at all electronics retailers these days.

    I hated having to hunt down a register monkey to checkout.

    No one I spoke with had even basic knowledge of the products being sold.

    They also used to have an excellent CD inventory, but they cleared it out in favor of “hot new releases”.

  12. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    CC is the next CompUSA, no doubt. They’ll be in bankruptcy by the end of 2008.

  13. cmdr.sass says:

    Oh and remember DIVX? What were they thinking?

  14. Murph1908 says:

    Last time I went in there was to get a computer game that was on sale for $10, plus an additional $10 gift card.

    First off, the stereo department had some bass-heavy rap playing at level 11 that rattled the metal of the shelves. It was painful just to remain in the store.

    Then, the sale price didn’t come up when the hard-to-find cashier rang it up. I showed him the flier (I brought it in, fortunately), about the sale and the $10 card. He rung it up again, same price as before. I called him on it, and he said the gift card brought it back up to the original price. I showed him the flier again, and the offer was $10 off PLUS a $10 gift card. He told me to go up to customer service.

    I go to CS, and I wait at the counter while the rep is on the phone with another store, checking stock on something. They are just chatting while some poor stock boy runs in the back, all the while I wait right in front of her.

    She rings it up the wrong way too. Finally, a manager (I assume) gets it figured out.

    30 minutes after I walk into the store, I have a headache from the gangster rap, and a $10 gift card I may never want to return to use.

  15. B says:

    Last weekend I helped my parents buy a new HD TV, CC had the TV they wanted at a good price, so they ordered it online and we picked it up in store. At the service counter there were 4 employees all talking to each other. Then, one by one, they all left. Eventually we got the TV, DVD player and all the cables, but man, that place was sad-looking. Too many employees and not enough customers, and none of the employees were all that helpful. The store was set up strangely, too. The cables were spread out over four different sections, and naturally the non-overpriced ones were in the back.

  16. johnusaf says:

    I had to reply to this one. The following is why I will never set foot in a Circuit City store.

    In early 2006 I had my hard disk crash in my Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop. The laptop was out of warranty so I decided to go buy a hard disk to replace the one that just crashed. I went to my local Circuit City where the resident “Computer Wizard” (it’s on his badge) told me that Dell uses proprietary hard drives and I would not be able to buy one there. Luckily I had the laptop with me so I popped the hard drive out (2 screws) and showed him it’s a regular hard drive. He disagreed and told me that the brace that holds the disk in is proprietary and they do not supply those. So I removed the hard drive from the brace (4 screws) and showed him it was exactly the same as the hard drives they were selling there. He relented but told me unfortunately he could not sell me a hard drive without a “Professional Install” which is basically a $120 charge for them to screw in 6 screws and slap an OEM copy of Windows on my laptop. I said no to the professional install after which the “Computer Wizard” told me “no install, no hard drive.”

    So the long and short of it is I just sauntered over to Best Buy, bought a new 120GB hard drive with no hassle and in about 2 hrs. I had my laptop up and running again.

    I would have to say that Circuit City, at least in this instance, would benefit from losing it’s “smart” employees since this guys arrogance and ignorance cost them at least one customer.

  17. brendanm14 says:

    #1 They Never Have What’s Advertised on Sale

    This past Sunday they had an ad for their Video Game Blowout and they show XBox 360 titles (NCAA Football 07, NHL 07, Madden 07) for $8.98. I wanted to purchase NHL 07. I end up going to 3 CCs and none of them had ANY 360 games in their BLOWOUT BIN. It was all PS1 games and Xbox games….great advertising!

  18. drewsumer says:

    I know someone who got a $450 AC for $150 because the CC sales associate was too lazy to bend over to scan both units and instead just scanned the obviously smaller and cheaper one on top twice.

    So my tip for CC: Don’t do that if you want to stay in the black. Or keep doing that if you want more people to come into your stores. Either or.

  19. target_veteran says:

    There’s a brand new CC in a new mall by my appartment. The thing looks huge on the outside, but inside it’s just one small circle of stuff. Lots of empty space with no merchandise. My future in-laws went there to look for an Xmas present for me; they took one look around, walked straight out the door, and high-tailed it to Fry’s.

  20. Erwos says:

    @brendanm14: To be fair, that was obviously a clearance sale. The one I went to had plenty of 360 games (but not Project Sylpheed, doh!).

    I don’t know why CC is getting killed by BB. Both stores seem equally awful. Maybe CC should concentrate on price, rather than service?

  21. IrisMR says:

    I miss Radioshack. Yea, used to have Radioshacks here but for some reason one day they all became named “The Source by Circuit city”.

    …Since that day I noticed the quality just dropped dead… The service stinks, the clerks think you’re a retard, and they are just so SLOW.

  22. IrisMR says:

    PS: they did try to sell me a guarantee for my recharchable AA batteries… I mean… um… COME ON. BATTERIES.

  23. averyml says:

    Circuit City may never have what I’m looking for, but the upside is their 24/24 guarantee…apparently, their inventory tracking is also sub-par…of the three times I’ve ordered something online (that said it was in stock) to pick it up in the store, they only had the item in question once, which comes out to $48 in gift cards for me!

