Monday, January 19, 2009

Circuit City: Liquidation Sale or Marketing Ploy?

If you have access to television, newspapers, or the internet then you've probably heard that Circuit City, one of the larger electronics retailers in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy last year and recently announced it's closing all it's stores and liquidating it's stock. However if you haven't gotten to one of the stores yet there's a few things you need to know, because the stores have no information posted about sales save for announcements that ALL SALES ARE FINAL. The latter being posted all over the store I recently visited, yet not mention of what sort of SALE was in effect had been posted anywhere. To find out what the sale is you have to go to the registers which, despite everyone I saw walking out empty handed, had long lines. So to save you the headache I'm posting this as consumer information.

Caveat Emptor.

If you are planning to go to a Circuit City expecting to find great deals, forget about it. You'll just be wasting your gas. This is the break down of sales, as explained to me by one of the clerks at the Customer Service desk:


Unless it's. .

CDs or DVDs: 20% Off

Furniture: 30% Off (?)

The CC I was in is at a strip mall and hardly has an electronics department so I have no idea what sort of furniture the woman is talking about. I'm going to assume this applies to TV stands and DVD shelves. However something else the woman said struck me as odd. If the item is already on sale then the additional "liquidation" (she never called it that) sales DO NOT APPLY. Say what?

Which begs the question: Is this really a liquidation sale or just a last ditch effort by Circuit City's marketing department and/or creditors to generate sales? If it is then it was an abysmal failure. Even the local news coverage has mentioned that, despite having full parking lots, virtually no one has been observed walking out of Circuit City stores with purchases. Of course this is locally and may be different in your area, but I doubt it as the reason given is always the same: Customers were expecting to find bargains- read: an actual liquidation sale- and didn't find any!

How can a retail chain be so poorly managed that they can't even sell anything during a supposed liquidation event?

I'll tell you why. A 10% OFF sale isn't a sale, it's a joke. That barely offsets state sales tax. And if you think 20% off of DVDs is good consider that at Circuit City they want $21.99 for MEET THE SPARTANS while you can go across the street to BEST BUY and pick it up at a regular everyday price of $19.99. Or maybe wait a week until it goes on sale. That title has been in the regular sale rotation at BB for a couple months now. And let's not even bring up the WALMART next door to BEST BUY. I wouldn't doubt that title's probably in their $5 bin by now.

So I ask you, is this truly a Liquidation event or a crass last ditch effort to generate sales?
REALITY CHECK: As a marketing ploy the press release about Circuit City going into liquidation sure got people in the door. However as the old proverb says you can lead a camel to water but you can't make it drink, especially not when your lies are so transparent. This was NOT a liquidation sale. If it were a liquidation sale there wouldn't be conditions or terms. You'd be liquidating your stock and happy to get whatever money people offered you. Sounds harsh. But when you hear that a liquidation sale doesn't apply to an item because it was already marked as being on sale you're going to get called on your bull shit. And Circuit City I'm calling you out!

Your business practices have been less than stellar of late. You fired the people who knew what they were doing and went with minimum wage monkeys. You've priced yourself out of business. Your stores, save for my most recent visit, never have had anyone at the registers. Customers mill about never able to find anyone to ask questions or price check, much less BUY anything, thus have been walking out the door empty handed. And, now, after operating your business like a public toilet you think you are going to trick the consumers into buying your overpriced, been sitting on the shelf gathering dust for years, merchandize? Not at 10% OFF you're not. Call us when you make that reality check and start marking your stock 50-75% OFF.

For those with Circuit City gift cards I was told they're still accepting them but (d'oh) not selling anymore. So if you have a gift card run, don't walk, to your local Circuit City and use it before corporate changes it's mind. For those with electronics with extended warranties be advised that I was told your warranties will now be with a third party vendor though GE something or the other, but you should probably call up and find out the details while you still can.


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