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Old 07-16-2009, 01:29 PM   #1
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Default Retail Employee Perspective of Bricks in Boxes

From our front-page news:
Ever get home after an exciting trip of running to some retail store to purchase the latest gadget that you just had to have, only to open up the box to find something other than what you were expecting? I never have, but there are many who haven't been so lucky, and we see proof of this every so often with a disgruntled blog post of someone expressing their woes.

In recent memory, there have been stories of people opening their product to find bricks or stones, floor tiles and even meat (could you imagine how bad that would have to smell!?). This isn't an issue that likely happens every minute of the day, but it does happen enough to make us all wary about leaving the store with our purchase. Usually, I look all over the product to make sure it feels solid, and doesn't look like it's been opened before, but some people are very crafty, so even that may not protect you.

Ars Technica took the time to interview three previous employees of differing stores, to get down to the bottom of things. How does this happen, and who's behind it all? It seems that most often, it's not the employees doing this, but actually the customer. One scheme is to purchase the product, replace it with something of an equal weight, and then bring it back to the store for a refund. Nice.

What I found most interesting about the story though, wasn't so much the actual topic at hand, but the knowledge of just how hardcore Apple is with their Apple Store employees. Imagine having your bag searched by the manager on duty after each shift, and also reporting each electronic item you own when you come to work. They're truly gung-ho about making sure nothing gets stolen internally, and it must work, since few of the stories like these have an Apple Store at the source.

My question to you is, what would be better, opening up a box to find a pile of bricks, or opening up a box to find a bricked product? Well, I sure know one would be more interesting than the other...


As for employee theft, Apple keeps its stockroom locked with more locked cages inside, and employees must sign out a key from a manager before gaining access to product. And that's not all. "All employees' bags had to be searched by a manager prior to leaving the store at the end of a shift," Apple David said. "Any personal tech gear had to be registered with the store, and a manager would issue a 'personal technology card' with your items and their serial numbers, which would be checked every time you left the building with said gear."


Source: Ars Technica
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:23 PM   #2
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At least the bricked product would get tech support and a warranty... I don't think you'd want to me mailing that ACME brick in for servicing anyway.

While not directly mentioned by this article it strongly reminded me of the policy Gamestop has.Here's the linkThey allow employees to take home new console games for personal use, and when it's returned they can still resell the game as new. Because they open new games to put the empty case on the display racks while keeping the disc behind the counter, people aren't any the wiser.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
From our front-page news:[INDENT]Ever get home after an exciting trip of running to some retail store to purchase the latest gadget that you just had to have, only to open up the box to find something other than what you were expecting?
Having worked in service almost all of my adult life, I might be able to offer a pointer here...

Most stores have a "return policy" that will allow you to bring an item back for exchange or refund within a limited time (usually 14 days or a month).

Take advantage of that... For anything more expensive than a lan cable... As soon as you pay for your purchase, open the packaging right there in the store and confirm the product is intact, in good condition... and if it's a computer or television set... hook it up and try it out before you take it home.

I recently purchased 11 monitors with a client and I opened and tested every one of them before we loaded them in my customer's van. The salesmaker was pissed... until his boss came over and says "They just screwed themselves out of our 30 day exchange policy..." then he got the idea... We all know full well they worked before my client took posession.


The new systems are all up and running smooth as silk, without incident.

My client his happy. I'm happy. The store is happy...

And no bricks were injured during any part of the transaction.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kougar View Post
While not directly mentioned by this article it strongly reminded me of the policy Gamestop has.Here's the linkThey allow employees to take home new console games for personal use, and when it's returned they can still resell the game as new. Because they open new games to put the empty case on the display racks while keeping the disc behind the counter, people aren't any the wiser.
I was thinking of that same exactly story. I have bought media like that before that was roughed up, but I really don't think it had anything to do with employees at the store. The last time it happened was with a Blu-ray movie... I forget which one, but I believe it was Iron Man. Looking at the back of the disc, you can tell it had a rough ride, but when I purchased it, the thing was still shrink-wrapped and didn't look like it was opened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Tired2Tango View Post
I recently purchased 11 monitors with a client and I opened and tested every one of them before we loaded them in my customer's van. The salesmaker was pissed... until his boss came over and says "They just screwed themselves out of our 30 day exchange policy..." then he got the idea... We all know full well they worked before my client took posession.
I'm confused... you lost your 30-day return policy because you opened them in the store? Either way, I don't think I have enough patience to open up something in the store, so I'll just let myself be suckered into a box full of meat ;-)
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:06 AM   #5
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I'm confused... you lost your 30-day return policy because you opened them in the store? Either way, I don't think I have enough patience to open up something in the store, so I'll just let myself be suckered into a box full of meat ;-)
The 30 day return policies of most stores are not about failures. They are intended to cover material defect and customer satisfaction. Essentially, if you get it home and it's scratched or not working, you can exchange it... but if it quits after a week, it is usually at store discretion whether they exchange it or ask you to use the manufacturer's warranty.