  24. Daryl26 says:

    After reading all these articles on Circuit City and Best Buy, I’m a bit ecstatic for them to come to Puerto Rico. With DACO here, I wonder how long it’ll take for them to shut down the store because of pulling al the shit you write about.

    Seriously, you basically tell them of any of the things that all of you write about, and it’s basically an automatic $10,000 fine. After a certain number of fines, they shut down the store.

  25. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    We still have RadioShacks in FL, but they suck. Horribly.

  26. wimpkins says:

    The article summary sounds a lot like BEST products final days in VA back in the ’80’s.

  27. Bladefist says:

    @IrisMR: We have radioshacks here…the people are good. But they are overpriced and have really cut back on their little parts, and now sell the big ticket items. Which I go there for little crap to solder onto bigger crap. So, that store is phasing itself out.

  28. I got my Wii at circuit city, no problems, and I got my phone at circuit city, at the Verizon kiosk (local Verizon supplier), also no problem, but not a CC employee.

    But whenever I’ve looked for video games or movies there, they never have what I want. I thought I just wanted weird things (I don’t go to mainstream media stores very often), but apparently their stock is just bad.

    PS Irismr: I HATE radioshack! They never have ANYTHING in stock and their customer service people are EEEEEEVIL and the upselling is ridiculous!

  29. mobilene says:

    I don’t shop at CC because they closed the one near me and there are other choices.

  30. feep says:

    Whenever I go to CC they always seem to want a lot of personal information no matter what I wanted to buy. I’m sorry, but they don’t need that information for batteries , at which I was told that they could not sell it to me without the information. I walked out and haven’t been back to CC since.

  31. Goatweed says:

    For the past few times I’ve bothered to go to a CC, I’ve been let down each time. Usually they would have a new release CD or DVD that was marked down a few bucks cheaper than BB and since they’re almost next door to each other, it’s definitely worth the 2 minutes more of driving to save a few $$. Every time though, the never had the CD or DVD. Asking one of the kids there (assuming you get one from the right department) warrants no answer beyond “check the new release rack” which seems to move around more than Castro as it’s never in the same place when I visit.

    CC used to be pretty good, my last solid purchase there was my home theater receiver about 6 years ago. Since then they’ve gotten me to the point that I don;t even consider going there because I either can’t find what I want or they don;t have it at all (despite being advertised in the flyer on the same day the flyer comes out).

  32. MissPeacock says:

    I’ve never been able to find what I wanted there. They will advertise an item on sale, but not put a sticker or anything next to it saying that it’s on sale, which makes me wonder if it IS on sale. Since I can’t find anyone anyway, I just leave without the item in question.

  33. SaraAB87 says:

    The fact that they only have ONE register in the entire store, and that there is no one even standing near that register 90% of the time.

    The fact that their customer service counter has ONE employee working it with a lineup of about 20 people which equals about a 30 min wait for each person, you could easily be in line for 2 hours at CC just because it takes so long to move people through the line. I don’t know anyone who has this kind of time to be waiting in lines like this these days, people want quick service.

    Their store is a mess and is disorganized and hard to find things in. In order to find the section for one particular video game system I am often wandering around aimlessly just wondering where they put the section. They never have what you want either, and its not clearly labeled with the correct price, and if its on sale, there are no sale signs so who knows if its actually on sale, and I am not standing in a 30 min register line to find out since there are no self-scanners in the store.

    I hate disorganized stores and stores that are hard to find things in, if I am left wandering in a store for too long looking for the desired item, then I just leave without buying anything. There are much more convienent options for customers these days, often within minutes of each CC location.

  34. PaulMorel says:

    The last time I shopped at Circuit City, I was forced to because I needed a surge protector quick, and there was nowhere else to go.

    The checkout experience was exactly as you described. Despite 3 or 4 employees walking around doing god-knows-what, I had to wait for 15 minutes behind some guy who was trying to return something. This was, of course, after I FOUND the checkout aisle.

    Thank god for

  35. the last time I went was way back in the early oughts. The one salesguy was kind of a d*ck. Then we figured out how close the closest Fry’s was. I don’t need experts to help me out, I just need people able to tell me where stuff is, and to check me out quickly. YayFry’s.

  36. The_Truth says:

    I brought a printer there about 2 months ago.Never again.

    I went in and wandered around until I found the printer section, then spent ages trying to figure out which price mached which set of boxes, and then finally figured out that the printer I wanted was on display but no box. Finally I managed to flag some sales monkey down, who proceeded to wonder off into the back for 5 or so mins.

    He came back with a little card thing that I took upto the register. Register monkey scanned it and then tried to push the warrenty on me. After that I then have to go and stand in line to get my box…

    Seriously, how hard is it to jsut put everything on the shelves, keep it neat, have people not monkeys and use a stock tracking system that orders new stock as you sell the old stuff?

    Its Dumb. At least in BB I can walk in, grab what I want and walk back out. They are still pretty bad but faster than using my beloved newegg.

  37. gabenhils says:

    Along with many friends I’ve been boycotting Circuit City since the firings. Did they really think no one would notice?

