Sunday, July 11, 2004

Say My Name Three Times


Evidently, I'm a demon customer.

Like a customer who ties up a sales person, but never buys anything or who buys only during big sales. Or one who files for a rebate, then returns the item.


OK, I think the person who pulls rebate scams is a thief, no doubt. However, how stupid is the person at the returns counter who accepts a box which has had the UPC code cut off of it? Believe me, when I worked at Best Buy (see below) I saw that more than once. What about the scam that the rebate companies pull when they try to tell you that there is something wrong with your submission and the rebate has been denied. I've had that happen, and since I keep copies of all the paperwork, been able to prove them wrong. At which point I was told that "since you are a valued customer, we've gone ahead and honored the rebate." Bullshit. And yes, I'm talking about YOU, Sony. Why can't manufacturers and retailers just offer a good price on an item to begin with? Yes, yes, I know that only a small percentage of people actually file for rebates. Too bad manufacturers and retailers, if you're gonna game us, then you're gonna get gamed.

Now about the customer who ties up a sales person? That sounds kind of kinky, and I can name a few of the guys at Best Buy that I'd like to try that with. But seriously, the counter argument here is the sales person who won't take "no" for an answer. The other day at an unnamed jewelry store in an Atlanta mall, I stopped to drool over look at some Movado watches. I was practically pounced upon by a saleswoman who would not leave me alone. "Six months interest-free financing!" Not today, thanks. "Free layaway!!" No really, NOT TODAY. "We can have a credit decision in minutes!!!" Ugh. Tell you what, lady, thanks for your card; if and when I decide to splurge on that watch, I most definitely will NOT be visiting you.

Which leaves us with the evil demonic type "who buys only during big sales." Well yeah. In other words, the intelligent customer. Whether it's the aforementioned Movado watch, or a fifty inch DLP rear-projection HDTV monitor, these are not necessities we're talking about. They are luxury items. Discretionary items. Why would I spend $X when I could spend $X minus 10%?

I'm a little upset that Best Buy is mentioned so prominently in the article linked above. During last year's spell of non-productive employment, I worked at a Best Buy to keep a little income flowing and to keep me from going crazy. I guess I still feel a connection to the company; I always liked them a bit better than Circuit City anyway. But, aren't they the ones who built a whole advertising campaign around letting the customer come in to play with the equipment? I guess that might still be OK, as long as you don't bother the sales people.

Anyway, as a result of my four and half months there, I know a bit about Best Buy's marketing tactics, which I'd be glad to write about. They're no angels, I can promise you that.

Perhaps the demon retailers had better clean up their own acts before trying to drive away customers. Just a thought.

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