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December 30, 2009


...the s. b. and her son are busy compiling reasons why retail is rapidly taking a backseat to online shopping: Not just the driving (in South Florida!) and the parking (in South Florida!), but the irritating experience of, you know, attempting to purchase things. 

We started at.... we'll call it "Fox" Camera, where my son inquired as to the clearance price of the item clearly listed on the clearance sign (one of 6 items listed), only to be told the bedraggled original sticker which clearly (clearly!) hadn't been changed in years was the clearance price. Yes, the manager agreed that the other clearance items had bright orange stickers with "Clearance Price" clearly listed on them. And yes, this item was clearly listed on the clearance sign posted next to the item we wished to purchase, with the exact specifications of the item listed on the sign. Yes, the website had it for half the price on the bedraggled sticker. But "the website is completely different from the store" and "the computer is telling us this is the price" and "we can't do anything about it." Okay, thanks, Mr. Store Manager. 

On to "K. G. Fenney's" where we attempted to purchase the only remaining 2 shirts in a 3-pack of Gator shirts (go Gators!). You don't need a play-by-play to know that didn't happen.

Next stop, "Guessed Why," where the 10%-off coupon which they sent to our house to lure us to the store was good on exactly zero items, since it could be used only on "regularly priced" merchandise, and the items we wanted were all already "on sale" (amazingly, at the exact same price they had been for several pre-Christmas months).

So we went home, parked without difficulty in our very own driveway, and logged on to newegg. Ho ho ho.


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You wanted something, Judi. That's the kiss of death!

Well, s.b., we only go to what we call the "gonorrhea" for 2 reasons: A)Desperation at forgetting a vital birthday, when we need a present right then and there, or B) When we need to have fish and chips at the Red Robin there, with the giant beers. After fortifying ourselves with a couple of the giant beers, we MAY find ourselves out in the mall area, but only for short, furtive darts to the store we need, then back for another giant beer. There is no other earthly reason to go to the mall.

i could post a rant on a related subject (the stoopid horse place where my daughter takes riding lessons, and the fact that they sold her, a teenager and an advanced rider (and a long time student there) three day-long "lessons" for christmas vacation, and that the first two were indeed day-long riding experiences with other students at a similar experience and skill level but the third day she was stuck with a group of like five year olds on ponies and when she complained was told that since she had ridden (albeit at walking speed, in a circle) all day, she would get no refund and she doesn't want me to go kick ass because she doesn't want to jeopardize her relationship with her teacher who she likes over the actions of the butthead that runs the place) but i won't because i'm already in a bad mood.

and i got one of those annoying thumpity things in my left eyelid that won't quit. it's been like two days.

I never knew what the official name of those things were until now, mudstuffin. Thumpity Things™. I like that, although I get annoyed when I get them (which is usually when I being annoyed by someone/thing/moron else).

I saw the Annoying Thumpity Things when they open for Wendy O and the Plasmatics in1982. Loved their single "Im Gonna Freakin Kill the Bastiges". Great show.


I usually get the Thumpity Things just before I snap and rip someone's head off, so you may want to get down to the nearest "gonorrhea" for a giant beer or 3 post-haste.

Your loved ones can thank me later.

Look on the bright side judi.

.....yeah.....I'm still thinking too.

OK, here's something. At least the salespeople were pleasant and spoke english, right???

Oh the heck with it.......GO GATORS!!!

You found a salsperson? Wow! Usually when I walk into a store they all decide it's break time and rip the price stickers of all the items I'm going to look at as they go to the break room. This is while I'm dodging my town's #1 mode of transportation in stores, the electric scooter. I try to do all my shopping online.

The "store and website are completely separate and we are not required to honor their prices" is a constant problem with Best Buy and apparently other chains as well. A useful tactic is to purchase online and select "pick up in store". Then you just have to worry about whether the website and store agree about whether it's actually in stock.

If you read the Consumerist (consumerist.com) web site with any regularity, you would never, ever, ever want to walk into a Guessed Why store ever again, and especially not try to buy anything from their web site. I didn't like 'em to begin with, based on personal experience, but now you couldn't pay me to darken their door.

I've run into that sale vs regular price thing before. This is (almost exactly) how the conversation went:

Me: So what was the price yesterday?

clerk: (rattles off a number that is the same as the "sale" sticker in front of us both)

Me: So why are you calling it a "sale" today?

clerk: (with an alarmingly straight face) because today is different.

judi: To ease your frustrations, you should have tried Jimbo's on Virginia Key for lunch while you were out...

