How not to sell a $40 dollar game in 6 easy steps. . .

So I did something I haven’t done in a while yesterday. I bought a PC Video Game. . .

Not just any game either a Game of the Year, well last year but still a pretty heralded event.

Civilization IV.

So I started watching the sale ads first of Jan, and within a week or so Circuit had it on sale for $40 bucks about $10 off full price. . . Great, but I wasn’t quite read to buy. . . But this week Best Buy puts it on sale and I decide okay now its time, and since Circuit Cityhas a 110% price match guarantee, I can get it for $39 dollars instead of $40. So I decide to check online for availability. Hmm something is up with that its only a couple weeks after their $39.99 sale and online indicates that their are no copies available in the stores?

What is up with that? So I decide to call. Okay great I’ve got the automated PBX. . . press blah for this and blah for the other so I follow the prompts, wait then it begins to connect me. . . hmm there is a problem “There is no one available in that department” But instead of offering me the obvious options 1. Hold On 2. Call Back 3. Go to an Operator I get dumped back to the main menu. . .Hmm . . Strike 1 – So I go through the prompts but this time Choose 0 for Operator. Okay great I think, the person answers in just a few moments and seems polite. I tell her the same thing I punched into the options. Okay She’ll connect me great. . . But she doesn’t it seems she blind transferred me to a busy extension. Now, I’m thinking okay so she’ll come back on any sec here and tell me their busy and offer all the options the PBX didn’t. . . uhh nope. . . the reconnect jiggle noise comes, and then dial tone. I’ve been disconnected. Okay well I don’t have 3 strikes your out when I’m trying to get availability when I want to buy a product after all their are about 2 dozen retailers that stock this title so this is Strike 3 onto the next retailer.

CompUSA - Now I was trying to buy this on Tuesday, so we were planning to head over thier after looking at some furniture. . . It so happens we liked the furniture and bought it so we ended up back at Comp a little late 9:15 or so by my watch. Ugh. . .They are closed according to the sign. I thought they were open till 10:00pm but nope, So I go up to the door and its open. I enter thinking maybe I was right after all, but after tracking down an employee, I’m ushered out of the store, “We’re closed” So okay not a travesty and not a strike, my wife heads over after work to check out Comp, but she can’t find the game. . . So she calls me. I check online and sure enough they show to have it instock at that CompUSA so she’s off to ask for help. Hmm. . .Bad news the employee tells here their has been a spate of bad disks and returns so their store has pulled all the copies off the shelf and is waiting for replacements from Firaxis/Take2 (Game Developer and Publisher) Okay, so they are knowledgeable and pro-active. But I really want the game so off to Retailer #3
(No Strikes – Points for making a Customer Centric Business Decision) I’ll be back to Comp for other items I need.

Best Buy.
Well we really dislike Best Buy and haven’t bought anything there in 6 years, but my wife reluctantly agrees cause she wants to make me happy. She’s called and told me about the defective disks and I at first am sceptical. But after reviewing Firaxis and the Civ4 site and forums I find that this month there are quite a few complaints of just this problem, and several indicating a frustration that after multiple returns the Retailers refused to give them their money back.

So now we are looking to be careful, I advise my wife to see if they have the DVD version, no one is complaining too much about it and posts regarding it are 5 to 1 all about the 2 disk CD version, so I’m hopeful this can all be avoided. Ugh. . . no luck, no DVD version in sight. My wife picks up the CD version and asks what I want to do. Well I want the game, but I don’t want a hassle, so I suggest a solution I’ve seen other forum members have success with, have Best Buy install the disk until they find a good set and then buy that copy. I know not typical, but if you can’t return it after you buy it for a refund, better to be safe, I think this is a Win Win – Best Buy makes a sale, if they find bad disks they mitigate the risk of another customer getting pissed off at them and returning it later A, and B, they get all their money back from Firaxis/Take2 by exchanging the product anyway. Oh yeah and C, they break our 6 year boycott and possibly win back another customer.

Hmm. . .evidently Best Buy management didn’t see it that way. Their solution was for us to buy it then they would install it, but only if it didn’t work when we took it home. Not my ideal solution.