  38. ShadowFalls says:

    I think some of the issues are that they have more people at their customer service area than stagged at registers. They only have 4 registers, if you are lucky 2 are open. The only time I have seen all 4 open was on Black Friday. Even on Christmas eve, the most they had open was 2.

    Yet you seem to see employees standing around doing pretty much nothing while the lines got long and they could have opened a freaking register. When you do ask these employees questions, they don’t know the answers. That is assuming you can find someone anyone, it seems when you need to get into a locked case, no one is around.

  39. pengie says:

    A new Circuit City opened about five minutes away from me. I went to visit about two days before Christmas, and the place was DEAD. I couldn’t figure out why until I needed to ask someone a question about a TV: the employees just don’t care. They’ve got no reason to help you when they’re making $7.50 an hour, and if they DO get a raise, they’re then working with the threat of being fired for making too much money.

    I used to work for them, about three years ago now, and it’s saddening to see how much the company has changed. They didn’t make a point of caring about their employees back then, but my store was at least fun and won all sorts of awards for customer service. Now it’s just… meh. I feel bad only for the employees.

  40. HyperialGuard says:

    I’m just commenting to say that the second paragraph is hilarious. Well said.

  41. ShadowFalls says:

    Also, the other part I forgot to mention. I was in Circuit City looking to get a PS3 bluray remote, they were on sale at the time. They checked the computer and it said they had 6 in inventory left. They went to look for some as none was on the rack and alas, none could be found.

    Regardless of bad inventory or not, 6 is alot to go missing. Perhaps their sales are down because either they don’t have the products people or looking for or the employees are thieves. Though what would you expect from minimum wage minors?

  42. dix99 says:

    They burned me a few years ago on a faulty Sony SR1 HD Camera. It was near Christmas & as they didn’t have any more, or similar in stock, I had to get a refund, for which I was stung a $180 restocking fee. After complaining the next day to HQ, they only thing they would do, is offer me the fee back towards the purchase of another one. When they did finally get them in stock, I went to pick one up, but they refused to take my AAA 10% coupon, saying they couldn’t take it, as they had already gave me a discount of $180. Well CC, don’t think we’ll be back as we have no where else to go. We do & I’ve not set foot in your store since.

  43. Zimorodok says:

    @Syd: Seconded on the Tyson’s Corner location. I was in there not long ago with a friend looking for a cheap stereo ($100-$200). Nothing fancy, just something to hook an iPod up to for a little party. We found the one we wanted on display, but none of their employees would go in the back and get it for us. 3-4 different people just passed us off to somebody else. Managers of neighboring departments told us “someone will be by in a minute.”

    If their sales force was on commission we probably would have been fighting them off with a stick for such an easy sale. After 15 minutes, we left and got the same unit in 90 seconds at Best Buy.

  44. Buran says:

    @darkened: Of course, then you’d get complaints about people being harassed to buy things due to the salesclerks getting commissions for every sale.

  45. rustyni says:

    Karma. Is. A. Bitch.

    I wonder if Big Ol’ Phil is getting his beauty sleep with the investors blowing up his cell phone at 3am wanting to know what the eff happened?

    Fire your people who actually knew your products and stood behind your company with loyalty and commitment, and watch all your shit crumble.

    I don’t miss Circuit City for anything, I hope they DO go bottom up. Soon.

  46. FessLove says:

    I worked at Circuit City for a few years, and left about 3 months before this layoff happened. I almost didn’t take the job because of loyalty to Circuit City, but the pay at my new job made the decision for me. When I worked there, the computer dept started out at 9.25 an hour, and we recieved raises if performance was good. Not bad for a retail box like this.

    Thank God I took this other job, because I was making more than my department capped at and would have gotten canned anyway. The managers I worked with were always VERY customer focused, and I saw more than one associate let go due to lack of customer service. Unfortunately, the managers in the stores are powerless to the orders coming down the line.

    I hate to see the Circuit City I worked for going down the tubes as they are, but I guess one good location can’t save a chain.

    I saw a few people saying they hoped to see Circuit City go down, and all I can tell them is to remember competition brings about better prices. If you don’t like the prices on things now, wait until Best Buy’s competition is all gone. With no Circuit City or CompUSA to keep it in check, I fear retail electronic prices will be too high to continue shopping at local retail.

    Every retail store has had people who felt as if they got a raw deal. Sometimes the complaints are legitimate, and sometimes they are not. For every person who gets angry at Circuit City and goes to Best Buy, there is someone walking out of Best Buy on their way to Circuit City, of course…… if Circuit City had stayed customer focused instead of forgetting that CUSTOMERS make the bottom dollar they are trying so desperately to make, they would be in a prettier boat right now.

    The story of Circuit City truly is a shame

  47. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Uh… I actually don’t know why I never shop there. I have been in a Circuit City exactly twice in probably the last 8 years.
    I bought a camera there a few months ago and the guys were mega-helpful, did a price adjustment cheerfully and quickly, weren’t pushy or rude…
    It was a pretty good shopping experience.

  48. HawkWolf says:

    I’ve never understood that weird kiosk-based sales model. The technology more than exists for the actual sales clerks who help you to be able to sell you something on the spot, one second after you’ve picked up the box, if you’re using plastic.

