Many companies that have gone bust didn't die because of the recession. They failed for one reason: They treated customers poorly
By Joel Spolsky, Inc.
When Circuit City went kaput in January, I didn't waste my time on the chain's so-called going-out-of-business sale. First of all, Circuit City never had anything good in stock, even before it decided to go out of business. A year ago, I looked at the retailer's entire selection of laptops, and all I found were these huge, ugly, shiny things festooned with garish stickers announcing that they had "Intel Inside" and were "Vista Adequate" and "Y2K Ready." Also, I had read on the Consumer Reports website that Circuit City's liquidator had actually raised the price on many items for the going-out-of-business "sale."
Truth be told, I don't think I ever bought anything from Circuit City anyway. On weekends, I would occasionally wander into the local branch, attracted like a moth to the bright wall of plasma TVs. When I actually needed a new TV, however, I found the Circuit City salesperson to be so aggressively unknowledgeable and remarkably useless that I fled to Best Buy, where I was helped by a cheerful, 20-year-old twerp who knew everything. I later learned that in 2007, Circuit City had fired the chain's 3,400 most experienced salespeople and replaced them with generic, untrained, near-minimum-wage workers.
So it was no surprise to me that Circuit City failed...
READ ON at inc.com
Disclosure: The Online Photographer is a B&H Photo affiliate.
Featured Comment by Bob McAnally: "I used to live in Northern NJ and shop B&H at their store, and now live in Tennessee and order online. They are great.
"But in the Circuit City closeout, I did make a find. I got a Sony keepsake. I bought the Plexiglas camera mockup used to display their vertical grip, for $10."
Featured Comment by Steve Rosenblum: "My favorite B&H story...I called a number of years ago to order some photo gear. The fellow who answered the phone had the clipped, somewhat brusque speech pattern that is common among New York's Hassidic Jews. When he asked me for my shipping information and I told him my name, he said, 'Rosenblum! Rosenblum! Are you related to the famous Rabbi Rosenblum?' I thought for a moment and said, 'If I am, do I get a discount?' After perhaps a 10-nanosecond pause he said, 'NO!' followed by a chuckle.
"I think we both got a chuckle out of that one."