Really Annoying Circuit City Trip Results In Lost Time And Rebate

Chris writes:

Subject: Store # 3160 – Problem at Checkout

To whom it may concern,

I have just returned from a disappointing and offensive stint at the checkout counter this evening at the Circuit City in Albany NY. I would like to point out that I am a frequent customer, and have made several large purchases, including a HDTV and laptop, including my more frequent visits for DVDs, etc. Tonight, I stopped in for a 50 foot phone cord. I could’ve gone to the Walmart next door, but I also wanted to check out the selection of cordless phones, specifically the Uniden DECT phones.

I found my cord, at a price of $9.99, which would’ve been a bit less expensive at Walmart, but I was running late for dinner. I was pleased to find the Uniden phone I wanted, with a $10 rebate to boot. Along with this, I swept past the PC games and picked up Age of Empires. Why so much detail? Let me continue…

I went to checkout. And this is where the problems and my lengthy checkout story begins.

The young lady at check out was obviously new, but there were no other registers open. She was struggling with the customer in front of me for a few minutes, calling out across the store for assistance, using the phone to call for unanswered help, before someone finally wandered over to help.

When it was my turn, the phone cord, already price higher than I wanted to spend for standard cord, rang up at $11.99. I pointed out that it was $9.99 on the tag back in the phone section.

The check out person asked for assistance from an older gentlemen, to check the price. He went back into the phone section… and we waited. The line started to grow.

The gentlemen returned, and said he couldn’t find anything labeled $9.99 in the back, and asked me to leave the line and point it out. So, I left my place in line and went to help.

At the phone section, I pointed out the $9.99 price for 50 feet of phone cord.

“Oh, that’s for the thin cord,” he said.

I pointed out where the cord was… and where the thin cord was actually located. And, that the 100 foot cord was actually priced at $11.99.

That was also wrong. Actually, all the GE phone cord seemed to be in the wrong place in the rack. As I was running late, and no longer had time to go to Walmart next door, I decided to just buy the cord as is.

I went back to the line which had grown at the single register that was open. When I finally made it to the second spot in line, the person in front of me had issues with their checkout. So, we waited. The line behind me grew.

Eventually, a person was called over to assist the checker with the issue. Then, this new person, a presumed to be a manager, said to the line, “Next over here…” The people behind me scattered to the newly opened register. Really, this new person could have said to me, the next person in line, “Sir, you can come over here…” But, no.

The person in front of me finally completed their purchase, and it was my turn. The pricey phone cord went through. So did my phone. Then, it came time to ring in my game.




The checker was trying to scan in the bar code from the top of the game case, where the plastic seal was crimped. Boop.

Meanwhile, on the front of the case was the clearly labeled price, with a bar code under it.


She asked the new checker, who I had presumed to be a manager, for assistance.



Boop. Boop. Boop.

It wasn’t ringing in. Come on now, this is Age of Empires, a Microsoft game. This should be in the system.

The presumed manager attempted to enter the UPC code manually. And failed. She tried again. Failed.

Then, she called over a new person. Another manager? A real manager?

Three people were now trying to check me out. The young man this time put in the UPC code, with the letters “UPC” in front of it.

“Don’t you know how to do this?” he asked the ladies.


Sigh. He left, and the original young lady booped in the rest of my purchases. The total came to $180.32. I handed over two $100 bills.

No, the troubles were not over.

She entered my payment into the system. The computer wanted my phone number.

“I don’t give my phone number,” I said. “Thanks”

She asked the young man for help. “He doesn’t want to give his phone number… what do I do?”

He looked at the screen – she had typed in only $100 paid. He corrected it to $200, and asked for my phone number.

“I’m paying cash – why do I need to give a phone number?” I said. The line of people behind me were agreeing with me also.

“Your purchase is over $100, so we need your phone number.” he said.

“I don’t give my phone number.” I said.

He entered a phone number into the system.

“Your name is Edgardo Diaz, is that okay?”

“Fine.” Little did I know this would come back to haunt me… and the lengthy receipt spit out of the register.

At the car, I had sneakying suspicion. Remember the Rebate offer for my phone? That’s right, apparently Edgardo Diaz from Caguas, PR (Puerto Rico?) is going to get my $10. Had I KNOWN or BEEN INFORMED that my number was needed for the rebate form, I would have given it. But, no, I was told it was because my purchase was over $100.

I think you can understand why, after arriving late to dinner, I’m still irritated by this fiasco. And, why I’m going to think twice before heading back to Circuit City for my next purchase. With Walmart next door, and Best Buy across the street, it isn’t too difficult to be swayed.

I would hope that crossing out Mr. Diaz’s info on the rebate form isn’t going to void my rebate, and my $10 comes to me. I hope you can rectify this situation, and look into the service issues at this store.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

C D (not Edgardo Diaz)

(name removed)

Purchase info:
Store # 3160, Albany NY
December 1, 2007
Ticket: 316002031017″

Guess that’s what happens when you fire everyone who knew what they were doing. Hey, it worked wonders for Home Depot, why not try it with home electronics?

(Photo: Larry Tomlinson)


Edit Your Comment

  1. saltmine says:

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz $10 zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  2. Soldmysoul says:

    Why do people always mention that “i’ve made several large purchases here?” Apparently they think this entitles them to special privilages that the normal customer shouldn’t get. I agree your experience sucked but just remember so matter how much you spend at that store, there is always someone spending more, stop trying to use your purchases for leverage.

  3. swissdietcoke says:


    exactly!! I will not worship you because you bought a tv from my store! and give your damn phone number out, they don’t use it for any marketing…they aren’t allowed to anymore.

  4. B says:

    A cordless phone costs $125? I’m intrigued by the idea that you can just give your phone number to get a refund, though. Well, Edgar from Peutro Rico gets the refund, at least.

  5. madanthony says:

    I had a similar experience with not giving my phone number and having the rebates auto-fill with the cashier’s info (she put in her phone number instead). I whited it out, sent them in, and got all my rebates back.

    But now I always give my phone number if I’m buying something with a rebate.

  6. B says:

    @swissdietcoke: How do you know? Nobody told him the phone number wouldn’t be used for marketing. I know they used to use phone numbers for identifying extended warranties.