    Either have registers like Worst Ripoff, or have roving employees like The Apple Store. Look at how much money *they* rake in per square foot. :)

    Well, that’s not quite the same thing.

    I can’t say I’ve ever had a terrible experience at CC, but that’s because I buy from their website and pick it up. I don’t like how you can see something on their website, go to look at it, and it just isn’t on the floor for display.

    My partner is actually looking to work at a CC – I think he wants to be warehouse – after just quitting OfficeMax. (A friend works there, and it’s literally across the parking lot from his old job.)

    When money’s the bottom line, nothing else matters. Why do you think retail’s such a mess? Companies try to figure out how to make numbers bigger, and the fastest way to do that isn’t to make people happy, it’s to trick them into buying stuff they don’t need or even want, and refuse to pay employees enough money that they want to behave well in front of other humans.

    I’m not particularly anti-capitalist in theory, but at some point, when you’re sitting around in a boardroom going, “what can we do to make sure our stock price doesn’t drop any more?”, you lose touch with what you actually need to do to make people want to buy things at your store.

  49. startertan says:

    @rustyni: Yeah but if CC goes up then BB is the only chain big box left for electronics…then we’re REALLY screwed. Then again I haven’t shopped at a CC in at least 5+ years…come to think of it I haven’t actually bought anything from BB in 2+ years. The last thing I clearly remember buying was a TV for my birthday (26th and I’m now 28->29)

  50. tinmanx says:

    Wait, I’m confused. Do we hate CC and like BB or do we like CC and hate BB?

    Seriously, I blame this on the stock market. Why is it that when companies fire people the stock prices go up? Don’t any of these “investors” realize the company could be firing the very people that makes the company money? Oh right, it’s all about the numbers at the end of the year, I forgot.

  51. rimclean says:

    I went to CC looking for a Tivo. The sales associate walked me to a shelf, told me “they used to be here” and walked away. Thanks.

  52. Electroqueen says:

    1. Rarely anything good is on sale.
    2. Video game stock really sucks
    3. Anime stock really sucks.
    4. Rarely do I actually buy something on sale that is stocked.

    Schoonover should have said “no comment” instead. So what if they did as good as they expected? Sales are going down! That’s not a good reason to brag.

  53. Shootemup says:

    People are assuming that firing the 3400 is the only reason that circuit is going down the drain, and thats simply not true. Circuit city recently implemented a new sales plan called “In store customer experience”. So now, instead of having dedicated ‘experts’ who have to keep up with one form of technology, we have high school kids who have to keep up with ALL forms of technology…obviously this isn’t boding well for circuit city. Next time you go to circuit city, just sit back and watch the associates as they stumble through lies and run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Circuit city has screwed over its employees, which in turn screws over the customer. I work there and even I am counting the days till I have to go find another job.

  54. Daniel-Bham says:

    I generally go into Circuit City to get door-buster items. Though, outside of a Sunday morning it is impossible to get anyone to wait on you at a register.

    Plus, it takes them like 10 minutes per person to check someone out at the customer service area.

    You can’t check out period without giving your phone #, home address, etc. also it seems like.

  55. UpsetPanda says:

    @tinmanx: I think we mostly hatet CC and BB but would rather take BB over CC anyday simply because CC seems to deliberately confuse AND screw the customer, while BB is mostly about the screwing. Their stores are pretty easy to navigate, and you can usually find a blueshirt hiding somewhere, probably in fridges. Plus their stores are bright. CC is like a massive cave or hole in the wall, especially the dusty “PC Games” section usually located in the back of the store. At least in BB it’s pretty prominent, cause you know, people still use computers.

  56. stinkingbob says:

    The circuit city in Daly City, CA is horrible. That is why I only shop at Best Buy.
    Circuit City beefs:
    1)hey hire teens or very young adults who are more interested in talking with their co-workers or their friends that visit them in the store rather than taking care of the customer.
    2) There can be 20 people working in the store, but only 2 working the cash register, 1 at in-store pickup and 18 just milling about chatting
    3)Lines are not clearly defined and are long
    4)The people working the cashiers are not experienced enough nor trained enough to do their jobs. I once asked a rep a computer question that I knew the answer to but wanted to test him–he got it wrong.
    5) The people there don’t care. No smile. No thank you. No help. You have to ask for help.
    Because of this, I don’t go to Circuit City anymore. Only Best buy. Service is much better. In a couple of years, Circuit City will go the way of CompUSA.
    Customer Service is what it is all about and CC doesn’t have it right now.

  57. meeroom says:

    Oh, the battle that would ensue if I was paying cash and they tried to get my information. I hate that nonsense. I never give my zipcode or any info if I’m paying cash. None of their beeswax.

  58. Blueoysterjoe says:

    Buying from Circuit City is like applying for a loan. It is, indeed, a 12 step process.

    Me: I want to buy PaRappa the Rapper please.
    Associate: I need your full mailing address please.
    Me: But I just want to buy this game.
    Associate: Dude, this exploding collar will kill me if you don’t give me your mailing address.
    Me: SIGH.

    As much as I _hate_ Best Buy, their purchase process is much easier, like buying beer.

