Circuit City Promotes What Should Have Been Already

Always check the online price ... it might be lower!

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Circuit City stock was perhaps rather attractive to some at around a dollar per share; in a weird twist it’s somehow less attractive at 39 cents—maybe it’s the stink of death all around it, maybe that’s what Blockbuster smelled when they pulled out of an acquisition deal.

At this point, you could almost say Circuit City’s latest promotion is a last-ditch effort to right pricing-policy wrongs. The One Price Promise guarantees customers the same price in the store as the one listed online. But that couldn’t be the reason the company is failing—Best Buy was found out setting up fake intranet sites to trick customers into thinking they were mistaken about a listed online price, and their stock’s doing better than ever tons better than Circuit City’s.

It strikes me as odd that Circuit City even bothered with a promotion about as if it’s something special they’re doing, or that they bothered with a press release where they act surprised customers expected the online price to match the store price.

Egads! Low and behold—how strange—customers think there’s something shady about that!

News flash, CC, obviously there’s much more wrong than that. I’m not going to pretend I know what in particular is going on—Blockbuster took a look at the books and bailed, though—but I know from experience negotiating for a new TV was revealing. The TV online was something like $729, and when my wife and I got to the store the price was quite a bit higher—don’t remember exactly but it was at least a hundred bucks more. Your sales rep pulled it up on the computer and found it for the in-store price. Luckily, my wife had her BlackBerry with her and because I’d seen what went on with Best Buy I asked her to look again.

I don’t know how that would have turned out because as soon as she started downloading the Circuit City site, the manager showed up, pointed to a better and bigger TV he’d give me the same price we remembered from online.

That’s just bad business, hypothetical Circuit City executive. It makes you look really shady. At least I got my bigger and better TV. Can’t believe, though, you ever thought it was Kosher to quote different prices on the same merchandise.

Just my opinion. (Commentary is that of this writer only.)

Circuit City Promotes What Should Have Been Already
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  • Guest

    It’s because the website is a website, not a catalog of what is in the store.

    I’m really not sure why people assume the price would be the same from the web to the store… I guess we know what happens when you assume.  Most other retailers’ sites are not indicative of the in-store price, so Circuit is actually pioneering here for a change.

    I would think it would be obvious to you that a website has less overhead than a store…

    • Guest


      For most stores that is the case.

      The funny thing is Costco works the other way around. Their prices are cheaper in their stores than it is on their site…lol


  • Guest

    Well, these fools followed the line of firing all their experienced professionals, and replacing them with kids.  3 or 4 big waves of that sort of thing from about 2003 through 2007.   All they did was hasten the commoditization process for their products, while leaving customers asking why they should spend big money at the store.  And you run into lots of people who won’t shop there anymore, and I hear of ex CC people speaking out at churches.  Yes, there still is a social justice movement.

    Of course, it took CC about 4-5 years to can previous CEO McCullough, who took them from industry leader to an also ran.  And they gave him what looks like 10 million $$ to leave.  Sure sounds like HQ should be renamed Croni-ism incorporated.

    Then the new disaster Schoonover took over as CEO.  His job was to make them successful again.  And he was responsible for the 2nd, 3rd, and more subtle 4th wave of firing good people.  Now under his reign, the stock has gone from $25 to $40c.  And the approx 600 mil they had in the bank some years ago is disappearing, it may be down to $90 mil.  That is only about  $135k/store.   Meanwhile I saw the Schoonover is getting about 1.8 million $$ as a going away present.   I think he ought to be sued.  By employees and stockholders.

    And isn’t it about time that employment contracts for management be outlawed, period.  They can fire tens of thousands at a whim, so why shouldn’t they be subject to "employment at will", instead of gettingt big bonuses for getting lost?.

    The scuttlebut is that they are going to close as many as 200 stores,  probably after Xmas, though the date is a guess.   And someone told me that they have also marginally raised the salary cap for sales people from near starvation to not quite starvation.

    We’ll see what happens.   But there ought to be a law that those who run these companies into the ground ought to pay, not be paid.  Or perhaps they can be $12/hour supervisors, without  the weight of a $10B corporation on their shoulders.


