Today’s Economic Crisis Moment of Zen: Circuit City

I guess they've been short-Circuted, huh? Ha, I know, I am genius.

I guess they've been short-Circuited, huh? Ha, I know, I am genius.

By now, you should be well aware of Circuit City’s pending complete and total shutdown in these fine United States of America (for some reason, the company’s Canadian operations are staying open, for now). That’s 30,000 people about to lose their jobs in 567 U.S. branches of the 60-year-old electronics retailer. Almost immediately after officially announcing the closures, the stores began running liquidation sales. And not surprisingly, the allegedly struggling American consumers flocked to Circuit City to get their grubby hands on what had to be fire sale deals.

But the deals suck. I went on the Saturday after the liquidation announcement to the location at Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard. Sure enough, the store was probably busier than it had been in years. However, after perusing the aisles for things I really didn’t need (I came looking for a Wacom Intuos graphic tablet, y’know, just in case), it occurred to me Circuit City’s prices weren’t very competitive. Even with 10 percent overall and slightly varying discounts in different departments, it seems as though all these shoppers would have been better off going to Wal-Mart or Target or even Best Buy. When you couple high prices with what I’ve read about increasingly bad/sparse customer service over the years, well, it’s no wonder that the venerable retailer found itself in big financial trouble. I mean, you don’t see Best Buy on the bankruptcy block, do you?

I went to a different location this week, figuring it’s been another week, maybe the liquidation prices are dropping. Nope. There were some killer deals on open box items, but there are always open box bargains in electronics stores. Maybe it’s good that the company’s liquidators aren’t shoving items out the door too quickly. After all, the sooner the stores sell out their inventory, the sooner they shutter the doors and Circuit City employees find themselves out on the street. Is it any surprise that Circuit City employees wear red shirts?

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