  7. Beerad says:

    @Soldmysoul: Except that if I’m the store manager, and I know you’ve dropped $5k in my store in the last year, and presumably you will frequent my store for future large-ticket items, I’ll be more inclined to listen to you.

    Compare that to: “Look, I never-ever shop at your store, and it’s a complete random chance that I stopped in to get something that cost ten bucks and there was this problem with the purchase, can you fix that for me?” Who do you think the store is more likely to care about helping?

  8. StinkyCat says:

    As a general rule, I find it tough to get taken seriously in correspondence with more than 7 “Boop”s in the body.

  9. ThomFabian says:

    But, your purchases *ARE* really the only leverage you have as a consumer.

    The money you are likely to spend there in the future (which can somewhat be reflected by money you’ve spent there in the past) should certainly be considered by the store when they read your complaint.

    They exist to make money, and they have to consider how much money you are likely to bring in when they determine how far to go to make/keep you happy.

  10. swissdietcoke says:

    @B: its there as a convenience feature, and to track your purchases if you lose your receipt. The cashier has no choice but to enter a false number if you decline.

  11. zibby says:

    Muchos Gracias for the 10 pesos, senor!

    In appreciation,

    Edgardo Diaz

  12. ldavis480 says:

    I see nothing wrong with mentioning that you’re a repeat customer. This is a business negotiation and letting them know that losing repeat business seems like a good tactic to me. My two cents.

    I personally boycott both Best Buy and Circuit City so I guess I never need to worry about this issue bothering me.

  13. Geekybiker says:

    You have much more patience than I. I would have just left after coming back to the huge line.

  14. mac-phisto says:

    @Soldmysoul: perhaps he shouldn’t have gone into such detail, but i think “long time customer” is pertinent to a complaint letter…as long as you relate clearly that the service has gotten noticeably worse over time.

    regrettably, he gave the information necessary to have the poor girl (that was probably working her first day w/ zero register training) fired. falsifying company records (by volunteering a fake phone #) is a big no-no.

  15. bigsss says:

    I agree with soldmysoul. Customers think they have the right to special privileges if they spend more. I have the same situation. I work at a large home center (with the orange letters). You wouldn’t believe how many people tell me how much they spend at the store monthly. If what the customers are saying, then the stock should be $100 per share. My money is just as good as the next person and the same privileges should be across the board.

  16. swissdietcoke says:

    @mac-phisto: They have no choice but to enter generic customer information. This is SOP at most retail stores.

  17. goodcow says:

    Why people shop retail is beyond me. Amazon + Amazon Prime = all I need for non-perishables. 527 orders last year, and I don’t have to deal with this kind of crap.

  18. stephenjames716 says:

    yea, the “several large purchases” thing doesn’t really hold up anymore. maybe back in the day with mom and pop style electronic stores would that complaint merit any extra attention, but definitely not with these big box stores.

  19. DallasDMD says:

    @bigsss: I’d be pissed if a store spat on my face after being a loyal customer. So yes, I think being a loyal customer should earn you special attention and consideration.

    I don’t know how you form this idea that the person spending $5 on a non-regular basis would be equivalent to the person spending $100 on a weekly basis is.

  20. iEddie says:

    Ever thought that maybe that was the cashier’s phone number? Or at least a friend of the cashier. (If it was the cashier, then the cashier could have moved here for a few months, which would be why they still have a PR phone number.)

  21. JPropaganda says:



    @Soldmysoul: He doesn’t want special privileges. He wants a rebate.

  22. The Stork says:

    If the rebate is still available on the item, customer service can return the sale to a gift card, re-ring it on a ticket and get you a corrected rebate form. I don’t know if it’s worth the trouble and the dealings with CC again for $10, but as long as the rebate is still active they can help you – since it’s not a credit card sale, they can even do it over the phone and mail you the new receipt and rebate form. I did that several times.

  23. ncboxer says:

    I don’t think how much you spend in a store has much difference. Maybe it would in some stores, like local mom-and-pops, but not most big chains. Best Buy and Circuit City do this type of crap all the time and people almost always say how much they spend a the store and how they will never shop there again. Guess what? The big stores could care less. They know you only have limited options if you want to buy something in store. People have been complaining about BB and CC for years and nothing has changed- that shows they don’t give a damn. I know when I worked at BB, we were taught to not give a damn (especially if you didn’t buy the worthless service plan).

    Guess what? I still shop at BB and CC and all the other crappy stores. Know why? I expect to receive bad or no service when I go in. That leaves me less disappointed when the bad service actual comes true. I do research before I step foot into the store because I know the people that worked there aren’t experts (I know when I worked there I knew some stuff and faked the rest).

  24. The Stork says:

    @mac-phisto: “regrettably, he gave the information necessary to have the poor girl (that was probably working her first day w/ zero register training) fired. falsifying company records (by volunteering a fake phone #) is a big no-no.”

    Circuit City’s system requires that all sales equal to or greater than $100 have a phone number entered, and if a customer refused theirs I would put in the store number to make both our lives easier. Actually, first I would let them know that it’s to track receipts if they lose theirs and that the company doesn’t sell the information externally, but if they still refused after my quick explanation I moved on. Unless, of course, there was a rebate attached, like here, in which case I explained that first.

    If the item was under $100 I usually didn’t ask; someone buying a $25 antenna or $15 cable doesn’t need to be hassled.

    Funny story about that: our store director was contacted by a customer who received a call from the FBI regarding a laptop he’d “purchased.” Apparently some drug dealer had bought it at our store and refused to give a number, so the salesman used the store phone and for some reason this guy’s name and address was the first (of many) listed under the number. Somehow they traced something back to him, and though they realized the mistake we still got a heated call from the guy. The store director immediately went into the system and added a customer under our store phone by the name of “AAAAAA AAAAAAAAAA” to prevent further toss ups.

  25. Bay State Darren says:

    Not that this guy doesn’t have a valid coplaint, but how is it this quite frankly dull story got selected for posting? I’m wondering this because I e-mailed my tale of consumer woe [which was far more enthralling] with the local transit authority to all three editors this past fall [October, IIRC] and got nothing out of it, not even a reply. [Said transit authority also did not respond, BTW.]

  26. The Stork says:

    @mac-phisto: I forgot to clarify that it was store policy – not written SOP, but unofficial – to put the store number in when a customer refuses. No one, especially a new employee, would have to worry about consequences from this.

