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Thread summary:

Computer sale: warranties, accessories, customer service, retail corporate offices

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Old 03-16-2009, 01:19 PM
HDL HDL started this thread
Status: "Have a safe and blessed holiday season :-)" (set 21 hours ago)
 
Location: Seek Jesus while He can still be found!
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I went into Staples last October to buy a PC that was on sale, only to be made to feel like some sort of 'criminal' or 'thief' . How dare I want the PC that was advertised on sale that week ?! And exactly HOW MANY PC's was I going to buy ?! (Well, I only needed ONE to be exact !)

The manager told me in a complaining manner that they were sold out (2 days into the sale) and that some person had come in and bought 3 of them . He went onto say that they don't make any money on computer sales (and that is my problem HOW exactly???) and that they make their monies on all the accessories that go with the computer (he didn't mention warranties, but I know for a fact that is where they make their money also ).

Well, I had to assure him that I was just an ordinary person wanting to buy a computer and not out to financially devastate Staples . After quite a bit of drama and questioning (mostly on my part as to whether they actually EVER carried the product since there was NO display PC or space on the shelf where it would have been displayed with the shelf signage still there ), the store manager begrudingly called another store 15 miles away and found 3 in stock there.

In the end, after quite a bit of going back and forth, I ended up getting the computer, some software and a printer the following week and generally being somewhat satisfied with the customer service after all. But it left a very weird taste in my mouth that Office Supply/Computer stores don't make any money on PC's and have to resort to this kind of nonsense and poor service . If a store advertises a product for sale and it is a loss leader and they make no money on it, limit the amount a consumer can purchase and keep your mouths 'shut' please .

After reading the below article (and comments) today, I wondered how many others have experienced the same thing that I did and were quite taken aback by the comment that stores DON'T make money on PC's (or laptops) and that we the general public ought to know that and buy a lot of other items that we gave no need of ??!


Office Depot Managers Encourage Lying to Customers, Say Employees
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Old 03-16-2009, 05:15 PM
 
1,597 posts, read 1,689,489 times
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Wow - deja vu! This takes me back 10 years to when I actually worked at at an office supply store.

First, the manager was most likely lying to you when he said someone purchased the 3 computers. Chances are, he had 3 in stock that were sold before the ad came out...or right in the first day of the sale. He was probably just looking for a way to explain why they didn't have any. (That wasn't uncommon when I worked, and I was at the service desk ringing up customers. You'd be amazed at how many people flood the store and buy something in an ad, which quickly makes the store run out on the first or second day.) However, it's highly unlikely the 3 were sold to the same customer. The ad states that not all items are available at every store, so that's something to bear in mind. If I had to guess, he was probably out of them already and expecting some to arrive in the next shipment, which wouldn't occur until near the end of the sale.

Second, when they push those warranties, it IS because they make a lot of money from them, but only because it's basically a product that isn't considered part of inventory. It's pure profit...as if you were buying air. As I see it, they are worthless pieces of paper. The reason the salesperson pushes them is because they get a commission for each one they sell, and face scrutiny if they don't. We even had weekly "contests" to see how much we could sell, with a minimum goal for each person. And I worked at the service desk, not on the floor! It was a pain in the butt trying to convince people to buy them. But word of advice to the consumer....never buy them. They're just a waste of money because chances are you'll never use them. The computer itself already comes with a manufacturer's warranty. If something is going to happen to a computer, it usually happens within the first year and it would be covered by the manufacturer's warranty first, not the store's.

Third, the store does make money off the sale of the computer, but just not as much as what they do from the accessories and warranties. (Not sure why he would say they don't make money from them. ) It's called a higher price margin on the accessories, so the manager was most likely using a figure of speech when he said they didn't make any money from them. That's hogwash. Common sense tells you that a store's not going to sell an item unless it's going to make a profit from it.

After reading that article, I will say it's true that retail corporate offices put a lot of pressure on managers to sell. We used to hear it all the time, about how much we had to push the warranties and items with higher price margins. Even as a former manager myself (different company), I used to encounter what seemed to be impossible sales goals. We can't go dragging customers in off the street. So go easy on the manager if he was in a bad mood. Dealing with customers that cop attitudes doesn't help things. If he begrudgingly called another store, you need to keep in mind that it was a customer courtesy he was providing and it was likely pulling him away from other important duties that needed tending. (Also most likely happened at a time when he was short-staffed.) However, that's not an excuse to let his frustration show, so he probably needs a lesson in customer service with an emphasis on common courtesy and helping make sure the customer's needs and desires are met. Most of the managers I worked with were courteous to the customers - although their treatment of co-workers left something to be desired.

