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155 Circuit City Stores Close & Why I Don’t Care

I try to keep phandroid dedicated to Android-only news and in a roundabout way, the fact that Circuit City is closing 155 stores (see list below) is directly related to my experience with Android. You may remember my Live Blog Failure from the T-Mobile G1 Press Conference in New York City… well, Circuit City played a part in the huge blunder that was.

My own lack of planning left me scrambling for a laptop battery for my Toshiba – something I became painfully aware was incredibly difficult to come by unless your ordered direct from the factory. With COMP USA gone and not enough time to spare, I searched high and low for a replacement. Even for a RENTAL. Nothing. Nowhere. Not in Baltimore, MD and not in New York City as far as I can find.

Just a couple hours before I jumped on a bus to NYC, I called Circuit City on a whim. I dialed the national number and the kind Customer Service Rep located one in Towson, MD and told me they were in-stock. She double confirmed it was available and reserved it for me over the phone – I purchased it and everything – and headed out the door to pick it up.

When I arrived at Circuit Shitty, I handed them my confirmation number and stood there for 15 minutes unattended and “in the dark”. Finally, an employee came over, printed something off the computer and handed it to me along with a gift card.

“Ummmm… what is this?” I asked.

“We couldn’t find the laptop battery so thats your receipt and a $25 gift card for your trouble.”

I probably spent $25 of gas driving to and from the stupid store. Not only that, but I spent some precious planning time directly before leaving to solve a problem I considered rather urgent. What I really wanted was them to find the darn laptop battery but they could have at least asked me how they could resolve the problem instead of forking over $25 bucks.

So I asked them if they could check stock in Manhattan and transfer over the order to a Manhattan store that had it in stock. Thirty minutes later I had the order transferred and was running late for my bus.\

When I finally got to Circuit City in New York it wasted about 1 hour of getting to and from the store and Circuit City Manhattan was CLUELESS about how to process the transfer. I stood their for 45 minutes as they tried to unfoobar the foobarredness.

After many wasted hours and tons of frustration later I DID get the battery I needed but at the expense of precious planning time that are partly to blame for the live blogging mishap. The Circuit City in Baltimore, MD and East 86th Street in New York City are 2 of the 155 stores closing. My incident pretty much sums up everything I had heard about Circuit City and why I only visited them when in dire need.

That being said, the closing of 155 Stores means a LOT of lost jobs and that saddens me. I’m sure Circuit City has hundreds of great employees that are being let go at no fault of their own. I hope they can find work at a company whose culture and business methods aren’t inherently disastrous.

Here is the list of the 155 stores closing:

[Via Gizmodo, Circuit City, Consumerist]




  • http://www.ragtop.org Jeff

    Even though Circuit City is definitely a horrible store, less competition for Best Buy is not good either. Circuit City screws customers over because they are just completely incompetent and clueless, where as Best Buy seems to go out of their way to screw customers over on purpose in hopes of making an extra buck or two.

  • Jennifer

    I work at the Mayfield Hieghts Ohio store and I am not worried. There are high paying jobs posted on employment sites –

    http://www.linkedin.com (networking for professionals)
    http://www.indeed.com (aggregated listings)
    http://www.realmatch.com (jobs matched to your skills)

    Those laid off will find new jobs…maybe better ones!

  • Kevin

    What is funny, is that my girlfriend and her friend had a WONDERFUL time last night at a Circuit City trying to get help, making a $1000 purchase. The drones were clueless, and an hour in, they FINALLY grabbed a manager that could actually DO something. The Camera guy that is selling cameras, did not even have a CLUE about the camera they were buying, and gave them some VERY bad information. Luckily, my girlfriend knows quite a bit about cameras, and was able to ignore the guy. CC seems to get very clueless people.

  • http://www.symbian-freak.com christexaport

    Maybe this will allow the best electronics big box store, Fry’s Electronics, and online stores like CompUSA and Expansys to grow. I’m hoping one of them, or maybe Radio Shack, establishes itself as a go to location for unlocked smartphones. Right now, Best Buy is the only choice. Fry’s would be perfect, but haven’t made that move yet.

