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Hey consumerist! This is an awfully tiny window you have me typing in here! 😉

Following is a letter I am sending off to Micro Center Customer Ralations regarding a positive experience I had at my local store. It is exceedingly long for your format, so please feel free to edit the hell of it if you’d like to use it. -Aaron

On Saturday, March 15th,
I purchased a $400 digital camera from my local Microcenter (3710 Highway 100
South, St. Louis Park, MN). Considering how difficult it can be to
actually exchange cash for goods and services at retail stores these days, I
thought I would write this letter outlining my very positive experience.


Micro Center’s March ad showed a Canon Powershot 5IS for $400.00.
I have been looking at a number of cameras over the past month and this was one
of those atop my list. It was available on the internet for as little as $289,
but based on anecdotal horror stories about buying cameras online, I decided to
purchase locally.


In my town, we have both Best
Buy and Circuit City. Neither of these choices appeals
to me, as I have had less than stellar experience at both. Once inside a Circuit City I feel as if I am being literally
accosted by no less than six sales people in any given department; perhaps I tend
to come in when business is slow. Best Buy is the polar opposite; I generally
can’t find an employee to save my life; not that I’d want to talk to one
anyway. I do my research and find that I am considerably more informed about a
given product than any of their “trained” staff. I also abhor the receipt
checking that goes on there. Suffice it to say, I refuse to give either of
these chains my money, despite the fact that they both had the camera for $50
less than Micro Center’s advertised sale price. I also avoid Wal-Mart, but
that’s based on a completely different set of principles.


I did not consider the $50 a
problem; I could just print out the price from Circuit City’s
website and ask for the difference.


I wandered into the
ridiculously crowded camera/memory/accessories area. With so many customers
around, I wondered if I was going to be able to talk to anyone. I found the
camera I wanted, but the display case was devoid of anything, not just the Canon.
I worried that they might not have much in the way of stock, so I got an
associate’s attention and asked if they had the camera. After checking the
computer, Brandon
indicated they had several. I showed him my printout and he agreed to do match
the price, provided that Circuit
City had the camera in
stock. Apparently it is policy to match prices only on in-stock items. Not
surprisingly, he could not get a person on the line at two different Circuit City stores. Since their website
indicated that the item was available for pickup, he decided that was enough to
adjust the price.


Now, one of my biggest
complaints regarding the two previously mentioned stores, is the relentless pursuit
of the extended warranty. I never buy them, ever. I did ask Brandon
to list the benefits of Micro
Center’s, but at a cost
of $100-150, it was far too expensive. I told him I still had the six year old
camera I was replacing, and it was in perfect condition; I was careful with my
electronics. His response? “Okay. Some people aren’t quite so careful, and need
a plan to protect them.” That was it, no hard sell. I felt as though he
respected that I fully understood the implications of forgoing the warranty,
and was making an informed choice.


As we headed for the
checkout, Brandon
enquired as to whether I need and memory cards; since I have other devices
which use SD memory, I did not.


Now, I tend to be wary of the
inflation of a purchase with over-priced, unneeded accessories, but I really
got the impression Brandon
was concerned with my having everything I needed, rather than his commission.


He did remind me about
batteries, and I discovered a fifteen minute quick charger complete with four
Nimh cells. I think it was the car adapter that sold me on the rather high $40


Brandon offered to meet me at the register while I was off
getting batteries, saving us both time.


I paid $427 for the camera
and rechargeable kit, and off I went. I was genuinely happy both with my
purchase and the experience. I am usually quite ticked off upon leaving one of
the other stores.


In closing, thank you, Micro Center
for operating a retail store with a consumer-friendly environment. And, thank
you Brandon Hoel for respecting me and my time and getting me in and out of
your store quickly and smoothly.


I want to mention that I work
as a desktop technician, and often I am asked by my customers where they should
purchase a cable, upgrade, or accessory. Based on my repeated experience at Micro Center,
I have in the past, and will in the future, feel perfectly comfortable in
sending customers your way.

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