  27. quagmire0 says:

    Ugh. 1. Don’t be so smug and paranoid about giving your phone number out. That’s what called id is for. I would think that if you were in such a hurry, and already late for dinner, you’d just succumb and be done with it. 2. If you were smart enough to know that there was a barcode on the front…why didn’t you SAY SOMETHING TO THE (ALREADY CORRECTLY DIAGNOSED) NEW/IGNORANT CASHIER? 3. Threatening to go to Walmart was a good choice, threatening to go to Best Buy makes me question your intelligence. :D

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

    You can use white-out. Sometimes people give their phone numbers, I ask their address and they say it’s correct. I tender the sale, they look at the receipt and lo and behold “My address is wrong!” and they look at me accusingly. Uggggh.

    Anyway, if you didn’t tell the three people that were helping you that there was a rebate on the phone, then amazingly enough we can’t memorize every single item that has a rebate, especially for cordless phones which aren’t all that popular.

    And all purchases over $100 will ask for a phone number. If you don’t want to give it and you lose your receipt that’s your problem if you can’t remember the fake one you gave us and you paid cash. No receipt = no return.

    And unfortunately sometimes items are entered wrong into the system and UPC codes change. So I know Underworld Evolution doesn’t ring up. I also know that Antec external hard drives don’t ring up.

    And I really don’t care how much you spent in any store.

  29. dream-king says:

    “Customers think they have the right to special privileges…”

    Heh, I love how “special privileges”, when used in the context of wanting NORMAL service, sounds a lot like “special rights” used in context of wanting civil rights.

  30. MMD says:

    The letter writer had every right not to give his phone number. He also has every right to get the rebate. It continually amazes me how anti-consumer the comments on Consumerist can be!

    As for mentioning big ticket purchases in the letter – that adds weight. The store’s incompetence has potentially cost them thousands of dollars in sales if the letter writer follows through and stops shopping there. Maybe – just maybe – measures will be taken to fix the problems in the store? One can dream…

  31. AndyAgent87 says:

    For some strange reason I thought this was a pro-consumer website.

    “special privileges”???

    wake up guys

  32. hellokarinakitty says:

    @Soldmysoul: I used to work in customer service at a circuit city; if someone comes in with an issue the first thing we do is look up previous purchases by their phone number, and dependent on how much you’ve spent in the past is how we are going to treat you at the service desk. A manager specifically said to me once, “If they haven’t spent more than $1,000 here then let them get mad, we don’t need their business anyway.” This was four years ago, but i doubt things have changed.

  33. Dude, I hate to say it, but you should have gone to Wal-Mart. If you’re gonna get screwed, at least get the cheap price while they’re frakking with you.

  34. youwantedahero says:

    @swissdietcoke: I think that’s probably untrue… I used to work at the Limited, and we could just enter “000” if someone wouldn’t want to give out their phone number… but I don’t know at Circuit City, but I’m sure there is some way to circumnavigate this.

  35. The Stork says:

    @youwantedahero: Over $100, you have to enter a phone number. No shortcut. Not saying it’s right, just that this is how the system was designed.

  36. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @quagmire0: Anyway, if you didn’t tell the three people that were helping you that there was a rebate on the phone, then amazingly enough we can’t memorize every single item that has a rebate, especially for cordless phones which aren’t all that popular.

    If only there were some device that could store information like prices and rebates and then display that information to the cashier during checkout. That would be really helpful to your poor overtaxed memory, I bet.

  37. kingoftheroad40 says:

    The only time I ever shopped @ C.C. or best buy i found I was bothering the employees, are they not there for helping customers ?
    most rebates are stupid just give me the $10 off at the register, or shelf price. I don’t want to wait for my money rebates just turn me off of buying a product because I look at what I have to spend now.
    I would be just as angry as he was did the alarm go off when he left i wonder???

  38. Dibbler says:

    @AndyAgent87: I think sometimes these letters just sound whinny and the person comes across as causing most of the problems themselves. If you already know the phone cord was cheaper at Walmart then go buy it there. Your not going to make or break CC just because you bought the cord there. Also, you know the person behind the counter is new and the line runs on forever and the mean manager didn’t pick you to go next and the rude meanie behind you stole your spot in line and on and on and on… The person obviously didn’t need any of this stuff right at that moment since they had a dinner date or something. I disliked the person after reading that long drawn out letter.

  39. KarmaChameleon says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought about that. Since when is not being scammed out of a rebate, even if it’s ten dollars, a “special privilege”?

    I think the point is not that loyal customers who spend more money are not entitled to better service than Joe Blow off the street who runs in for batteries. It’s that every consumer deserves good customer service. With all due respect to Chase and its bullshit categorizing, there shouldn’t be “tiers” based on what you spend or how often you shop–everyone should be treated with the same respect and courtesy.

    I can’t believe I’m quoting Cutler fucking Beckett, but it’s just good business.

  40. ShadowFalls says:

    Just cross out the info and put in your own, I have done it before it works. As long as you have the UPC and receipt that is all that matters.

    You do need to understand, when you fire all the people who know how stuff works, there is no one to show the people how to do it.

  41. LoLoAGoGo says:

    Sprint does that too. If you are not the name on the account, you don’t get a refund if you return a phone and paid by cash OR checl. The person whose name is on the account gets the refund. Pretty shesty if you’re on a multi-line plan.

  42. DeeJayQueue says:

    It’s amazing how many people have contrary opinions just for the sake of having contrary opinions.

    -You should never ever be obligated to give out personal details in order to buy something with cash. If their “system” is messed up then that’s their fault for putting such a complicated “system” between their customers wallets and their cash boxes. All it has to do is open and compute change. Don’t shop there.

    -While it’s tough to convince the manager (not owner anymore) of a big box store that your monthly large sums will be lost becuase of bad service over the din of nickels and dimes in his ears, it doesn’t go completely unnoticed. The problem is that in the old days when people actually owned their places of business, they were more directly connected with their customers. Now, the manager doesn’t really care on a visceral level with how many people shop in the store, or if they’re happy individually, if they’ve had a good time or will come back. He cares about it because he’ll get chewed out by his DM if the numbers aren’t right, but that’s a poor incentive to act like a human to his customers.

