Microcenter Book Fiasco!

Today, I went to my local Microcenter to have a look around. Well, this location has quite a large book section with a lot of the classical computer science books and many more modern stuff. So apparently, there was a lot of overstock and had a red-sticker sale. Any book with a red sticker gets a 30% discount.

So, I looked around for about 20 minutes or so. Most of the red-sticker books were ery old or on tech that is not current. However, I luckily found Advanced Unix Programming, 2nd Edition by Marc Rochkind with a red-sticker. Excellent!

I picked up the book and gave it to my wife to pay for it. I had my infant son with me and the lines were so packed, so I walked around while my wife paid for our stuff. When we met up by the exit, she told me that she had to pay full price for the book ($44.99). Being a man of priciple and a well-known cheapskate, I inquired on why.

My wife informed the cashier that this book should be discounted because of the red-sticker. You know what this idiot cashier said?

“The red sticker does not matter. If the system says $44.99, then that’s the price.”

What? Boy, I was pissed off. Worst, my wife still paid the full price. I, of course, would have demanded a manager right on the spot. I would not care how many people were behind me in line, this book is suppose to be discounted. So, by golly, I shall have my discount.

I walked behind the cashier’s area to see which cashier my wife paid. I flagged down a worker to ask to speak to a manager. He asked me what the problem was, and I told him. He went to a phone, and after five minutes or so, he directs us to a gentleman wearing a brown sweater at the customer service desk, about 50 feet away.

“Oh crap”, I said. If you ever seen a customer service area of a Microcenter on a weekend, it is like packed full of customers who have just about everything wrong with there computers. And as I predicted, today was no different. There was a line the size of Texas.

My temper is fuming by this point. We have been at this store for about an hour and Ethan is getting cranky. So, I drag my wife and son to the customer service area. We were lucky that there was a bench where my wife and Ethan can sit while I stand in line. After waiting for about 10 minutes, a lady asks if I have been helped. I told her that I am supposed to talk to the man in the brown sweater, who was helping another customer. She says that she may be able to help.

So, I go into my speech about how this book is suppose to be discounted, my wife paid already, and the stupid book was not discounted because the cashier does not seem to think at all. I went on a rampage, but all of that heavy breathing went to waste. She said that she does not have authorization to override the prices of merchandise.

I took a deep breath and said that I understand. Understand? Well, not really. I don’t understand why I needed to be in this line full of people that are having virus problems or cannot run their stupid little game because of their illiteracy. But I disgress.

Eventually, I end up talking to the man with the brown sweater. I explain everything to this gentleman. And, like a true manager, delegated the task to guess who? The same lady that said that she could not handle my problem.

Argh! So, my wit chimed in and a blurted out “Hey, I guess you can help me afterall! See, I told you that you can do it!”

She griped, “But, I can’t change the price, I need his authorization.”

“I guess you have it now”, I responded.

So, this woman tries to help me. Then, as I seen many times, she started getting this weird look on her face. You know, like a deer running into traffic and not sure how to avoid getting hit by a car. She starts moving to the right, then back to her terminal, then finally starts wimpering (really). She ends up waving another associate over to the terminal, let’s call him Ted because I do not know what his name was. Ted listens to her explaination.

Ted grabs a calculator and prefaces his response, “Now, you should not do this without manager authorization.”

“Oh boy”, I said. “This is juicy, super-secret stuff going on!”

Ted continues, “Press F8 and change the price from $44.99 to…”, as he crunches his numbers on the calculator, “$31.49. Again, this is dangerous stuff. Don’t do this again without manager approval.”

Dangerous stuff? I’d say. God forbid if an associate abuses this new power granted to her and “accidentally” gives herself a 99% discount on SCSI card and a brand-spanking new keyboard dust cover. Oh, no! We can have them do that!

Then it all dawned on me. Microcenter does not train anyone to do anything! Think about this. The cashier could not possiblly give me my rightful discount because she was trained like a monkey to believe what the system says rather than be a free thinker. The customer service lady was almost the same way. She did not have the knowledge to override the price on merchandise. This is no coincidence, I think this is really how Microcenter operates!

So, after spending a half-hour at the customer service desk, I got a refund for the discount and finally left that idiotic place. At least I get to enjoy a good book.



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