Office Min

I love stationery stores.  It always seems like I could have a use for everything I see there; it’s all so practical and useful.  For some time, my favorite has been Office Max: I like the store, I like the staff, I just like the place.

So this week, when we needed a new computer for the office, I headed off to my favorite place.  We only need the most basic, bottom of the line computer–our office worker does most of her work online; we don’t need any great computing power.  Office Max had a great deal–a simple basic computer on sale for $279.  this was an easy choice.

Here’s how it went:

Me:  I want to buy this computer.

Scraggly bearded skinny young sales droid: What are you going to use it for?

Me: Simple office work. I want this one.

Sbsysd:  Are you going to be doing spreadsheets or databases?  This is a very basic computer….

Me:  I want to buy this one

Sbsysd:  Do you have a monitor?  Will you need a wireless mouse?

Me:  I want to buy this computer.

Sbsysd: Do you have an anti-virus program?

Me: Do you want to sell me this computer or not?  Wrap it up and stop trying to sell me more.

Sbsysd:  I’ll do a stock lookup.  Do you need a

Me: Stop selling and get me the computer.

Five minutes later

Sbsysd:  We’re out of stock on this.  You can order it or I can check other stores…

Incessantly trying to sell me more things is a huge pain–I didn’t need or want his advice, I wanted to buy a computer.  The fact that they didn’t have one made it worse.  The good news is that what I wanted was in stock in Emeryville, so off I went.

Emeryville Store

Me:  I want to buy this computer.

A totally different sales droid:   Sure, I’ll get it right now.

Hey, this is the way it’s supposed to work!!

Atdsd returns, carrying the box.  He sets it down at the cash register, then says “I’ll be right back”, and disappears.

And stays disappeared.  Minutes go by.  More minutes.  There is nobody at the cash registers.  Then another employee appears, and I ask him where Atdsd has gone.  He says to open the back door–I got the only guy who has the key.

More minutes go by.  I’m drinking a Coke out of the cooler, reading the magazines.  Every now and then I ask the other employee what’s happening.

Eventually, other employee breaks down and says he can check me out.  Wow!! What a concept–help the customer who has been standing there for 15 minutes.

The good news is that our new computer cost $304, out the door.  I never did pay for the Coke.

The bad news is that Office Max has fallen many, many degrees in my estimation.  The service in two of their stores this week was execrable.   I’d complain, but if anybody in management cared the situation wouldn’t exist in the first place.  Heck, the guy in the Emeryville with the keys probably was the management.

The economy is bad, business is down, don’t you think companies would realize that treating the customer is the cheapest and most cost effective tool they have?  I’ll probably buy my next computer at Fry’s.

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