Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Welcome to Circuit City, where service is in a state of nonexistence

Filed under : Rants,Stores
On October 24, 2006
At 12:30 pm
Comments : 26

I know you spend your days pondering the following: “I wonder what the worst electronics & CD store on the entire earth is?” Because I love to answer questions, I’ll tell you that I know this one and I know it well. Yes, friends, it’s the Circuit City on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Could there be a worse store for either electronics OR CD’s? How about customer service or the lack thereof?

I think last night might have been my final straw with them. But let me back up a little and just say that I have never, ever gone there with the intention of buying a non-new-release CD and actually found it. Sure, they have the stuff that was released last Tuesday, but their CD racks seem to be there just to tease you into thinking they might actually carry the pre-2006 CD you wanted. No sir!

And don’t bother asking anyone anything. They never know. I think my favorite customer “service” event happened last Christmastime when I went looking for a Discman for a gift for someone-or-other. My conversation with the salesguy went something like this:

Me: Do you have the El Cheapo brand Discman on sale in your flyer?
Him: I’m sorry, that’s not in my zone.
Me: Pardon?
Him: We each cover zones. The portable electronics zone is over there but the guy is on break.
Me: So you can’t step over 30 feet and show me where it is?
Him: I’ll get fired. Do you know what my rent is?

Uh, no. And I never found out. But that brings me to last night when I went with a friend of mine visiting from Israel, Naftali, whom I’m namechecking shamelessly to ensure he’ll read my blog from now on. It was clear the store would be closing shortly and it was nearly empty. We went upstairs, found the two external hard drives that were on sale and I proceeded to ask the salesguy if the no-name yet cheaper one was decent. He said, “I haven’t received any complaints on any of the hard drives.” Now, I ask you, when was the last time you complained to the store sales guy that your hard drive crashed? But, you know, that was what I wanted to hear so I went with it.

He got another guy to open the case for us and get me the one on sale. Or so we thought. Because they were closing soon, they had closed all the registers except the customer service desk. Which is fabulous because you get to wait on line for one cashier behind all the people with long, drawn-out issues. The woman in front of me won the prize, though, because she went ballistic and insisted she had pulled out her credit card and now it was gone. First she declared that the cashier had lost it. Then she moved on to contend that it had been stolen by some other customer. Because of that, she insisted the cashier let her use the phone to call Amex to cancel it that very second because someone was out using it to buy things RIGHT NOW. Of course, since she didn’t have the card, she didn’t have a number so wanted the cashier to find that for her. Naftali and I spent this time debating whether it was in her pocket or if she had left it at home.

By the time they got to me I was ready to jam the hard drive down someone’s throat. But finally, the cashier rang it up and it came up as double the actual price in the sales flyer. We determined that the guy upstairs had given me the wrong one. Great. So we went back upstairs (of course the security guard, who wanted to close up, tried to stop us) to find the salesguy who when I pointed to the one in the flyer, said, “oh yeah, we don’t have that one.” Naturally.

So why do I keep going back to this store? Because it’s the nearest one to me, at the moment I have a giftcard there, and it’s the cheapest thing in the area. Of course, things are always cheap when they’re not in stock and so you can’t buy them. But I’m counting on them for the new Deftones CD which comes out on Tuesday. I’m sure if I get there within 12 hours of its release they’ll have it. I just hope I don’t have to ask anyone for help.

The Polecats – Make A Circuit With Me


26 Comments for this post

Celia says

O.K., maybe this is too obvious, but is that gift card good at CircuitCity.Com?

And I don’t know if it will make you feel any better, but they’re all like that. Circuit City, Best Buy, Radio Shack, you name it. In the suburbs, even. They don’t have what is in the circular and no one can help you. You will always leave in a bad mood, muttering “I hate this fucking store.”

Jane says

When I shop at Circuit City, I always order online and pick-up at the store. I do this for two reasons: 1. I hate the people there. 2. When they screw up, they have to give me a gift card because that’s their policy (at least here). If you order online and it’s not ready for pick-up within 24 minutes, you get a $24 gift card.

The last time I did this, I ordered a thumb drive. When I picked it up, it was easily the size of my entire computer. When I said, “That’s not a thumb drive!” and the clerk responded “Yes it is,” I asked for the manager. I got my $24 gift card, waited ten minutes for the correct drive, and gave the clerk two thumbs up on my way out.

They’re still better than Best Buy, who told my father what I got him for Christmas the day after I bought it. That story is too long for the comments.

KP says

Dude, I handed them a piece of paper with Ray LaMontagne’s name on it to help me find his CD and they still looked like I asked them to donate a kidney. I will say I was uberexcited to find the Simpsons box sets on sale for 17.99 there…woohoo!

