RESOLVED: Circuit City 24 Minute Guarantee Means Whatever Rob, The Supervisor, Says It Means

Dustin wrote back to let us know that Circuit City corporate had contacted him about his difficulty with their “24 minute guarantee.” It seems that the general manger of the store had misunderstood the guarantee completely. Apologies were given and gift cards were received.

I was contacted by Anita Strepka in corporate who told me I was absolutely correct and that the supervisor should not have refused giving me the gift card.

I was then contacted by the local general manager who asked me to explain what happened. After explaining he told me that he would send the card, but that the policy was that you have to wait in the store for at least 24 minutes before qualifying!

I told him, that according to corporate and their website the 24 minutes starts as of the time stamp on the order confirmation email. He disagreed and we ended the call. He then called back 10 minutes later to apologize and said that I was correct and he was wrong… I guess he went to their website.

So what did I learn? Not even the general manager understood a policy that has been in place for 2(?) years, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the supervisor didn’t either.

The good news? Anita Strepka was awesome and apologized over and over. She said that she was part of the team that started this program, so she was well versed with the policy.I complained on Wednesday 6/4/08 and got my $24 gift card in the mail on Monday 6/9/08… not a bad response time.

Hey, everyone makes mistakes, but it’s a good thing Dustin is out there keeping them honest.


Edit Your Comment

  1. VeeKaChu says:

    everyone makes mistakes…
    Yeah, like shopping at Circuit City!!

    Sorry, had too. Glad they made good!

  2. Zerkaboid says:

    It’s ridiculous that it went that far, but hey, at least it’s okay now. I still go to Circuit City because the only other choice is Best Buy across the parking lot, and well, you read the Consumerist.

  3. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Wow, that gm is an idiot. Hopefully we will get a resolution for our resolution telling us he was fired.

  4. morganlh85 says:

    This is why retail customer services often sucks so bad. People don’t know what they are talking about, and instead of finding out what the policies ACTUALLY are, they make up their OWN policy and refuse to budge from it. It’s ridiculous.

    I’m glad someone at CC took care of this for him.

  5. ffmariners says:

    @Concerned_Citizen: Fired for a mistake? At least he called back and stood corrected… that is more than I can say for many other people…

  6. watduck says:

    @ffmariners: Of maybe corporate called the store and chastised him :P

  7. fluiddruid says:

    @ffmariners: Agreed. It’s not easy to call a customer and admit that you were wrong. We need more managers out there who can do that.

    Concerned_Citizen, do you really think it’s fair to fire an otherwise good employee for a mistake he corrected within 10 minutes?

  8. Krustey says:

    That was big of the guy to call back and correct himself but to even think that it meant standing there waiting 24 minutes to receive your goods AFTER ordering it online is just lame. I would be pissed if i just walked off the street to pick up something and it took them longer then 24 minutes.

  9. ffmariners says:

    @crice: I would agree if he hadn’t called back within 10 minutes :)

    But I worked at Best Buy, so I know all to well… my GM or Sales Manager only made concessions to customers when the DM or Corporate was breathing down his neck

  10. HalOfBorg says:

    Is it so hard for corporate to send a nice,
    BIG memo to all stores that states the 24-minute policy???

  11. ffmariners says:

    @HalOfBorg: Have you ever heard the phrase “If everything is important then nothing is important” ?

    Now, I think the 24 minute policy would be worthy of a memo… its obviously a policy which is misunderstood and is important for their online ordering. BUT retail stores issue so many memos people gloss over them, already. Perhaps it should be included in the NET (New Employee Training) so all of the new employees come to work with the knowledge.

  12. rjgnyc says:

    @Concerned_Citizen: For a website where people are fed up at corporate culture, which actually includes people being treated as replaceable cogs, there sure seems to be a lot of “hey fire this guy for thinking the policy was X instead of Y”

    What kind of life-risk situation did the GM create by thinking 24 minutes meant 24 minutes once in the store vs 24 minutes after ordering online? Why is this a “fire away” situation – especially because the GM called back a few minutes later to say he was wrong (?) and the customer was right.

  13. azntg says:

    @ffmariners: Agreed. Some guys would just stand there pretending not to know better and maintaining their “Don’t like it? Then f- you.” attitude.

    At least this guy eventually owned up and hopefully, won’t make said mistake again.

  14. evslin says:

    @HalOfBorg: Maybe corporate already did, and this general manager didn’t fully like/comprehend it so he decided to pass his own interpretation of the rules to the locations he’s in charge of.

  15. Pro-Pain says:

    I always have good luck with Circuit City. Never a hassle and friendly employees. The exact opposite experience of Best Buy. I’m really confused by the CC hate. It’s a shame one shitty manager can cause this much grief for the chain.

  16. sprocket79 says:

    I hope Dustin went back to that CC and waved his gift card around and did the “I was right” dance. Or even better… order something else online with the giftcard and hope for a repeat.

  17. Anita Strepka: I’m glad to see you helped this customer but did you send out a memo to all GMs explaining the program?

    I have read about the same problem over-and-over on sites like this. Your managers simply refuse to comply with the promotion or do not understand it. This has been going on for two years!

    I had a manager in NY tell me “how could we possibly have your order ready 24 minutes from when you order online?” and then walk away from me. And yes, I had to call corporate to get the card. Surely, you get reports when this happens? Yes? No?

    I still suspect that the stores get some kind of negative report if they give away too many of these cards – and therefore many managers try to avoid giving them. I could be totally wrong, but the alternative is believing that an incredible number of CC managers still don’t understand their own promotion.

  18. ITDEFX says:

    Anyone want to “test” this to see if a manager will fight you on this one after this incident?

