Friday, December 2, 2011

Musings about electronics retailers

Funny thing happened on the way to work today. I heard a Staples commercial wherein the made fun of other electronics retailers for their awful selection and high prices. It made me think, "Does Staples really think they aren't the worst place to buy computer parts?" Or is it just an Huxley-esque (turns out Huxleyan means something else) attempt to convince a lie is true just by saying it's true. It made me wonder if people even realize how bad this store is?

So I thought to myself, "I wonder what it would be like if grocery stores sold food the same way that Staples sells computer parts?" So here's the amusing analogy that played through my head during my 30 minute commute.

"Gesum, they have price stickers for a few different types of cereal but nothing at all like the selection in their advertisements." 

"Hi there, can I help you?"

"Sure," I reply, sure that I'm about to be frustrated. "I'm looking for a box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes.You know, the one that's on sale today. White, 12 oz box . . You don't seem to have any on the shelf but every advertising flyer you have posted in the store, on the sign out front, and on your website lists them on sale for the rest of the month. I can't even find the label on the shelf here where they would be. Are you out of them?"

"What are you looking to do with it?"

"With the box of cereal? I'm hoping to eat it."

"I mean, what kind of bowl are you going to put it in? Are you having it fro breakfast or for lunch?"

"I, I . . . what? Why do you care? I just want to know if you have this exact model. Do you have it?"

"Well, the box you want really depends on what you want to do with it. How do you know you want Corn Flakes and not Raisin Bran?"

"Because I asked you for Corn Flakes. If it makes you feel better, I'm looking for a box of cereal to eat for breakfast. I might put it in a bown with milk or I might just eat it out of the box. I might even eat it for dinner sometimes when I get home from work late."

"Oh ok, Corn Flakes will probably work then. Do you want me to see if we have any in stock?"

"Yes, yes please. Please find out if you have any in stock." 

"Did you know which size you wanted?"

< . . . > "Yes, the 12 oz box. The one that's on sale."

< . . . waiting . . . >

< . . . waiting . . . >

"You look lost. Can I help you?"

< impatient, arms crossed > "No, I'm fine. Someone is helping me already."

"Let me get someone from cereal sales."

< sighing > "Sigh."

< manager arrives > "Hi there, I understand you need some help finding some cereal?"

< confused about where the original salesperson is> "Yes, Corn Flakes. Did you have it in stock?"

< manager gets condescending look on their face, as if to say, "ignorant cereal shoppers" > "You know, there's lots of different types of cereal. What were you looking to use it for? Breakfast? Dinner? Do you have any bowls?"

< realizing the manager wasn't sent by the original salesperson but was retrieved by the stocker > "Nevermind, I was . . . someone else is helping me."

< non-plussed > "Oh, do you know who it was? I can go find them."

< shocked, trying to remember what the first person looked like > "Uhhhh, I didn't catch their name. Tall, kind of heavyset."

< affirming > "Right, right. I'll go check on them. See if the need help. They may have had to ask the butcher for help."

< somehow even more shocked > "The butcher . . . why, huh? Nevermind. Ok."

< . . . waiting . . . >

< realizing that I could have ordered the cereal from Amazon and had it delivered already>

< . . . waiting . . . >

< salesperson returns, box of frosted flakes in hand > "Hey, is this the one you wanted?"

< perplexed > "No, not at all. I was looking for Corn Flakes."

< unfazed > "These are pretty much the same thing; they come pre-sweetened and don't really cost much more. It's a better deal."

< angry > "That's not what I wanted . . . Do you not have Corn Flakes?"

< sheepish > "Well, I couldn't find them in the back but I can check the computer. This is better though and it doesn't cost much more."

< angry-er > "Ughhh, alright what do they cost?"

< pleased > "$7.99"

< furious > "What? The sale price is $3.99 for a box of Corn Flakes? How could you possibly think I would want an $8 box of cereal?"

< salesperson-y > "Well, $7.99. But they are better. You have to buy your own sugar if you go with Corn Flakes."

< as upset as possible > "I don't want sugar. I don't even use sugar with my Corn Flakes. If you don't have the Kellogg's Corn Flakes that are for sale, do you at least have a 12 oz box of the store brand Corn Flakes?"

< happy he's helping me > "Probably, let's go check on the computer. It will tell me if we have them in stock."

< pulls handheld computer out of back pocket. I begin to wonder why this salesperson couldn't look on the computer for the Kellogg's Corn Flakes but quickly dismiss the thought >

< furrowed brow > "Well, it says here we have the store brand Corn Flakes in 12 oz boxes. Do you want me to go check?"

< no longer angry, just confused > "Check? What do you mean?"

< condescending > "Well, just because it's in the computer doesn't mean it's in the store room. I mean, it's not on the shelf, right?"

< about to give up > "Sure, go check."

< . . . waiting . . . >

< manager walks up > "Did you find your Corn Flakes?"

< jaw set aggressively > "No, I have not found any Corn Flakes."

< manager gets uncomfortably close > "You know, you could just skip the whole cereal thing and get one of these breakfast-in-a-bar things we've got. It's cereal, yogurt, fruit, and nuts all rolled up in one. It doesn't cost much more than a box of cereal."

< amazed > "No, really, I just want a box of cereal. I already have milk, fruit, and nuts at home. I hate yogurt. I just want a box of cereal."

< manager had already walked away while I was talking >

< salesperson comes back with the biggest bag of cereal I have ever seen > "Here you go, this one is actually a really good deal."

< shaking my head > "What is that? Why would you bring that out? I said I wanted a 12 oz box of Corn Flakes? That's got to be . . ."

< proud > "72 ounces. The biggest bag of cereal you can get. Not much more than the Frosted Flakes actually."

< about to cry, getting sweaty > "I don't . . . I have no interest in a giant bag of cereal. I could never eat all of that cereal. That's gotta be like, $20 right?"

< beaming > "Nope, not even $20. $18.99. Told you it was a good deal."

< firmly resolute in my desire to hang on > "So you don't have any 12 oz boxes o Corn Flakes? No Kellogg's, no store brand. No other brands?"

< confused > "Ummm, doesn't look like it. Computer says one but I can't find it. Have you seen our breakfast bars?"

< leaving the store >

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