With the news that Circuit City has declared bankruptcy, after news that the chain is closing 155 stores, I find that I’m not bothered by the future reduction of retail competition. I’ve always liked Best Buy: the stores are clean and organized, with plenty of inventory. Only rarely has something been out of stock, and that was only when it was an old item that I wanted to buy. The Reward Zone program is also a nice incentive (I was part of it since the beginning when it was easier to get reward certificates).
My local Circuit City had several problems. A poor, hidden location next to a tech park/office complex in a residential area meant it wasn’t going to be a busy destination for shoppers, being the only store in the area, apart from a taqueria. The two nearest Best Buys are visible from the freeway.
Poor lighting and cluttered walkways – the place never looked clean. I always found items in the wrong section. Granted, that is the fault of the customers, but there were never enough workers around to put them back.
Not enough workers – On more than one occasion, I’ve had to wait upwards of 10 minutes in front of the empty checkout stand before someone would come over to take my money. I could never find someone to help me find something or check the computer to see if it was in stock without standing in the checkout line to ask the cashier. I’ve seen customers asking other customers if they happened to know about an item (I’ve been asked for help many times). The only time I was asked if I needed help was the moment I walked in on the Wednesday they started their liquidation sale. Too late, my friends. I never met a CC employee who seemed to know anything about what I needed, usually video games and DVDs. At least Best Buy workers seemed knowledgeable.
Not enough of the popular stuff – they never seemed to receive more than 20 items of the new releases, except for Disney or Harry Potter DVDs. Even hot video games like Grand Theft Auto, Mario-anything, and even Madden never numbered more than 12 at any time. This led people to drive ten miles to Best Buy (before a second location opened up only 1.7 miles away, which surely hurt them even more) and go home happy.
I observed these problems in more than just my local CC store, I saw them in every single CC store I’ve visited in this country (around 15 locations). I have read some blog readers’ comments that they notice the exact opposite between the former competitors, and maybe they will be lucky enough to live near a CC store that isn’t closing.