Office supply chain store epic fails… perhaps Circuit City had it right.

Today I had a piece of equipment fail due to a faulty hard drive. No big deal, its a common item, I will just run down to my local Best Buy, Office Max, or Staples and pick up a new one. I try to shop local when I can, but I quickly remember why online retailers like Amazon are making these chain stores dinosaurs when it comes to logic and reason. I was in search of a 2 TB 3.5″ internal SATA hard drive, super common, shouldn’t be a problem.

Stop #1 I walk into the first store @BestBuy, navigate over to the hard drive section. I see 160GB, 250GB, and the place where 1TB and 2TB drives should be. They are out of stock on the shelf, I go to the counter and inquire about stock in the back. The clerk quickly informed me that if there is nothing on the shelf they have no reserve stock. You may be wondering why I mentioned the 160GB and 250GB hard drives… well they had a fair amount of dust on them and were nearly the same price as the 1TB drive. If shelf space is a problem, maybe it’s time to take a look at your inventory and clearance out some items to make room for more modern technology. We are up to 4 TB drives! Come on! #SMH #Strike1

Stop #2 was @OfficeMax which was right across the street. I walk in and a store employee greeted me and offered assistance. I asked them to point me toward the internal hard drives. I was quickly informed they didn’t sell internal drives anymore. I’m ok with that. I would rather you have none at all then have poorly stocked shelves or antique parts. @OfficeMax you get off easy. #Strike2

Stop #3 was @Staples, which was also in the same couple block radius of @BestBuy and @OfficeMax. I walk in the door, the funny thing is, there is another customer I am following in that I have seen at each of the stores I have been to. He is looking for an ink or toner cartridge… I wished him luck and trudged on. I walk back to the hard drive section. To my delight, I see 2 TB hard drives. Even two different brands. This must be my lucky day! Remind me to buy a lottery ticket on the way home. 🙂 Also on the shelf, 1 TB, and 500GB hard drives. Also 2 different brands to choose from on each size. Wow… too good to be true! I would actually purchase any of those sizes at any time. They are all dummy boxes, but a sight for sore eyes none the less. I make my selection and walk up to the service counter to retrieve my hard drive and complete my purchase. I am quickly informed that they are out of stock on the drive. Ok no problem, there is another brand, at this point I didn’t care what brand I got just as long as I got one. This had now become a quest. I asked for any 2 TB drive they had, and was quickly shot down again. He informed me they only had (1) 1 TB drive left and no 2 TB drives to speak of. I asked a logical question. Why do you have the dummy boxes out there if you have no stock? He didn’t really have an answer and that was that.  #Really #SMH #Strike3

Defeated, disappointed, and angry, I drove back to my office, got on @Amazon and ordered the drive. It was the exact brand, style, and specs that I wanted. Even with tax and shipping it was cheaper than any of the prices that the two stores that actually sold drives had and that was next day shipping. I will literally have it at 10:30AM tomorrow because @Amazon is very good at what they do. Which is giving people what they want without ridiculous markups in price. Apparently, @Staples @BestBuy, this is what I should have done in the first place.

Just for grins, I went to and in search of the drive and pricing. @Staples had no 2 TB drives on their site for sale except for some SAS drives which are more of an enterprise thing. @BestBuy had 2 TB drives that were decent price but only one brand and availability was 2 days. If you office stores want to stay in the game and continue to exist, you should work on your websites and make them run more like amazon with competitive shipping pricing and a wide selection. There is no reason you should only have one brand of something and it still have the same markup as the store when you are doing 80% less work. still exists but it redirects to Tiger Direct is another story for another day and I in no way endorse anything they do, but Circuit City saw the writing on the wall and closed their doors before they became the poorly stocked, staffed and managed establishments that we are presented with today. So thank you Circuit City for being responsible.



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About ericparkerconsulting

I operate my own IT consulting and service business. I also do freelance broadcast engineering work.

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