  • http://www.thephoenixprinciple.com adam hartung

    Does anyone remember that Circuit City, just a few years ago, was the best performing company in Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great”? Obviously, Mr. Collins’ approach to management is worth some reconsideration given the fall of Circuit City. It would seem a new approach to management would be worth considering. Read more at http://www.ThePhoenixPrinciple.com

  • Me2

    Truthfully, and this may seem sad to some of you, but expectations are way too high.
    Yes, there was a time when the guy or woman working in the vacuum department knew every little detail on vacuum technologies… but that time is way past gone.
    And no offense, but we have ourselves to blame. We want everything on the cheap. And even when it’s cheap, we want it cheaper.
    Look at the cell phone market in the U.S…. we want it for free. We want all our phones for free. Because we established this lame system of contracts to get free phones. We’re just now coming out of that phase, we’re finally realizing that the free phone is a cheap, old phone. Now we want our iPhones and G1s but we still have it set in our heads that $300 is too much for a phone. Meanwhile, Europeans and Asians have been chit chatting away on some hot-a$$ tech for YEARS.
    When Circuit City did massive layoffs a year or so ago… they canned old employess and hired fresh, will-work-for-minimum-wage employees… Circuit City claimed it was to save money so they could pass the savings on to the customers.
    So who to blame for bad customer service? Only ourselves. We get what we pay for.

  • TErenceC

    EH WHO CARES…. CC you SUCK!

    Its all about Best Buy and Frys Electronics! hahaha…

    I went to Circuit City to buy an SLR camera, a sales rep approached me and so I asked if they carried an SLRs, he said he will be right back and check… so 10 mins later I saw him on the company catalog looking for an…. get this….. “S-L-R” BRAND NAME…… um… so I said… dude SLR is a camera type not a brand like Sony or kinoka…. he said “oh my bad”… yeah thats the quality of employees you get when you pay them 5 dollars per hour…. pretty much they will hire anyone, even if your IQ is as high as a lab rat…

  • Clark

    Boo F’in Hoo. Man, I am so sick of people bitching about retailers. It’s probably JUST me, but it sure seems like the American consumer has become a huge cry-baby over the last 5-10 years.

    Mistakes happen. Inventory numbers are incorrect. Probably because some cry-baby consumer ripped off the big bad CC to “teach them a lesson”.

    YOUR first mistake. You “dialed the national number and the kind Customer Service Rep”. Why would you do that if this was SO damn important? Call the store directly. Get a LOCAL salesperson to verify stock. You KNEW that the “kind Customer Service Rep” only had the information in front of her on the computer (remember, someone probably shoplifted your battery). YOU were lazy.

    You got to the store and waited 15 minutes. Great. At least they TRIED to find your damn battery that NOBODY ELSE in all of New York or Baltimore bothered to stock for YOUR convenience. This obviously isn’t some high volume item that is flying off the shelves. They TRIED to have stock of some obscure part for you. It probably sat on their shelf (and balance sheet) for a year before someone ripped them off.

    After a whole 15 minutes, they GAVE YOU $25.00. They certainly had NO obligation to give a miserable customer like you ANYTHING. But, they gave you $25.00 and they FOUND A SOLUTION. They had another one at a different store just for you. Again, nobody else in all of New York or Baltimore bothered to carry something that you might need urgently.

    At the end of the story, you have EXACTLY what you needed, in time for your meaningless event, and you saved $25.00. And, as a thanks, you publish a negative article and cheer the closing of 155 stores.

    The next time you desperately need a part, call the store directly. Don’t expect them to have it in-stock but hope you are in area that has as MANY retailers as possible to maximize your chances. And, stop whining.

