While the internet is heating up with enraged customers who lined up from 7am this morning for Dick Smiths 7 million dollar sale to get themselves a bargain only to leave shaking their heads as to where the stores stock had magically disappeared to, the real question remains as to how much of the blame should be placed on Dick Smith themselves. What we need to remember is that the so called price lists were actually leaked documents, the source being irrelevant unless perpetrated by the company themselves to bait customers into their flailing stores. If so then its a matter for the ACCC or some other governing ody to decide as im guessing they dont take to kindly to retailers tricking the public. From working in retail for many years I can tell you that these are nothing more than database dumps of deleted lines, quit stock, end of the line, whatever you want to call them they are largely unavailable even if you wanted them at full price. So to walk into your local store expecting a PSP 3000 for any price is illogical as they havent been available anywhere for quite some time. Even visiting other gaming stores you wont find a lot of the items that were listed for the ridiculously low prices that we viewed online. The lists are just items that have been in stock and on the order sheets and potentially could be floating around stores even if not listed on the computers database.
There are also many different revisions and the item YOU think is on the list might be the older version in a older box, or have been returned for some reason or other not to mention lost and repaired stock. For example the MSP cards advertised were NOT the current ones but much older stock that was in some stores but not all. Additionally there were many items not even on the lists that were almost free, i got many PSP and PS2 games as well as DJ HERO 2 all for $1 each so there was some stock.
The biggest issue that customers are complaining about is the way in which the sale was handled. When management or the powers in charge realised the leak had occurred they acknowledged via Twitter and Facebook that the sale was real and was going to go ahead online from 8am and in stores from 9am. While they stressed that stock was limited what they failed to tell us what that firstly STAFF had first pick on most items as confirmed by many customers and by myself at my local store which i shall not name as I am not a Dick like some and do not want the manager to lose their job. I went in at 9am and asked for an xbox 360 4gb slim rugby pack for $100 as the website said they had plenty of stock. I was told they had none, only to return later to see a guy purchasing one. When I asked the manager I was told he was staff and had put it away so he could come and buy it. The same went for all the DSi consoles plus multiple other things all confirmed by the manager that they were held for staff only. Secondly there was 19 items available to buy online and all others had been changed to instore only. Customers were told to check stock levels online which they all did only to return first thing in the morning to find it all gone. I dont object to a store being out of stock, I do object to being told we dont have it only to find out it was put on hold for staff.
Clearly their is no policy implemented in the company that prevents staff from getting first dibs on items, a policy that exists even within charity organisations such as St Vinnies where VOLUNTEERS will be told to leave if they act in such a manner. I watched many staff throughtout my retail years get fired for putting items on hold to act on impeding sales and get a good bargain for themselves. What might act in their favour is that this was not an advertised sale and therefore might be exempt from the same rules and regulations as catalogue deals. Either way the whole situation has been handled in the wrong manner. Staff are being purposely smug about the fact that they are stockpiling the big console packs for themselves and their are reports of them walking through hoards of customers with bags of now sold out gear. While I will not boycott Dick Smith as they cant be held responsible for every staff member they should never have advertised the sale if they had planned to sell 90% of the stock internally. This is baiting pure and simple and misleading the public into visiting your store on false pretenses.
Ive said enough, my conclusion is that even if staff are legally allowed to take all the good items for themselves it is unethical to allow it and still lead the public into believing they would get the item through false online records or sheer laziness in updating it. Stupid is as stupid does and putting the items away is one thing but telling customers they are on hold for staff is pretty dumb by anyones standards.