The Photograph That Pretty Much Sums Up Circuit City

Reader Adrian emailed this photo of the Circuit City in St. Peters, MO.

Adrian says:

The store was mostly empty of inventory with people filling up carts of the most random stuff. So they have vast sections of the store covered with caution tape labeled ‘Service Defective’, which kind of sums up the shopping experience of Circuit City. Also excuse the fingers in the photo.



Edit Your Comment

  1. SynMonger says:

    Defective by design.

  2. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    I’m surprised that the tape is on the INSIDE of the store!

  3. ScottRose says:

    I thought this was going to get a yawn from the thumbnail and headline, but this is priceless.

  4. IT-Chick says:

    The employees should wear these as belts too.

    • IT-Chick says:


      And actually, I want a belt of this, maybe a headband, so I can wear at work while users are bothering me while I’m reading Consumerist.

      Customer Service Go!

  5. CrowMignon says:

    ‘Service defective will be their entry in the Hitchhiker’s Guide.

  6. williamgarzon says:

    It’s sad to see people get laid off but that store sucked! Bad Service + Bad Selection = Corporate Fail. Enter Nelson Muntz…HA HA

    • ameyer says:

      @William Garzon: You forgot high prices.

      • JeffM says:

        @ameyer: Very true- Fry’s has generally awful service and yet I still shop there because of the true value they provide- mail order discounts and B&M browsing.

        Two out of three isn’t bad.

        • Con Seannery is apparently an ADMIN... says:

          @JeffM: Selection, Service, Price. Pick two.

          Circuit City decided to pick none. To be fair, Newegg has all three. I guess they took Circuit City’s share.

  7. valen says:

    I remember seeing that tape at the Chesterfield Commons (Chesterfield, MO) location about a week or two after they declared bankruptcy. The only difference was that the Chesterfield location used a ton more tape and actually created “X”s with the tape.

    I am actually surprised that Circuit City has anything left. There was not much left about a week ago when I visited the Mid Rivers Mall (St. Peters, MO) location.

  8. irish_stickman says:

    i want to get a roll of that tape and put it around my boss’s desk so everyone will notice how much work he does

  9. Trey Mahaffey says:

    it makes me feel good when i see a company like this one going down in flames. i had been to numerous CC’s in the past and every time i was greeted by uninformed workers with bad attitudes.

    i just love how fast they went out of business. should be a lesson to other businesses… alienate your customers enough and they will find somewhere else to shop.

    someone hammer the last nail in the coffin and lets cover this one with dirt.

    • Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

      @Trey Mahaffey: Well stated, but sooo cold.

    • Rob Boylson says:

      @Trey Mahaffey: ‘it makes me feel good when I see a comapny like this one going down in flames’ yeah, isn’t it just great that thousands are losing their jobs and incomes?! Try and think about the bigger picture here. You have had bad experiences, so it makes you ‘feel good’ to see people out of work? Just kind of petty.

    • Zach Isenmann says:

      @Trey Mahaffey: Well Trey whenever it comes time that you lose your job too try to remember that good feeling you have!

    • Jon Horton says:

      @Trey Mahaffey:

      I would agree. Sure having some bad “experiences” with a company is unfortunate, thinking it’s “good” that a company and subsuquently 35,000 people are going to be unemployed is wrong. Let’s remember that with the economy is going than alot more companies are going to “go down in flames,” if we are lucky it will be your company, I’m sure that will give me a good feeling.

  10. illtron says:

    Apparently the Xbox 360s just got their prices dropped in the liquidation sale last weekend. A friend of mine saw a $300 setup going for $179, and another friend went to buy one. By the time he got to the store, some guy had come by and bought all 20 or so of them.

    Another reason why these sales suck. A few people swipe up all the good stuff, leaving the junk behind for everyone else.

    • MrEvil says:

      @illtron: That guy could have been running a mom and pop game store, or a booth at the flea market. I know there’s lots of folks at the flea market in my area that go to just these kinds of sales to have cheap goods to hock at retail on the weekends.