When we opened and teste each monitor we eliminated the need for the exchange period... we knew they all worked. (And, both the store and my client knew that if there were problems it would be me dealing with it.)

The store's role is to deliver a product that is in good working order.
The manufacturer's role is that of dealing with products that quit working after purchase.

In most cases opening a box in the store takes only a few seconds. Often, with bubble packs you don't even need to open it to asses if it's damaged or not. Making sure it works is a worthwhile step... as experience tells me, more than half of the defective product taken home by customers is never sent in for warranty repair and never replaced by the store... I actually watched one day as a friend's neighbor tore the GPS out of his car and walked it over to the trash: "Gees less than a week old and already broken"... it never even occured to him that he could probably exchange it.
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Old 07-18-2009, 05:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 2Tired2Tango
The 30 day return policies of most stores are not about failures. They are intended to cover material defect and customer satisfaction. Essentially, if you get it home and it's scratched or not working, you can exchange it... but if it quits after a week, it is usually at store discretion whether they exchange it or ask you to use the manufacturer's warranty.
Ahh... I getcha, that makes sense.

As for opening it up in the store, kudos to anyone who has the patience. It might be simple, but I get annoyed hauling a monitor out of a box when I'm home... I'm not sure how much patience I'd have in a bustling store! But for smaller things, I'd definitely be more inclined to check them out.
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Old 07-19-2009, 07:47 AM   #7
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Ahh... I getcha, that makes sense.

As for opening it up in the store, kudos to anyone who has the patience. It might be simple, but I get annoyed hauling a monitor out of a box when I'm home... I'm not sure how much patience I'd have in a bustling store! But for smaller things, I'd definitely be more inclined to check them out.
Of course the primary reason for checking larger items (like that monster television) before taking them home is that bringing them back is a major pain in the ass. Of course in many cases this is further complicated by lack of easy transportation and disability...
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:47 PM   #8
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Of course the primary reason for checking larger items (like that monster television) before taking them home is that bringing them back is a major pain in the ass. Of course in many cases this is further complicated by lack of easy transportation and disability...
That's a good point. When I purchased a TV I later regretted back in 2005 (no fault of the TV... I just was a little too ambitious on the size), the store was kind enough to come and pick it up. Still had to deal with the hassle of unhooking it and all that jazz, but it wasn't such a big deal. And I did get to use an overly-large TV in an far-too-small room for one night
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:44 PM   #9
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That's a good point. When I purchased a TV I later regretted back in 2005 (no fault of the TV... I just was a little too ambitious on the size), the store was kind enough to come and pick it up. Still had to deal with the hassle of unhooking it and all that jazz, but it wasn't such a big deal. And I did get to use an overly-large TV in an far-too-small room for one night

Now consider the plight of the guy who gets a bum product, doesn't own a car and/or is in a wheelchair... especially if the store won't come and pick up. It would be sheer folly for that person to invest money in anything they can't afford to throw away, unless they can have it unpacked and check it out in the store.
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Old 07-21-2009, 06:03 AM   #10
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I dont think I wolud care, if it were to be a gold brick.
But opening at the store before leaving s not a bad idea
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:07 AM   #11
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Now consider the plight of the guy who gets a bum product, doesn't own a car and/or is in a wheelchair... especially if the store won't come and pick up. It would be sheer folly for that person to invest money in anything they can't afford to throw away, unless they can have it unpacked and check it out in the store.
Of course. If I was in a similar situation, I'd sure be doing a lot of things differently.
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