Friday, November 23, 2007

The Ol' Black Friday Bait and Switch

For the first (and hopefully last) time in my life I got up early this morning to shop on Black Friday.

Office Depot had advertised a basic Lenovo laptop at a very low price. We've been keeping our eyes open for deals, since #1 son will need one next year at college. So I roused myself and him out of bed at 5:40 am, still heavy with sleep and semi-digested turkey. We arrived at Office Depot shortly after 6 am, found the laptop display, took the little paper slip from the plastic sleeve under the Lenovo, and went to the cashier.

"We're out of those," she said.

"Then you need to take the slips off the display," I said. I didn't bother to complain that their big sale items were all gone by 6:09 am. "How many of these did you have," I asked a guy on the way out.

"Maybe two."

I should have kept my vow not to shop at Office Depot any more. Or maybe just followed Laurie's advice.

Update: Joe Tech found something similar at Circuit City.

9 comments:

Curtastrophe said...

The Retailer's Prayer

Our Retailer, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Sales;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
at the mall as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily coupons,
and forgive us our frugality,
as we forgive those hardcore shoppers who get there
before us; and lead us not into debt on Black Friday,
but deliver us our online purchases before the 15th
of December. Amen.

The Bliggity No Diggity Blog-a-Log

Anonymous said...

The bad will created by these bait and switch scams dwarfs any benifit fo the retailer, still they keep it up.

Laurie said...

Well, THIS explains the sharp upswing on my hits. Didn't realize that you were missing from my blogroll, BTW. I added you back.

I had a bad experience like that at Best Buy that made me give up on the place forever.

Hope you're enjoying a peaceful evening at home!

Rob said...

We gave up on Best Buy years ago and now Wal Mart, as well. It's getting pretty darn awful out there. Where's the "service" in Customer Service?

David Wharton said...

Actually, I've had very good experiences with Best Buy lately. I think they've made a big push to be more service-oriented.

Anonymous said...

The lack of service in customer service comes directly from the consumer's desire to pay rock bottom prices, guaranteeing low wages for those people you all seem to want to bend over backwards to make you happy when all you do is treat them like poo.

Yes, I have spent many a year in retail. I love every bit of it except for this time of year, when normally nice people turn into godzilla because they can't save $3 on something.

David Wharton said...

Sorry your experience as a retail employee was so bad.

I thought the guys who helped me pick out an internal hard drive at Best Buy were great. They were knowledgeable, and when they didn't know something, they pulled a guy from the Geek Squad to answer my question. I thanked them for their help.

Their attitude completely changed my attitude toward Best Buy.

Rob said...

@anon:
I too spent many years in retail (9 to be exact). This includes: five Christmas "seasons" with TRU and one - four years among retailer's including: Office Max, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, & Restoration Hardware. So, I know from which you speaketh. Retail is a thankless job filled with low wages, poor health coverage and customers of all sizes, shapes and demeanors.
Ultimately, our chase to the bottom may bring a few things,IMHOP:
(1) Mega stores elevated to deity or, cast off for the faulty and poisonous goods foisted upon us.
(2) A return to Mom & Pop stores for their real impact on the local economy.
I believe there is a finite number of times we can transfer our desire for lowest cost/most benefit/best feature set to an underdeveloped/emerging nation.

@ david: I am glad you have made your peace with Best Buy. Our household,however, will make no such arrangement. BB's inhospitable return policy still rubs me the wrong way. Try Buy.com, Amazon.com HSN.com, ShopNBC.com, Shopzilla.com , Google Product Search and the others... Hell, I'm even willing to give HH Gregg a try.

David Wharton said...

I confess I don't know much about BB's return policy.

But I didn't have any trouble returning a DVD drive that simply didn't work on my computer -- they took it back, no questions asked.

And when they couldn't provide me with a CD burner for my old PC, they told me where else I could go to get one.