  11. spoco says:

    I went about five times and found one decent deal – they had a $1999 Bose setup marked down to $799. It was a display model and I almost bought it, but I didn’t. Everything else sucked. I even found a printer that I had been looking at but it was $20 more than MSRP. The explanation – Our MSRP is different than others’.

    • ameyer says:

      @spoco: Not that a $2000 Bose setup marked down to $799 is necessarily a good deal.
      It wouldn’t surprise me if you could get a significantly better sounding setup for $800 or so.

      • asplodzor says:

        @ameyer: Without any question, you definitely can. BOSE is nearly entirely marketing rather than quality driven… only their car audio is worth looking into.Even with that, the only time you can get passable audio is when the system is designed for [and included in] the car.

        • jedo1507r says:

          @asplodzor: Even then there was a comparo on Fifth Gear not too long ago that pitted Bose against Bang and Olufsen setup options in the same model Audi A8. The Bose setup lost in SQ, but was $5K cheaper than the B&O; both are on hype though.

          @spoco: CC did not budge from the price of a laser multifunction printer I was interested in, so I bought online (Amazon). But for a deal on Bose equipment, maybe on their aircraft headsets, not so much on their 3-2-1 or Acoustimass garbage.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @spoco: You should really save your money for more useful things…like the Ionic Breeze!

  12. Homerjay (insert star here) says:

    WHY does such a tape exist???

  13. Michael Worth says:

    To say that the service at Circuit City was defective is to imply that they offered some kind of service once upon a time. And that’s simply not true.

    But the photo is PRICELESS!

  14. Peter Stork says:

    I came over from Fairview Heights to open this store in 2005. I remember Issac Bruce of the Rams running through a tunnel of employees, slapping hands on his way to the back of the store to sign autographs during the grand opening.

    It’s very sad. Sad for the employees, and the good management (yes, there were a few here and there) that remained. But go to hell, Circuit.

  15. Daryn St. Pierre says:

    This is priceless. I wasn’t even aware that such a tape existed. I must have a roll of it.

    I went into a Circuit City just recently to see if they happened to have any Guitar Hero sets left for the 360. I didn’t find any but I didn’t stay long enough to really look much either. The store had a gross aura about it. I felt like I had broken through the window of a flooded storefront amidst the aftermath panic of Hurricane Katrina. Like some sort of scavenger picking at the remaining scraps while a company suffers. It was really bad. There was practically nothing left, except for DVD’s, music, a bunch of HDTV’s and some video games mixed in. I ended up leaving the store after approximately 5 minutes.

    Unfortunately I didn’t see any of this cool tape. They used the yellow tape instead that said “Caution” or something to that effect.

  16. I_am_Awesome says:

    The dumbasses at the Somerville, NJ store were throwing a football across the store, right in front of the big TVs. Nothing worth buying.

    They did have a Logitech G9 Laser mouse that was marked 70% from $225, which resulted in a price a few dollars less than what Amazon is selling it for. Strangely, Amazon shows the list price as $99, and when I went into a Circuit City last week they had it marked down 30% from ~$115. I’m not sure that it’s legal to use a “before” price when you’ve never attempted to sell the product for that price. I’m pretty sure Kay-Bee Toys and Kohl’s have both been smacked down for that.

  17. mr_dude says:

    I will not excuse the fingers in the photo.

  18. Matthew Tyndall says:

    Can I please buy the tape?

  19. catnapped says:

    Well once the store finally closes, they can wrap it in the special “EPIC FAIL” tape

  20. Repossessed_Posse_Pirate says:

    Where will Chuck work if the Buy More is closed?

  21. OldJohnRobinson says:

    I found one deal at the Paducah, KY store (first round of closings) Video games were down to 40% off and had been very picked over. Nothing worth buying until I found where some employee had stuck a new Lego Batman game for PC in with about 50 copies of some Final Fantasy game for the PS2.

  22. PLATTWORX says:

    The CEO is Circuit City is responsible for all of this. Fired all the best employees, etc. The man should be sued by former shareholders to pay back his salary of the last 5 years!

