Shop Smarter, not Cheaper
Any Chance of Recovery?
I picked up the phone and dialed the number (somewhere in Brooklyn), not surprisingly; the number was out of service. Dead end. Here I have this non-functioning system, from a man who has been duped out of his hard earned money, and to top it off he also has an illegal copy of Windows on the system.
I felt bad for the man because it was the first time I had encountered such a clear example of fraud (it certainly wasn't the last however). It made me feel even worse to think that I had to charge him for my services too. Now this "Great Deal" that he had gotten was going to cost him more than if he had simply purchased a brand name system to being with. It wasn't as though I had a choice, this is business, and if I provided a service, I had to receive compensation for it. That tends to have the unfortunate side effect of making me look like the bad guy to the customer, because once they are ripped off by one retailer, it makes it VERY hard for them to trust another for a good long time.
Make a Relationship, Not a Quick Buck
What we did was to offer the customer a New OEM version of Windows at a reduced price, with no extra charge to install besides the pre-approved Service time. In this way, we help him out a little bit, and didn't cut our own purse strings in the process. In hindsight, the store probably lost some money on that deal because they had to pay me for my labor time, but in the long run it turned out to be a good thing. That customer has come back to us several times since then to service his needs, and has referred many others to us as well.
This is just an example of how a retailer can do to build his business. Is it the be all end all solution to the problem of unfair business activities that take place everyday all across the country? No, of course not, but it is a start. Be there for your customers, and they will come back.
In reality, it's not really so black and white. Most people are simple folk, and don't want to be bothered to think of the details when making purchases. Business isn't a blameless game however, but pointing the finger at business itself every time something goes wrong isn't fair. There are good businesses and there are bad businesses. If you learn how to avoid the bad ones and stick with the good ones, you'll be okay.