The end of the world? No... just the next day.
Extreme high pressure sales? No thanks.
Published on October 18, 2006 By Lotherius In Consumer Issues
I just sent a very long complaint to Office Depot HQ... have no idea if it will get any ears, don't really care, I guess. I just had to send it.

The gist is that yesterday I was bored and walked into an Office Depot.

I've been considering buying a laser printer, since over the longrun ink costs are less than inkjet if you refill your own toner. Now, there are some considerations there. First, I can order them rather cheaply online. But sometimes Office Depot, Circuit City and the like, have good enough prices on specials that it is worth the convenience. Plus I like to see what I'm dealing with in person. Second, and most importantly, I NEVER make a large purchase without researching what I'm going to buy. I've been burned by bad products before, and I am not a naive consumer.

So, upon walking down the printer aisle, I start to take note in my head which printers have which features (it is clearly marked on the shelves and on the pritners). And, how much they cost. As I'm walking toward the cheaper end of the line, a salesperson approaches me.

She starts off by asking me if I need any help.
Me: No thanks, I'm just browsing today, not going to buy anything......
Sales Nazi: I see you're looking at printers. Do you do much colour printing?
Me: No, I'm a grad student. Looking to see what you guys have on inexpensive laser printers, thanks.
SN: Oh, so are you sure you don't need colour printing? ...
Me: I'm sure. I'm just looking to see what y'all have, thanks
SN: Do you do a lot of printing or just occasional printing?
Me: It depends. Anyway, I'm not going to buy anything today, I was just looking.
SN: Well we have a lot of printers. Perhaps you'd like an inkjet so you could do color if you needed?
Me: No, I wouldn't. Anyway, I'm just looking to see what's out there before I decide on anything.
SN: It would be helpful if you would tell me more about what you were looking for.
Me: I don't know exactly yet, that's why I'm looking.
SN: Okay. This one is popular for home users. (points to a $399 colour laser printer).
Me: I think I'm going to look around a bit before I decide on anything.
SN: Well I don't see how you could do any better than this.
Me: I'm not going to buy anything today, I just wanted to see what you guys had.
SN: Well, if you buy this printer today, might I suggest our printer kit? It includes (blah blah, I honestly forget most of what it included) and a USB CABLE! A $200 value for only $59. The USB cable alone would cost you $35!
Me: Well, I have a ton of USB cables at home.
SN: Yes, but this is USB 2.0.
Me: So are mine.
SN: Yes, but this is GOLD. It is faster so your printer will run faster if you use this cable.
Me: Umm... No thanks. Like I said, I won't be buying anything today.
SN: Hmm... okay. (puts down box) So.... what is wrong with this printer? (points back to the $399 printer)
Me: Well, it is more expensive than I had in mind PLUS I do not make major purchases without researching them online first. Now that I've seen what you guys have, I can do my research.
SN: Why would you do that?
Me: So I can know what is good and bad about each of the printers.
SN: Well, you can see the features right here.
Me: Yes, but I want to know what other owners have to say. So I'm not going to buy anything right now, I want to find out more first.
SN: Well,I don't see what there is to find out.
Me: You know, if there are any problem areas, trouble with particular printers, etc.
SN: Okay, but I really don't see the point. All printers are about the same, they all have good and bad. I don't see what you could find out that way.
Me: I could find out if the printer I'm NOT going to buy today is a lemon or not.
SN: Like I said, there's not much difference in most of the printers. There shouldn't be anything wrong with any of these.

Okay, that is maybe 1/3 of what was said. That leaves out a bunch.... It also leaves out her trying to sell me an extra toner cartridge to go with the printer that I wasn't going to buy..

Now, one might wonder why I stayed there so long and put up with her. Well, basically it comes down to the fact that she kept BLOCKING THE AISLE. I'm a big guy - she is a little woman. I am not going to make a scene by shoving her physically aside (and inviting assault charges). Yet she kept whipping around to block the aisle whichever direction I turned to! We must have walked back and forth up and down the aisle a dozen times!

I felt like I was almost being FORCED to buy a printer. I was NOT happy about it. I'm not planning on going to that particular Office Depot ever again, and am not comfortable going to any Office Depot at this point. I know it may sound ridiculous, but I was made to feel extremely uncomfrotable during the whole ordeal. The tone of her voice was almost as if she was ordering me to buy a printer, issuing challenges to my every claim that I didn't need this or that.

I understand that the job of a salesperson is to close the sale, and to upsell to more profitable items (such as the ripoff USB cable). As long as they respect what I have to say, I respect that they're just trying to do the job. But I told her REPEATEDLY that I wasn't going to buy anything and she kept badgering, and her blocking the aisle was the hugest issue. I don't care if she has a quota to meet or she'll lose her job - sounds like a personal problem to me. Maybe if she would focus on paying customers instead badgering windowshoppers, she'd close more sales.

Anyone else have a similar (bad) experience with salespeople at office depot?

on Oct 18, 2006
That's crazy!

You are far nicer than I would have been. I would called her on the USB cable. 'How much faster and are basing that off of the standard 5% coverage or are you using some other statistic?'

I hate pushy sales people. I was in retail computer sales for about 9 years. I even worked for the Depot. I had a 50% service close ratio and less that 5% in returns. I only closed about a third of the people I spoke with but high pressure wasn't my thing.

I do enjoy it when I get someone pushy who can only parrot what they have read and have no idea when it really comes down to the technical stuff.