    Generally, when a customer is trying to give you money, I think a good strategy is to grab it as quickly as possible. The fact that Circuit City doesn’t understand this simple concept makes me wonder why they haven’t gone out of business sooner.

  59. JayXJ says:

    I’ve had good luck with CC buying car stereos. The firings will probably keep me from shopping there, I don’t want to talk to a guy in the car audio section that knows less than I do.

  60. rsg2003 says:

    1) bring back commissioned sales associates who will fight tooth & nail to get a sale

    2) stop trying to imitate Best Buy

    3) if you’re going to insist on selling warranties, make sure their policies are clear and prices are reasonable

    4) the kid with the rusty nail for an earring? stop hiring him… he knows where to cop the best weed but doesn’t know a damn thing about computers

    5) don’t forsake the reasonably-priced accessories for the over-priced Monster Cable ones… you might make more on Monster Cables but you might actually make up the difference in volume on the cheaper ones.

    6) demos? make sure they work. And set the floor for open box items lower.

    BTW, I used to work at Circuit City back when the company was booming. When Best Buy came around and took our customers, the company stopped focusing on service and emphasized numbers. All the high-earners were fired and they suddenly expected the idiot 17-year-old to care about getting the sale (when he was more interested in getting into the cute customer service chick). Service sucks. They don’t know their stuff. And there is a very “K-mart” feel to the store now… nothing like it was 10 years ago.

  61. RvLeshrac says:


    Yes. They could “just” open a register. Do you even understand how much time is involved in opening a till? Someone working in the cash room must first count out a till. Then the person to whom it is assigned must count it again, and possibly run some sort of report on opening the till. Then they get to go out to a register and sign in. At this point, there are likely five people left in line.

    After ringing up those five people, the person (who likely isn’t in a position which allows them to be on a register in the first place) has to go count the till down, run a report on that, and return the till to the cash room where it has to be counted again.

    The process can take anywhere up to 30 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on whether or not anyone is even working in the cash room and how many interruptions they have to suffer during the process.

    I’m not defending Circuit City here, but I’m defending every store (Not counting Wal-Mart. If you have 30 registers, you should have more than one open at a time.) where the customers say they should “just open more registers.”

    It would help if people would not have 20 minute long conversations with the cashiers, too, or spend 15 minutes doing a CC charge with a self-scanner.

  62. RvLeshrac says:


    Further, while you can get a lot of marketing BS from some of these companies, others simply use the information provided to look up the transaction later on.

    Unless you know *precisely* what the info is being used for, don’t blame the store.

    A certain other medium-sized computer retailer only uses the info to (e)mail you the sales circular and look up the transaction when you act like a dick and try to return an item without the receipt.

  63. RvLeshrac says:


    He’s supposed to pull one out of his ass?

    Seriously, not exactly the best customer service, but what do you expect him to do for minimum wage? He can show you where they *should* be, but that’s it. He has no magical powers allowing him to generate products from thin air.

  64. jimconsumer says:

    Their customer service people are idiots. Tried to sell me a $90 optical cable because “the signal quality will be better than the $60 one.” I said, “But it’s digital. Either the data gets there intact or it doesn’t.” He said, “Well, the $60 cable will have audio drop-outs. The $90 one won’t.”

    I couldn’t believe this idiot. I informed him that if the cheaper cable dropped any audio AT ALL, then it was defective and was he claiming they were all defective? He insisted the $90 cable would “sound better” and have “fewer drop outs”. I tried in vain to educate him. He refused to listen to the voice of reason and just continued pushing his flat lies.

    I went across the street to Home Depot and bought an optical cable for $20. I haven’t bought a thing from CC since and tell every non-techie I know to avoid them like the plague.

  65. ShadowFalls says:


    Maybe if you can understand that when accepting any credit transactions they don’t have to go through that entire lengthy process. Apparently you don’t understand that this can be done or choose to be judgmental on a whim.

    In one case only, I have seen a Circuit City employee who was smart enough. When they had to get a manager, the employee opened up the other register for credit transactions till the manager got there.

  66. Lazlo Nibble says:

    The environment at the last CC I visited was so sad and pathetic that comparing it to Wal-Mart wouldn’t do it justice. It was more like an ailing general-merchandise store circa 1979 or so — think Woolco or Duckwall’s, or a city-downtown Sears — where the air would always smell like flop-sweat and surrender, with just the faintest whiff of popcorn.

  67. kcroat says:

    CC a contrary view

    Since CC revamped their website and came up with the 24 minute in-store pickup they’ve been a favorite of mine.
    For almost all electronics purchases why would anyone wander around in a store or ask a salesman chosen at random what is best for them?
    First I’ll consult online reviews (Consumer Reports, CNET, etc.) and then read through the user reviews online and look at the detailed product specs.
    These can bring out issues about the product that you won’t get from any salesman (even a tech savvy one) and you might not have realized were important for you.
    CC is price competitive with BB or other internet sources and in-store pickup makes sense in cases when shipping costs will exceed sales tax.
    with CC website you can check in-store availability at all the stores near you.. even if I don’t buy online I’ll know what they have.
    I’ve done in-store pickups lots of times and have never had a problem. What’s not to like?