  23. Liz11685 says:

    Went into Best Buy yesterday in San Diego, this tape was literally at the end of every aisle in big Xs. No deals at all, disappointing.

  24. Cary says:

    Bose isn’t a good deal at any price – even 60% off.

    Go listen to some real speakers at a real store (not Best Buy… a REAL store).

    Better yet, go to a jazz club and listen to an acoustic performance. That’s what it is supposed to sound like.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I just got off the phone with American Express Security. I live in Seattle and don’t travel much..

    Tonight, March 3, 2009, someone tried to buy clothing from a retailer in Switzerland using my account.

    The last transaction I made with my AMEX card was on Saturday, Feb 28th at a Circuit City that was closing the next day.

    Coincidence you say? Hmm… interesting. You guys do the math.

    I think some one who’s job was ending was skimming account information and hawking for a few bucks on the net as a big “F-U” to the rest of us who were not losing their jobs.

    Shopped at CC lately? Watch your credit card or buy cash.

    BTW the one thing that my local CC had an abundance of was “S” video cable. The one connection technology that is disappearing from the market place. They could not give the stuff away!

  26. CaptZ says:

    Bose just plain sucks. They started sucking when the decided to go mainstream as an option of sound systems in new cars.

    They were considered high end at one time like B&O. Niche market…..specialty and high price. Appealing to the masses killed their quality.

  27. Paul Sanchez says:

    i actually got a great deal here in hattiesburg, MS on the TV mounts that hang from the ceiling.

    i got 5 of them for $100. got the component cable too…

    those mounts are going for about $250-300 a piece

  28. momma_andrea says:

    The last time I went to CC, I had placed an online order and was trying to pick it up. They made me wait about 20 minutes while they searched the store for the products my e-mail in hand said were ready for pick up, refused to give me my “we don’t have it ready, you get a gift card” card, and tried to send me away with a memory stick instead of the SD card that I wanted. I had to fight with them to get them to give me the SD card that was on my receipt. The manager was totally rude and the employees were too.

    R.I.P. Circuit City. Let’s hope other electronics retailers learn this object lesson.

  29. coneinc says:

    I had an experience with circuit city. I bought a digital camera. It didn’t work right I took it back I had to pay a 15 percent restocking fee. I had a discussion with the store manager no luck. And called there 800 number the guy hung up on me. I know a lot of stores have restocking fees but if the product is defective they usually do not charge the fee. Circuit city needed to change in this highly completive world out there with product selection, customer service. Upper management failed to do their jobs as a result more people started shopping at best buy. Are they started shopping more online. I feel bad for the regular employs losing there jobs. And hate there is less competition for best buy.

  30. darkryd says:

    Die already! Just die Circuit City!

  31. UrIt says:

    That’s kind of mean, i mean, yeah, it may not have been the best store in the world, but it was Second in our market and you know, it’s not nice to see people losing their job. it’s very poor form to mock this place now especially when you think of the people that now have no idea how to pay their next rent check.

  32. mariospants says:

    Sounds like the tape must have come from Quebec, “service defective” sounds very French to me.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Circuit City used to be the ultimate in customer service, reaching a peak about 20 years ago. They were’nt the largest electronics retailer in the US for 30 years for no reason. They had a cool line, well paid employees and a low price guarantee. Best Buy came in with slim customer service, lower paid employees and lower prices. Best Buy cleaned their clock and now everybody has poor customer service. Its sad to me to wander through store 800 in Augusta GA. I opened store 800 in 1987… I will miss Circuit when they are unplugged

  34. Jason McKay says:

    When we were at CC last week I was amazed by the nothingness that was left. And by the fact that they were still wanting decent money for AS-IS dirty finger-printed one-off merchandise like GPS systems and digital cameras. The stuff looked like it had been used by elementary school kids on their “exploring mayonnaise” field trip. One truly ironic thing my girlfriend saw on the way out was a window sign on the exit door right by the metal detector that said “Best Computer Store of 200x”. The X was a number, I just don’t remember it.

  35. Jason R says:

    Their website has been updated to say that will be reopening. Another CompUSA-like resurrection?