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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I know the subject of clueless salespeople comes up fairly frequently on these boards (not necessarily the Plasma forum, but avsforums in general). So I just thought that I would create a thread about "clueless customers" after a particularly annoying customer last night tried to talk about plasmas and refused to believe that he was wrong.


A little background: I work at Sears, where we started selling plasmas within the past 6 months. I have frequented forums like this and the Home Theater Forum for years, and know my stuff. So anyway, I'm in the middle of demostrating a projection TV to a customer when a guy (Mr. Know-it-all) looking at the Panasonic 42" Plasma (EDTV version) starts trying to ask a question. The guy I'm talking with says "go ahead and answer him, I'm just playing around here."


Customer: So is this plasma actually HDTV?

Me: It's playing an HD signal from Dish Network, but it is not an actual HD-resolution plasma, it's what's called "EDTV." So it down-converts the signal to 480p.

Customer: So what is the actual resolution of the set?

Me: Somewhere around 852 x 480 pixels.

Customer: So it's actually WORSE than NTSC!!?

Me: No, it's not, NTSC resolution is 720 x 480, this is 852 x 480 pixels, and it is progressively scanned. Again, it's not HDTV, but it still gives a pretty good picture.

Customer: OK, so it's basically just wide NTSC.

Me: No, not really, it's not NTSC, the NTSC format is not progressive-scan. It still displays an ATSC format, but it's an "EDTV" resolution, not HDTV.

Customer: *laughs*, You don't know what you're talking about, it's just NTSC. So is RCA the only one who makes a plasma that will do 1180?

Me: Blank stare.... "I don't know exactly what you're trying to say."

Customer: Are they the only ones that really do HDTV? 1180?

Me: I think you mean 1080... but anyway, I'm not really familiar with RCAs plasmas, they might be for all I know. But there are a lot of other plasmas that will display HDTV, just at a 720p resolution, not 1080. Like panasonic makes a unit above this one that runs at around 1360 x 768 resolution, so it can display true HDTV.

Customer: No it can't! What are you talking about? HDTV is 1180 lines! If it displays 720, that's not HDTV. Do you know ANYTHING?

Me: 720p is ONE of the HDTV resolutions. So is 1080. 1180 is nothing.

Customer: 720 IS NOT HDTV! That is the "dumbed down" version for displays that can't really display HDTV. I'm a SMPTE video engineer buddy, I think I would know!

Me: OK, you can believe whatever you want, but you're still wrong. (At this, I turned around and tried to ignore him).

Customer: What did you say? Did you just say that I was WRONG? I said, I'm a SMPTE member, I know what I'm talking about.

Me: OK, that's great.


(Edited for brevity, there were several more inane comments about why he thought HDTV was 1180 and why NTSC isn't really interlaced).


My god, I don't think I've ever had a stupider customer who claimed to be an "engineer." Well, then again, there are some people who need help hooking up their VCR who say they are "electrical engineers."


But it just goes to show that knowledge is a two-way street. Any other salespeople on the forum with dumb customer stories? I'd love to hear 'em! ;)
 

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I hate to admit, after reading countless "stupid salesman" threads I've felt slightly arrogant.


This is a good reminder that there are dumbass customers too.


Richard
 

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We should not discriminate people if they are sales persons or cutomers, because............ dumbasses are dumbasses. Hahahahahahahahah
 

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Sounds like that "SMPTE member" knows just enough to hurt him. He doesn't even know NTSC resolution or ATSC formats, pathetic! Also maybe he thinks an ALIS interlaced plasma 1024x1024 is what he considers HD 1180? A good 50" 1366x768 progressive plasma blows those away!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
DonBerg... that's the exact phrase I was looking for. That always seems to be the problem customers, the ones who "know just enough to hurt themselves." Like a few days ago when an older man was looking at the same said Panasonic plasma TV, and he asked something about the resolution. After telling him that it is around 852 x 480, starts getting into high definition and resolutions and whatnot. So I tell him that the HD versions are around 1360 x 768 pixels, and he's basically amazed. "That's not high definition! That's only like 1 megapixel! I know that to get a good print on a printer you need at least 2 or 3 megapixels from a digital camera, and that's only on an 8 x 10 inch photograph. This is 42 inches!"


