Now at Circuit City: Lying to Customers

A Circuit City customer service representative attempted to fit me for a dunce cap today with a manager-supported, bold-faced lie. I wasn’t having it. First a bit of background:

dunce cap I spent Tuesday through Thursday in Radcliff, Kentucky attending my younger brother’s, Charles, Basic Training graduation from Fort Knox (Company D, 3rd Battalion, 46th Infantry). I left Seattle midday on Tuesday, flying into Cincinnati via Chicago, arriving at the hotel in Florence, KY at 1 AM Wednesday. At 9 AM I was on the road driving to Radcliff (45 minutes south of Louisville). I completed the 2 1/2 hour drive and stopped for breakfast before making it to the barracks around 1 PM where I found my exhausted, transformed brother asleep in a chair—the last soldier waiting for someone to arrive to spend family day with him. 🙁

While in Florence, I realized I forgot my laptop power supply back in Seattle and only had a couple hours left on my batteries. While Charles and I were out, we stopped at a Circuit City where I purchased a Kensington power supply. The sales rep couldn’t guarantee the power supply would work with my laptop even after visiting the Kensington site. He promised I would have no problem returning it so I bought it and left. It didn’t work.

Fast-forward to me visiting the Circuit City store in Bellevue, Washington today to return the item. After five minutes of “check[ing] with the manager,” the woman working customer service came back and said she would only be able to give me an in-store credit because the Bellevue Circuit City is still on an old system while the Circuit City in Kentucky was on a new system.

“Really?” I replied. “So there is more than one Circuit City?” Of course she said no but then she went on about how the systems were different and “wouldn’t allow [her] to do a return to my credit card.” I sensed something fishy with her demeanor…eye contact can be a great truth serum. She wasn’t being truthful.

I used to work at Circuit City in customer service and I know the company would never alienate customers due to an internal system upgrade. I continued looking her in the eye, weighing my next words carefully, debating whether to get irate or to keep it professional. Vinegar or honey? Keef or Keith? My previous stint as a Circuit City customer service associate allowed me empathize—she was just doing as she was told. I decided to take it easy on her and offered five simple words that left little doubt how our interaction would ultimately end: “That doesn’t work for me.” She again had to check with the manager.

Two minutes later, I was leaving the Bellevue Circuit City with a full credit to my card. Circuit City will have to hold the dunce cap for another day.