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Short-circuited at Circuit City...
that wasn’t !
by Daniel Hines
One of the challenges in purchasing software is
ensuring that one has the most recent version available.
There are many ways to do this. One may check on the internet
for the product being purchased (a move that we recommend and one that we
failed to take recently leading to a poor purchase of an otherwise good
product); or, as many of us do, particularly seniors, who were raised in
an era when sales clerks and companies were relied upon for good manners,
product knowledge, and standing behind a product, we can ask the person
who is selling us the product.
In fairness to the sellers of the vast array of software, we
must note that updates are occurring quickly and over a vast number of
Still, a recent experience that we had with the Circuit City
chain at its Ellisville Store was particularly disquieting.
When a Pinnacle Studio DV video editing program was
recommended to us, we paid the full price of $99. We have no complaint with the product at all (that is another
story), it is difficult to describe how we felt when we discovered that
the product for which we had just paid full price was already out-of-date
and an updated version was available at exactly the same price that we had
just paid Circuit City. An
update would cost an additional $54.
In good faith, we returned to Circuit City to see if they
were knowingly selling this outdated software, which would mean that they
were not coming completely clean with purchasers, or, if once the
situation was explained to them, if the giant chain would take steps to
provide the update from one of its stores, or to make some adjustment to
reflect the fact that a $99 software package had somehow jumped to $153 if
we wanted to updated software.
Actually, the latter was not even an option, because Circuit
City did not have the updated version and was continuing to sell the older
version at the full price of the newer software.
We were told by a young, obviously inexperienced customer
relations representative, that there was nothing she could do since she
“just worked in customer service” and had nothing to do with sales of
I would be interested to know what customer service provides
service for at Circuit City if it is not the products that are being sold
on the floor. Perhaps she was just in training.
That took us to the manager. He was polite, but completely unhelpful. It seems that
Circuit City did not have the updated software, so there was no reason to
check with other stores. Also,
since it was not his decision, there would be no reason to check with
Pinnacle to see if updates would soon be on the shelves at Circuit City
and to see if, since I had made a good faith purchase, one of these would
be made available to me.
He even gave me a long-distance number, rather than a
toll-free number when I asked his for a contact at Customer Service at the
I found the toll-free number and talked to a very nice and
well-trained , but completely unhelpful lady whose attitude was let the
buyer beware. She even tried
to tell me that many people shop and prefer to buy outdated software (I
suppose that there might be some instances of that, but if that were the
case, why would software companies not make and still sell those…anyone
got some contraband Windows 3.1?)
So, here we are, using a wonderful program, but not the
version for which we paid because of the policy of a store to not ensure
that it has the latest version of software, and is completely unwilling to
let people know that it is so doing.
We will get the update version.
It won’t be from Circuit City.
For that matter, neither shall the laptop we are planning for December,
the new color printer planned for October, or the new phone system we are
considering at this moment be purchased from our friends at Circuit City.
(It is nice to be able to vote with our feet.)
And, for those people considering any type of
software or hardware of any type—Take the time to visit the web site of
the manufacturer and ensure that you are getting full value for your