By Patrick McConahy
On March 28 th the Circuit City executive team decided that the best way to decrease their overhead was to lay off 3,400 employees. However, instead of laying off their least experienced employees, they actually laid off their most experienced sales associates. These associates, of course, are paid more than the other employees. Putting this measure in place is expected to save the company $250 million over the next two years.
When I read this article in the New York Times last week, I was irate. I love Circuit City . As a consumer, when it comes to electronics at a good price, you can go to Circuit City or Best Buy, or order something on-line. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t get any enjoyment out of buying something online and waiting for it to be shipped. If I spend my money, I’d like to have something to show for it immediately. The reason I prefer Circuit City is that its employees are so much more knowledgeable than the people at Best Buy. But Best Buy is a much more profitable company than Circuit City , because they hire less-than-stellar employees they don’t have to pay very much at all. This is just one more example of how our world is becoming more and more about short-term, quick fixes and easy money than longevity, good planning, and quality service. It’s sad to think about, but as a consumer I’m literally going to have no choice in terms of a quality company in the electronics market anymore.
Situations such as this are becoming more and more prevalent in the market. It makes me wonder if there will ever be a stopping point. I mean, things can only become so cheap before consumers are unwilling to pay for an inferior product, right? Or will competition become so rigid that firms are willing to do almost anything to make more money than the other guy? I guess only the future will tell, but one thing is for certain: if the market keeps going towards cheap as opposed to good, we all have some frustrating years ahead.