Circuit city is...weird (long)

I really thought I would end up starting a pit thread about Circuit City today, but instead:

So I’m shopping online for an mp3 player, and I see a sale at Circuit City’s website for a 1GB player bundled with an AC adapter, which is exactly what I want. I can order it online, and shipping is pretty cheap…or I can order it for “free in-store pickup” (wow, they don’t charge anything for the convenience of going into the store to pick it up…) – and if it’s not ready for pick-up within 24 minutes, I get a $24 gift certificate.

‘But wait a sec’, I think, ‘there’s a circuit city 1/2 a block from my work’. So I figure I’d walk into the store with a print-out of the online sale price and see if they’ll honor it. I can pay cash this way, it’ll probably be quicker…all around seems like a good plan.

I find the two items, and the first saleslady I talk to agrees that they’ll honor that price…unfortunately for me, she’s not a cashier.
So she walks me over to the cashier, who spends about 10 minutes trying to make sure that the two items in my print-out match the two items I picked off the shelves. And then he says “Umm, so why are you showing me this print-out?”. I explain to him that I want to get the online sale price. He needs to ask someone with more experience to finish their transaction to help him out, and the answer they come back with: I can only get that price if I pay for it online. Now, I can kind of see how an online store is not the same as the brick and mortar equivalent, but come on…they both are called “Circuit City”. There must be some way for them to take my money and credit the online store version somehow, without making Corporate Accounting’s heads spin? I guess not.

Fortunately, there’s a computer they’ll let me use to find the item and pay for it, and then select “free in-store pickup”. So they take the two items I had pulled off the shelves, and send me on my way. I complete the transaction, printout my receipt, and back I go to the cashier.

He takes my receipt and works some cash register magic (all the while I’m praying he’s not charging my credit card a second time), has me sign that I received the item, gives me a new receipt, and kind of does that body language equivalent of a wave goodbye, where he drops eye-contact and kind of turns 45 degrees away. I say “Can I have my items now?”

No, he explains to me that I have to go the pick-up window in the back, and show them my receipt in order to receive “ordered online for free pick-up” items. I’m sure the exact items I will receive at the back window are still within arms reach of this guy, but what the heck, I’ll play by the rules.

I ring the buzzer at the pickup counter for about 5 minutes before someone comes to help me. This gal spends another 5 minutes feverishly looking in the warehouse for the items I had ordered. I am tempted to open my mouth to explain to her that I know exactly where on the shelves the items are, but by now I’m thinking that items ordered online are inventoried completely different from on-the-shelf items, and it would probably take a manager’s approval and another 1/2 hour to do that kind of complex transaction…and besides, I’m pretty sure by now if I say anything it’s going to begin with a profanity, so I just wait.

Finally she asks if I ordered this today. Instead of telling her I ordered it 10 minutes ago, I just say yes, and she apologizes and says it’s not ready yet…but, she’ll run out into the store and grab them off the shelf. :o

So anyhow, when she finally gets me my goods, she also hands me a gift card. “What’s this” I wonder. “Oh, that’s your $24 gift card since we didn’t have your order ready within 24 minutes”. :smack: :eek:

Of course, I feel a little guilty because it hadn’t in fact been more than 24 minutes since I actually ordered the items online. But then again, I wasted almost my entire lunch hour with this ordeal…

Close call between here and the pit, but I saved a total of $54 from the in-store price, so I gotta think it was a good deal. :slight_smile:

See? If they would pay their employees a decent wage and let them work full-time this wouldn’t happen…

Sadly, I am willing to bet that most every employee realized they could do exactly what you would have done and made the transcaction simple and fast. And every one of them knew they could not trust their managers to see what they were doing was right and fair, so by the book it went and a simple transaction became a long convoluted process.

Which is normal.

It seems like as a customer you chose the most difficult course possible. If something is marked as “an online sale price,” I don’t see how that means “in-store sale price.” Although you’re not really pitting them, I don’t think that it is an employee’s fault because a customer wants to bend the store’s rules in order to get a sale price.

I think the store did a very nice thing for giving you the gift certificate. I suggest you use it to place your next order online for any items that have an online sale price. :slight_smile: