Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Shopping @ Circuit City

Saturday I finished up my Christmas shopping. I was researching a certain product and found it very cheap at Circuit City. What was bizarre was that it was $10 cheaper to buy online than at the store. Circuit City offers in-store pickup at no extra cost, so basically I could save $10 by buying it online and picking it up at the store. So that's what I did.

They gave me a confirmation number to use. Of course the Circuit City site suggested I print out the confirmation number, I probably would usually (trees be damned, heh.) But at the time, my wife was in the middle of printing a ton of Christmas stuff. The confirmation number was emailed to my GMail account. So I figured that even if I really needed the number, I would just get it off my GMail via my cell phone. However, I didn't really think I would need the confirmation number.

So I went to Circuit City, where I had to battle crazy Christmas traffic just to find a parking spot. I finally did, and waltzed into the store. There I was greeted with a long line to customer service, and there was a sign indicating that customer service was where I needed to go for "web pickup." Fine. So I waited in the line, and finally got the customer service counter. There the clerk asked me for my confirmation number.

I told him I didn't have it, so he asked for the credit card I used to buy the item online. This was exactly what I expected. I handed him my credit card, but after swiping it he said there was "no hit." He asked for the phone number I had used when I placed the order. I gave him this number, but again "no hit." He then preceded to lecture me on how I should have printed out my confirmation number.

At this point, I brought out my cell phone only to see the dreaded "no service" indicator. How could this be? My phone is through Verizon and Circuit City sells Verizon phones! I've had the phone for a year and I've never lost service on it anywhere in the Bay Area. I've taken it to the east bay, San Francisco, all over the penisula, and of course all over Silicon Valley. Never any problems. I've biked in the hills south of San Jose, up to Calero Reservoir, and never had problems there. But for some reason at Circuit City in South San Jose... no service. The ever-so-helpful then suggests that I go use "the broadband terminal" to retrieve the confirmation number from my email.

I was annoyed to say the least. I see the "broadband terminal" and of course there's a ton of people there. So I went outside, where I had some spotty service, and retrieved the number. Then I stood in line -- again -- and finally met with the same clerk, but this time with confirmation number in hand. Finally I got my purchase.

Amazing how I can pick up eTickets for thousand dollar plane tickets with just the credit card used to purchase the tickets, but this is not good enough at Circuit City. I'm not sure what bothers more -- that this did not work, or that the guy tried to use it and it did not work. I'm not so sure I'll be doing the in-store pickup again at Circuit City anytime soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The message that can be drawn from the situation is: it's better to purchase whatever you need by good old tested method - just go to a store, take the thing you need, pay for it and go back home