Die In A Fire, Circuit City Harrisburg

Circuit City was founded in 1949 on little more than a dream.  A dream that one man, with little more than his financial wits and a firm handshake, could launch a successful retail operation based on over-inflated prices, uneducated employees, and a general philosophy that the customer is an inconvenience.  Despite sticking to that modus operandi for the past few decades, the chain — shockingly — just couldn’t compete.

Stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart came in with their high-falutin’ “customer service” and elitist “affordable prices”.  They made sure that even if THEIR employees weren’t always the best-educated or most customer-friendly, they at least had enough fear of being fired that they did their job with a minimal level of competency.

But Circuit City held on.  During the rapid-fire changes in corporate culture throughout the ’90s, Circuit City even went so far as to replace their clearly-dated mantra of “To Mislead, Irritate, And Rip Off Consumers At Every Prudent Option” with “Suck It, Customers”.  But it was to no avail.  Around the turn of the millennium, Internet-only retailers like Newegg and Tiger Direct were slaughtering Circuit City’s prices alive.  Despite Circuit City’s best efforts to stop the hemorrhaging (including their third and final corporate mantra, “Seriously:  Suck It, Customers.  We’re Not Fucking Around Any More”), they were forced into bankruptcy at the beginning of this year.

While management and employees of Circuit City are still reeling from this shocking development — scratching their heads, trying to figure out exactly what went wrong — customers who rarely frequented Circuit City to begin with are beginning to come up with some ideas of their own.

This afternoon I was in the Harrisburg Circuit City (along Jonestown Road) to see if they had anything useful left.  Sure, I’ve heard all the stories about how they jacked up their prices 35% before dropping them 10%, but I had nothing better to do.  Besides, I was headed to Costco anyway — practically the same parking lot.  I knew I wouldn’t see any major discounts, since source after source after source has been constantly reporting on how Circuit City’s “50% markdown” is more or less a scam.

But when I found a 100-pack of generic DVD-Rs (single-layer, non-printable, non-LightScribe) for $40.99 before a 50% discount, I decided my trip might not be a total waste after all.  Since Newegg sells a generic 100-pack of 16x DVD-Rs for $20 (with free shipping), I figured the extra $1.74 I’d pay at Circuit City was worth it for what amounted to same-day delivery.

Until I got to the checkout.

“That’s $26.50,” the checkout girl helpfully announced.  I asked if these were supposed to be 50% off.

“Um yeah, but the price on them is wrong.  We marked that when it was only 30% off.  It’s supposed to be $49.99 now.”  I ignored the fact that 30% off a $50 item is $34.99 and not the $40.99 actually marked on the product, and told her I wasn’t buying.  I can swallow a buck or two, but a $5 difference, coupled with incorrect pricing and apathetic employees, made me come home and order from Newegg.  In fact, for $23 (free shipping), I scored a 100-pack of name-brand DVD-Rs.

Ordinarily, I point out that I feel some degree of sympathy for terminated employees of a bankrupt company.  Normally, it isn’t really their fault that the management above them cluelessly ran the company into the ground.  But when so many people have so many complaints about so many bad experiences, the employees take on a lot of the blame themselves.  It’s been my experience that Circuit City workers are beyond useless.  And after today, when it’s become apparent that they’re “accidentally” mis-pricing items, I hope the lot of them wind up homeless.

With employees this worthless and stores this poorly run, it’s amazing that they haven’t gone out of business yet.

Oh, wait.

EDIT:  This story got greenlit on Fark.  Visit the thread to read responses from Circuit City employees, including calling me an “asshole” for “being upset that (I) didn’t get what I wanted”.  Yeah, stupid me.  I figured the bright yellow signs screaming “50% Off” meant that things would be, you know, 50% off.  What a jerk I am!

EDIT EDIT:  Yet another reason not to buy anything from Circuit City, especially during their bankruptcy liquidation.  That 42″ LCD TV you just paid $1100 for after discounts is broken?  Too bad, your loss.