    • Jay

      As a former district level employee, I can tell you that the greed and corruption of senior managers in this company is unbeilievable. The HR Department is fat and next to useless, and the store level employees are treated like indentured servants. They hired RVP’s and DM’s from Best Buy and paid them enormous salaries to make their areas profitable, but the destruction to morale countered any hopes of that. This company probably had the worst excuse for leadership I have ever witnessed. I completed my contract and got out of retail forever because of them. The company deserves to go under, but the lower level employees don’t. All the DM’s and above should have to work for free to atone for their terrible leadership.

  • Guest

     uh best buys stock is not doing "better than ever"….look into to things before you say them

    • Jason Lee Miller

      my fault…i forgot to finish my joke…i meant to slash through it the first time

  • Guest

    are you serious? really now..do you know much about business? do you know why retailers online pricing is different from in store? obviously you dont. until you can answer that question, i dont think you should write articles about circuit city being shady to customers. quote -> "That’s just bad business, hypothetical Circuit City executive. It makes you look really shady. At least I got my bigger and better TV. Can’t believe, though, you ever thought it was Kosher to quote different prices on the same merchandise."


    Seriously now come on. I completely agree with the above post, circuit city is pioneering change with this.

  • Guest

    I am an employee of Circuit City. I work in management. Never once have I ever seen us not match an online price. I imagine that your wife was probably looking at the website on, say, a Saturday, and when you came in, it was probably a sunday. If the online price changes, it is because the sale is over. It happens. It’s retail. And yes, the circuit city online store that we connect to is the exact same freaking one as the one you view on your precious blackberry. It makes me laugh that you think the manager just somehow detected that you were checking the price on your blackberry and came over to give you a "shut up" deal. This is not a scenario that I could ever imagine happening at a circuit city. I understand that the company is pretty much screwed, but what the hell do you have against us? Are you just itching for thousands more americans to lose their jobs? People like you make me sad. Go pick on someone else, seriously, and stop trying to sound like you know what’s going on on the "inside." Oh, and big congrats on your fabulous TV.

    • Guest


         I can not believe that someone that writes for a living would not even use spell check before hitting enter! (INternet)Let alone jump on the ban wagon of tear down circuit city. What is wrong with america today? If CC goes under then we will be left with buying our big screen TV’s at either Best Buy or Walmart, and then what Best buy goes under and we are all left with Walmart? Has anyone thought that Walmart is just to big and powerful,??? That once upon a time they got ride of all the mom and pop stores that line our downtown streets and know they are working on getting ride of CC, best buy, and anyone else that stands in they way! Then we will be left with paying what walmart wants to charge and no one will be able to say word one.

      but it is not to late, stop beating up cc and best buy and start seeing that they sell the same product and try to be as fair with comsumers that they can, compation is a good thing not a bad thing.

      • Guest

        compation?  Maybe you should your spell checker too, how about compassion

  • Jay

    i work at circuit city and this company is going under. Management is a complete joke. I work in the he department (home entertainment) and the managers are the most unethical people i have ever seen….. everything from switching figures after sales are tendered to making accessories worth more on the ticket.. ( good luck getting your price match on your new tv when you come into the store to realize all the numbers have been altered.) Buyers guides are an absolute joke, managers dont care about creating repeat customers, but drain as much out of customers as possible who cares if they think your a liar.  We just had a store meeting about this one promise…. what a joke managers dont know what the hell they are doing…. they have no answers, no clue. People who come in to the store to spend 5k have been all over amazon and cnet reading reviews they know prices.

    the real kicker is our store manager told us in our meeting that our company is doing really well and we are in the 3rd year of our 5 year turnaround plan….. what a joke.

    Go to your local ccity and see how many desktops they have in stock. My store has the number one tech department in the district and we have nothin….. nothin is available to order……. vendor pulling product? you tell me.

  • http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/93012/crutnacker.html Crutnacker

    This illustrates the problem of the collision of the Internet and Brick and Mortar. 

    Ever tried to get Wal-Mart to price match a price from their own website? I’ll never forget a few years ago when a watch I wanted was $30 higher in store than online.   The manager refused to match the price because it was online.  BUT IT IS WAL-MART, I protested.   He indicated they were separate from the stores (which essentially is true).   Of course, it is helpful to point out that non-advertised prices may be different from store to store within any retailer as well.  Wal-Mart is notorious for marking up prices in areas where they have less competition and/or the clientele isn’t as desirable.   