I went to a 'Guess Why' store to buy a computer a few months ago. As usual the sale computer was out of stock already. They had been open exactly 30 minutes. But, they had another computer that was better but was three hundred dollars more! Plus they tried to sell me a router which I found out later I didn't even need. I went to another store,let's call it Dans Club,and bought a better computer for less than 'Guess Why's' sale computer. I never go there anymore.

"the website is completely different from the store" - you can't argue with that.

Excellent recap, Judi. My wife has the same problem with the Bracy's coupons that arrive here daily and offer amazing deals...except for anything you might actually want to buy.

Office "Sax" told me that none of the items advertised as "in stock" in the newspaper were actually there and I was a silly person for thinking that. Also, to get the "in stock" items, I would have to pay special shipping to have them delivered to the store, then come back to pick them up. This added so much to the price that there was nary a bargain to be found.
It was obviously a great nuisance for them when a customer actually came in to buy an advertised item.

Good for you judi. Newegg kicks butt on tech stuff. I only go to Beast Buy when I need something right now, and can't wait for Newegg to ship it.

well, i shopped on line for calendars because i didnt feel like schlepping them around - i bought 9. AMAZON, in its infinite wisdom, sent each of them in a separate BOX. only 2 came in calendar sleeves. the others came in boxes, with plastic junk inside too. NO extra charge, but HOW stupid is that? why couldnt they send them in, oh, 2 shipments, like they did in previous yrs?

My one and only experience with "Guess Why" involved the purchase of a very large TV (for the hubby of course). It was delivered to the house and after about 30 minutes of viewing, it started to overheat. I call "Guess Why", and they say they will replace it, but they can't do a simple replace, they had to charge me for the new one, and in about 4 days, they would credit me for the first one. When I asked why my money had to be tied up when I was getting the exact same merchandise, we were told that's just how their accounting system works. We had plenty of money to cover it, but it was just the idiocy of not being able to do a simple replacement that frosted me. Have never shopped there again. And I also love Newegg. Got my geektechy husband a nice new computer for Christmas at a great price.

Re: the link to Dave's article, yeah, get kids what they explicitly ask for, butt first torture them by making them open a series of the "wrong" presents. This can be very fun and the emotional damage is immediately cured when you later whisper in their ear, "Go look under the toilet lid," or some such.

You know, if you would only shop at the famous brand name chain stores, instead of all those crappy knockoff places, you wouldn't have so many problems.

Not a complaint, but a head-scratcher:

I sent out a package via UPS 2 weeks back and they called me yesterday to say that I owed them money. They said my bank declined the payment I made on my debit card. I got a transaction record from the ATM and the payment was there. I called the bank and they confirmed the payment was made. Called UPS back and explained this all to them.

The woman tells me now that the amount owed is different than that on my receipt, $10 higher. I ask how can that be when I'm looking at the receipt? She runs the tracking number which is not the same and then explains to me it is for another shipment, not the one on my receipt -- only I have not shipped anything else at all. Now I'm told that it was actually for something that arrived COD. I have not received any package, nor have I ordered anything from N.J., where the package came from.

The package was delivered to my town but to another address, I never heard of the company, nor the person who sent it. I finally ask if it was a COD did not somebody have to sign for it? She gave the name of the signer, whom I had never heard of before. Now she discovers that there must have been a mix-up in the routing numbers and it will be billed to the proper shipper.
I was beyond curious so I have to ask how did they arrive at my name initially, tell me I owed the price of my actual shipment, declare that my bank declined payment, and get my phone number to tell me of the rejection that never happened, all surrounding a package that was never sent to me?

--"I honestly cannot tell you how that happened, sir."
-- "I bet if you were able to figure that out you wouldn't be working at UPS, right?"
-- "I really cannot answer that sir, they sometimes record these calls."

We hung up laughing.

Amazing story, Sharkie.

Dorakay, sounds familiar but HP did it much better. We got a new printer that last 6 weeks before breaking - don't ask me why. Actually, we got it free with the computer, if that makes a difference. (My wife laughed when someone told her whenever the ink needs to be changed he gets a new $50 printer instead. Now it doesn't seem so funny.)

HP did take the credit card number (in case I kept the crappy replacement?) but shipped a new one via FedEx along with a label to immediately send back the broken one.

It was relatively painless, other than the whole replace the printer thing.

At least they weren't shopping at Walmart - apparently there's more than prices being slashed there.

Several years ago I went to "Squaples", (a major office supply store) because of a sale item advertised in the Sunday paper. They rang it up and of course it was not at the advertised price. I had the ad with me, and they happily pointed out the mouse print in the ad that indicated that the price was not available until Wednesday! Talking to the manager yielded nothing but scorn. I told them that I would NEVER come into a Squaples again, and to this day have not.

An old axiom is that if you make a customer happy that he might tell a friend, but if you make him unhappy he will tell TEN people about it! I have made it a mission to badmouth "Squaples" to everybody that will listen. Great revenge.