  68. jaya9581 says:

    @SpiderJerusalem: Fry’s? *cringe* That’s about the only place on Earth WORSE than CC.

    Hubby & I went to CC to look at GPSs for XMas. They had one we wanted on sale for $400 down from $550 – but the very nice boy working that department slipped us the tip on the fly that Costco was selling the same model for only $300. A quick trip to Costco and we were in business!

    On the other hand, a recent trip to purchase a new-release computer game that they had taken presells for AND was featured in their ad was a 60-minute nightmare. All I could find on the shelf was the pre-order box – which, obviously, did not have the game on it. I explained this to FOUR different employees, all of whom insisted the actual game was in the box. I finally got through to someone – coincidentally, the same boy who had given us the Costco tip – and he explained yet again that I needed a real copy of the game. After being told it wasn’t out yet (I showed them the copy of THEIR ad sitting on THEIR counter that had the game GUARANTEED in store on that day) and that they must be sold out (even though two OTHER employees said the computer showed plenty of stock), someone finally found it. The whole time they were just laughing – no one apologized. I had a $24 GC from a failed internet order (another story altogether…) that I wanted to use for most of the game, and it took another 10 minutes to pay because the stupid kid kept swiping it as a CC and not a GC…

    *sigh* The only thing CC is good at anymore is loss-leader DVDs and stuff. Everything (and I do mean nearly EVERYTHING) else is overpriced, including the GPS units they are STILL selling for over $500 when the same model in every other store I look at is $300-400 (depending on sales).

  69. invaderzim says:

    CCity – M. Island Florida –

    1- ‘red dot clearance bins’ all over the store – nothing in the bins priced. One that was filled with ‘Skull Candy’ headphones was labeled POPCORN…???

    2 – Sunday add states a big game clearance with hundreds of titles – nothing marked and salespeople knew nothing about the sale.

    3 – — 10 people — in a stalled single check out line and it takes 15 minutes for 2 people to show up and open another line.

  70. Jsheneman says:

    I’m sure I’m just restating what everyone else has said, but here’s my CC rants:
    1. They never have what you are looking for.
    2. You can guarantee they don’t have a sale item in stock.
    3. If you just walk in and look around the shelves are usually pretty bare.
    4. The place looks like a dump (and I’m not saying this about 1 store, it’s any CC you walk into).
    5. Good luck finding anyone there who knows anything about technology. They fired all those people. Listening to them explain HDTV technology is laughable.

  71. SaraAB87 says:

    At least walmart and best buy have registers opened though. I realize that front line register work isn’t the priority of the store but honestly, its the place that matters MOST to customers. No one wants to be kept waiting in a line, most people want to grab an item and go, and CC is not set up like this while BB, Walmart and just about any other store is.

    The thing is there are 2 CC’s here and one is radically different than the other (its organized and labeled and you can find things in it and doesn’t have a retarded store layout), but the good CC is about 45 min to an hour away from here. I think there are a few registers at the departments too so that you don’t get pushed to that one-register line near the front of the store. So if you are buying video games you can just pick out your games, pay in the games dept and then go.

  72. hn333 says:

    Just shop online, retail sucks.

  73. flugelhorn says:

    The checkout has always been the most perplexing aspect of the CC experience. Alsothe high-pressure sales-douches stalking every aisle, hair geller, poised to accost. People want a more self-serve atmosphere, and Best Buy gives them it. These days, most customers have already researched similar products and prices before every setting foot in the store– they know exactly what they want. Apart from (perhaps) the opportunity to experience a product such as a screen or a camera UI in person, customers just want to pick up a box and head directly to the registers.

  74. The Stork says:

    @RvLeshrac: Admittedly, in the case of Circuit City if they have someone that can jump on a register then none of that process is necessary, mostly because Circuit does *not* track cash per register by individual employee. All you have to do at CC is count down the $50 that’s in the register (which takes about two minutes at most,) and many members of management usually doesn’t care if you just put $50 in the penny category if there’s a customer standing there waiting (this is against corporate SOP, but I’ve seen it.) Also, once the employee is done at that till, they can just move on and the register will remain available until the end of the day – no close, no count. The system keeps track of every employee who uses a till during the day, and their name is on the register print-out at close, but there’s no countdown and nothing is done in the cash office until the very end of the day.

    Now whether they’re willing to spend the labor to have someone to jump on the register is a completely different story.

  75. kingdom2000 says:

    Shopping at circuit city is just painful all around. Finding anything, be it DVDs, new releases, games, etc is a pain in the rear. Finding help is often a pain in the rear, and why the employee tries to help, most of the time they just have no idea what your talking about even in their own department.

    And as pointed out, buying your stuff is a guessing game. Do I go to this spot or that? Is that line for returns or purchases? I usually spend more time buying stuff then I did finding it. Never a good thing.

    Basically the only time I shop at CC is to take advantage of a really good deal but otherwise I don’t bother.

  76. clocker says:

    @RvLeshrac: “Yes. They could “just” open a register. Do you even understand how much time is involved in opening a till? Someone working in the cash room must first count out a till. Then the person to whom it is assigned must count it again, and possibly run some sort of report on opening the till. Then they get to go out to a register and sign in. At this point, there are likely five people left in line.