    I personally mourn the downfall of Circuit City.    I’ve never cared much for Best Buy, and Wal-Mart sucks.   I’ve funneled my big box purchases to CC the past few years in order to do my small part to stave oft Best Buy.   If/when CC fails, we all will suffer a bit, I believe.  

  • Guest

    I have encountered numerous times that pricing on a website is different from the one in a store.

    In general the argument is that when you purchase the item online you will also need to ship it en will encounter those costs. Sometimes the item is only available online and not in a store.

    What I did discover is to compare prices between different stores. For instance while shopping for a new washing machine both Sears and Best Buy offered the brand. The price at sears was lower than at Best Buy, however the insurance for the item was cheaper at Best Buy.

    So I took a print out of the Sears ad to Best Buy and they matched the price and I  got the cheaper insurance.


  • AEP

    When people go to the website with intent to buy in the brick and mortar part they expect to get the price they saw online. This is no different than picking up the flyers advertising a sale and expecting to see the product you want for the price specified in the flyer…
    The website is a reflection of the company online; as such it is a spokesman, so to speak, in the eyes of the public. For the website to not match the “in” store pricing that is a breach of trust in this context… At no point does anyone with this viewpoint give a damn about catalogs…

  • http://www.diamondonnet.com/ Diamonds

    Retail stores tend to be more pricey because they have a lot of people on the stores doing nothing.  To add to this, they have to stock their store with the items.  But personally, Best Buy and Circuit City are far more expensive compare to Fry’s.

    • http://howtodiy.000webhost.com/ create a website

      Yup, it seem they are

  • Guest

    Unfortunately, it is a very coomon issue and Best Buy is no better than CC on that matter.  I have been caught a couple of times,  now, I print the page before I go to the store, this way I don’t have to go back.  But it’s a real annoyance, very misleading at best, I would say even dishonest

  • James

     There are many reasons why a company might offer a lower price online, the main one usually being that customers buying from their online store save them money and so the lower price is to entice people to do just that, rather than defaulting to what they’re used to and going in-store.  What many companies don’t seem to realise, is that in order for this to actually work and in order for them not to ‘look shifty’, they need to make it clear on the product page that this is a ‘web only price’.  If it’s clearly an online promotion, then people won’t be surprised if they go to their store and can’t get that price.

  • http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS217343+23-Sep-2008+PRN20080923 Peter Monroe

    Well, both people and companies get what they deserve sometimes.  It is not suprising that a shady company like this is the bottom of the barrel.

    • http://caracepatmembuatwebsitegratis.blogspot.com/ cara membuat website

      That is right Peter. It’s not surprising at all

  • Guest

    Every company has thier friends, allies, problems, whiners, complainers, and haters… welcome to the imperfect world!

  • Jonw1701

    Jason -

    I sincerely hope you’re not getting paid to pen this type of nonsense for the WebProNews blog. Ramblings such as I just read are a travesty, not only to your reputation, but to that of WebProNews. While you think you may be stimulating conversation, you seem to be far more adept at randomly rubbing salt in a wound … any wound. A far wiser man than I, and FAR wiser than you, once said "It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." And since you have now removed all doubt, perhaps you should now try the "silent" aspect. Please. PS – if you *are* getting paid by WPN, refund the money. They don’t deserve to be the next Circuit City due to the reckless ramblings of people like you.



  • Guest

    Don’t like it?  Write your congressperson, local lawmakers and better business bureau.

    Can anyone say "class action lawsuit"?

  • Ralphy

    Did you ever use the information kiosks inside Best Buy stores?

    You can use them to look for the location of a product in the store.  The kiosks also shows prices – BUT THE PRICES ARE LOWER AND THE PRODUCTS WILL NOT RING UP AT THESE PRICES AT THE REGISTER.  Best Buy appears to be using the lower online prices in their kiosk system.

    Which part of this is not a deceptive practice?  How can this be legal?  Why are our lawmakers not protecting us from this trickery?

  • http://aneka-resep-masakan-indonesia.blogspot.com/2008/12/resep-bakso.html resep bakso

    I’m really not sure why people assume the price would be the same from the web to the store… I guess we know what happens when you assume. Most other retailers’ sites are not indicative of the in-store price, so Circuit is actually pioneering here for a change.

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