With apologies to Tolstoy, this is something a bit more mundane.
In my job as IT Manager, I have to do a lot of technical purchases.
I’m that guy that Recommends, Acquires, Specifies, and Deploys computer hardware and software. I spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer monitor looking at web pages looking at detailed descriptions, and telling others that “Hey, we need this”!
Once in a while I even get out of the office and visit the real world and see what the shops have to offer.
For computer hardware in South Florida there seems to be one main place to pick up that sort of item, CompUSA. I find that unfortunate. As my Economics teacher said in University, when a market is dominated by one seller and holds a Monopoly that market suffers from inefficiencies and higher prices.
I find my Economics teacher to have been almost completely correct here in Ft Lauderdale in the case of Computer parts. After all, if you can read this, you can also get to some of the competition and wait for it to show up at your front door. Sometimes you can even save some money.
The thing is that in my position, if you need it now, you don’t want to wait for a week for it to get in from California or beyond. So I would climb into my Jeep and drive to the nearest CompUSA. If I were closer to it, I’d go to the Hialeah Tiger Direct/CompUSA outlet and despite the fact that the neighborhood is kind of scary, I’d geek out over the variety they have there.
My choices here in Broward are the stores in Deerfield Beach and on Federal Highway in Ft Lauderdale. Two stores with identical product lines, identical market (same county), and identical mother company in Tiger Direct.
The differences are pretty frightening. My boss has flatly forbid me to go to the store in Deerfield Beach. That particular CompUSA I would not send someone to on a bet. Clean building that is under lit and dark and has a truly annoying guitar riff tape playing louder that I would prefer on a loop.
How do I know that that tape is a loop? Because one day I had to go into that store to price some items and needed help and ended up standing there for more than an hour. Yes, I made the mistake to see just how long it was before someone would help me. I had to almost tackle some guy to get him to promise me to bring back Someone Else to talk to me about the particular product in question. Another half hour later, someone arrived. That second person was quite helpful, and quite out of character for that store.
If someone wants to study how to run a large store badly, I suggest you go to CompUSA and look around. I can say that there was exactly one person there that had a clue about customer service that worked during the work day and the rest were trying to look busy and avoid any contact with people.
On the other hand, I have always been pleasantly surprised with the CompUSA Store on Federal Highway in Ft Lauderdale. North of Sunrise Blvd, Near the Whole Foods… Yeah, That One. They reopened that store and I have been in it a number of times since then. It is very close to my house and when ever I go in there I am greeted, asked if I need help, and actually assisted by people who had some knowledge of their product. More importantly, if I tell them “thanks, I’m OK” they back off.
I had gone into the store most recently and had to pick up some converters for the new machines that I have to set up on 9 desks in my office, and was asked if there was anything else. I had mentioned that I was looking for some memory to upgrade a laptop. I told him the type and not thinking I forgot what the speed was. The salesman caught that right off and told me I needed the speed of the memory.
Basic Mistake, but the point is that after being in the CompUSA on Hillsborough in Deerfield and being ignored and treated like part of the furniture, and the CompUSA on Federal Highway in Ft Lauderdale where I was treated well even when not shopping for work, I have one suggestion…
Avoid the store in Hillsborough in Deerfield Beach, FL – My Boss Was Right.