It wasn't just because it was closer to my house. Or because it undercut Best Buy by at least a buck or two on new movies and CDs. No, I genuinely liked Circuit City better.
Circuit City was always more honest. After they ditched commission in 2003, employees (rightfully) had a chip on their shoulder and didn't bother hiding it. When they mowed down waves of more experienced staff in 2007 for cut-rate employees who'd as soon as work there as McDonald's, those guys never made any bones about the fact they worked at a second-rate big box, tossing your wares into a bag and pulling out that mile-long receipt with a sigh.
The stores? Wildly disorganised, ignoring the kind of arcane science that dictates the layouts of Best Buy. Shit was slung on shelves, sections divvied up however the hell the manager felt like it. Sure, corporate contemplated a more Best Buy-like approach, but we all know it didn't take. I'm glad, because it would be lipstick on a three-legged pig: You like the pig because it has three legs—trying to make it pretty just makes it fake and awkward.
But that's what I liked about Circuit City. It was honest: Honest about what it was, who worked there, and how much they cared about you. If an employee actually did wander over to help you, it was because they were a genuinely helpful guy—God knows, not because Circuit City had a culture of helping customers. Best Buy is contrived and pushy and yellow and filled with too many people.
Circuit City was like the dirt mall of big box electronics stores—dirtier, flagrantly neglectful, but more genuine, and hey, cheaper too. I will miss it. [Image: Flickr/qnr]