I don’t use physical electronics stores for much these days, in fact I mostly go there when I need either capsules for my coffee machine, or some sort of quick and cheap accessory like a flash drive or keyboard. To be quite honest, however, I don’t even like going to those places anymore, because I can rarely enter such a store without being horrified at the behavior of some of the employees.
Not everyone who works at these stores falls under what I’m about to say, of course, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I came across an employee that didn’t at any of the local stores where I live. First off, the lies they tell customers are just unbelievable at times, and I don’t even know if they’re doing it on purpose or if they’re just so clueless that they don’t know better. I’ve overheard people pushing gaming computers onto old couples who are just looking for something for Facebook and online newspapers, making them believe that the slower computers are essentially useless for even such tasks. $1500 for a desktop computer for Facebook is more than just a little bit excessive.
The cell phone section is always a source of headaches for me. Exactly what (aside from profit, of course) justifies upgrading a 70 year old man from a 5 year old Nokia dumbphone to the latest top of the line Android flagship device is beyond me, and I’ve had older people I know call me in frustration afterwards from being sent home from such stores with something that’s so far beyond what they need or have the ability to use that it’s not even funny. Even for those who do want a smartphone, the Android vs iOS question doesn’t seem to matter in the slightest for the people at these stores, using specs like screen resolution to sell a more expensive Android phone to someone who would be much better off with iOS. And when they can’t sell the most expensive phone using real specs, they make some up.
Then you have all the accessories and whatnot they want to sell you at the same time. Look, I get it: it’s a dying business, internet sales are winning, and you cannot make a profit on devices alone, so you need service agreements, cases, cables, and all sorts of other things to even stay in business. Even so, I find conversations like the one a friend of mine had with one such employee yesterday just outright disrespectful. It went something like this:
Friend: I want an iPad mini 16GB WiFi
Employee: Sure, let me go get one. In the mean time, you can go look at cases, screen protectors and such over there (*points*)
Friend and I go look, laugh at the ridiculous prices, and go back to wait
Employee: Here you go. Do you want any insurance?
Friend: No thank you
Employee: Are you sure?
Employee: The screen might break you know
Friend: I don’t want any insurance
Employee: Did you find any accessories you want?
Employee: Are you sure?
I caught a glimpse of the guy’s computer, and could see several lines saying “informed about insurance” and “informed about accessories” listed under the item, suggesting that this conversation isn’t the employee’s idea, but something the store orders him to do.
Like I said, I get that this is how they make their money, but when a customer says no, he shouldn’t have to repeat it several more times for it to get through. It just seems to me that helping the customer find the right product has gone completely down the drain ages ago, and there just isn’t any trace of it left. Again, I’m sure not everyone is like this, and even those who are only follow orders, but it sure is long since I came across someone I felt had the customer’s best interest in mind.
A common response to things like this is to point out that a lot of people who go to these stores don’t have the knowledge to find products on their own, and might actually welcome the assistance of store employees. The only problem is that such people are even easier prey for these sales tactics, and I’ve seen people fall victim to it way too many times. One poor fellow I saw at a store once ended up with about $700 worth of useless software when buying a new computer, and the sales pitches that the employee in question used were far from commendable.
At this point, I’m actually hoping that the physical stores will close for good. What customers meet in many of these stores is well dressed scam artists, and I’m frankly tired of seeing so many people end up with a bad deal because of it.