best buy wins.
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Tom, I thought at one time, that the Magnolia in Best Buy might be a mistake, and given the sales people I have met, it still may be, but it certainly gives them the full range of product offerings.
I am sure you're right about CC losing after they let their top sales people go, or lost them, whatever. After all is said and done, great sales people make great sales, poor ones, well...
As to Best Buy wins, yes, but maybe too, some of the B&M stores, the mom and pop stores will be aided by this. I hope so.
The Magnolia in Best Buy here in Louisville is terrible. No one greets you or says HI or nods or gives you any feed back at all. If you gave them a moon shot over their heads they probably wouldn't notice that either. I have escorted my customers in to their store to show them products I could not supply and received no attention at all. Tom
Was Circuit City the king?
I always thought Circuit City was a poor place to do business. It would not be
the monarch of a realm in which I would choose to live.
Stores like Circuit City are large scale box movers that are selling commodity
items. Customers for these items are shopping on price alone. Circuit City
couldn't compete on price, certainly didn't offer any value-added services
from the consumer's standpoint, and now they're gone.
I went in there last week, on Saturday,
last day of their 30% off of CD`S!
OUT OF 60 CD`S THAT I WAS LOOKING FOR,
THEY HAD ONLY 2!
1. OZZY OSBOURNE-TRIBUTE TO RANDY ROADS LIVE
2. OZZY OSBOURNE-BLIZZARD OF OZZ.
They did NOT have ANY
Rush, Pink Floyd, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden,
Pantara, etc. that I was looking for!
SO, I bought the Tribute cd.
MY COMMENT to the sales girl was,
GEE, I came in here WITH A
LIST OF 50 CD`S TO BUY AND
I WAS WANTING to SPEND MONEY,
BUT THAT`S IMPOSSIBLE TO DO,
WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING THAT I`M LOOKING FOR!
As Audio' goners, and people who observe the industry, it's pretty sobering. While they were the template for all that is wrong, they were at least the 'volume' of the industry. They were antithetical to what we, at least most of we see the audio industry. Without them to ridicule, we almost have nothing. They were the antichrist of audio, the worst of the best, or at least the better.
Someone talk me down, please....
Say what you will, but it is a bad day for our hobby when any audio store or any audio manufacturer goes down. It yells that people are just not interested in some facet or another of the business that would make you profitable. My guess is that it is rooted somewhere in internet purchasing and downloading, but CC also had a nasty rumored sales practice of selling returns and B stock as new without informing you.
TRUE CIRCUIT CITY STORY: (cue music, poignant but not sad, yesterday, but not forgotten, thoughtless but not really dumb...hell you get the idea)
A friend of mine went in to Circuit City, (he's blind) looking to buy an ipod, or walkman.
A sales lady approched them and this conversation took place.
At the point of explanation of the product, my friend wanted to know about recharging, so he asked:
Do these have an AC adapter?
Sir, what does AC mean to you?
Hmmm...'What does AC mean to you?'
I guess it means that I am never going to buy anything from a company who would hire someone who doesn't know what AC is!!!!!!!!!!!!
This really happened, it's not an epitaph, or an I told you so, it's just a recitation of an event. Perhaps now we know why they went under...poor quality help in a high tech business.
There was an interesting story in the WSJ tracing the start of their problems to when they fired all the technical sales people and replaced them with minimum wage McDonalds cast offs. This had the effect of killing customer service and destroying employee morale. Who puts any effort into a job when they're cutting your pay and telling you if you don't like it then go get a job at McDonalds? Well, CC is gone and McDonalds is making a profit in this very tough economy; the ultimate irony.
On a side note, the CC near me smells like a locker room. Every time I would walk in, I would be overwhelmed by the smell of BO. In addition to that, most of the items in the weekly flyer were out of stock and they had a no rain check policy. I stopped even attempting to go there about 3-4 months ago because it was a total waste of time.
You make Theaudiotweek's point...