    Ultimately, it’s not about trying to make a business change their ways or fail completely, it’s about making informed decisions and being objective about where you shop and from whom you buy. You can’t go into a store 12 times and every time complain bitterly about how they ask for the same information that you don’t want to give, or that they always screw up your order at the starbucks, or that you never get all your food at the drive through. They’re not going to change because of you, or the person behind you, or the person behind them. It takes thousands of people over a huge geographic area complaining about the same exact thing to effect any sort of material change. The best you can do is say “Well, I won’t go into that store for a while, because they conduct business in a way that I’m not happy with.” Maybe they never change their policy, but who cares? You won’t be shopping there anymore anyway. Put on your big boy pants and move on with your life.

    If a store treats you poorly you’ve got 2 options:

    -Don’t shop there anymore (possibly return what you’ve already bought, for emphasis).

    -Keep shopping there, but realize that you’ve lowered your standards and thereby lost your right to complain about the shitty service ever again.

  43. l0stn0tfound says:

    Funny, did you even bother elevating the issue to store management before you wrote this horrible diatribe? Sounds like you’re trying to stir up unnecessary drama. Hey look you got on Consumerist! Aren’t you awesome!

    Not to mention, have you ever been new at a job before? The cashier obviously was brand new at her job. Retail is retail, and you will always have people that are new.

  44. joemono says:

    I find it mildly amusing that this guy was buying a 50 foot phone cord and a cordless phone.

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

    @Tinybug “If only there were some device that could store information like prices and rebates and then display that information to the cashier during checkout. That would be really helpful to your poor overtaxed memory, I bet.”

    With the new system Circuit City uses there’s no way to show if an item has a rebate.

    And I’m assuming that you are capable of memorizing hundreds of items at different prices with different rebates (sometimes more than one per item) that changes every week, or you wouldn’t be making fun of my memory.

  46. DallasDMD says:

    @Dibbler: Blame the consumer for CC’s incompetence? Priceless.

  47. jmschn says:

    LoL $10 earned or lost buddy? All that time you burned standing there in line to get a $10 wait, less postage and any other addendums to drive that far down $10…not worth it lol

    and for people who say that they deserve respect because they are loyal customers..uh no. unless you can tell me you shop at 1 market for groceries, 1 establishment for other items, 1 gas station for gas, 1 restaurant for food..there’s no loyalty..if you are seriously doing that to this day, you must have a lot of money to price comparison, no price shopping..i would give you the Bold Person of the Year Award. In any case, who really remembers who went to the store and bought thousands of items..turnover is so high in retail, you’ll be lucky to see the same manager the next year!

    White out the receipt, return the item..whatever you want to do to get your $10 and move along. nothing to see here.

  48. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @saltmine: ZZZZZZZ He was entitled to get his advertized rebate. ZZZZZZZZZZZ

  49. Parting says:

    Just do what I do, give them local IRS phone number. If they will use it for telemarketing, they’ll be surprised.

    For the rebate, just white-out wrong info, and put yours.

  50. Cyfun says:

    If I were one of the cute blonde cashiers at my local store, I would not get in the habit of putting my name, phone number, and possibly address on the receipts of my customers, who are primarily a bunch of creepy, lonely geeks. :)

  51. rachaeljean says:

    I hope they go out of business. Soon.

  52. PaperBoy says:

    Interesting. All the people who work in retail posting here think loyal, repeat customers who spend lots of money at the store don’t deserve to be treated well and, more amazingly,actually resent that the customers point this out. Worse, if you object to bad service, poorly marked merchandise, mis-stock shelves and the total waste of your time, then you are just a big snob demanding “special” treatment.

    You know what? When I complain, don’t argue. Acknowledge that your store fucked up and don’t take it personally; I’m telling you because I think you can help and assume that the people who work in the store want the customers to be happy (or at least less pissed off). Apologize, try to fix it, or at least write it down and pass it up the chain with a comment like, “The customers are complaining when … “

    If you can’t do that gladly, either because you’re too stupid or your store/chain management is too stupid to allow it, then quit.

  53. donor says:

    @zibby: Edgardo ‘Zibby’ Diaz. You got hosed too, 10 pesos is US$0.92.

  54. tk427 says:

    Really Annoying Circuit City Letter Results In Lost Time And Attention

  55. ianmac47 says:

    I never give out my phone number to retail stores. I also never buy things with rebates and ever expect to get the rebates back. On the few occasions that someone insists on getting a phone number, I give them my office line. Maybe that’s why we keep getting all these automated spam calls at work…

  56. Munsoned says:

    Whenever I’m asked for my phone number when checking out somewhere, I simply reply that it’s unlisted. If that information is needed to get the $10 rebate, I’d personally prefer to keep my number away from CC/the phone manufacturer.

    Wasn’t there a post/thread recently about the value of your time? I personally use that theory with the value of my personal information. $10 does not meet that threshold. Same theory applies to companies that want me to fill out/respond to their marketing polls–I don’t give out my opinions for free either. Time = money.

  57. flyboy37 says:

    Reminds me of my old Radio Shack days in college years ago, if someone even bought 1 battery we had to have their entire personal biography on the receipt. Many customers refused, and we were told by a district manager that either we had the info or no sale. We all know what they did with the info, just sent out more catalogs!

  58. VulcanusDI says:

    I’m calling shenanigans. If he did buy a lot of stuff there, he would’ve known they needed his phone number for a purchase over $100. Unless you know of a HDTV and a laptop that, with tax, will be under $100.

    Scenario: If he had lost the receipt when trying to return it, how would he tell them he bought it there? That’s the main reason the cashiers need the phone number; to record purchases by people, and in case they lose the receipt to verify that they did purchase it there. But of course whenever someone asks for their phone number, they are like “OMG YOU IDENTITY STEALER.” I’ve been happily shopping at Circuit City for years now, have had wonderful experiences, and never once have I received a phone call from them, or from someone that I suspect the company gave it out to.

  59. B says:

    @swissdietcoke: I know why a retailer would think that’s a good idea, but these systems need a way to decline without entering false information. Same thing with the zip code some stores ask for.

  60. VulcanusDI says:

    @PaperBoy: The company should treat all customers with respect; if they spend $1 million, or $0.01. Why should a person buy respect from a company?

