Erik's Weblog 2.0

July 22, 2011 +4 more...

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Galaxy Tab 10.1 & Staples

I wanted to share my experience with purchasing a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from Staples using a coupon for $100-off on tablets.

I received the in-store only coupon on Wednesday in a bulk email from Staples. Since I was looking to buy a Galaxy Tab, I searched on their website for availability. It was listed as in-stock in all local stores within a 20 miles radius.

Later that afternoon, my wife and I headed to the closest store with my coupon in hand. In the store, I quickly scanned through the available tablets on display but the Galaxy Tab was nowhere to be found. I asked one of the sales guy about it, and he said they did not have them, yet. I asked when they would get them, "Six months, maybe". I told him that was funny, considering that the website stated they had them in stock. He then pointed me to the store's assistant manager as the person to talk to.

To my surprise the assistant manager told me they had them in the back but could not sell them. He said something to the effect that they were not 'released' yet. When I pressed for more details, he offered to check on it, and disappeared in the back room. He came back a few minutes later with a printed directive clearly stating that they should not sell, or display the units and return all stock by the 26th. I asked if the directive would apply to other stores, "Yes. District-wide".

We left and I immediately started calling other local stores, 3 of them. They all claimed they did not have them available for sale. Bummer.

I started to think that maybe this was a local problem. I could maybe have a friend in another State pick one up for me. I asked Russ in California and he gave me the number for his local store. I called them on Thursday.

Are you selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1?
No.
When will have it available?
Probably never.
Funny. The website states it is in-stock at your store.
The website is wrong.
Click.

Wow. Not a good start.

I have a friend who lives in Lake Havasu, Arizona. Staples is right down the street from him. So I decided to call them too. On the phone system I was given the option to talk to an "Easy Button" technology specialist, so I picked it.

A nice kid answered... Same tactic...

Are you selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1?
No, I haven't seen it yet.
When will you have it available?
It should be real soon.
Funny. The website sates it is in-stock at your store.
How would you know that?
It's right there on the website. Availability: in-stock
Oh, maybe they've arrived. Let me check with my GM.

Then he puts me on hold. Nickleback is playing. I hear some kind of ruffle a minute or two later. Click. Disconnected... Redial. Ring. Ring.

Hi. This is Brendan. How may I help you?
Hi. I just called about the Galaxy Tab.
Oh yes, sorry we got disconnected. My GM is looking into it. I'll put you on hold.
Don't drop me this time.
Haha. Okay.

Nickelback is still playing.

Yes, we have them. They just arrived. $499.99 for the 16MB Galaxy Tab 10.1 WiFi.

Perfect. That's exactly what I was looking for.

I called my friend; he picked it up 35 minutes later. $435.39 w/ tax out the door and $10.50 shipping.

Something's fishy here. I have a strong suspicion Staples is holding their stock back until the coupon expires, or maybe the first shipment was defective. Hopefully I didn't just buy a $400 dud.

Comments

Tony

Jul 24, 2011 at 13:57

I had the exact same experience at two Atanta stores.  I made the comment to the assistant manager about the product conveintly not being available during the time the coupon was out.  He insisted that he thought it was a hardware problem and that was why Staples recalled.  I am not convinced.  I have sent Staples a customer comment and will be calling the corporate office on Monday.

Erik C. Thauvin

Jul 25, 2011 at 00:08

Tony:

Please let me know what you find out from Staples' HQ.

If it is a nationwide recall, the product should not be listed as "in-stock" in stores.

Thanks,

E.

Tony

Jul 25, 2011 at 07:45

Just spoke to Staples, "Office of the President".  The official word is that the Atlanata stores were never to get the Samsung tablet and that is why they were pulled.  I questioned as to why run the ad if there was never going to be the product. No answer to that question - response was there are other tablets so use the coupon for those.  Sounds like "bait and switch" to me.  After protesting and informing her that I would report to BBB and others about this business practice, she hung up on me.

That is the last time I will ever step foot in Staplea againg.  There are other companies.

Erik C. Thauvin

Jul 25, 2011 at 13:49

Tony:

Thanks for the info. It is just as we suspected.

I wonder if TechCrunch would be interested in the story.

BTW, I've heard that Office Depot will take the Staples coupon. But they don't seem to be carrying the Galaxy Tab.

E.

Tom Morris

Jul 26, 2011 at 09:52

Bought two of them on 7/25/2011 at one of the Fort Myers stores.  They were not in stock but they ordered them for me and I can pick up on the 29th.

Tony

Jul 27, 2011 at 09:07

Erik:

I have family in Cleveland, and thought about having them purchase for me.  Called two stores that showed inventory and both reported units pulled off the shelf.  Just adds to the bait and switch suspicion.  The stores in Atlanta will not honor the coupon if you ordered tablet.  

Also, BBB has sent me an update to the complaint and they have formally sent to Staples.  As of today no update from BBB on Staples response.

Tony

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