Having traveled the country for THIEL as VP of Sales and Marketing, in an effort to train sales people for dealers, (to THIEL's credit, at no charge to the dealers, something I was charging $1000. per day for) I can tell you that MOST dealers have, and this will come as no surprise, mediocre staff.
I remember distinctly, role playing in one store, and my hand to God, this really happened.
I told the sales person that I wanted to hear the speakers that had been reviewed in Stereophile, showing him the cover photo, which happened to be a pair of CS6s.
He proceeded immediately to try to sell me a turntable. No efforts to switch him back to topic helped. Finally, I asked him if he had the CS6s and he said 'yes', but didn't skip a beat, on with the turntable. I was reminded of the Linn Sondek groupies who, if you came into the store to ask for a drink of water, would try to sell you a turntable, back in the day.
Finally, I went off role and said, "Why are you not demoing this speaker already, as I have asked you to do so at least 5 times?"
This is what audiophiles are up against...this is why the used market is so strong, this is why pricing is questioned with such ferocity, this...is why Circuit City is out of business...GOOD RIDDANCE!!!!! When they fired their only hope for success, the paved the road to failure.
I'm shocked that Congress isn't bailing them out!? Why not send a couple of hundred billion their way and save 34,000 jobs? If we do it for banks, investment houses, car companies, insurance companies, etc, why not help the morons that ran CC into the ground? Lord knows you and I don't need the money and BB is doing just fine, thank you. Looks like Motorola isn't doing to well either. And Northern Telecom just filed for bankruptcy (sure they're a Canadian company, but I feel really bad for them 'cause they are out of jobs, it's cold up there, and they have to speak French).
"Have any posters in this thread bought televisions within the last three years?"
On a more serious note and significantly smaller monetary scale, yes, I bought two TVs from CC. One 50" Plasma 2 years ago and a 52" LCD this past Thanksgiving. Both purchased online from CC. Everything went great: price, delivery, old haul-away. No issues at all with either set. My family loves them (I rarely watch either).
Mapman,Larry everyone else all this goes back to downloadable music and the I-Pod as the new audio reference. Nobody makes money on video.. its the draw that brought new customers into a store. Whether it was lo-fi mid-fi or hi-fi, video drives the market. If a retailer makes 10 to 15% on video thats alot, you need to do 28 to 32 % in profit margin just to keep the doors open. With good sounding cheap crap that fullfills the masses, that may only cost a few hundred dollars instead of a $1000 or more a retailer can not make up that lost profit margin on the total gross sale. Again many peoples reference is an I-Pod anything better than that is a self perceived waste of their money. The audio industry is at the demise by a computer company banking on I-Tune refills. Tom
Hardly anyone working in our local Circuit City was supporting a household. They were mostly high school kids. So, in that sense, the 34,000 jobs might not have meant much to the overall economy. Those were lost when they replaced their staff a couple of years ago.
I think we would be better off if we prevented companies from getting too big to fail. Circuit City, like many before them, got too large to manage successfully. Like our overall economy, they were too dependent on momentum. And like a bicycle, they became very unstable without momentum.
You know, its really hard to believe, (of course I do, since it happened), that CC would let their 'professional sales staff' go. Let's visit that for a moment.
I have NEVER been in CC and been impressed with any sales person that I met. If they 'let go' what we're considering a professional staff, and replaced them with something less than that, what did they have with the new personnel?
Here's a fictional account of the level of sales people that certainly must have been in place 'after' they let the good ones go.
Salesperson: "OK sir, I see you've picked out that...really big, a flat looking...T.V. thingy...that has a lot of, what? hook ups, and it's really...hmmm black and light at the same time, and like, really, clear.
Customer: "Uh, yea, well that's the Panasonic 52" Hi Def Plasma TV, with HDMI, 3 component, with a contrast ratio of 1Million to one, and it..."