    After ringing up those five people, the person (who likely isn’t in a position which allows them to be on a register in the first place) has to go count the till down, run a report on that, and return the till to the cash room where it has to be counted again.

    The process can take anywhere up to 30 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on whether or not anyone is even working in the cash room and how many interruptions they have to suffer during the process.

    I’m not defending Circuit City here, but I’m defending every store…”
    And your point is what?
    Retail is hard?

    Guess what, I don’t care, not my problem.
    I did my part by coming into the store and finding what I want, now it’s the stores turn to do their part and finalize the transaction painlessly.

  77. Bryan Price says:

    Because all the Circuit City’s that I’ve been in in this area tend to be grungy.

    And the fact that when I did find a good price on a Samsung 204B, after waiting three weeks for something that was supposed to be in later the week I ordered it AND PUT A DOWN PAYMENT ON and constantly calling them and getting absolutely cluelessness for an answer (They had one 45 minutes away, but couldn’t/wouldn’t get it from that store), I took my down payment back, picked what I wanted right from Best Buy’s stock — I didn’t even need anybody to pull it, and went home with what I wanted that day.


    So I’m not giving them any of my love at this point. Now with CompUSA gone (I may get one of the Tiger Direct stores, who knows) I may not have much choice. I’d really like a Microcenter (I’m originally from Columbus and truly miss my Microcenter) or a Fry’s to come here and horn in on the action.

  78. puyro {who was banned for "junk comments" what? says:

    I currently work at Circuit City as Customer Service.

    Registers are opened at the beginning of the day and any employee can use that register until it’s closed which is usually at the end of the day. And there’s no way any register would only have $50 for a float amount. The minimum is 100, while most registers have 200. A $50 float couldn’t break a $100 so that makes no sense. It takes me half an hour to open all registers in my store. (11 Registers)

    And a video game may be “Guaranteed” in that day, but that just means we may have it at one point, but it’s not guaranteed to be there when you get there.

    The reason checkouts never have someone there is because we don’t hire cashiers. Circuit City hires people as floor people who are stationed in different departments.

    Customer Service people are chained to the customer service desk which happen to have registers there so we get stuck doing returns, sales, questions, complaints/issues, etc.

    As someone who really cares about the customer and the job I was hired for, it’s frustrating for me when I get ignored by managers, and people on the sales floor who are just goofing around. But then there are coworkers who I love working with cause I know I can depend on them to make a customer happy and informed.

    I agree our DVD and video games collection sucks.

    And about not having sales items in stock, the ads are printed out weeks/months in advance. We normally do not get shipment of the sale item, and a lot of a time we will be sold out of that sale item for a while and it just happens to be in the ad.

    And in our location (the new register system) we take your phone number for purchases over $100 dollars. If your phone number isn’t in the system, we add your information (I just add first and last name with a 00000 zipcode) This is done because we don’t take returns without receipt and if you paid with cash, the only way to look up your receipt is with a phone number.

  79. jw6828 says:

    I worked at a store as the lead CSA (customer service associate) and loved my job. We were in a new store and I had a 4 years experience and knew how to treat customers. I could do things with the computer the managers had problems with.

    The day they fired the majority of the employees we lost a lot of experience. From the warehouse to the computer area, they were all gone.
    The weeks after that were total hell. The new kids didn’t know anything or how to talk to customers.
    We were told we must have 1 cashier at register one at all times. I couldn’t keep anyone at the register. They called in sick, came in late. Couldn’t find anything.
    Customers should have been checked out in the department where they were buying things but the managers would never make them do it. Most registers never worked right so they sent everyone to me at customer service.

    I walked out one afternoon because I got sick and told the manager. He just looked at me and then got in his car and drove off. It was that lack of concern that caused the downward spiral they are in now. Some of the people fired had over 14 years service. The killer is, in November they sent letters to the people fired and ask them to come back (at less pay of course). Since that time, the Director quit, the Ops manager was fired, a very good game expert left and many more. If they had done things to make the employees happy to work there, things would have been looking up!

  80. chartrule says:

    we have a futureshop here

    the other day i was looking at PS3 games and even though the console wasn’t even purchased there the sales person still tried to sell me an extended warranty on it

  81. Parting says:

    DUH! Fire competent people, customer service drops, sales drop.

  82. insomniac8400 says:

    Last time I was in Circuit City, they had a 22in monitor for 200 dollars on the shelf. I go to buy one and they said they are sold out but could order one. When they go to put the order in the computer they told me it was an old tag, but they could still honor the price. But then the computer denies the pricematch because the new price was 300 and the computer doesn’t allow them to discount an item by 100 dollars even though according to their own policies they are supposed to. So the workers told me store policy says they should do it, but the computer isn’t letting them so there is nothing they can do. Never been back since.