  61. hypebreaker says:

    @jmschn: Oh, I get it. JMSCHN stands for JustMakingStupidCommentsHereNow, right?

    I’m all for a difference of opinions but when you pepper your ridiculous rant with lame text-speak and crappy grammar, who could possibly take what you have to say seriously?

    It’s precisely your kind of attitude that allows big box stores to rule the planet – you don’t care what the overall cost of your purchase is, just so long as you get it for the cheapest price.

    I am very loyal to certain vendors and I’m don’t have a “lot of money to blow”. But I’d rather pay an extra buck or two for something if it means the store is going to take responsibility for the product they sell and treat me like a customer who deserves respect and appreciation.

    So what if the guy’s letter is long or if he spent more than 10 bucks of his time complaining about the situation? It’s the principle that matters and last time I checked, is still a site where people can share their experiences as consumers, experiences, which, no thanks to much of our corporate culture today, are almost always an arduous exercise in time-wasting and shoddy customer service.

  62. Sorshha says:

    I hope he also found out that you can print those rebate forms from Circuit city’s website… and then you can simply fill in your own information…..

  63. SaraAB87 says:

    This describes the typical CC shopping experience to a tee!

  64. ExtraCelestial says:

    that mustve been one heck of a dinner

  65. Anonymous says:

    Ok, Consumerista’s, lets get one thing straight. When you whine about a story, I want to stab you. Why? This blog’s #1 purpose is not to entertain you. Nope! As far as I’m concerned this blog is an outlet for consumers to raise the increasing issue of shitty customer service. So you, @saltmine, shut the fuck up.

    Realize that its not about anything but the PRINCIPAL of the issue. Did a company charge you 40 cents to send you spam in the mail? Guess what. IT MATTERS. So dont sit there and go “so what its 40 cents”. Realize that if we sit around and go “oh you know what, its not that much money, I dont care” corporations are going to escalate their thieving.

    Also realize that when someone writes into Consumerist detailing that they’ve bought an HDTV, this isnt to impress you, the reader. No @Soldmysoul/Swissdietcoke, its to prove to the store that they make a substantial PROFIT off of you.

    It is pure LOGIC. You might not care if I’m a one time customer buying a phone cord you’re only going to make $5 off of but you’re sure as fuck going to care if you made $400 on me from an HDTV purchase.

    The author is establishing his WORTH as a customer.

    And just because some higher up at a store says “You know what, cash is suspicious, no one uses cash, and everyone should further themselves into consumer debt by using credit cards” doesnt mean I should have to give you my phone number (YAY TELEMARKETERS) to you when I use my preferred LEGAL TENDER.

    You all should be so lucky to have the Consumerist because it has resulted in a lot of action by these companies who think they can screw us over and laugh in our faces.

    So in short, GET OVER YOURSELVES.

  66. HOP says:

    what’s the gripe with being a good customer????back in the dark ages when you frequented a store and was a steady customer the service was pretty good…now the stores change help so often that you don’t get to know or be recognized by the sales people…..anyway now they can check the computer to list your prior purchases….i haven’t had any bad experiences with cc…..yet….

  67. Former Circuit City employee here. Looks like some others are familiar with the register system, but let me throw in my two cents as well.

    Indeed, the register system does require customer information to be entered if a total purchase exceeds $100. There are various reasons for this. The primary ones are for direct marketing and the ability to retrieve customer info in the event that a receipt is lost.

    Now, if the purchase exceeds $100 and the customer gives their information, and the purchase has a rebate, the information associated with the ticket will get automatically entered onto the rebate forms. Many people who have worked for Circuit City a long time don’t even seem to know this.

    Another thing a lot of long-timers don’t know is that when entering customer info into the register at checkout time, you don’t actually have to enter all the customer’s information. True, there is simply no way to skip entering customer info if the customer declines. That is a really badly-designed system if you ask me. Truth is, though, that if the cashier just enters your name, phone number, and zip code, it’s enough to get by. When the cashier does this and tries to proceed, they will be presented with an error saying that the address is incorrect. The POS system kicks the cashier back to the address entry, but if the cashier doesn’t change anything and tries to advance a second time, you’ll get through.

    Of course, this only helps the customer if their full information is not already in the database. If it is, then just giving the phone number will pull up all the information on that customer that is in the database.

    NOW… it is entirely possible at certain stores to change the information contained in the database on a customer. This is done through a system called CSIS. Any Circuit City employee who’s worked there for more than two weeks probably knows how to access this and can go in and change the information associated with a certain receipt or a certain customer. Again, even though most CC employees will know how to access CSIS, not many of them will know how to change this info… so you may just be screwed as far as that goes.

    Other than Wite-Out, of course…

  68. ObtuseGoose says:

    I’m still not sure why they are asking for a phone number when you make a cash transaction. That sounds highly illegal. They should determine if the $100 bills are counterfeit or not at the time of the sale. Call over the manager if necessary. If they are unable to do that, they shouldn’t accept $100 bills.

    If this had happen to me at Circuit City, I would never shop there again. (Not that I do now.)

  69. rsg2003 says:

    he paid more than $100 for a phone and he’s trifling over a $10 rebate? Come one. First off, look at the rebate form before leaving the store. 2nd, if you don’t want to do that, go online and print out the damn form in all of its blank glory. Next, if you were pressed for time, you would’ve gone to walmart.

  70. hypebreaker says:

    @rsg2003: Please see the comments above by “Guinness” for a little edumacation. Guinness for President!

  71. Carrnage says:

    Is it just me, or is there always someone within the first few comments on “The Consumerist” that seems to be a corporate sympathizer…..

    ….just sayin’….

  72. Xerloq says:

    @swissdietcoke: Unless I’m mistaken, purchasing something at a store constitutes entering into a ‘business relationship,’ which exempts them from the do not call restrictions, so they can market away. The just cant sell your number.

    Just get a Grand Central Number. Both problems solved.

    @zibby: The dollar hasn’t lost that much value.

  73. gregr209 says:

    I don’t get why it takes so long for these stores to open other registers to help paying customers. Aren’t paying customers what keep the doors open? I hate standing in long lines at these places while someone who doesn’t know how to use the register tries and figures it out. Arghhhhh!

