circuit city

Looks like Circuit City is officially going away for good. Well, poo. I really liked that store, and have been shopping there for a long, long time.

Comparably, I can’t stand Best Buy. Sure it may be cleaner / nicer in some ways, but they also have really annoying pestering sales people who pressure you to buy magazines at checkout. It’s gotten to the point where I pay cash just so I know I won’t get signed up for an MSN subscription or something. The worst problem I ever had with Circuit City was that I couldn’t figure out where the cashiers were hiding.

One thing I really liked about Circuit City was that it was always a nice place to quietly just browse and look around without being bothered. That might contribute to their poor sales (no sales people bothering me, no customers making noise), but I’m still going to miss the ability to go through the aisles at my own pace and just look at stuff without being interrupted. At Best Buy, they always have *loud* music on overhead, and the displays for most stuff is badly lit. I guess I’m just old school.

There’s a *lot* of stuff I’ve bought at Circuit City. In fact, every major piece of entertainment hardware I’ve bought there at one time: game console, TV, HDTV, receiver, speakers, CDs, DVDs, remote, car stereo, etc. I even bought my netbook from there just last month (it’s a Lenovo IdeaPad, I still need to write a post about it).

I’m bummed.

Edit: I keep thinking about this — not Circuit City specifically, but shopping in general — and I figured I’d comment a bit more on things.

Brick and mortar stores have, for me, become nothing more than a convenience factor.  I buy just about everything except food, office supplies and clothes online, and it’s been that way for years.  One other exception is big-ticket items, like a game console or an HDTV, because that’s something I’d really like to see and inspect in person before I buy something like that.  But, for the most part, stores have just become the go-to place for when I don’t want to wait.

I’m sure that Internet sales played some part in how badly business has gone.  It’s obviously much simpler for Amazon to update a column in their database to say that a DVD is on sale, versus Circuit City who has to plan the thing ahead weeks ahead of time, prepare circulation and ads and still time it with the website as well.  There’s just so fewer steps for online stores, and it’s been my experience (as a shopper) that traditional stores are just pretending to ignore that the Internet exists completely, and not trying to compete at all.

There is one kind of a store that I would like to see, and that’s ones that have hard-to-find items to start with.  For instance, there’s nowhere in Utah that I could go to buy a Mini-ITX board today (well, not without a huge markup of 50% or more) or find a video store that has pretty much every title available.  Part of that problem, of course, is that I live in Utah.  I realize that, as far as populous states go, I’m in the boonies.  But I also realize that because of the economics, it’s not gonna happen … a long tail store just isn’t gonna spring up.  It makes more business sense to sell just the hits.  Of course, a part of me thinks there could be a compromise — just have a simple store frontend with one cashier at your warehouse.  I don’t wanna browse, I know what I want, and I could just go in and pick it up that day for the online price.  No glitter, no fuss, very little overhead, and I can still get what I want.

Anyway.  I’m not an economics major, and I’m not really interested in why some things work out or don’t all that much, but I’m pretty certain that the business model of ignoring the Internet as competition is what is really hurting these traditional chains.  I’ve summed up a lot of my thoughts in a previous post of how a video store chain could catch up and compete in this one: video stores are deprecated.  That pretty much says it all, I think.

Leave a Reply