I rarely shop at the big box stores. I even rarely bite on something on sale at a big box store. When I was in college, I opened a Best Buy store when they came to Atlanta. To make a long story short, I felt like I sold my soul to the devil. Since I had worked there, it has been very hard to bring myself to shop there. I know how the employees were treated and I knew the story of the people I worked with. To put it in simple terms, Best Buy wasn’t for me. I wasn’t into selling something someone didn’t need or selling extended warranties, (yeah, they’re a waste of money: pure profit). I don’t want to get into that since that’s not the point of my post. My point is that I understand somewhat the mentality of the retail sales person having been there myself.
As I said, I rarely shop at the big box stores. But my wife has been saying she would really like a laptop. I tried to hook her up with a 1Ghz Ubuntu Dell laptop and it was okay for email, but just a hair beyond her tech level. She wanted Microsoft. Okay, I thought. Now, tomorrow is our 10th anniversary.
I scoured the hot deal websites and found a nice $399 laptop at Circuit City after rebates. This wasn’t a monster laptop but it would be excellent for what she wanted to do; email, surfing, editing, etc. Any real heavy lifting would be done by our home-built XP desktop so this would really just be a satelite.
So I checked online for instore stock and made a special trip to a Circuit City that still had the laptop I wanted in stock. I found it on display and took it for a test drive. I don’t know anything about Vista but I know enough to tell if the laptop would be fine. I thought it was a good deal.
I waved down some slack-jawed EMO kid and told him I wanted a laptop. When I showed him the one I wanted, he went, “Oh…” and then the conversation went like this… (btw… he was identified as a supervisor on his name tag).
EMO: “Oh, so you want this one. What are you going to do with it?”
Me: “Surfing, email… that sort of thing.”
EMO: “Are you planning on upgrading it?”
Me: “Yeah, probably.”
EMO: “Oh, well you can do that. 512MB of ram is barely enough to do anything. In fact, 2GB is barely enough to do anything on this laptop.”
Me: “Yeah? I think it will be okay for what I am planning on doing with it.”
EMO: “Yeah, well.. the processor isn’t fast enough to run Vista.”
Me: “I’m sure it will be fine.”
EMO: “Okay, here’s the details on the return policy… blah blah blah and being slow isn’t a reason to return it.”
Me: “I am willing to accept the risk.”
I was so mad at this little punk. Obviously, he doesn’t know me from Adam, but I think I do know a little about computers. Clearly, he was trying to up-sell me into something else. Thankfully, he didn’t bother asking me about the extended warranty because I would have walked out. I was fuming.
So I paid for it and picked it up. Everyone else at the store was really nice. As I left the parking lot, I began doubting my purchase. Maybe it wasn’t good enough…or I should have gotten more bang for my buck. Then I realized that was this kids job… to cast doubt into someone’s decision to purchase something. When I made that realization, I felt like I had been violated. I swear, I was 10 seconds away from walking out of that store and have them loseWeight Exercise my sale because of this kid. I would have but that was the only store within my area that still had the laptop in stock.
What would have happened if this kid tried to talk to me and told me why he liked another laptop (similarly priced)? He could have opened with, “Yeah that is a good deal on that laptop, but maybe you should consider one of these because…” instead of trying to scare me. Like I said, I felt violated and doubted myself. Maybe I was more mad at myself for letting him get to me.
As a gut-check, I stopped at an Office Depot to see what they had on sale. I still maintain I got a good deal at Circuit City and I am sure it will be great for my wife. I might upgrade the RAM but I’ll wait for a deal on that.
The point of my post is that, no wonder people are afraid of computers and technology because you got chowder-heads at these stores trying to scare people to spend more money. Having been a Best Buy employee many years ago, I am familiar with the sales tactic of F.U.D. and I hate myself for almost falling for it. Grrrr!