DonniesGirl says

My 22 year old nephew worked at Best Buys for almost a year and had no clue what he was doing. His only job “qualification” that I’m aware of is his knowledge of computer games. But he didn’t even work in that zone :p

Becca says

Yeah, that was my plan when I left there, I’m going to order it online and pick it up instore. Of course, that puts me right back on the customer service line. I might take off a day of work for it.

But actually, I find Best Buy and RS way better than Circuit City as far as having things in stock and having people who will help you.

Alex says

“So why do I keep going back to this store? Because it’s the nearest one to me, at the moment I have a giftcard there, and it’s the cheapest thing in the area.”

Becca, you’re not looking on the bright side. You’ll probably be able to keep that Circuit City gift card FOREVER! What else has that kind of lasting value?

Sarpon says

But how can you overlook the fact that the stores are shaped like a giant PLUG! How cool is that? And yet they are not called Plug City! Because the idea is that when the plug is jammed into the outlet it completes the circuit, get it? Get it? Well, that’s because you’re not a wonk, that’s why.

Paige says

The last time I went to Sephora in Cincinnati, I was informed that they work in zones as well. When I asked about certain items, they were required to hand me off to the person in the proper area. I would totally expect this if I were at a department store and there were individual counters like Clinique, Lancome, etc. Thus after finding my Bare Minerals, I was whisked away to someone else for my Benefit inquiry. I still like Sephora but the zone thing is not something that I care for.

And I seriously dislike Circuit City.

RN says

I would comment but this is out of my zone.



twenchi says

It’s stories like this that make me glad I’m too poor to actually shop.

Celia says

Paige, that must explain my experience at Sephora. I asked to be shown the Bare Minerals makeup, and when I wasn’t nuts about it, the sales lady said “Well, if you don’t love it don’t buy it.” And then explained that it didn’t look good on me not because of any problem with the makeup, but because I was an ugly old lady with bad skin. Then she vaguely waved toward some other person who might be able to sell me something to help with that.

Soxy says

I had a guy at Best Buy laugh at me once. He asked if I needed help with the printer ink, and I told him I was just looking. He laughed at me, and said “who just looks at printer ink?” I do, jackass.

Oh, and I once drove to NH to get a computer at Best Buy, after weeks of research and price comparing. I applied for the credit card and everything before they told me my computer was out of stock, and they don’t do rainchecks on rebated items. I burst into tears (I’m a big, cheap baby)

Paige says

Celia, that’s one terrible Sephora experience. I would have placed her back in her zone myself.

Soxy, please tell me you seriously harmed the Best Buy guy.

Becca says

Well, I checked their site and shockingly, it’s out of stock in my store. Does Sephora accept Circuit City gift cards?

EmeraldMPH says

I think it’s just a disease with those stores. We spent 20 minutes getting the runaround in a Best Buy once trying to get a PDA, with several different people directing us to different departments. (Cell phones, computers, small electronics consecutively). Finally we found out they didn’t carry them. There was quite a bit of averted eye contact, umming, and other social anxiety-related behavior from their gifted sales team during that experience.

I have a question about Naftali though. Is that a unisex Israeli name? Believe it or not I’ve heard it before, but attached to a female.

Shark says

The very first comment here sums up my experience with all electronics stores. Every time I swear off going to Circuit City, Best Buy does something that sends me back.

Becca says

No, Naftali was one of the sons of Jacob and thus the tribe (one of the 12 tribes of israel) that was named for him. Just a male name, really. And I swear, Emerald, I will get to your Jew & A question shortly. Thanks for being patient.

Alfa says

But does your Circuit City smell like wet dog?

I thought not.

Becca says

You got me there.

Emeraldmph says

I’m glad to hear it’s really supposed to be a boy’s name.

The Naftali of whom I speak is an ex of a friend of ours who has a gift for dating really annoying skanks. We used to call her “Nastily.”

sobie says

This is why my husband builds our computers online and why I listen to my age old cds instead of buying new ones. It’s bordering on ridiculous how clueless I am about modern music. I listen to it on the radio, but I don’t know who they are. It’s sad, really, I used to keep up with new bands, etc…went to a lot of concerts…

*sigh* frikkin husband. frikkin kids.

Celia says

Sobie, you might like XM radio. It has a little screen that tells you the title of the song and the artist. Then I’ve heard there’s this way you can go online and buy just that one song to listen to whenever you want.

Lisa Tagio says

I have a bad headache so maybe I missed it, but why oh why don’t you shop at B & H?

It’s the BEST electronics store in the world, AND they have jars of kosher candy all over the store.

Becca says

I don’t think they sell computer stuff, do they? But either way, they’re run by the Satmar Hassidim whom I can’t support for various reasons not funny enough to be included on this blog.

Jan says

I didn’t realize people still bought CDs. How cute and old fashioned of you, Bec.

Becca says

Of course you don’t, Jan, because someone sends them to you for free. Mmm hmm.