Why Circuit City Is Dead

If you were confused about why Circuit City might close 150 stores, this customer complaint sent in by William O’Donnell makes it pretty clear: Circuit City sucks. They try to get out of price-matching with a nearby B&H, out of the 3 hard drives he went through, one was missing parts and one wasn’t even the right drive, and they try to tell him that it’s supposed to come missing parts. Basically, when they don’t know what they’re talking about, they just make some shit up to make their lives easier. That’s what happens when you cut costs by firing anyone who knows what they’re doing. Here’s Will’s tale:

This is more to vent than anything else, but I had an unforgettable experience at Circuit City the other day. I didn’t go there specifically, I just wandered in…

The Price Match
I’d been thinking about getting a new 1TB internal hard drive for movie storage, so I thought that I’d see what they had on offer. What they had on offer was outrageously overpriced, so, after some online browsing from my phone, I decided to see if they would price match. It took the girl about 10 minutes to let me know that they wouldn’t price match B&H. She couldn’t tell me why, just that they wouldn’t. I asked to see their written price match policy. She said that they didn’t have any copies on hand despite the huge sign behind her that indicated otherwise. I ended up looking it up online, with my phone, at which point I spoke with a manager. They tried insisting that B&H wasn’t a “local” store, until I pointed out that B&H was less than 10 miles away and about 4 stops on the Q train. After about 20 minutes of waiting and talking, they finally gave in – I saved $80.

The Repack
When I got home, I opened the box only to realize that the box contained a used, 800 GB, IDE hard drive, NOT a shiny, new 1TB SATA hard drive. I immediately went back to exchange the drive. The exchange was pretty painless, until…

Drive #2, Manufacturing Defect
I opened the new box while still in the store, to ensure that it wasn’t another repack. The model number was correct, but I something was wrong… I realized, much to my amusement, that the entire PCB (printed circuit board – and thus, power/data connections) was missing from the bottom of the drive. Not CC’s fault, obviously, but they didn’t handle it well…

The Non-Tech-Savvy Tech
Exasperated, I brought the drive back to the front counter to notify the cashier of the defect. Some manager-type nearby, wearing a “FireDog” (their tech support division) t-shirt, jumped in – “that drive do not include connectors! If you have a problem with that, you have to take it up with Western Digital (the manufacturer). We are not going to open another box just because it don’t meet your wants. Also, where in the manual do it say that it includes the connectors?”

I was infuriated. “IT’S A SATA DRIVE! Have you ever SEEN an internal hard drive?! How can a SATA drive not include SATA connections?!” Turning, and shouting to the store in general, “GET SOMEONE OVER HERE THAT ACTUALLY BUILDS COMPUTERS!”

Mr. FireDog Manager-Type, “I build computers, sir!”

“Oh really?” Reaching in to the box, I grabbed the red SATA cable included with the drive. “We can agree that this is a SATA cable, right?! Why don’t you show me where this SATA cable connects to this SATA drive?”

He actually looked at the thing for about 30 seconds, which is along time to look at something that’s hardly bigger than a wallet. He finally went to the shelves to get another box in hopes of showing me an identical drive, missing PCB and all.

Box #3
Upon opening the box, he saw a blue SATA cable with an extra little dongle that Western Digital likes to put on their cables – he thought that it was a completely different type of cable… he hands me the cable and says, “sorry sir, your box was missing this cable, you should be all set now.”

I exploded. “THIS IS THE SAME FUCKIN’ CABLE! Why don’t you show me where THIS cable connects to the drive?!?!” He actually started to reexamine the drive, blue cable in hand… I shouted “look at the other damn drive!!! Look at that – it’s got a damn PCB!!! And look – SATA connectors!!! Whodathunkit?!?!”

Head down, he finally gave in, gave me the third and final box, and I was on my way. My 1TB drive only cost me $150… and about 4 hours of my life, about 30 minutes of which consisted of shouting, my heart hammering in rage.

No, I’m not going to be wandering back any time soon.

Retail Nightmares – What’s Your Worst? [Brooklynian]