Salesperson: "Whatever...let's see, are you pretty strong, I can't lift this and my service/delivery guy is right in the middle of an XBOX 360 online tournament..."
Customer: "Well, what about you, why can't you help me put it in my truck?"
Salesperson: "Dude...I've got a test in freshman biology tomorrow, I need to get crackin' otherwise I'll spend another year in that class...and I don't think 3rd time is really a 'charm', if you know what I mean."
Customer, with disgust: "Ok, ok, I'll do it, just get me the paperwork..."
Salesperson" "Oh, almost forgot, you wanna supersize that?"
Not only was your post (admittedly) completely contrived/fictional, but it was also the very definition of classless, Larry.
While I've never worked at Circuit City, nor have I known anyone who worked there, the account you relayed was the opposite of what I've encountered there. Over the past few years, I've bought a variety of cordless phones, clock radios, small appliances, etc. at both Best Buy and Circuit City. While I tend to slightly prefer one over the other, the differences, at least, in my experience, weren't that significant.
As far as customer service at Circuit City stores in our area go, here are a few anecdotes I'd like to share with everyone.
This past autumn, my wife saw a cordless phone setup she liked, though no more were on the shelf. We inquired if they had any more in the inventory, and a person who came over to ask if we needed any help went in the back and checked. There were none, but given that my wife really liked the style and features of this model, she inquired about buying the floor model. After checking with someone else, the answer was yes, and an extremely (less than 50%) attractive price was quoted, which we agreed to. At that point, this gentleman and another guy spent the next 15 minutes gathering up everything they could for this phone (box, charger, ancillaries, instruction manual, warranty card, etc.) for us and giving us a quick rundown on the features and how to use them. At the point where they were walking up (yes, that's right) to the front with us to help out in the checkout, they mentioned that they should probably take another $10 or $15 off the price we'd previously agreed to - which they did. They then worked with the person at the register to ring up the sale.
There were other times where we either went in to buy something or just look around. Among them, over this past Thanksgiving weekend, we were looking at the big screen plasma and LCD tvs. The people we dealt with there asked the relevant questions, and seemed knowledgeable about the product. In fact, they directed us to a different section where they felt a particular model offered excellent value based on what we'd discussed. No, we didn't buy anything that day, but the interaction left nothing to be desired.
Again, as opposed to the story you laid out, our experiences with our local Circuit City stores have been as good or better than we had any right to expect. In fact, I've rarely encountered a high-end audio dealer who was more accommodating as these young adults have been. Beyond that, I reiterate the sentiment that there should be no joy when any business goes under - who benefits beyond those who look down their noses at the hoi polloi with a chuckle or disgust?
Shame on you!!!
I hark back to my friend's experience of, and this is a quote from an 'expert' at CC: "Sir, what does A/C mean to you?", when asked about an A/C adaptor.
Epitaphs are easy as they are now out of business--sort of like writing a movie review, or Broadway play review after they have tanked. But this is/was not an epitaph. Merely an observation on the sad state of affairs at CC.
Theaudiotweek pointed out that CC's decline (recent economic issues nothwithstanding) could be traced back to the elimination of their 'professional sales staff', I only concur with his, and many others assessments. When one goes into an electronics store and the paid help doesn't know what A/C is, what hope could these people have for appealing to any serious customer. This doesn't mean that the people they had working there weren't trying, or didn't work hard, it only relfects on the hiring, training philosophy of the company, in this case, Circuit City.
They spent by actual accounting tens of Millions in advertising, yet would seemingly only hire totally unqualified, then, compounding the problem, untrained help. This is part of a larger problem with some of the work forces in place today in various companies. It goes to a larger problem of values or lack thereof.
Think about what could become of McDonalds if they would actually sell quality food instead of high fat, low nutrition, artery clooging goop--yet advertise at a rate of hundreds of millions of dollars. Why not put some of that money that they use for advertising, into their finished product.
