Saturday, December 13, 2003

Staples Store - "You'll Need Some Integrity With That"

I stopped by a Staples store this morning to buy an HP PSC 1210 printer for a client and ran into a sleazy practice I felt uncomfortable with. When I was at the cash register, the salesperson told me, "You'll need a cable and ink for this." My response, "Thank you, but actually I don't. I already have a USB cable and the printer comes with ink."

Undeterred, the salesperson tried to sell me a USB 2 cable for a printer that has USB capabilities only. "Did you know our gold printer cable is faster than our other cables?" My friendly response, delivered very politely with a smile, "Thank you, but the speed of the printer output of this printer does not increase due to the speed capabilities of the cable." Salesperson's response: Blank stare.

Pregnant pause. I think things over and decide this situation does merit a friendly and very polite scold. "You know, a person who is not technically trained might be led into thinking that the faster printer cable you tried to sell me would lead to faster printer output on this printer, and this is just not true."

Blank stare. "I happen to work in the field of technology and thus I am able to understand that I don't need the faster printer cable you were trying to sell me."

I also didn't need the ink the salesperson was trying to sell me. The implication was that this printer doesn't come with ink, when it does.

Staples is one of my favorite stores and remains so, despite this incident. I'm posting this story to Slashdot to get input from others on whether the above-mentioned sales techniques was as sleazy as it appeared to me. And if so, is this something we geeks can continue to tolerate?

If a Staples saleperson tries to sell you something you very clearly don't need -- and represents that you do neeed it, an appropriate response to: "You'll need a cable with that," is "No thanks, you'll need some integrity with that."

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