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Discussion Starter #1
Please share your funny stories about encounters with HT sales people. I think it is best if we don't mention store or company names to keep from ruffling feathers - just say "big box", "on line", "store", etc.

I will start.

Several years ago, I walked into a big box store to buy some inexpensive component cables. I found a set made by AR. I had used theirs before and knew that the quality was adequate for my needs.

Salesman walks up - "Why are you buying those? These are MUCH better." Of course, he had in his hand a famous brand that was 4x the price of the ARs. I told him that the ARs were perfectly fine, that I am an electrical engineer and "cables are cables."

He persisted... I told him that I had been involved in hifi/stereo since before he was born. He said "That's impossible." I told him that, my, he did not look like he was 45:D.

I walked away, perfectly happy with my $12 cables.
 

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I walked into one storefront out of curiosity, and was ushered into a demo room. When the demo was over the girl asked my impressions.
Me: It was slightly better than my current living room system.
Her: So you would buy this system?
Me: That depends. What is the price?
Her: $6000
Me: not a chance
Her: but you admitted this is better than your current system
Me: slightly better, but my current system cost me $2200. Another $100 for rears and a 2nd $100 sub and my system would trounce this for $2400.
Her: but surely you can appreciate the simplicity of this system?
Me: I acknowledge that others might appreciate the simplicity.
Her: so you would recommend this system to others?
Me: No, I would recommend a $2400 system and help them set it up.
 

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A Wal-mart employee at the store I worked at the time was telling a customer the extended warranty on a plasma screen would cover re-fills. I asked the "associate" afterward to explain the re-fill thing, he proceeded to tell me plasma displays like liquid crystal TV's have liquid that you replace kinda like a oil change. bla, bla, bla. My lunch break was over back to "reality". Back in the 80's Sears had the worst misinformed sale people I knew of that could make up wild stories about hi-fi gear. Example speakers that were identical from the year before other than a huge "DIGITAL" emblem being improved so they were digital speakers! Don't forget those speaker power handling numbers that people figured the higher the number the louder and better they should be. ("I bought those 60w speakers that blew because my amp is so powerful then upgraded to 250w 6x9's running on my Pyramid 1000w mini EQ and the cops came it was so loud!") Don't get me going on those crazy amp specs...

Disclaimer:
Just to clarify I sold cellphones there, got decent pay and never had leave my kiosk to cashier "upfront" needless to say Wal-mart decided to fix that as I was making a near living wage. so ending my "Wal-Mart career path" parting ways with the kingdom of evil. Don't get me started on my AIG stories...
 

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I was at American T.V. not to long ago while a man and his wife were watching a demo for some Focal Chorus towers. Abruptly the man and his wife promptly conversed and he announced (I will never forget what he said) that the Klipsch speakers sounded more like a Wookie than the Focals and they wanted to buy them. The salesman without missing a beat asked the couple how many Wookies they have heard recently. I had to walk out of the room I was laughing so hard.
 

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Didn't Paul Klipsch publish a white paper about getting speakers to sound like a wookie? I actually heard an amp make a sound sort of like a wookie once.

One of my favorite reasons to visit dealers is to over hear conversations like that. Some really wild stuff...but then I heard some pretty wild stuff visiting some of the vendors at CES, etc. And from some of the sales reps that used to come around to "educate" the sales staff.
 

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I was at my local Frys when a young guy approached me while I was checking out the plasmas. He said he's not a fan of the plasmas because the gas can be toxic and the pictures is the worse compared to LCD and LED.

I grinned and say thanks for your opinion and asked him to kindly leave me alone.
 

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I have to add onto the plasma recharge train. Years ago - I was shopping at a circuit city... Checking out some plasmas I had been researching. Sure enough, the salesman breaks into this description of how I could recharge the plasma on any plasma tv I bought. Frankly, it was enough for me to take my business elsewhere. It wasn't even worth discussing...
 

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Lol i was at a best buy a wile back and older guy was there with his wife and the man and his wife tells the sales guy at the tv section that he wants to watch blurays in 1080p so the guy points to him an lcd and says oh this tv is awsome for movies so im looking and the tv says 720 so he leaves and i tell the man and his wife thats not 1080 gave him heads up on what to look for he was kinda pissed that the dude was trying to just swoop him into any tv
 

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Consumer markets are brutal. Where there is money to be made, the priority will almost always devolve to making the sale and squeezing as much profit from it as possible. That means that sales people are not much more than box movers and will not have the experience nor much motivation to deliver good information. The consumer has to be very wary of what he/she hears as part of a sales pitch. Most will never make the effort to become educated on complex technological issues and this is the segment of the market that these stores appeal to. It is hard to watch, but it is social and economic "natural" selection at work.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That means that sales people are not much more than box movers and will not have the experience nor much motivation to deliver good information.
How very true. It sure is sad to see folks plop down good money based on bad advice. But, that certainly is not unique to HT...
 

