I am a HUGE Amazon shopper. I have had an Amazon Prime subscription for the last several years, which has been worth its weight in gold as it makes it so easy to buy even some of the smallest items online and have them delivered within a day or two. I have purchased such things as garden hoses, nail polish and even velcro online this year, avoiding much time and effort involved in “running errands.” Last year at Christmas, I bought nearly every gift I gave online (and probably 90% of it came from Amazon).
This year, I decided I wanted to support my local community businesses a little more, so I hit the mall (I HATE hitting the mall). On this particular shopping trip, I was looking for 2 sets of headphones – one, a Turtle Beach headset for my son to use with his Xbox 360, and two, a Skullcandy headset for my daughter to use with her iPod. She told me Journeys had this headset, so off I went.
The day I went, a week or so before Christmas (I am SO a last minute shopper), the mall wasn’t too busy. I am in a fairly small town, so really, even at Christmas, the mall is never *that* crazy. Journeys had a little going on in there, so I patiently waited until the salesperson got to me and I asked about the headset hanging behind the counter. How much for that headset? She replied, “I think it is $69.” And she moved on to the next person. Um – ok. You *think?* So I waited, and after she finished checking out the person she was working on and it got to be my turn AGAIN, I asked her to see the headset, and if she could tell me exactly how much it was. She handed it over, and checked the price and it was $50. I considered buying it briefly (it was $35 on Amazon), and then decided to think about it and move on to the Game Stop to find the Turtle Beach headset. I would really love to support my local business here, but a $15 difference?? Oy.
So, off to Game Stop I go (hi-ho, hi-ho). Here the Turtle Beach headsets were also behind the counter. I was THE. ONLY. CUSTOMER. IN. THE. STORE. No gamers playing the in store games or nothing. There were two guys behind the counter, each busily working on different things (not standing and twiddling thumbs or anything), so I approached and asked about the headsets. I was a little familiar with them, but would have loved some input. The guy in front of me passed over the X11 headset with no comment when I asked what Turtle Beach headsets they carried. Well, through Amazon reviews, I knew that the X11 had a constant hum to it and was not the greatest thing. It was the cheapest headset though in the Turtle Beach line that they carried. I told the guy that I had heard it had a hum, and he had no comment. He was working on something and it was pretty obvious he didn’t want to be bothered by little ol me. But surely they wanted to do some business, right?? So I proceeded to ask if they had any other TB headsets and he passed over the X31, which was the one I had pretty much decided to get via online reviews. Still no comment from the “salesperson.” For some stupid reason I told him I would take it and spent $10 more than I would have online. But, I supported my local business. Ugh.
I did go straight home after that (did NOT go spring $15 extra bucks at Journeys, btw) and logged on to GameStop.com and reported my less than savory experience in their store. I didn’t give them all the details I am troubling you with now, but basically told them that the service I received was rude, and I was the only customer in the store and if they were going to charge more money for their products than I could buy them online for, that they should make up for that with really great customer service – and I told them that they had received their last bit of money from me. And believe me, we spend a LOT of money on gaming supplies in our house. Partially because our dog LOVES to eat Xbox headsets.
So – I suppose the long and short of this is that – dang – I tried to support my local business. I spent my time and my gas money going to the mall, risking a car accident in the parking lot of the mall at Christmas time. I traveled from store to store, taking more time, and waited patiently for my turn. I wish I could say I fought the crowds and came out battered and bruised, but that would be a gross exaggeration. Ha! This was at least an hour of my life that I am not getting back. But, by George, I supported Game Stop. I wonder how much of my purchase really supported my community. And I wonder what I could have done with that extra 59 minutes and $10 if I had just made my purchase on Amazon. Next year I am going back to supporting my local FedEx, UPS and USPS. Dammit.
Note: I did buy my most expensive gift this year from a local man who I found (barely) online. I looked and looked at Amazon’s flagpoles, but I decided to get it locally. I am sure that I spent a lot more money than I would have online, but the man I bought my flagpole from talked me through the purchase on the phone (I had lots of questions!), took my credit card, and delivered my purchase (he was from a small town a few miles away. Now THAT is customer service. If you need a flagpole in Bryan/College Station, let me know – I will hook you up with the dude!
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