Grandma & Grandpa's Farm

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Liar Liar Chips on Fire!

Frustrations in the 'Tronics Stores

Having a bit of knowledge and being a bit stubborn can be a real eye-opener sometimes. A good friend has related a few incidents he has had at a couple of major electronics chains -- well actually a major electronics chain and a major drug store chain that happens to play department store with an electronics department within itself.

He has gone in to purchase particular items that have been advertised online or in their flyers and has been frustrated by both sales people and managers alike. The frustration has not been so much on whether they had the item in question, but rather that they are lying.

Now granted my friend has some specific needs. he is running a now becoming vintage computer system -- Windows 98 -- and some current hardware simply won't work with it. There is hardware that does still work for it, but you have to do your research and know which brands and models work. Then there is further research to find which chains carry it and which specific stores have it in stock.

Herein lays the problem. You do the research, even to finding that the store in question has it in stock and you go in to the store and ask for the product and are told lies. Not always of course -- but too often. You might be told, "We have never had that product in stock, but you would be perfectly happy with this other one." where the other one will not work on your system, having checked and sometimes even tested. Pushing a bit further my friend encouraged the sales person enough to go check "the computer" to see if they had it and in stock. He said he would and walked off -- not knowing my friend was following. He went passed the computer and chatted with some other staff a while and came back to say that he had checked but it wasn't in stock. My friend being stubborn had gone to the public access terminal they have in the store and accessed the very page that showed that the item was sold in that chain and in fact was in stock in that store and even that it was on sale price that week. The sales person was not amused, he stuck with his claim that he had checked the "store's computer" and it said there was none in stock. A claim that might perhaps hold water if he had actually gone to any computer at all to even pretend to check.

It might be simple to just go to another store and to business there, except for some items, other stores might not actually carry them because they actually are hard to find.

Another case, which I find is very typical in computer stores is the answer -- "Oh another store carried them? That must have been obsolete stock being cleared out." Again looking for harder to find items, in this case an item one fellow bought at one store in a chain being asked for in another. The claim is that the item is no longer being made and hasn't been for quite a while. Now the factory is still making them and in fact what is being looked for is the current model and also that was what was bought at the other store. The item is also on the online catalogue for the chain.

I think that many assume they can get away with that lie because computers change so quickly and things do become obsolete. But it is wrong to use it as a crutch for being too lazy to look into something.

I tell my friend that he really has to look into upgrading his software. Ten years is an eternity in computer terms and Windows 98 will be supported less and less. He tells me that some of the software he depends on might not be supported and that some of it he won't be able to reinstall if any upgrade goes funny with the system. Some companies go out of business, other special offers no longer exist.

Still, the thing is we should not be lied to. If the store has stopped stocking that item for lack of sales, then they should say so. If they do not know an answer they should say so -- better would be to say so and seek the answer.

...and if they do not stock an item at the moment, and the customer is willing to pay -- in advance -- why not order it in for them?

But it is that false salesmanship that says "the salesman must always appear to know all" and lie to do it that I don't get. I figure a good salesman will tell you when he has to get the information and he will stick to his word and get it or tell you why he can't. A good salesman will stick to his word and it will be honest.

When you know a bit about the product, those lies stick out like a sore thumb.

~ Darrell


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