Jan 19 2009

Circuit City

Published by at 11:57 pm under Virginia

So we haven’t posted an entry in months, apparently. Amazing how life gets in the way once you get back home and settle into a comfortable routine. At least until your routine gets pulled out from under you. When that happens, you blink your eyes and wonder where all the time went since you last posted on that “blog” that used to be such a big part of your life. And I should know: I worked for Circuit City until last Friday. Yes, this Circuit City. The bankrupt one that’s closing. Heard of it?

Circuit City is was based here in our hometown of Richmond, VA, and until last week I was employed writing training materials for 500+ stores across the country. It is was a cool job, but I never wanted to talk about it here for fear that I would inadvertently mention something the company might consider “proprietary,” which translates roughly to “talk about it on your public blog and you’re fired.” But now that the company is liquidating into oblivion, I figure there isn’t any harm. I suddenly have a lot of free time on my hands and I want to write about things in my life. Also, I was never allowed within sniffing distance of anything “proprietary” anyway. See? Circuit City did make some good decisions after all!

Wall Street Journal’s Worst CEO of the Year.

People ask me, “why did Circuit City fail?” I think the answer is too many years of bad management. As they say, the fish stinks from the head. The shame of it all is that in the final months of the company’s life, torch-carrying shareholders sick of losing all their money booted the boneheaded CEO and installed new and improved management. It was pretty much a puppet government, but it was a competent one. If it weren’t for the ridiculous economic condition of the country, I think Circuit would have made it. Its failure is very bad for the Richmond economy and very bad for my bank account, so I wish things could have gone differently. Plus, I really can’t stand Best Buy.

And that mostly-unforced transition gives me the chance to get on my soapbox and share one of the (many) stories that explains my 100% justified hatred for Best Buy: A few years ago, Brittany bought me a Rio MP3 player at Best Buy as a gift. Awesome gift, but I had it in my head that I wanted an iPod, so after some deliberation we decided to return it to the store unopened and I would apply its credit toward the purchase of a more expensive iPod. Or so I thought…

Best Buy wouldn’t take it back! The store manager quoted the 30-day return policy and showed us that Brittany had purchased the MP3 player 32 days ago. Now, I understand the need for limited return policies…but not only were we only 2 days over the limit, we were returning an UNOPENED product and trying to buy a more expensive one! Well, that frosted our cookies pretty good, so after making the obligatory scene and loudly declaring that we would never shop at Best Buy again, we hopped right across the street to Circuit City (they are were always right across the street if you didn’t notice).

We talked to a manager at the Circuit City and explained exactly what had happened at Best Buy. The manager didn’t even hesitate: she told us that SHE would take back the Rio and give us store credit for its full retail value, which we could apply toward the iPod we wanted. Now THAT is customer service. Of course, it was also smart business: as a result of this episode, Circuit City enjoyed the exclusive rights to all my consumer electronics purchases in the years thereafter. And I buy a lot of geeky crap. In conclusion: I really can’t stand Best Buy, and will never end my boycott! Never!!!

But even my righteous, righteous anger can’t change the fact that I am now unemployed in a town full of hiring freezes. I got a better-than-expected severance deal given that Circuit City doesn’t have any more money…but the job search is definitely ON. Especially given the latest news in our lives: on December 20, we got engaged! I’m so excited she said yes, but if we are going to pay for this wedding, homeboy needs a new job. And fast.

The wedding ate my dollars?

NEXT: An engagement story: Ben’s point of view »



7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Circuit City”

  1. Lee Theobaldon 20 Jan 2009 at 5:22 am

    Even over here in the UK I knew that Circuit City was considered to have superior service over Best Buy (or so my podcasts like Diggnation tell me so). So to hear they have completely closed is quite a shame.

    I’m sure you’ll find a new job pretty fast Ben. It’s not much help but there seems to be quite a bit of demand for techincal writers for manuals etc. over here in Cambridge. So hopefully you’ll find some demand over your side of the pond too.

    Finally – congrats on the engagement!

  2. Abbyon 20 Jan 2009 at 5:52 am

    Yaaayyyy blog! :) Now I’ll have something to do during my planning period!

  3. Allisonon 20 Jan 2009 at 11:13 am

    so glad the blog is back. let’s job search together brotha!

  4. Stellaon 20 Jan 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I have waited long enough. Thanks goodness you’re back!

  5. Abby H.on 23 Jan 2009 at 10:54 am

    Wow, good to see you posting. First, I should stop being a creepy lurker and say that I sat down the other day and have been reading your blog like a book much to my husband’s dismay… he thinks we don’t have enough money to take a trip around the world yet.

    Second, the best time to return things to Best Buy…… the day after Christmas. They take EVERYTHING back without reciepts, often even if it has been opened. I will literally hold onto stuff all year then return it all on Dec. 26th (Harry Connick Jr. CDs, DVDs about Hawaii, anything people give me that I want to dispose of…) The line is totally worth it.

    Third, your blog is the reason I tried Nutella.

    Congrats on the engagement btw. :)

  6. Shannonon 02 Apr 2009 at 5:15 am

    Woot! Glad to see you guys are back. I was bouncing around this blog as I was blogging my eurotrip and couldn’t figure out why you guys stopped writing.

    …and yes, Circuit City is/was better than Best Buy.

    …and no, this comment is not late at all. Nope, not late at all.

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