Okay this is Strike 81, we already have boycotted Best Buy for 6 years, on the final moment we were going to break the boycott, we don’t even meet halfway on this issue, their decision was all about making Them the Most money possible and totally screwing the customer. After all if I can’t return it for a refund, and I can’t get a working title, their answer to “Take it up with the Manufacturer” doesn’t hold much promise to me. . .

Oh well the Boycott continues . . .(Why you ask, that’s a story for another day:)

Onto Target. . .
Okay so we are biased for Target it is our Favorite General Purpose/Retail Store It tops Wallyworld for cleanliness and store helpfullness, we are concerned by their corporate decision to send away the Salvation Army, but the personell have always been friendly, they have pretty good prices and generally good stock Plus their clearance items can’t be beat.

So I find the game and head over to Customer Care to see if they can price match it for me.
Hmm. . . no luck, Target doesn’t price match, you know I didn’t know that. They talk all about adjusting their prices within 30 days, but the catch is its just to themselves, not to their competitors, oh well not a big deal, we still bought $70 worth of stuff since we found a nice Kitchen Counter on Clearance for 50% off the $100 retail price. . . whew hoo. . .

Of course they would have made another $40 if they did price match.

Half a Strike . . . ;)
We still like Target.

Onto Wally World (Walmart) They have the best price matching policy in the industry and one of the better return policies, so you know people can complain all they want, but fairly low prices, (Not always the lowest despite the ad), good return policy, excellent selection generally make it a hard place to beat, despite the fact their customer care and sales force could use a good scrubbing most of the time. I’ve always found their staff to be very variable, some stores have great friendly helpful staff and some stores generally don’t or only have 1 or 2 helpful people, but I guess its just like that. But definitely not like Target where I’ve never had a rude or unhelpful person there.

So finally after 5 different retailers I purchase the game, This Walmart has 5 copies, their are 5 Walmarts within 25 miles of me. I figure I’ll find one that works, and Walmart will take back every copy that doesn’t so that’s okay.

Price Match was really easy too, we told the cashier about it before we checked out, she did everything else first, then checked the competitor ad, Best Buy and walla instant discount at the register, no customer care no nothing. . .

:) Excellent!

So now I have it, does it install, did I get the famous bad disks? I don’t know I haven’t installed it yet.

But I will

And I’ll let ya’ll know what I think.

C

My Favorite Links

Well since you can’t see this page on Xanga, here are the links

My Favorite Links

Gottadeal
(A great bargain hunting site and deal finder service)
The forum is great and the people are friendly!

Okay so Anadtech is the next in line of my favorite links. . . while you need to be careful of the crzies in Off Topic and Politics and News, most of the forum is pretty safe, For Sale and Trade has a lot of activity and you can usually unload technical stuff pretty easily. . .

Highly Technical, Networking and Software and Applications has interesting, helpful and outstanding advice, especially visit the Free Software links in Software and Applications, that’s a top rate list and it links to other Free or Open Source software. . .

The Networking and Technical Support forums have helpful people to give advice and information for your Tech support and Networking needs, Got a networking problem ask for Jack MDS by name in the Networking forum, he’ll come along and help you out.

;)
C

Anandtech (Technology Forum and News)
Technology and Information Forums are the best. P&N and Off Topic are Off Color and provide little useful discussion. Original location the term “nef” was defined on the web

Slashdot (Technology Geek News Feed)
Originators of the Slashdot effect, known to bring down hapless websites that happen to be linked in news stories on this fabeled technology site.

Gmail (The best Free Email on the planet)
2.4GB of storage and counting, great search and organization features.
This is in beta, IM – Carazariah on Yahoo or email me for an invite. . . carazariah@gmail.com

KLOVE Christian Music
Streamed for Free – Contemporary Christian tunes and music, news and information

The River Contemporary Christian Commercial Station A Contemporary Christian Clear Channel Station new to Austin. They have Free Streaming too, but they have commercials

PHBC My Church’s Page
My Church’s Website . . .

Westlake Hills/Rollingwood Area of Austin located just  North of 2222 on the South Bound Frontage Road of Loop 1 Mopac in  Austin.