  83. rf1892 says:

    I’m glad that I got out of there while I could. I used to work at a store in Philadelphia and I surely would have been one of those laid off. I left shortly after the company cut commissioned sales. It was just about the most frustrating place in the world to work. Very little training or time to get to know the products, outdated computer systems (which they finally updated after I left, so now they’re working with 1996 technology instead of 1986). I’ve bought a couple of things in the last year or so there, but only web specials that I bought online and picked up there. Knowing what the average associate knows about the product, researching on the internet, purchasing on the internet, then picking up there was the best choice for me.

  84. edrebber says:

    Consumer electronics are commodity items unless they are new cutting edge technology that people don’t have. The only way Circuit City makes money is by selling over priced accessories and worthless extended warranties. If you just want to buy something without accessories or a warranty, the sales person would rather not sell you anything. If the salesperson doesn’t sell enough accessories and warranties, they will be fired.

  85. egosub2 says:

    Gotta say, the buy-online-pick-up-in-store option has been really convenient for me. Due to an everlasting grudge against Best Buy, CC has been my electronics retailer of choice for a while, and I have no complaints.

  86. Chairman-Meow says:

    Once again a shining example of pandering to the “stockholders” instead of the customers.

    Let’s see, whats the total so far ?

    Circuit City
    Home Depot

  87. EricStein says:

    Just got word today (Wed. Jan. 9) via internal DPS E-mail system that CEO Phil Schoonover will be stepping down effective Thurs. Jan. 31, 2008. Apparently his resignation was called for at a recent board meeting after stockholders hounded the board to find a replacement. The memo also says interim CEO will be George D. (Danny) Clark, Jr. (Executive Vice President, Multi-Channel Sales) until a replacement for Schoonover is found. A press release will most likely follow in the next few days

    Mikael Salovaara, the lead Board Director, was the first to call for Schoonover’s resignation. With his background at Goldman, Sachs he most likely isn’t buying into Schoonover’s transitioning plans.

    Although the change is needed, this probably means bad news for the company because the road to recovery is a long and treacherous one for electronics retailers. Tweeter and CompUSA are the perfect examples and unfortunately Circuit City may not be far behind.

  88. management says:

    You all got this all wrong, bonuses and incentives are only for management not for the “looser” hourly employees. Circuit City needs more bad ideas so this is why retaining its current corporate upper management is important. Making sure that the upper management get as much bonuses and incentives preferably in cash from the company before it goes under is the ultimate goal.

    cc mgmt

  89. SJames6621 says:

    You’re right – a friend of mine who works there says they really don’t give a s#!t at CC, since they have seen so many of their friends receive the threaded fastener treatment. And the atmosphere is one of run this way, run that way, and it changes every few days. Obvious the top dogs haven’t the foggiest notion of what to do, so what can the poor shmucks on the floor accomplish. CC mgt has gone from bad to worse with the recent changes, but don’t worry about the top dogs- they gave the previous CEO failure millions to retire.

    Here’s a couple other items of interest

    1: When you buy one of those socalled extended warranty’s do you realize that over half of your money is pure profit for the store, while another 25% goes to an administrative agency. Only one quarter, yes one quarter of your money actually goes toward the shops that fix the products or replace them. YOU ARE BETTING AGAINST YOURSELF 4 TO 1.

    2. Extended warranty’s on computers only cover hardware. Many CC (and maybe BB also – not sure) will charge you, despite the warranty, $100 to $200 to just look at your computer. They claim the money is for getting rid of viruses etc, and if software is not the problem they will return it. I am told that is a fat chance statement, because there is hardly any pc in the world that doesn’t have some infection, and there is desperation level corportate pressure to bring in $$ from their service business. So the warranty insurance is not only a bad deal economically, but one can at least ask the question – is the charge a scam, given the cost despite the warranty for even looking at a pc with problems?

    As for small stuff like cameras, that biz is basically a throwaway product- if it fails, buy another.

    As for the big stuff like largescreen TVs – you buy one of those multi-thousand $$ jobs expecting it to last you 10 years or more. The warranty’s are only for 4 years max. give me a break, and most likely the mfr warranty covers the tv for a year anyway. The usual situation re electronics is either the problems show up real early because of manufacturing or design problems, and then 5-15 years out there are, from what I’ve read – I don’t know a lot here but my experience seems to agree – wearout mechanism, but of course the warranty has long since expired.

    Let the buyer beware.

  90. Anonymous says:

    Actually, I’m kinda sad to see C-C go under the waterline but before you judge, let me first explain.

    I found that I could price barter with the store manager on a few large ticket items that I’ve purchased from them over the past few years. About a year ago, bartered with them on a 46″ Vizio flat screen – got the unit with a modest HDMI cable for right over $1000.00 w/ tax. Compared to WalMart, Costco, and B-B I saved about $100.00 not even considering the HDMI cable that was my guess $30.00. Just purchased a Toshiba 46″ with lots of goodies on it – same deal – but saved over $200.00 against others selling the same unit in the DC area. Also, you can find great deals on items via the Internet but sometimes the freight offsets the savings – esp. with large items like flat screens. I also found that in most cases, the staff was nice – at least at the store that I dealt with. Best Buy is dirty – yes their prices are good – but NEVER use your credit card there. About 3 years ago, they hired Accenture to help them get their business back on track – Accenture is the same company that was responsible for Enron under the name Arthur Anderson.