  74. yg17 says:

    Nobody in Puerto Rico is getting your rebate. They just take your phone number to fill out the rebate form automatically for you, you still need to send it in with the UPC. You can either white it out, or print off a new copy of the rebate form from their website. I had to do that before when they printed my home address on the rebate form but I wanted it to go to my college address. No big deal, sent in a new copy of the form, got my rebate.

    The phone cord, I’ll give you. They screwed up. But the problem with the game not being in the system? Crap happens. Humans enter that info, and nobody’s perfect, thus, their SKU database won’t be perfect. It happened a million times when I was working at Target. It’s not anything I would hold against them.

  75. jarchie219 says:

    I visited CC once about five years ago. I selected a camera and found that the price on the shelf was wrong. I left the item on the counter and walked out. I haven’t been there since.

    If a merchant can’t keep his computer and stocking system in phase I don’t want to deal with them.

  76. newspapersaredead says:

    This website is here for a reason. If you are a regular reader of this site, why would you even be shopping at Circuit City? I’m assuming whoever submitted this issue must be a regular reader or how else would have they known to send it here. Stop going to Circuit City! Stop going to Best Buy! I’ve seen so many articles about them it will be years before I even think of buying anything there. They do serve a useful browsing purpose and then ordering the merchandise online. Then we can start ranting about the various online retailers for a change of pace at least.

  77. joellevand says:

    @Bay State Darren: Hey, last July, my bank stranded me on vacation w/o access to *ANY* funds because “we don’t do business in Las Vegas”–a policy published *no where* and for which they couldn’t give me a valid start date for the new policy. (First, I was told ‘all along, which was untrue as I frequently travel there. Then they told me a year ago — also untrue as I’d been there more recently…repeat with 6 months, 3 months, last month…all of which I proved were untrue), and I did battle with all sorts of corporate bank BS, were refused refunds for wire transfers I was promised I’d receive for the inconvenience. I emailed the editors here and Consumerist *still* didn’t post my complaint, so…

    …I think they select emails out of a hat, personally.

  78. KogeLiz says:

    Who cares?
    Everyone has dealt with new cashiers and items that can’t be scanned.

    And whatever, just think that Mr. Diaz will probably be happy that he gets a $10.00 rebate.

  79. SuffolkHouse says:

    Sorry, you are just part of the churn, bubs. Someone at Wal-Mart most certainly had a bad experience today and swore to some uncaring and underpaid rounder that he would go to Circuit City next time he needed an X or a Y.

  80. SaraAB87 says:

    I really don’t think I am going to be shopping at these stores either for anything significant especially after reading all the articles on here. If a big appliance is needed we usually hit a local shop, because Best buy and CC are about 45 min away and returning something to a store that far away is very inconvienient. I do occasionally go to CC for clearance video games but that is all I go to CC for and this amounts to about one purchase a year for me.

  81. Buran says:

    @flyboy37: … and you get to see me drop everything on the counter and my backside as I walk out the door after telling you to stay out of my business. I’m sure lots of other people also did the same which is why that business is dying.

  82. Ray308win says:

    Circuit City only uses the telephone numbers they take from you for their database so they can look up your purchases… thats why it’s “$100+”, so they can make sure your larger purchases can be found if there’s a problem… Rebates can be reprinted from their website and even filled out and printed filled-out as well… Everyone has problems with mis-tags and new cashiers, especially around the holiday season.

  83. formated4tv says:

    This story is amusing to me for two reasons (and yes I do feel bad for the person who went through this today.)

    A) I worked at CCity for a long time, and at every store I’ve been at or worked in, the customer service associates always seem to somehow be the dumbest in the store.

    B) I was shopping in the store I used to work at tonight, and a customer was going through this same exact issue in the store. He actually called the police to have it straightened out, because he was never told why they needed his number, and the person who rang him out just put in a random phone number, which equals a random name/address for a rebate.

  84. jonc20 says:

    this made me laugh.

  85. caveat30 says:

    @PaperBoy: Just to throw my 2 cents in on this, as somebody who works retail now and for too long- resenting the “i spend lots of money here” people has nothing to do thinking the customer doesn’t deserve to be treated well. In fact, as a point of emphasis- 999 out of the 1000 times I hear that it is when a customer is convinced their spending literally makes them a more important customer than the next guy. Every single customer wants to be treated the same until they want something extra or for free, then that line comes out. Everyone is entitled to good service, nobody is entitled to be an a$$hat for any reason.

    Admittedly- in the company I work for (rhymes with maples) I have decided that about 85% of the other people are idiots, but sadly the customers are by far worse these days. Telling me you bought a printer 3 years ago and demanding to know why I don’t carry it anymore so that you can see which ink it takes, not telling the cashier you’re tax exempt until after the transaction is over and then blowing up when you neither have the status set up nor have your letter (we must be psychic), and my personal favorite, coming in on the last day of a while supplies last sale and claiming something is bait and switch because we are out of stock. I could go on for days, literally.

    If an associate won’t or can’t fix something for you, take it up the ladder, if that doesn’t work or they don’t care, leave. Don’t turn red in the face and become a distraction, don’t try to wait it out until somehow they magically turn competent, don’t swear, don’t threaten, and especially don’t say that you spend a lot of money here. Even if you really do, thanks to the godawful amount of jerks who have ruined that concept for the rest of us, you are instantly written off in the associate’s eyes.

    As somebody said earlier, the best bargaining power you have is with your spending, but you don’t have any bargaining power with whining, screaming, or self importance. It may kinda work once, but after that I promise you’ve become a joke, usually literally.

    As paperboy stated, calm concise explanations of the problem work, but only if the person gives a crap at all, and only if you aren’t an a$$hat. Sorry, i love that word so I had to repeat it.

    sorry about the rambling.

  86. goodkitty says:

    @gregr209: It’s sad but it seems like we’re all just sheeple. Everyone was waiting in line. The guy eats the phone cord mis-price, and stands in line twice. People here seem to be fine with giving out what would normally be confidential information to buy packs of gum. And that rebate is probably never going to be honored for anyone. Honestly I don’t know if there’s a point to even fighting it. The tidal wave of consumer submission is only starting to grow.

    I’m not sure yet if I lament being able to recall a time when you weren’t constantly being squeezed for pennies everywhere, or if I should cherish it.

