Was that CrapUSA or CompUSA


My experience with CompUSA as an employee and a customer

CompUSA strategy #4: The CompUSA bolt.

When the going gets tough, the managers get lost. If it appears that an unpleasant issue is about to come to a head requiring a management decision, you look around and say, "Hey, where'd he go. His coats gone!" This is probably the most extensive training that managers receive; detection and avoidance of ensuing complaints. Some even get sent to Texas (the home office) for this class. If you want to catch a manager, here's how:

1. Ask for a manager to be paged at the front counter. "MOD to the front". That Manager's On Duty, an oxy-moron (not a dumb guy with zits, althoughE.

2. Watch the store for anyone who looks like O.J. dodging the opposing team and the police at the same time and trying to catch a rental car.

3. If they're not hiding in back already, identify their location and wait by the door until they come out. Be sure to watch other connecting exits as well. If you here an alarm, check the fire exits.

CompUSA strategy #5: The environmental statement.

Don't let employees take home perfectly good or repairable equipment that you have decided to throw away. Just clear the shelves, get out the hammer, break it up, and send it off to the landfill. Ink and toner cartridges, monitor glass with phosphor coatings, PC boards with chemical components, whatever. Into the dumpster it goes. At least when the regional guys tour the stores, they wont find anything out of place or not accounted for.

The Benefits

I started in November of 1998. The employee manual stated that after 3 months, I would be entitled to medical benefits. I filled out the paperwork and gave it to the benefits manager. After 4 months, I asked what was going on. "I'll check on it", he said. No word. I asked again. "It must have gotten lost, fill them out again." I did. Finally, I received benefits after 8 months and many queries. One guy worked there for over a year and never saw any benefits before he left. Note: When you ask a question like this and the person responsible wont look you in the eye, that's an indication of intent. I had to pay my own COBRA benefits for the extra 5 months from a previous job. When I left in April of 2000, they had 44 days by law to send me the COBRA extension forms. I received these forms in January of 2001, more than 8 months later. CompUSA told COBRA that I left in October of 2000. Didn't anybody wonder where I was for 6 months? I had to pay $2564 to make the medical current and retroactive back to October, no help back to April. And then, the CompUSA/COBRA team tried to cancel me over a 1 day miscommunication on their customer service's part about an on-line payment due date. They had happily accepted the $2564 and 2 months worth of premiums before that with no complaints. Then, after paying for July of 2001 and on the 20th of that July, I got a notice that the insurance had changed and gone up to $593 from $438. And, I was overdue! The new company hadn't gotten paid yet. It wasn't their problem that I had already paid the old one. I had to pay both to stay current and I am still waiting to be reimbursed by the old one. I guess this is how companies save money on medical expenses!

The Customer

As a customer, both employed and not, I purchased many rebate items. I filled out the forms, cut out all the tags, and mailed them on time, keeping a list. As far back as two years and to this date, I am out about $600 for rebates that were sent in per their form's instructions. The store manager called me a liar, even when I gave him the copies of what I had sent, and said it wasn't their problem. I would have to go through the rebate center in Texas. I experienced a version of Strategy #2 above, I guess it's company wide. Hours on the phone only acquainted me with all the people who didn't know how to help me and proves that all you have to do is inconvenience people enough and they'll give up. Maybe I'll try Small Claims Court if I can determine who to send the summons to.

That sign that says that the manufacturers honor copies of receipts as agreed to with CompUSA, don't you believe it. MGM wouldn't send me my free DVD with a receipt copy and the store said it wasn't their problem. A note about rebates: It's not free. They are borrowing everyone's money for 6-8 weeks (more like 6-8 months) and earning interest while you are paying the same on your VISA card. When and if they send you your rebate, they have made their money back on the actual cost of the item and much more. Something you pay $20 to $30 for costs pennies to produce and may even be overstock or soon-to-be-obsolete items. IE: The new version of Windows coming out in a few months will not support that new modem. Not to be condescending but I often thought of the milling customers as herded cattle while watching them shop. "Ooh, it's free after rebates, and we'll need to buy this to use it!" Free CD-R disks after rebate and we'll buy a CD-Writer to make our own CD's. In fairness, I was guilty of this before working there. Wake up people or grow spots and learn to say "MOO"!

I saw another complaint letter about the cost of printer and other cables. The store makes their money on supplies, accessories, and warranty plans far more than big item sales. Markups can be 3 to 4 times the cost. I once bought a plastic cable organizer that was a 99 cent retail item for a only a penny (cost).

If anyone is interested in legally pursuing any of the above, send me an email. Washington has some of the weakest employment laws in the country. At-will employment where no reason is needed to can someone is just inviting abuse and retaliation against someone who would otherwise stand up for their rights. I guess the politicians know what side their bread is buttered on and it's not on our side because we can't afford the butter! We gave it to them.

After reading this, I'm sure the buying public will understand about the way they are served and why. Would you be inspired to do first class job for low pay under these conditions?

Dear Johnny, I read your web article concerning your harrowing experience with CompUSA. I just wanted to say that as an ex-employee, those kinds of experiences are the rule and not the exception. I have worked in almost every facet of retail since I was a teenager. Of all the companies I have worked for, I have never seen one as out of touch with reality as CompUSA. I could spend hours on end writing stories of how things work in a CompUSA. The best way to sum it up is this: if it makes good solid common sense, it will never be done at CompUSA.

Back to Some really Pathetic people.

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