mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Talk about devil customers...

A year or so ago, Best Buy got a lot of bad publicity when it came out that they had segmented some of their customers as "Devil" customers - the nonprofitable customers who price-shopped - and were going to do everything they could to discourage them from shopping there.

But sometimes you see someone who really is a devil customer. Now, I price-shop, and look for clearance items, and use coupons, so I'm not always a favorite of store employees. I avoid price-match deals, mostly because I'm not a huge fan of confrontation, but I still have had situations where a cashier wouldn't take a coupon or disagreed on what the price should be. I usually state my case politely but firmly, and if worse comes to worse walk away without buying the item.

But not everyone has figured that out. I was in CompUSA today - their "blowout inventory clearance" included some $5 32MB MP3 players that I figured I could make a few bucks flipping at the next Hamfest, plus they had a free after rebate DLINK print server - it was supposed to be free with the purchase of a router, but none of the rebate forms mention a router purchase requirement.

So I'm in line waiting to pay, behind a guy buying an Epson print cartridge. He hands the woman a piece of note paper with some stuff written on it and tells her that he's supposed to get 10% off. She says that she needs the actual coupon from the email and that she can't take his word for it. He starts complaining, and then demands that he wants to talk to the president of the company. The cashier calls a manager. He continues to complain, then starts to leave, and then turns around and throws a bunch of hundred-dollar bills at the woman and says "here, take all my money". She pushes it away, calls the manager again, and he starts picking up his money.

She rang up my stuff - while continuing to use the intercom to call a manger, who finally comes over. Ironically, one of the items rang up wrong -it had an open box clearance sticker, and she did a price override, but the override price was higher than the sale price. She fixed it - because being polite, firm, and correct works. I pay, rifle through a clearance bin by the door, and leave. While I leave I still hear the guy arguing about how he wants them to call the president of Epson and tell them how he was there on July 31, and how they tricked him.

What amazes me is how emotional this guy was getting over a couple bucks. Now, I am well-known in the streets as a cheapass. But I also know that there is a point where it isn't worth fighting, where even when I'm right it would take more work and effort to convince the person than it was worth. This dude obviously had money, since he had $800 on him to throw at the cashier (that's what the cashier said to the manager, I didn't notice if he said an amount when he threw the money). Now he claimed the coupon was for 10%. Assuming that the printer was $50, which seems pretty average for an inkjet cartridge, this guy was getting pissed, and arguing for at least 10 minutes, over $5.

The other thing, of course, is that the guy was wrong. No store in it's right mind will take a coupon code, even a valid coupon code, written on a piece of paper. Even if you think it might, it makes sense to print it out. When shopping, you are always better off having too much info than too little.


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