    The local Circuit City (which I go into only for a laugh, and because the TV section is warm) seems to be dying a slow and tortured death, with their product selection shrinking noticeably. Meanwhile, the Worst Buy across the street is growing. I can’t bring myself to pay either one’s prices.

  87. boblc123 says:

    looks like next time you will just give your phone number instead of holding up the line for such a stupid reason.

  88. nrwfos says:

    It wouldn’t have happened to me. (Assuming I would ever go into a CC again),upon seeing the line, I would have dropped the stuff and left. I hate to stand in line. I try to time my visits to stores so that I avoid the crowds and the hours when the stores have the fewest cashiers for the volume of customers. Of course, this can’t work for everyone. I think you must have just gotten off work. Bad time to shop. It’s always a bad time to shop in CC. I’ve sworn off BB, CC, and Wal-Mart. For sure I wouldn’t have stuck around upon having the experience with the older guy and the pricing issue. You need to cut your losses early. Too much stress. Bad for your health. And those rebates never seem to come through. So I try to avoid them, too. I think it’s just “bait”.

  89. haroldx says:

    I always get steamed when asked for my phone number by a retailer, too. I’ve walked out of a couple who have tried to pull that. Alternately, I suppose, I could ask the sales clerk for her/his phone number, explaining that it’s my “policy” to know such things.

    And I stopped shopping at Circuit City years ago, for other reasons; among them a clerk who didn’t know who “Led Zeppelin” was, and another branch that wouldn’t give a raincheck for a sale item that was out of stock.

    I’ve never had a problem with BB, though, so what do I know?

  90. twoply says:

    By the way, the phone number thing is not for a rebate and it’s not because the purchase was over $100. The computer asks for the customer’s name, phone number, and address so they can look you up if you want to return something without a receipt. It also prints this information out on the rebate form for convenience. The next time that customer makes a purchase, all the information shows up once the phone number is entered. Sales associates would often make something up or use the store’s phone number for customers who did not want to give up the information.

  91. crankymediaguy says:

    “Over $100, you have to enter a phone number. No shortcut. Not saying it’s right, just that this is how the system was designed.”

    I have a rule, too. It’s called, “I don’t give my phone number to retail establishments. If you don’t like it, kiss my ass.”

    I’m not saying it’s right, it’s just how my system is designed. Now ring the fucking thing up and let me get out of here.

  92. mikemar42 says:

    ya and if you bought all that on ebay you would have saved 60 dollars.

  93. watwat45678 says:

    You know, this sort of elitist consumer paranoia is troublesome. I work at a Circuit City and always find it amusing when someone refuses to give out a phone number. It’s not going to be used to call you, it’s not going to be sold to someone, and its not going directly into an NSA database. It is there so we can LOOK UP YOUR TICKET IF THERE IS AN ISSUE! God forbid you lose your receipt, and you hate the phones you bought, well sorry, you are out of luck. We will return them for Mr. Diaz, but not you, because our system has no record of your purchase.

    Now this blog is a consumer advocate blog, and one of the main goals of most people who read and post here is to hold retailers and other businesses accountable for their actions, and to be treated like a customer, not a criminal. By giving us your information, you will have a much simpler time dealing with Circuit City and proving that you purchased the items. I don’t know if most people know this, but “return fraud” is a serious issue in electronics stores. This is where someone either steals a product or pulls it straight off the shelf and attempts to return it for a cash refund. This is 100% profit, and circumvents messy things like selling at a discount, evilBay, etc. By attaching names to purchases, retailers can prevent this sort of bullshit from happening and increasing the cost for the honest consumer.

    Anyways, you can actually opt out of the phone number entering process in the computer using F5 when the prompt comes up, and you can do this for any dollar amount. For many credit cards you can, too. For some debit cards and all purchases with extended warranties a phone number is required. This may not be the case in Albany, however, because there a chance this Circuit City was using an older point of sale system called “DPS”- and I’m not sure if DPS supports the ‘opt-out’ function because in my store it is only used when necessary. We have a newer system called “Magellan” which uses a simpler GUI, but directly interfaces with DPS.

    It’s unfortunate that the people trying to help you with the phone cord didn’t know what was going on, or that the rack was tagged poorly. If it was because of poor tagging then that is just laziness. I work in the Home Entertainment department and it does not take very long to make sure every cable, TV, and speaker is tagged and tagged correctly. As for people not knowing how to enter the video game into the computer when it did not scan, that’s understandable. It does take time to learn the ins and outs of the computers at CCity. They can be picky about entering stuff with spaces, etc. Unfortunately, when associates are trained, they are trained in the areas of product knowledge, loss pervention, etc., but most have to learn the registers by themselves, so if they are encountering something they haven’t seen before, often the only solution is to ask for help from someone nearby and hope that person know’s the solution.


  94. 4ster says:

    “Your name is Edgardo Diaz, is that okay?”

    That’s when you should have told the manager, “OK, but your name is Major Payne Diaz, is that okay?”

    oh, snap!

  95. stinkingbob says:

    First of all, it is rather stupid to track a customers info by their phone number. What happens if the customer changes their # or moves? Then the info on file is incorrect. 2 things:
    Circuit City does not train its employees very well. Management does not help out. They are usually in their office surfing the web or eating. If you have 20 employees working, only 2 will be at the register while the other 18 are standing and goofing off. The ones working the register are not trained properly such that if there is a problem, they don’t know how to handle it and have to ask someone. This of course adds to the wait in line.
    Another thing: the paper that Circuit City uses to print the receipts on is thermal. So after about 1 year, it will fade, maybe less than that, depending on where you store them. So please, MAKE A COPY OF YOUR STORE RECEIPT and put it in a safe place.
    Last thing: responsibility. As a consumer, it is our responsibility to keep track of the receipt, not Circuit City. Their job ends when they sell us the product. I have a special folder that I keep all my receipts in.
    But, I will never shop at Circuit City again. Very poor customer service and they don’t care. Trust me. In less than 2 years, Circuit City will close like CompUSA. Best Buy and Systemax will be the leaders.

  96. The Stork says:

    @Whzsutton: “I’m not sure if DPS supports the ‘opt-out’ function because in my store it is only used when necessary.”

    Correct, DPS does not have an opt-out. It can’t even run a sale as debit; all debit cards are ran as credit.

  97. bunnymen says:

    @zibby: Dude, Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States. Puerto Rico uses the US dollar. Seriously.

