Why it PAYS to be straight from the beginning.

So for the past year or so I’ve been looking for a new television to replace my existing set. The one I have works fine, but it’s not HD. I’ve been waiting for the prices to come down, and finally settled on a model. So I started looking around for it. Only place that had it in stock was Circuit City. You couldn’t pay me to shop there. The customer service is atrocious and the return policy could shoot the tasty Italian sub in my stomach across the room. Anywhere else was an on-line store with shipping in excess of $100. So I took a suggestion from a friend and visited a local electronics retailer. Their selling point is that they can’t afford to advertise like the big guys, but they can meet the prices. They matched the price on a TV which Circuit City offered. I took his pitch, a list of his prices, and went off to see if I could find it cheaper elsewhere.

It’s the Internet, stupid!

So I end up finding the same television for $100 less at J&R Music and Computer World as well as B&H Photo, two big retailers in NYC. One doesn’t have it in stock at their store, the other does. So I call back the local retailer and run it past him. His demur immediately changes, making excuses about how the place probably isn’t an authorized dealer (which means the TV could be gray market, but store is HUGE, so I doubt it). The overall attitude I got was one of “Well I’m not matching THAT price.” It seriously turned me off. He suggested checking with Sony to see if they’re an authorized retailer. So I did. They were.

So now after that experience, I really didn’t feel like going back to the local place. Sure, he just may have matched the price now, and right now I could be kicking back watching HDTV… but the contrast in his attitude towards me between yesterday and today was very telling.

What might have gotten the sale? “Hmm, that’s a pretty low price, do you know if it’s an authorized Sony dealer?” He should have then checked. But he didn’t. He let me walk out of his store once, and he let me off the phone.

Then he lost a sale to Best Buy because of what? His attitude. I ended up paying $15 more than a matched price would have cost… a small price to pay for piece of mind.

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