Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Selling tactics at big box electronics stores

I helped a client buy a laptop recently and as a result, got to experience first-hand the tactics box store salespeople use to try to get more money into their till.

We knew exactly which model of laptop my client wanted, so there was no need to discuss that. The first thing the salesperson tried to do was add a printer. "No thanks." How about some anti-virus? The laptop only comes with a trial version of Norton which stops working after 6 months. "At which point we can simply buy the code online necessary to make it work longer - we don't need to buy anti-virus from the store." I didn't have the heart to tell the poor soul we wouldn't be using the on-board anti-virus at all, but getting a fantastic free product online instead.

But it didn't stop there. We were offered the obligatory 'extended warranty' speech. "We won't be needing that," But if your laptop breaks, we can fix it right here. If you don't get the extended warranty, you have to ship your laptop to the manufacturer. Unfortunately for the salesdude, I am aware that even if we do purchase the extended warranty, anything requiring a new part that isn't deemed a 'user replaceable part' and our laptop is still sent to the manufacturer. These box store repair shops aren't authorized repair outlets. Then he tries a desperation move to salvage the warranty debate. If your laptop needs to be 'in the shop' for more than a couple days, we provide a replacement free of charge. What they mean by that is 'We'll give you a new laptop as a loaner and charge your credit card the full purchase price of the loaner. When your laptop returns from repair, we take the loaner back and credit your card back.' Yes, that's how they do it. Pass.

But they weren't done trying to wrestle some extra cash from my client. Oh no. Your new laptop is pre-loaded with all sorts of trial software and isn't running at peak performance. We offer to set everything up, uninstall the junk software and give the thing a tune-up for $200. "That's OK," I said, "I'm his IT guy."

And we were done. You should have seen the look on our poor saleperson's face. He looked...... beaten.

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