Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vultures

When CompUSA closed most of its stores in 2007, our store was one of them. And since we were all losing our jobs, we figured we might as well make the most of it.

The closing sale worked in increments. Every week or two weeks, the discount percentage would rise by either five or ten percent. That meant that items would eventually wind up being 90% off on closing day.

So a few of us went around and gathered up some products we were interested and put them aside in one of the back rooms. CompUSA didn't want us doing that, but what were they going to do? Fire us? Oh, wait.

Anyway, on the store's last day, I grabbed my small basket of items and brought it to the register just as the store was opening for one last time. I didn't have much; I think there was a computer game, an SD card, some air cans, and some cheap little odds and ends.

But as I put it on the counter, the first customer through the door comes right over to us and reaches right into my basket, shifting things around as his eyes darted around in search of a good deal.

"Excuse me?" I asked, glaring at him. "Can I help you?"

He drops the computer game and waves it away. "No," he grunts. This guy was actually a regular shopper to the store; and an frequent complainer. I wanted to tell him off because it was our last day and there wasn't any reason to hold back, but I figured it was best not to start confrontation.

But to this day, I still cannot comprehend why people turn into such vultures when there is a sale going on. I realize you want to save money. We all do! But don't go stepping all over other people to get there. Have some common courtesy.

Shopping Tip of the Day for 5/21/11: Please stop stealing the demo units that have "FOR DISPLAY ONLY" written across them. They aren't real, you won't be able to sell them for any money, you're ruining our displays in the process, and you can STILL get arrested for it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bold Move, Mr. Customer. Very Bold.

Some customers had elaborate plots planned in order to steal merchandise. Sometimes they'll sneak a product to a dark corner of the store and leave it there for an accomplice to pick up later. Other times they'll bring their friends in to distract the floor employees while they just take what they want from the unguarded shelves. Some will bring backpacks and suitcases. Many bring box cutters and find clever places to discard the empty boxes. There's almost always a plan of some kind, and usually it involves the thief leaving the store with his or her loot long before the company has any idea that something was stolen.

Then there was this guy.

At CompUSA, we kept the majority of our computers on the overhead top stock. It was the easiest way to keep them out of the way and neatly organized. The boxes were lined up above the shelves right to the left of the entrance door and in plain view of the customer service desk.

So one day, we had a customer come in to purchase a computer. The sales person climbed the big ladder to top stock and pulled down the PC. But when the associate walked off to retrieve the monitor, the customer made his move.

Outside, a buddy of his was waiting in a running car. The buddy jumped out of the vehicle and ran up to the building, triggering the sliding entrance doors. Inside, no more than twenty feet away, the customer picked up the computer and ran out with it through the open doors.

Right in front of the customer service desk.

The two of them jumped into the car and sped off with the computer as the girl at the service desk paged a manager, but the car was gone by the time anyone got to the front. I don't think the machine was ever recovered, but we captured the whole incident on our security cameras.

It was certainly one of the more blatant thefts I'd ever witnessed. No opening boxes in a corner, no tools or baggy clothes, or anything like that. Just a grab-and-go procedure. Gotta love people who think they deserve to just take whatever they want whether they've earned it or not.

Shopping Tip of the Day for 5/14/11: If a company has product locked inside a secured case, don't wander around mumbling things like "How do they expect anyone to buy this stuff if it's under lock and key?!" under your breath. You know exactly what's going on, and you know exactly what you need to do to get your item.

Just open your mouth and ask. Politely. Get rude or impatient with us, and we may suddenly have another customer that we "forgot" was waiting on us. Or paperwork that needed to be done. Or a dog that needed walking.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Here's Your Sign

When our CompUSA began posting signs regarding our going out of business sale, I was away due to a family emergency. So I was unaware of just how many signs we had been instructed to post.

Holy crap.

When I came back, there were dozens and dozens of giant purple signs with yellow paint-splatter graphics and giant red letters that read "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE!" Without exaggeration, these signs lined the ceiling from left to right, right to left, front to back, and back to front. Side by side, there was probably only about a foot or two between each. Front to back was maybe four feet.

And they weren't just on the ceiling. Smaller versions were on the counters, the doors, the displays, and the shelves. Along with that were the percentage signs reading how much each area of product had been discounted. The point is, it was impossible to miss these signs.

Then again, just because we posted them doesn't mean they're true, right?

On the second or third day of the sale, I had a man come up to me in the middle of the store and ask me with a straight face, "Are you guys really going out of business?"

He had to be joking. That's what I assumed, anyway. "Excuse me?" I asked, hoping maybe I'd misheard him.

"Someone told me you guys were closing down," he said again. If he was acting, he was doing a spectacular job of it. He honestly looked and sounded upset by the news. "Is it true?"

I looked up a the signs overhead and stared long enough for him to follow suit. "Nope," I said, "we just like the colors on those signs."

He took the joke in good humor. I wasn't trying to offend him, but at the same time, I couldn't possibly imagine how he hadn't noticed any of the promotional material plastered all over the place.

Shopping Tip of the Day for 5/7/11: Have you ever seen those large porcelain bowls in store restrooms? They're called "toilets." That's where you take care of your business. Not on the floor. Not in the trash can. Nope, not the sink either.

Ladies, that applies to you too.

(Ugh, I can't believe I'm trying to teach such basic functions of human life to "adults." Time to start acting your age, people. And if your child causes a mess due to their lack of understanding how the process works, it is your job as a parent to clean up after them. I'm sorry if that comes as a shock to those of you who thought it was the store's responsibility to babysit Junior.)