It’s Not In Stock.

With Mother Nature not being very cooperative for this holiday, Earl and I decided to just relax and do stuff around the house today. One of the projects I embarked on was working in and on my music studio. I rearranged the layout of the equipment to make it a little more ergonomically friendly and made room for some gadgets that I’ve had my eye on for awhile.

After getting everything in it’s new place, I decided that I needed to replace my headphones. I’ve been using the same headphones from my radio days and they’re pretty much shot. I can’t complain as they’re almost 16 years old and have had a lot of use over the years, so they’ll always have a place in my studio, even if it’s just for nostalgia’s sake. But unfortunately the speakers just don’t sound right anymore with almost all of the bass gone and one side clunking around a bit when you move the set. So I went to the local Circuit City to take a look and see what they have. I found a sweet deal on a pair of Bose headphones that I’ve read great things about so I thought I’d get these and get back to being creative tonight.

Let me explain a few things about our local Circuit City. First of all, it’s at the only mall left here in the area. It was built in the mid 1990s. Even though it’s attached to the mall, there’s no entrance from the mall, only from the outside. So if you’re shopping in the mall, you have to go outside if you want to go to Circuit City.

Secondly, like all the other “big box” stores in this area, we get the “Barbie’s Dream House” version of Circuit City, being built to approximately 2/3 scale of a regular store found elsewhere. We have less of a selection to choose from in less space. It’s really quite convenient.

And last but not least, the fine folks at Circuit City felt that we didn’t really need the pesky retail feature known as “checkouts”, leaving us to maul any commission paid lackie wandering around the store and begging him/her to take us to one of three department kiosks to allow US to pay THEM for the items we’ve already selected.

Headphones and a USB hub in hand, I finally tracked down an associate so that I could pay and be on my way. I was told that it would be faster to go to the service desk to checkout. Something about a break and a statement that was punctuated with the snap some neon colored gum.


After waiting for about 10 minutes and watching the lone cashier juggle several customers at once, my turn finally came. She scanned the headphones and then frowned at the computer screen as it made several beeping noises that did not sound friendly. She plunked a few keys on the keyboard and then looked at me.

“Uh, these aren’t in stock.”

I looked at her for a moment and said, “They’re in your hand, hence, they must be in stock.” I even smiled.

“The computer says we’re all out.”

“But you’re holding on to the set that I just picked up off the shelf.”

“Unfortunately I can’t sell these because they’re out of stock”, she responded, looking down at the headphones like it was a dead minnow or something. “It’s a computer thing.”

Getting ready to go ballistic but remarkably keeping my cool, I calmly said, dare I say almost whispered, “Since I’m ready to plunk down a sizeable chunk of change for a pair of headphones, is there a manager or something that can do an override?”

“I guess so”, she responded, irked because I was asking her to do something as crazy as sell me something.

After another seven minutes of more customer juggling, repeated phone calls and whatnot, I just left the store, empty handed, without saying another word. I had completely lost interest in buying the headphones and could not believe that I was actually arguing to give Circuit City our money.

I’m sticking to the Apple store from now on. Even if the closest one is 90 miles away.