I was in an office supply store to buy a Quicken upgrade. I passed the digital (still) camera display. While I’ve wanted to get a digital camera for a while, the average prices are too rich for me.
But they had two models that were around $100. I’d pay $100. Even if the thing broke in 6 months. I made a note to return there if I didn’t find anything comparable.
I moved on to a computer store for some software I needed. I checked their digital camera display. Half of the cameras didn’t have price tags. I found two salespeople over near the laptop computers.
“Who wants to make a sale today? I want a digital camera.” In sales this is known as a BUYING SIGNAL. A VERY CLEAR ONE.
They pointed over to the far corner of the store. “Oh, you have to ask that guy. This is the computer section.”
I walked over to the corner section. “Who can show me a digital camera?”, I pointed at the display. “I’m ready to buy. I just want a cheap one.” Another BUYING SIGNAL.
“We don’t have any cheap ones”, he said, not looking up.
Somehow I know it wasn’t going to get better. I went next door to a major discount chain store. I saw a big sign that said “Electronics”. Three salespeople were huddled around the counter talking. I searched for the digital cameras to no avail. I kept waiting for a break in their conversation. None was forthcoming so I started talking over them.
“Do you sell digital cameras?”, I bellowed.
“No”, came the response from the lady behind the counter.
She began to talk again to her coworkers. I looked down between the two salespeople leaning on the customer side of the counter. Hidden between them in the case were about 15 digital cameras.
“What do mean you don’t have digital cameras? There’s about 15 right here!”
“You said ‘video’ cameras”, the one on the other side of the counter said.
“I said ‘digital’ cameras”.
“No, you said ‘video’ cameras”, the salesperson next to me said, still blocking the case which I was obviously trying to look in.
“Maybe we can get some Q-Tips from over there and clean out all ourears”, I offered. They stared at me. I stared at the case until they slowly walked away.
The cameras were all over my price range so I went back to the office supply store that had the two $100 models. I found a salesperson.
“Sell me a digital camera!”, I announced.
This could be taken as a BUYING SIGNAL. We walked over to the cameras. I pointed at $100 camera number one.
“I want that one!”
“Sorry, sir, we are out of stock on that one.”
“OK, sell me the display model.”
“No, we can’t do that.”
“OK, sell me that one”, I point at $100 camera number two.
“Sorry, sir, we are out of stock on that one, too.”
“So, sell me the display model.”
“No, we don’t do that.”
“So you have a display model for cameras you can’t sell because you don’t have any. And the one you do have, the display model, you can’t sell me. Correct?”
“You have to be more positive,” I say. “I’ll bet I can get the manager to sell me the display model.”
The manager comes over.
“I’d like to buy this display model. What lower price can you offer because it has been on sitting out on display?”, I said.
“I can’t sell the display model. It is company policy.”
“But you are the manager. You are empowered to make the customer, THAT’S ME, happy. I would be happy to relieve you of this digital camera for a discount.”
“I’m only the assistant manager. The manager has the day off.”
Take my money… please! Somebody. Anybody.