I tried to explain the vast differences between a video display device and a printed picture, but he would have none of it. "Sir, do you plan on viewing this 42" monitor from 12 inches away from your face like you would a photograph?" He couldn't understand why the distance would make any difference whatsoever, and insisted that high definition is obviously a sham.
 

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I once heard a sales associate tell a customer that a big screen tv is measure horizontally across the screen. The customer just said "ok, so its 53" across".


Even I know you measure the screen diagnolly and I'm a serious newbie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lamm,


There's already been plenty of threads about clueless sales associates... this one's supposed to be about knowlegable associates (presumably who frequent this forum) dealing with argumentative, clueless customers. I'm just curious if there's any more of them like me out there or not. ;)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Sgerenser
Lamm,


There's already been plenty of threads about clueless sales associates... this one's supposed to be about knowlegable associates (presumably who frequent this forum) dealing with argumentative, clueless customers. I'm just curious if there's any more of them like me out there or not. ;)
I'm afraid you are all alone in this world, truely 1 in a 1,000,000!! :D
 

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Sergerenser, good story!! :D :D :D :p :p
 

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When I get customers like that, I usually try not to argue with them. Even if what they are saying is totally wrong. After you've tried to correct them a few times, and they still won't listen, just go with what they say.
 

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Only thing dumber than this customer would be one who actually bought a 42" Panasonic plasma from Sears - he would pay $2000+ more than if he bought from any of several reputable online dealers, e.g., Dell.


BTW, I guess I myself am clueless in one respect: I don't understand why Sears tacks on a mandatory $500 "installation" fee to simply deliver a plasma, set it up on a table, and spend a few minutes explaining how the thing works - as if anybody who have ever used a TV set couldn't figure it out in about 5 minutes. Maybe you are smart enough to explain it - nobody else at Sears has been able to.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by steuert
Only thing dumber than this customer would be one who actually bought a 42" Panasonic plasma from Sears - he would pay $2000+ more than if he bought from any of several reputable online dealers, e.g., Dell.


BTW, I guess I myself am clueless in one respect: I don't understand why Sears tacks on a mandatory $500 "installation" fee to simply deliver a plasma, set it up on a table, and spend a few minutes explaining how the thing works - as if anybody who have ever used a TV set couldn't figure it out in about 5 minutes. Maybe you are smart enough to explain it - nobody else at Sears has been able to.
I have to disagree with you steuert. The Panasonic 42" @ Sears is $5k that comes with a Table Stand and In Home warrenty. The Low priced Pannys you see here online including the Dell's have never been below $3k as you stated above and the cheapest ones are the commercial versions which do not come with a mounting unit or the in home warrenty. Of course the warrenty & table stand aren't actually worth the extra $1500 or so, to me and you but to the non-forum member that doesn't know the difference between HDTV, HGTV, and EDTV (the movie) it will be much more useful to him to have someone local to call or to take the unit back to if there is a problem.


I haven't heard the $500 install fee being manadatory, but even then $500 to set up a TV is outrageous. But even then the Plasmas are a little more involved then what you say they are. Just enter the fact that most don't have tuners in them, this by itself needs a good amount of time to explain to a non-technical user.
 

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Sgerenser said:

Quote:
Me: No, it's not, NTSC resolution is 720 x 480, this is 852 x 480 pixels, and it is progressively scanned. Again, it's not HDTV, but it still gives a pretty good picture.
NTSC Broadcasts are 525 vertical (horizontal lines in a vertical vectored plane) and 330 line horizontal (vertical lines in a horizontal vector).


Take away retrace, maintenance, and CC space, and you have 480 active vertical picture lines.


