16 January 2009

Where service WAS state of the art

Farewell to Circuit City. Today (01/16/2009) it was announced they're calling it a day. Breaking the circuit, as it were.

Both my son and I received CC gift cards for Christmas from my brother. I'm glad I listened to that inner voice which said, "We'd better nuke those puppies five minutes ago." (last month, the chain announced they were closing many stores and pulling out of entire markets, like Atlanta).

I'm mixed about it, truth be known. On one hand, I say - with feeling - GOOD BLOODY RIDDANCE!! You helped dig your own grave when you stabbed your longtime employees in the heart, casting those with high-seniority (read: making too much money that would better go toward further padding the CEO's salary) in favor of work-for-cheap greenies. You killed the American dream there, buddy. Whatever happened to staying in one place, building your reputation, loyalty, worth and stock in your employer? So much for bettering yourself. God Bless The New Amuhr-kuh. Make too much and you're out on your ass.

Attitudes went south. Not that they were any great shakes to begin with, but the one here in Savannah was terrible. The lead players in Slackers couldn't have done a better job.

After Christmas, the Sav'h store was out of an item I'd ordered online for in-store pickup. The CC store down I-95 in Brunswick had it, so I arranged to get it there on the way down to Jacksonville. I presented the confirmation e-mail, and you wanna talk about deer-in-the-headlights........... Ummmm, y'ever hear of something called the internet? In-ter-net. You know, it's a way to communicate via computers.

Uhhhh, a computer is an amazing device used for many, many handy things. You can type letters on it. Listen to music. You can even play games on it. I'm sure you can play Solitaire. It's on there. Then maybe, with practice, you can work yourself up to something profoundly challenging, like Minesweeper.

And, with a simple phone line, you can connect to a great big world that Al Gore invented. If you have the super-dooper modem, you can blaze between webpages at a lightning-fast 56 kbps. That's kilobits per second. Not "Kegs of Beer, Party Size."

You'll need what's called a browser. Netscape Navigator 3.0 is a good place to start. Anything more recent, and your marshy-of-Glynn mind'll be liable to short-circuit city.

(I'll bet they graduated from The Brunswick Center .... Ask my wife about that some time .... "I'm from the Brunswick centerrrrrrrrr......")

Yeah, that's what you get. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Simple as that.

BUT ...... now we have a problem. I've long viewed Best Buy as the lesser of the two electronic evils. Between them, they could beat out Wal-Mart in the complacent and arrogant department. Soon in many places Best Buy is going to be a de facto monopoly in this category. And I worry they'll soon start to act the part.

Competition in this country is largely a mirage. A dead relic of a better time in this country. Best Buy couldn't care less if you went across Abercorn Street to Circuit City. I'm sure the managers of both stores coach each others' kids' Little League teams, and met for beer after work.

Well, now the CC manager will soon be out of work. I'm sure he'll land on his feet in a gig at Best Buy. Or as a navy-blue-shirt-and-khaki-pants Wally World "associate" in the electronics department, explaining to the blue-haired lady how her television will literally explode its parts all over her trailer's living room if she doesn't buy a $2,000 plasma screen telly before the digital changeover, a/k/a "The Big Switch."

But cry not for the CC executives. They'll have their bright red gilded parachutes.

Empty big boxes are a sign of things to come. Better start polishin' those apples, bub. The shinier the skin, the easier time you'll have selling 'em on the street corner.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "I take back every bad thing I ever said about Service Merchandise" Gleck

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