Posted by: Susan | September 12, 2008

NOT The Best On-Line Shopping Experience

This blog, by definition, is about my personal “best of” picks and a little of my personal biases (okay, maybe a lot).  From the beginning, it was (and still is) intended to share my take on things that work, amuse, inspire, entertain, and all in all are just positive in nature.  But it’s my blog and I make the rules, so when something is so blatantly 180 degrees away from the criteria I have set, I really must comment on it.

I shop on-line a lot and have for many years.  Have had a few glitches, but not many and nothing major.  There are merchants you know can be counted on and that truly have their acts together, such as Amazon, Zappo’s, and Endless.  And there are bricks-and-mortar stores that have adapted nicely to on-line sales, such as Target, Wal-Mart, and others.  I have gotten used to excellent customer service, which includes keeping the customer informed, quick shipping, and generous return policies. 

So, as usual, I went on line to find a birthday present for my husband, who – like most guys – isn’t the easiest to shop for.  And, as usual, I waited until the week before his birthday (my little way of living on the edge) to start shopping.  Found a great present, researched it to death to make sure it was a quality product and to find the best price, then ordered it from Circuit City.  I’ve ordered from Circuit City before, but always arranged for store pickup, which is a real time saver and saves on those dreaded shipping costs.  But this time, the product was not available in the stores and I had to have it shipped.  No problem, I thought, and placed the order.  I mean, this is Circuit City, right?  And waited for the typical email confirmation, then the email telling me the item had been shipped.  Only that second email never came.  All I got was the first one, giving me an estimated shipping date and estimated arrival date. 

When the product (can’t say what it was, because said birthday hasn’t occurred yet) didn’t arrive on the “estimated arrival” date, I called Circuit City and had to navigate their Godawful telephone system that automatically and cheerfully told me exactly what I already knew, then finally offered to connect me to a human.  The human then informed me that the product had been discontinued by the manufacturer and she would be processing a refund for me.  Excuse me??  Discontinued and no one informed me????  You charged me BEFORE the item was shipped???????  The human assured me that it wasn’t Circuit City’s fault (hello, was the manufacturer supposed to communicate with me?) and that she would “escalate” my refund processing so I would get it faster. 

I will spare you the remaining details of the conversation, which was a total exercise in futility.  Now it’s Thursday evening, hubby’s birthday is Sunday, and I have NO present and NO ideas for any alternatives.  On a hunch, I checked the manufacturer’s website, where the item that has supposedly been discontinued is prominently featured.  On the home page.  With links to “where to buy.”  Found a phone number for tech support and dialed it in desperation.  Very nice person said the item has NOT been discontinued and gave me several suggestions of where to find it.  So I bought it through, paid an extra $10 to try to get it here in time, but I know I won’t get it until at least a day late.

So I have shopped at Circuit City for the last time.  I fired off an email to Circuit City about my experience, and now I’m telling my little world about it, so maybe this will have some small effect.  I’ve heard they are in financial trouble, and if this is typical of how they are treating customers these days, I say it’s no surprise. 


  1. Good article. I no longer shop there myself–the store clerks are as apathetic as can be. Try MicroCenter. A great place to shop and absolute Heaven for a big ol’ geek like me.

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