  98. zibby says:

    @bunnymen: Ok, but if Puerto Rico is really a Commonwealth of the U.S., why does everyone there talk Mexican?

    Dude, it was just a goof about Edgardo and the pesos. It wasn’t meant to reflect anything that might have realistically happened, including the currency details.

  99. banmojo says:

    @Soldmysoul: Yes, buying lots of stuff from a store SHOULD and DOES make one a preferred customer. Ever been to Vegas? Geez there are dumb people on this board!

    @swissdietcoke: Are you freakin’ kidding me? “not allowed to” FTW?? Do your feet even obey you when you’re walking down the street, or do they say to themselves “I know we were just commanded to walk into this busy street, but let’s not do that stupid stupid thing so we can go on living a while longer!”??

    I’m sorry to be mean, but godDAMN people, why do you even come to this website? Most stores out there are NOT doing their business right these days, customer service has gone down the pooper, companies ARE using our personal info inappropriately, opening us up to ID theft risk at the least, if not outright scamming us at the worst (read the bank mom/daughter scam story yet?)


    Sorry, once again.. for shouting, this time. But again, seriously, use these physical outlets to PERUSE your future purchase, then go home, do a price search, and buy online. It’s a brave new world out there, and many of you don’t seem to know how to navigate through it. Then again, that’s what this freakin’ blog’s about in the FIRST place, geez….

  100. rustyni says:

    1.) If someone doesn’t want to give their phone number out, I don’t see why they should have to and “stop being smug” about it. It’s their phone number, address, etc. Yes, the guy had a rebate, and should have been informed that the information you type into rPOS (the shitty system CCity uses) prints on the rebate reciept, but like we established, the cashier was new, and seeing as how no one gets the proper training they need, who here is surprised?

    2.) OP, you’re not completely SOL. If it’s a Ccity rebate, you can simply white out the Puerto Rican guy’s name and address, put yours in its place, and 9 times out of 10 as long as you include / circle everything they want you to, you’ll get your rebate. If it’s a vendor / manufacturer rebate, then it’s a crapshot and good luck getting that 10 bucks.

    3.) As much as how much you spend with Circuit (or any store) SHOULD matter and deem you extra service, perks, etc. as far as this company goes, it does not. You forget the people who work there are (now) 17 – 21 year old kids who don’t know a damn thing and don’t give a damn to. These kids don’t care how much you spend, and neither do the managers. My best advice is next time you REALLY want results, contact the district manager. S/he is a VERY busy person, and I’ll tell you nothing irritates them more than when a simple price matching issue has to be escalated to them and interrupt their day. They’ll call the store director hollering about it, and guaranteed, you WILL get what you want. Take it from a former Customer Service Associate who had to watch it daily.


  101. PermanentStar says:


    Regarding rebates and why they don’t give the pricing off at the register – the rebate is generally offered through the retailer by the manufacturer, by giving the pricing at the register, they are cutting into their profit margins…by making you wait the 8 to 10 weeks for the $10, the manufacturer is the one supplying the check, and they won by your purchase of the item…so, as a business model, it doesn’t really make sense to cut your profit margin when the manufacturer has already agreed to absorb the loss.

    Of course, I’m not saying that it’s right, or fair, but at the same time, I can see why they don’t do it.

  102. hypebreaker says:

    @Whzsutton: I’m sorry, there, Mr. Circuit City Corporate Chump, but how exactly does not wishing to divulge one’s private telephone number make one guilty of “elitist consumer paranoia”??? I take umbrage over your labeling the desire to keep contact information secure as “elitist” but what really rankles me about your smug opener is that you dare to call it “paranoia”. We have the right to privacy in this country and I fail to see why any store needs to use a phone number to track or verify purchases. Given that Crate and Barrel swore to Jesus and beyond that neither my phone number or address would ever be used and yet every 10 days, a Crate and Barrel catalog finds its way into my mailbox and my voicemail spits out automated messages, I think it is perfectly sane and reasonable for consumers to refuse the request for this information.

    Thanks for driving home Chris’ point about how lame Circuit City is and for illustrating just how extensively all you poor CC employees have been brainwashed into thinking consumers are but mere vassals, who should be weeping with gratitude over the chance to be abused at your stores.

  103. jw6828 says:

    As a previous Customer Service Lead and not one proud of the recent stupidity of Circuit City understand the frustration of one cashier that knows nothing about the system. I worked for years before finding out a lot of the little secret things that makes the system run smoothly.
    As far as why they want your phone number for a cash purchase, what if you want to return the item? I had a customer who refused to give me his phone. We were told to make up a phone number so I did. I also told this idiot he would not be able to return the product with out the ticket. Two days later, he was screaming and yelling at me because I could not return or exchange the item. With no way to look up the number, even if you use the store number we had way to many entries to find his purchase.

    They did not use the phone number for anything except marketing and sending customers coupons and notice of sales. The good thing about it was the fact that if you moved to a different location we could still look up a receipt.

    Sometimes going with the flow makes things run faster. Customers with checks make cashiers pissed because it takes longer and makes more work for them not to mention is is the most unsafe way to pay. Cash is just a pain in the butt and with small amounts of change in the registers causes waits at times for change to be retrieved from the safe.

    By the way, I quit my job, walked out because I was always supposed to have a cashier on duty and most of the time they called in sick or were late and I did all the register work from the customer service counter. The employees in the back o the store were supposed to ring up customers but because they had lazy bosses or broken registers they forced all customers to the front even when I didn’t have a cashier on duty.

    I walked out on a day that I had no cashier, got sick and was ignored after they fired the 3,400 experienced employees. I believe the CEO is mental and needs to be replaced.

  104. tatoobaby says:

    you don’t have to give your number out…even if you have a rebate for the item you can always print it off the web. I work for circuit city for 3+ years and the system do ask for phone number over 100 dollars worth of purchase if you paying with a credit card and you want to return they can look up your purchase but it might take longer but they can look it up. if you paid cash and don’t give a number and you item over 100 dollars when you come back to return your item without the receipt you are SOL!!!! I never give my real number out!!!!! and I work there!!!

  105. captainleah says:

    but come on its such a pain in the butt to go to the best buy in crossgates where theres never any parking less then 1000ft from the door!