I remember Jim Thiel coming into Kathy Gornik's office while he was developing the CS2.3, several years ago. She and I were planning a Northeast trip to visit dealers.
He stood there for a while looking at a Capacitor. Kathy, knowing Jim was lost in thought said, "What is it Jim?"
He said, "Well, this cap is waaaay better than the one I was using in prototype and I'd like to use it, but it costs four or five times as much."
Kathy, without missing a beat said, "Who are you trying to please here Jim?"
The message, one I never forgot was-- "you do this because it reflects who you are, and what you want to put out into the marketplace--your creation."
The speakers were completed using the much more expensive part.
This to me Trelja, is an example of what all companies should try to do...CC being the polar opposite of this basic theology, IMHO. I know that selling is a tough profession, I did it, taught it, for more than 35 years. Everyone CAN'T and SHOULDN'T be in sales, any more than in Accounting or Medicine.
Companies need to create an identity...work to their strengths, and be consistant. CC didn't do this and paid the price. Sometimes in life we're victims of circumstance...sometimes we plot a course for failure. They belong in the second category, and your one good experience doesn't alter this fact. You and I are usually on a similar page, so I apologise if my observation upset you. No malice toward the hardworking young people at CC, just a silly 'caricature' of a fictional sales experience, meant to add a little deflective humor to some tough economic times.
Within that 'silly story' is a kernel of truth though. How many times have any or all of us gone into a store and had an experience similar to that in the little one act play?
Trela is right, no one should take pleasure in the company going under. However, and this is a big however, my "customer experiences" (they really use these terms)at BB and CC were usually very similar to Lrsky and very disappointing. I never had any interaction with the "Magnolia" personnel, but most of their staff had little if any training, other than to push extended warranties mercilessly. I'm glad that Trelja had a good experience but lets not forget that BB, CC and the like are there to "push product". If you get what you want at a good price, its (from their standpoint) almost entirely accidental.
I have also had very poor experiences at CC but the one that blows my mind happened a few weeks ago at a hi end salon. I had recently sold a pair of speakers and had the budget to spend up to $20,000 on a pair of floorstanders. I told the salesman that I had just sold my current speakers and I was looking for some replacement speakers and my budget could be stretched up to $20,000. The salesman told me that I would need to set an appointment. (Remember they have a walkin retail store & I told him I have money to spend today) Now I know that some stores require set times so they can give you full attention but this was on a week day and the store was completely empty and there were two speakers already set up that fit in my budget. Perhaps he was working on another project or he just really didn't want to bother plus there was another salesman there doing nothing.
I later that day when to another audio store (call it store B)and the owner when out of her way to set up 3 different set of speakers and let me listen. I will never know what the other speakers sound like because I will never visit (store A) again and I will proably buy from
store B within the next few weeks.
My point is this, with the economic conditions being where they are today and being totally blown off by a high end store after telling the salesman that I have money to spend today some of these businesses deserve to go under. Perhaps this salesman was trained at CC.
Your story is not unique and I have run into this from time to time. Of the 5-6 higher end stores in my area, I would not step foot in 4 of them. Which is a shame to the customers(us) and to the manufacturers that that particular dealer sells. Some of the stores I have been to are much like your store B, and go out of their way to help. But too many are like store A. Perhaps they think too highly of themselves, or are just out of touch. While $20K is a lot of money for speakers, I know plenty of car salesman right now that would leap over themselves to sell a $20K car.
I for one am fed up with the snooty attitiude of dealers. If a crappy dealer has the exclusive agreement for a product line you are interested in your area, you are forced to go to that dealer alone.
I now contact the manufacturer if I have a bad experience. The internet goes a long way. If there are a lot of complaints against 1 dealer, it makes a difference. Good luck on your search.
I was in Circuit City last week, amid the liquidation.
The "deals" are lousy, with a no-return policy to boot. The help seems to have come from the outside, as simple questions about the merchandise were beyond them. Despite what I've previously written, the store definitely does not have my recommendation now.