FWIW, if a manager asked me to lie about the availability of a product, I'd be heading to the time clock and punching out...and then telling him to find someone else to do his unethical dirty work for him.
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:43 PM
 
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Yeah, Office Depot managers and employees lie.

We bought a laptop from them in early December and we were told both by the salesman and the young woman that rang us up that if we found a better price within 30 days they would reimburse the full difference. I specifically asked if it was the full difference.

Well, OfficeMax had it for less and when I went back to get the credit the same young woman would not help me. "A manager is required for this." The manager would not refund the entire difference because part of the purchase was a rebate. When I told him that I specifically asked about this he said the young woman was misinformed. "What about the salesman that told me the same thing?"

No answer. Busted ya', ya' jerk.

After a bit of go round I left. A week later I get a notice that he OD rebate was refused because I returned the product. A few calls and putting up with idiots finally got that straightened out.

Haven't been buying much at Office Depot lately. Between personal, business and client losses I'd estimate they're out around $5k in sales so far. Too bad, so sad.
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:18 PM
 
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Going to these stores is entertainment for me. I'm fairly knowledgeable with computers and especially A/V. I usually let them go on with their usual BS, ask a few dumb questions to build up their confidence then lay a whopper on them. "umm...umm let me go ask my manager...."
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:08 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,714 posts, read 11,305,024 times
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There is one staff guy at the OfficeMax store in South Charleston, WV, that really knows his stuff and tells customers the truth. Personally, I've been treated just fine at the one Staples store I've been in. All-in-all, I was not disappointed (based on personal experience) to see Circuit City close. Every time I walked in the store, I heard customers being told lies. (Of course, since I quit buying from them, I have not been in a Circuit City store for several years.)
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:26 PM
 
40,212 posts, read 41,799,403 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mensaguy View Post
There is one staff guy at the OfficeMax store in South Charleston, WV, that really knows his stuff and tells customers the truth.
Yes some of them know their stuff. I know the one guy working at the local Best Buy knows his camera equipment but I think a majority of them don't know squat. I walked into the A/V department at Best Buy a few years back looking for a VHS deck with S-Video and after asking the clerk if they had any in stock he gave me quizzical look like I was talking Chinese. S-video isn't exactly common but its not uncommon either. To top it off he's trying to sell me the latest and greatest which did not fit my needs because I specifically needed a VHS deck with s-video.
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:50 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,714 posts, read 11,305,024 times
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The OfficeMax guy was worth mentioning because that type of person is so rare in those stores.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:53 PM
 
16,308 posts, read 25,264,005 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDL View Post

The manager told me in a complaining manner that they were sold out (2 days into the sale) and that some person had come in and bought 3 of them . He went onto say that they don't make any money on computer sales (and that is my problem HOW exactly???) and that they make their monies on all the accessories that go with the computer (he didn't mention warranties, but I know for a fact that is where they make their money also )
I would have asked, "do you sell kleenex or other facial tissue here?". Then you need to buy a box, as you are wasting your tears with your phony sob store on me.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:52 PM
 
Location: kcmo
712 posts, read 1,963,384 times
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I really wouldn't buy anything in stores these days.. (less it's a deal) 90% of my real purchases are online.. I tend to like a mixture of amazon and or newegg reviews (can't really trust e'm 100% got to go with the.. your mileage may vary on anything) The few things I buy in stores are those that are too much to ship.. like windex or a table from walmart

And then of course cause I only buy deals.. I get tons more from the deals I find on sites like anandtech, fatwallet, slickdeals..

I can personally as I'm sure a lot of forum members for this particular forum.. ring circles around them based on the amount of useless knowledge I have And believe me.. I have a lot of useful and useless knowledge..
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:24 AM
 
10,753 posts, read 18,005,309 times
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Most of those types of places have unskilled workers, they don't pay well so they get people just as qualified to work at mcdonalds. I called my local Radio Shack (that store has gone to hell) and asked the guy if they had any slingboxes in stock, his reply, "What's a Slingbox?" I told him he might want to take a look at the RS website so he can find out what he's selling.
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