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Circuit City's comeuppance

Tom Jackson • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

Isn't it fun when a bunch of jerks get their just desserts?

The New York Times has reported that Circuit City has filed for bankruptcy and its stock has lost 90 percent of its value since the beginning of the year.

For years the way I felt about electronics stores mirrored my long love affair with Chinese restaurants: I never met a technology store I didn't like. I can browse forever in such stores, whether you're talking about Best Buy, Radio Shack or Staples. I liked Circuit City about as well as I liked anyone.

I changed my mind last year, when Circuit City axed 3,400 of its most experienced employees, so it could fill their slots with ignoramuses who would be paid less. The laid-off workers were invited to come back later for less money.

Sales dropped at the stores. Apparently customers buying a fancy TV or a new computer want to deal with employees who know what they're talking about. Others, like me, felt the way the store treated its employees was just plain wrong.

Philip Schoonover, the architect of the plan to downgrade customer service, was forced out in September.

Of course, the fired executive probably isn't drawing welfare, and the stores' current woes will likely fall upon the folks who still work there. There's no perfect justice in the world.

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