Reading this headline brought a quick rush of angry memories and a tinge of guilty satisfaction.
Guilty because of course I know not every, or even most employees behave in the manner of the following story. I'm sure many of them are decent, honest people.
In any case I had many terrible experiences at CompUSA, including what I would consider to be the greatest insult I ever received in a retail situation.
In undergrad (around 1999) I went to the Emeryville, CA CompUSA to pick up a flat-screen CRT (remember when those were cool?) that was on sale for a reasonable price.
Of course when I got there, there were none within reach, so I had to go ask a salesman to pull one down off the storage shelves above the displays. Now, in order to appreciate what comes next, I should say that I'm a pretty nice little asian guy, bordering on appearing naive.
I was all around the store, and finally find the entire sales staff apparently having a little BS-ing time between two isles. The conversation quiets as I approach:
"Hi, I'm looking for this monitor (I point to the ad), but they're up above the display, could someone pull one down for me?"
"Sure, I'd be happy to"... all smiles at me.
Then, in full voice, right in front of me, that salesman turns to his buddies and says:
His buddies, wearing the biggest shit-eating grins, look up up and down for a second and respond:
"Service plan" says one...
"Service plan" says the other...
I was so dumbfounded that all three of them would just stand there and smile and literally call me "sucker" right to my face, I didn't respond.
I was pissed. Seeing red, clenched fists pissed. But I still wanted the monitor, so I figured I would have the last laugh after letting the guy pull the monitor and carry it up to he cashier before telling him politely, "NO".
So he pulls it down, we start walking up the the cashier, and I don't say a word, waiting for him to start giving his pitch. Halfway to the cashier, he mumbles:
"you know, we have this protection plan, it's really great..."
I quietly respond: "uh-huh?"
That's it, not another word. We get to the cashier, the salesman puts the monitor on the conveyor, and shouts to the cashier (who's dealing with customers ahead of me):
Was that it?!! Were they really going to charge me for a protection plan without actually ASKING ME if I wanted it?
You can imagine what happens after that. The Cashier rings me up, and as the numbers flash by I ask: "What's this $45 ($45!!!) charge?"
"That's the protection plan you wanted"
"Take it off, I don't want it, he never asked me if I wanted it, and I never said I wanted it."
"but he said..."
"I don't care what he said"
"but I can't"
"are you saying you won't sell me this item at the advertised price without a $50 surcharge?" I had never nor since raised my voice at a service person, but I was going up involuntarily, and just enough so that when I turned my head in frustration, I noticed that I had the attention of everyone in line.
At that point the cashier noticed this also, and quickly removed the charge.
I had been looking forward to this monitor for a while, so I took it home, but I couldn't shake the anger I felt when I looked at it. By evening, I got so sick of it I brought it back. (I also don't return stuff).
Just remembering the event almost ten years later, my hands are shaking.
Bah! I don't feel guilty any more.
Dear CompUSA: Suck failure assholes.