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Consumer markets are brutal. Where there is money to be made, the priority will almost always devolve to making the sale and squeezing as much profit from it as possible. That means that sales people are not much more than box movers and will not have the experience nor much motivation to deliver good information. The consumer has to be very wary of what he/she hears as part of a sales pitch. Most will never make the effort to become educated on complex technological issues and this is the segment of the market that these stores appeal to. It is hard to watch, but it is social and economic "natural" selection at work.
Im afraid such a blanket statement is not accurate, Best Buy is a great example. This big-box company has a very comprehensive training program for both new and existing employees and often you will come across enthusiasts who work there. I hear Radio Shack has a good training program also...

Most of the bad advice is from locations you would expect to get bad advice, namely department stores. Being a former BB employee I find it much easier to blame a lazy and ignorant public, but I suppose its all a matter of perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I would be interested in hearing BB's training speach on Monster Cables...
 

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Im afraid such a blanket statement is not accurate, Best Buy is a great example. This big-box company has a very comprehensive training program for both new and existing employees and often you will come across enthusiasts who work there. I hear Radio Shack has a good training program also...
I have no idea what their training programs are but my personal experience with both chains would not suggest what you say. They are not entirely ignorant, of course, but the gaps in their knowledge are often huge and they rarely will admit to it.
 

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My experience is similar to Kal's. I have shopped (a lot) and purchased(rarely, because of frustration) at BB for years and have never had an experience that indicated significant knowledge and rarely any caring for my needs.
 

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I agree, non of my experiences at any of the big box stores has been impressive. I always do my homework on a product before I walk into the store because I often get contradicting stories about whats better.
I have on many ocations overheard the sales people giving their spiel about Bose or the different display technologies, I overheard one gy telling someone that the LED displays were a panel of LEDs that change color much better than LCD :coocoo: The Bose sales pitch is so ridiculous! I usually have to walk away out of earshot. I once even pulled the people aside after he was done and told them the truth about Bose.
 

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I walk into the outlet store of the world's largest speaker manufacturer. After looking at a $3300 surround system, the manager asked me if I needed assistance. "Yes", I replied. "I'd like to see your brochure that has technical specificaitions on that system, including frequency charts." Manager:"I'm sorry, I don't have any." Me (straight faced):"Oh, you're out? When will you get some?" Manager:"That information is not available." Me: "Really?" Manager: "What difference does it make? You just need to go by sound. They can play plenty loud." Me: "I just wanted to show you the huge suckout between 110hz and 200hz where your sub can't get high enough and your teeny speakers can't get low enough!" Manager: Icy stare. Me: "Later"
 

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Coming from a background in sales and customer service, plus years of being a home theater enthusiast, I found Best Buy's training program unusually good. Their training program is department specific and people are required to pass specific training modules before theyre put on the sales floor. The combination of these modules would provide all the knowledge you would need to advise people for a complete theater solution, which is alot of info.

BB also has an internal web system, kinda like a message board, with a vast knowledge database and company-wide employee interactions sharing personal questions and experiences.

They also do mandatory store-wide after-hours training on new products and company changes.

Best Buy has a comprehensive secret shopper program.

As for monster products, it was left at the discretion of the employee if he guided you to the house brand Dynex or the Monster brand for things likes cables. At least offering everything the customer needs was the bottom line, and it was drilled into your head.

Doesnt seem like a bad program for a company that pays its employees peanuts, bummer customers are repeatedly dissatisfied.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I always do my homework on a product before I walk into the store
Me, too. I usually say "no thanks" when asked if I need assistance - too many instances of me having to show them where what I am looking for is on their shelf.

I used a major electronics retailer's "order ahead and we will have it ready for you" service last fall. Went by a day later. They could not find the Dell XPS8300. I waited, waited, waited, then asked if I needed to help them find it. Finally, out came the employee with the box. I signed for it, then on the way to the car I noticed that he had handed me one with an i5 processor instead of the i7 I had paid for. Back in the store, back to a line, back to a long wait for them to find it again... Sigh:(
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Doesnt seem like a bad program for a company that pays its employees peanuts, bummer customers are repeatedly dissatisfied.
I always print the web price for whatever I go to BB for and take it with me. Many times the shelf price is higher than advertised on the web as the "pick up in store" price. To their credit, they always have matched the web price.

I really did not mean for this thread to be "bash Best Buy." But, at least in my area, they are about the only ones left for in-town electronics purchases since Circuit City closed. I purchase from BB quite often and am generally pleased - but mainly because I go prepared, something I suggest to anyone buying anything.

Wish we had Fry's but they are well West of here. There are some HH Greggs around, but I have never gone in one.
 
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