Put the image in motion, and with interlace, you have 240 lines vertical.


Sgerenser, where are you getting 720 X 480?
 

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720x480 is the native resolution of DVDs via component video, regular broadcast NTSC 480i over an RF connection is less of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I actually said 720 by 480, interlaced. That is basically the max resolution of NTSC. Obviously as DonBerg said, you won't get that full resolution over an RF connection, but I was being generous.


And as to Sears prices on the plasmas, they are obviously higher than online. So is just about anything in a retail store, yet plenty of people still buy from there. You can't necessarily put a price on being able to go to a local store and see it in person, test it out, being able to return/exchange easily, etc. Plus, many times you can get things like 0% financing and other sales/offers (10% off days, etc.) that make the price a little more reasonable.


However, I have no idea why they require the $500 installation, but I do know that it is required. Neither I nor anyone else on the salesfloor has any say in the matter (if one were to ring up a plasma without the installation, it would never be delivered). While installation is somewhat involved and they are very fragile, it still would be nice if the more skilled folks could do it themselves. Sears does sometimes have a promotion where you get a $500 sears gift card with the purchase of a plasma set, so that sort of offsets the install cost. Clearly though, most people on this board would be better served buying online, but I doubt much of the general public would look to that route.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Sgerenser
And as to Sears prices on the plasmas, they are obviously higher than online. So is just about anything in a retail store, yet plenty of people still buy from there. You can't necessarily put a price on being able to go to a local store and see it in person, test it out, being able to return/exchange easily, etc. Plus, many times you can get things like 0% financing and other sales/offers (10% off days, etc.) that make the price a little more reasonable.


However, I have no idea why they require the $500 installation, but I do know that it is required. Neither I nor anyone else on the salesfloor has any say in the matter (if one were to ring up a plasma without the installation, it would never be delivered). While installation is somewhat involved and they are very fragile, it still would be nice if the more skilled folks could do it themselves. Clearly though, most people on this board would be better served buying online, but I doubt much of the general public would look to that route.
Sir, you have no idea how much we appreciate your honesty! I too have worked in retail for many years, and floor associates are usually the last ones to explain ridiculous company policies.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Sgerenser
However, I have no idea why they require the $500 installation...
What does that include? Mounting it on the wall? Or just installing it on a stand?
 

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As a former Sears salesman, I appreciate the situation you guys describe and you certainly do get added value from buying at retail, especially from a store like Sears; I just question the amount added.


Miatasm is correct about the stand and in-home warranty service being included with the retail version. My cost differential was computed as follows: Sears: $5000 base price + $500 mandatory installation + $363 sales tax = $5863; minus estimated online price of $3600, delivered = $2,263.


QQQ, AFAIK the mandatory installation fee includes delivering the set, unpacking it, setting it on a table, and explaining how to hook it up. Any added work such as installing a wall mount, etc., costs extra. Even though the set does ship without a tuner, connecting it to your VCR or other signal source involves plugging in 3 connectors and IMHO this service is not worth near $500.


I also understand that the guys on the sales floor have limited influence on management pricing policies. However, if you could occasionally mention to your bosses that some customers were complaining about things like the mandatory installation fee, some of it might trickle up.
 

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Don Berg and Sgerenser said:

Quote:
720x480 is the native resolution of DVDs via component video, regular broadcast NTSC 480i over an RF connection is less of course.


720 is the maximum resolution of the FORMAT, what makes it out the backside for DVD Progressive scan in NTSC is 480 X 480...


240x2V / 480H
 

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I looked at Sears just to see what are their offerings. Saw the sign about "$500 installation charge, required," laughed and left the building. I bought my Panny at Tweeter (I know, coulda got a better deal on-line), picked it up at their warehouse, carted it home (the box barely fit VERTICAL in my back seat). Unboxed it and set it up on the included table stand (which Tweeter initially tried to charge separately), with the assistance of a friend, in probably not more than 20 minutes, had it connected and running a DVD.
 
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