  19. verazula says:

    I just want to know why in the world a GENERAL MANAGER, the main representative of this company at that location, the head honcho, THE guy running that store, in charge of all its employees, didn’t know one of Circuit City’s biggest guarantees/gimmicks! They’ve been doing 24/24 for years, some stores even have special parking for it! FTW?

  20. geoffhazel says:

    Please send the phone numbers you used, b/c I intend to get my card from local Circuit City who stiffed me on the same deal a few months ago. I can’t get a card on THAT incident, but I’m sure I can find something to buy that they can screw up.

  21. Rupan says:

    Any confusion could easily be resolved by changing the order confirmation page. Instead of saying that is will be ready 24 minutes from the timestamp, just put a big notice on the printout that says “In keeping with our 24 minute guarantee, your order will be ready by XX:XX or you will get a $24 gift card”.

    Simple, done and no arguments.

  22. JustThatGuy3 says:


    Based on the experiences discussed on this site and others, it appears that you’re the outlier, not the OP.

  23. ObtuseGoose says:

    @Rupan: Exactly. Doesn’t sound too hard to make that fix.

  24. ivanthemute says:

    “He then called back 10 minutes later to apologize and said that I was correct and he was wrong… I guess he went to their website.”

    Takes a lot to call back and man up to the fact that you made a mistake like that. Not that he wasn’t a tard, but still, nice to know CC has at least one GM who can admit he was wrong.

  25. Ein2015 says:

    Yay! This was a happy post. :D

  26. EricaKane says:

    Circuit City obviously penalizes managers who have to give the card which is why almost everybody is lied to about it. its corporate doublespeak, announce a marketing gimmick and then instutitonalize penalties for employees who have to deal with it.

  27. Lordstrom says:

    @fluiddruid: What makes you think he’s a good employee?

  28. godlyfrog says:

    @Rupan: That’s a really good idea. I wonder if they have a way for you to contact them and suggest it?

  29. halo969 says:

    The GM wouldn’t have needed to call back had he done his research before calling to begin with. What an idiot.

  30. AT203 says:

    I am not satisfied at all with this resolution. The problem is not that the policy wasn’t honored on the spot. The problem is that that TWO! employees were too incompetent to interpret the policy correctly, when it is plain and unambiguous. This is compounded by the lack of respect for the customer and the lack of a customer-focused demeanor. These are the things that I would want assurances that Circuit City would address.

  31. macMD says:

    They have a great HD TV section, and other cool tech stuff but the clerks there are useless, just useless. They don’t do anything except stand around and BS. Wait that would be Best Buy too in most dept’s.

  32. rushevents says:

    As a former Best Buyer myself I can tell you that confusion can be the norm simply because marketing and the retail stores themselves almost never communicate directly with each other so honest misunderstandings happen all the time.

    That being said I would imagine that not too many people run to their store with baited breath just to get there within 24 minutes. Probably more like an hour or so and by that time all but the worst CC stores would have had the item pulled and ready.

  33. MyTQuinn says:

    The GM shouldn’t be fired for making a mistake. But I question his ability to be a manager of anything if his thought processes led him to believe that their policy was that the customer had to wait in the store 24 minutes before qualifying for the gift card. Even if the policy explicitly said that was the case, a GM should be able to come to the conclusion that it’s a ridiculous policy and realize that SOMETHING is wrong.

  34. washanddry says:

    “the policy was that you have to wait in the store for at least 24 minutes before qualifying!

    I told him, that according to corporate and their website the 24 minutes starts as of the time stamp on the order confirmation email. He disagreed and we ended the call. He then called back 10 minutes later to apologize and said that I was correct and he was wrong”

    When I worked at Circuit City last summer, the former is what they preached to me. I came across a case similar to yours where the customer was clearly correct according to corporate policy, but not according to the manager. However, the guy argued with my manager so much that he finally, begrudgingly gave the customer a gift card (but not without saying, “This isn’t really our policy and I don’t need to do this, but I’ll do it anyway”).

    In contrast, my other manager had a guy that only waited 10 minutes for his order, the guy didn’t even ask for a gift card and he gave him one any way. It’s really hit or miss.

  35. washanddry says:

    One more thing.

    My manager that initially refused to give the customer a gift card for his wait was the same manager that I caught giving a fake name when he answered the phones so customers wouldn’t come in asking for him.

    Hey Brian. If you’re reading this, you’re an asshole. And even if you’re not reading this, you’re an asshole.

  36. Derp says:

    For all the hate against Best Buy, they once again posted a profitable quarter, so they must be doing something right!

  37. dweebster says:

    @ffmariners: Yeah, probably under threat of demotion to janitorial duties or shopping cart retriever.

  38. dweebster says:

    @Derp: Yup – making money is the ultimate measure of moral behavior, and even benefits the stockholders.

    Wanna buy some leftover Bear Sterns and Enron stock, Derp? You can screw with numbers and kill off the messengers for so long, but eventually you gotta pay the piper. Mark my words, “Best” Buy and their criminal behavior will catch up to them in time, and their “profitable quarter” era will be a distant memory.

  39. dweebster says:

    @washanddry: In Daly City, California there’s a store near Serramonte Mall that has a better one: “you need to wait 24 minutes AFTER you’ve already gone through the first line.” And, the seasoned veterans at the second line will swear up and down it’s CC policy.

    The manager(s) WILL usually follow CC policy IF you push them – but I resent the fact I have to spend time and energy digging up a manager and insisting he honor a policy they post tens of banners all over the store advertising. Either honor the policy without BS or whining, or kill off the advertising on radio, TV and instore about it.

  40. Kounji says:

    @Concerned_Citizen: Yeah I agree he needs to realize that getting a letter sent to corporate and a news story is a hell of a lot worse then getting dinged on on a customer pick up