    I know it sounds like I am some kind of CC fanboy. I am not. I actually think they are completely overpriced. I only enter a CC store when I want to see something before I order it online or when I simply can’t wait 2-3 days for delivery from my favorite ecommerce retailer. Yup, I use them as a “showcase” sometimes. Maybe that’s part of the reason they are closing 20% of their stores.

    I’m really just sick of hearing about self-righteous consumers who seem to take the phrase “the customer is always right” to entirely new an obscene levels.

  • Rob Jackson

    @Clark – the National person I talked to CALLED the LOCAL store.. and they said they had it in stock and on the shelf. The purpose of calling the national store was to see if they could find the battery in ANY of their stores and have it shipped to a NYC store. But they had one in Baltimore. And she said I could pick it up. And she double checked and called THE STORE.

    I’m sure you believe in being completely inefficient and wasting your time completely, but WHY would I call EVERY SINGLE STORE when I could easily call the national number, they could pinpoint a store that had it in stock and call and verify this fact just as I would have one by miserable one?

    You and Circuit City have one thing in common… you just don’t get it.

    It isn’t good enough to “try”, and then fail and apologize incessantly. Well… maybe once or twice, sure…. mistakes happen. But when it happens OVER and OVER and OVER it stops becoming a mistake and starts become a problem. There are dozens of other companies willing to try AND get it right… over and over and over.

    I have come to the realization that you either: (1) ran a business that went bankrupt because you too didn’t know how to run a business properly and you feel some type of attachment to failing businesses, or (2) own stock in circuit city

    I have money to spend… who wants it? There are lots of companies raising their hands. Why should I reward the company that repeatedly gets it wrong and disappoints me.. no matter how hard they “try”.

    you lose k thx bye

  • Clark

    @Rob Jackson

    We don’t need anything but your own direct quotes to show how a horrible consumer behaves.

    I “try” to keep phandroid dedicated
    My own lack of planning
    My Live Blog Failure
    left me scrambling
    I became painfully aware was incredibly difficult to come by
    I searched high and low for a replacement
    Even for a RENTAL. Nothing. Nowhere.
    Here’s a $25 gift card for your trouble.
    Thirty minutes later I had the order transferred
    I DID get the battery I needed
    why I only visited them when in dire need.
    I have money to spend… who wants it?
    Obviously CC wanted it in this case. And, they gave you a $25 discount for having something that nobody else could provide you to save your ass. Too bad they won’t be an option for you in the future.

    >>There are lots of companies raising their hands.

    Who? I thought CC was option you had.

    I’ve never owned a business that went bankrupt.
    I’ve never owned a single share of CC stock.
    I’ve never, nor has anyone in my family, been employed by CC.

  • Rob Jackson
  • Antigone

    Wow. Theres my store! #4109!
    I am a former CSA from Circuit City. Freshly liquidated and let go.
    Circuit City has ruined themselves. Just from my view, I can tell that the stores they closed down had nothing to do with sales or staff, because if they judged on staff then our store would definitely be in the clear. It was mostly about leases and blah blah blah. That is sad. THey close down all these stores and tell us we are “Underpreforming” and then file CHapter 11. Now I get a letter in the mail telling me I might not get my last paycheck. The incentive that I stayed with the company over.
    We had a really good team of employees. Circuit City’s District and National offices don’t pay attention nor value that kind of thing. I remember their “Visits” to the store which consisted of nothing but nitpicking and inane babblings about “presentation” something they never got…because every change they made caused a problem.
    I will watch the CC downfall with delight. Without the employees that essentially ran the company, they are screwed.

  • Veronika

    All of you guys are stupid , circuit city actually gave her something for her trouble no other store would have done that. And not to mention but WE ARE ALL HUMAN WE MAKE MISTAKES!

    So why dont all of you guys stop get off your lazy ass’s and go find something better to do then to just bitch.

    And to all of you that are hoping circuit goes down, i hope you realize how badly this will effect the economy, over 30,000 people would lose their jobs! Then we would all be in a ever more economic crisis! Again just proves how stupid you all are!