12 thoughts on “Die In A Fire, Circuit City Harrisburg”

  1. The reason you’re being called an asshole is that you wished homelessness on people over a pricing disagreement.

    That makes you a flaming asshole.

    Try being homeless. Live in a car for a while. Eat dog food for a bit.

    I wouldn’t even wish homelessness on my worst enemy. I’m thinking about it for you, though.

  2. I had the same experience at the Harrisburg store. The items on display with the advertised discount were actually full price at the register. Fuck Circuit City

  3. @Reason, try reading the post before you continue to make an idiot of yourself. Incidentally, best of luck in your job search. Remember, that customer you treat like dirt may be your future employer.

    @Beau, I take some degree of comfort in knowing that we’re not the only ones. Circuit City has treated its customer base so poorly for so long that they’re now out of business. I realize the corporate mantra parroted to their employees is “It’s the economy, stupid”, but there’s a reason why Circuit City went under and Best Buy did not.

  4. It is obvious that the person who wrote this is a young young baby. Not an adult. When you grow up it is easy to understand that 2 adults will not usually squabble over 2$ 3$ as long as everyone is courteous.

    I mean we just passed a 1 trillion stimulus and you act as if money is scarce. Wishing homelessness on a person, calling a person useless( what were you going to use them for weirdo?). Grow up and get over it loser.

  5. Yeah. That’s right. I’m a baby and my problem is with $2. Clearly I’m the only one to feel this way, ever; that’s why Circuit City is bankrupt.

  6. @Reason: I think the point of wishing them homeless is more or less hoping they get what they deserve for doing a crappy job: unemployment.

    Circuit City is crappy even on the eve of its death. Great post.

  7. “The Voice of Reason” is a moron. Circuit City employees were the worst ever. Never helpful, always rude. Good luck in the unemployment line, chumps.

  8. Great post – ignore the assholes calling you an asshole.

    I poked my head in the closing Circuit City in Kennewick Washington. It’s all marked 30-50% off, and the prices are STILL higher than every other place in town. Only now it’s ‘As Is’. This is why TigerDirect is my best friend (although I’ll use Best Buy for convenience if I’m feeling impatient)

  9. Judging by the comments here and on Fark, it’s pretty obvious who works (worked?) for Circuit City and who doesn’t. Ignore the jackassery. CC employees ARE getting what they deserve. I’ve been ripped off on extended warranties, lied to by Firedog ($90 to run Windows Update? REALLY?!?), shunned when I had to exchange a defective HDMI switch, you name it. Treat your customers like garbage and it WILL come back to bite you in the ass.

  10. Oh I almost forgot what I came here to say. You pointed out your retail experience on Fark. I too was once a slave to the customer, and I too got out. So many retail employees whine and cry about how terrible the customers are, but they never do anything to improve/market themself. If you people hate retail so much, why do it?

  11. Let one of us who works there explain to you something. I wokr at the Holyoke store and I have employees who jus aren’t the at with dealing people. I am a home entertainment expert in everysense of the word and have always treated my customers the way they should and further (like always helping p.f.t (product flow team) load the tv’s and other things into the car after a sale) be treated. now with these prices there is fine print that they will catch you with. When I mean they(read carefully) I mean the LIQUIDATORS. They have control of everything. our licenses, product, money, security….everything! so price put out by them can be wrong. Now they may not have put tax on the tag and could have been the reason for the misunderstanding. Believe me i have been to other like you have been to and they are bad. I’m sorry for that and it take resposibilty and as employee that it dose reflect on me to a degree cause i wear the company name. you will get service at Best Buy and Walmart depending on who u talk to. i wish i coulda told a sooner but, Home Entertainment Employees are the silent leaders of the floor and if any question needed to be anwsered then they will always help u out. people in CFA2 (cameras, computer, games, dvds, and soforth, everything but home entertainment) so for the troubled times u had with us…..oh and ur protection plans are covered by assurance solutions so if u need them jus call 222-3222 for tv’s….BIRDS!

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