"butt first torture"

I feel sorry for CJ's kids now!

About that package Sharkie..... I thought I sent it to the correct address and had put the proper postage on it. Sorry. Boy I'm glad I didn't put my real name on it. That could have been embarrassing.

I totally scammed Guessed Why on a Blu-Ray DVD player a couple of months back. The store had it for $150, the website said $130, but there were customer reviews on the website with comments about how they had all bought it for $99. I printed out the customer comments, showed them to a very confused CS rep whilst explaining the perfect logic of it all in that she had to give it to me for $99 because these other people said so. She didn't know what to do, couldn't find a manager, then asked some junior flunkie (who participated in this conundrum by shrugging). But, since I was just waiting patiently for them to figure it out (meaning I wasn't going anywhere till I got it) (and the customer service line was getting longer by the minute), they gave it to me for $99. Score!

As they say, patience is a virtue...and it can also save you 51 bucks!

My last experience at Worst Buy was several years ago, when I had bought a tv on their website and chosen "store pickup." I drove to the store, parked in the loading area, and went in to get my tv. Did they have my tv ready? Ha. Did they have a record of my purchase? Ha ha. Did they apologize after I waved my confirmation printout from my computer? Ha ha ha. Did the store security goon approach me and demand that I MOVE MY CAR from the loading area or he would call MALL SECURITY?

As I say, that was my last experience with Worst Buy. If Amazon doesn't have it, I don't need it.

After December 25th you're supposed to stop shopping, because... man...it's all over, yanno ?

Guin that's a very common story with Worst Buy ... the "pick it up at the store" option is fraught with problems.

clankazoid, we don't actually buy much before christmas ;)

Hell Cindy, had I known it was from you I would ponied upn the cash. Just out of curiosity.

Jeff, for years the printer scam is the ink.... I keep telling my students: Imagine you can buy a truck for $500, but every time you run out of gas it costs $300..... (problem is, that's becoming true as well!)

*sigh* tomorrow I have to return everything I got for my mom... If I take the bus, I guess I can go 'prepared" IYKWIM

I had a fun experience with Bomcast. They sent me a new digital adapter for my cable box with instructions written in Aramaic. I called the 800 number to set it up (they're supposed to turn the digital service on remotely after you press 1, press 2, etc.) Since I had a blank screen, I asked the customer "service" person if I had hooked up the cables correctly. She said, "let me turn on your service." I kept trying to explain that I didn't need her to turn on the service, I needed someone to walk me through how to set up these 8 cables to two outlets. Finally I asked to speak to a different rep, and she insisted he would tell me the same thing. When she finally put someone else on the phone, he told me there was an additional box I had to order, hence more cables than outlets, and in the meantime set it up as before.
Fun, fun, fun.

Gonna hit up Beast Buy today. The trick to getting a decent deal there is the Post Spendmass Sale. Everything 25%-30% off. Then find the TV (or whatever) that's "open-box, damaged". This usually means that the crappy remote, that you aren't going to use anyway, is missing, or possibly the trim part over the cable connectors (in the back) is cracked. Another 30% off.

I got a 42" Sharp Aquos last year for around $700.

I buy computers at the Apple Store. Where there is excellent customer service, and you pay for it. But hdmi cables are about 1/4th the cost of other places.

A couple of years ago I bought a TV at West Guy. It was the old kind with the big picture tube. When I got it home and set it up, I realized that the entire innards of the TV had broken away from the cabinet, so it was like a pile of electrical junk inside a box. I lugged it back, and West Guy said they couldn't take it back because they didn't know if I was the one who broke it or if they were. I'm pretty sure it happened when the guy took the box from a top shelf and dropped it onto one of those big ladder things, but I couldn't prove it. Luckily, after a bit of a standoff, they found another one of the same model and took back the original one.

As for printers, unless you need to print in color, buy a laserjet. I'm on my second toner cartridge in ten years, and I print pretty freely. I defy any ink-jet type printer to come anywhere close to that.

I did SOME retail shopping and some online shopping. Bought a new laptop @ Best Guy, a new printer/scanner/copier at WallArtDotCome and my daughter's ThighPod at ScrappleDotCome. Other than that...lots of gift certificates. No horror stories!

PLEASE tell me what "newegg" stands for! I wanna go buy something from them -- anything in order to have a good shopping experience!

Marguerite: it stands for Newegg.com. That's it. No obfuscation on that one.

Will (the other one): Thanks -- checking it out now!

It's hard to find great businesses to work with these days but they're out there; you just have to break from the normal super chains and go to small businesses where you can really get a great value and service because they're more willing to keep you there as a customer :)

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