Dick Smith Employee Tells The Story Behind The Sale

The excitement of Dick Smith Electronic's game sale yesterday was, in many ways, off-set by the anger from customers who felt that they'd lined up for nothing. The Dick Smith sale was characterised by miscommunication: from when the sale was meant to begin, to what was actually available and in stock, to how much people could buy. A Dick Smith employee who worked during the sale has offered to answer a few questions for us.

The employee has asked to remain anonymous because he still works for the retailer.

Kotaku: Last week three price lists were leaked and everyone interpreted this to be a store-wide sale. Was everything actually meant to go on sale? Dick Smith Employee (DSE): I feel the main generation of hype for this sale was in the way the document was leaked. To us staff, we can translate that document immediately to see what's in stock and what isn't, whereas anyone else would have looked at it and thought 'EVERYTHING IS ON SALE!'

For example, there were codes on the initial document (everything in the store has a product look-up code and customers are given these codes on their receipts and when they want to call and ask for stock) that tell us what items are in stock and what items aren't in any particular store. If customers had these codes they could also put them into the Dick Smith website and see what stores have stock and what counts online distribution has.

The moment that list came out I went through it and discovered that we had next to none of the hardware and that most stores around us didn't, either. Those codes also tell us whether items are no longer sold (discontinued) or still being stocked (active). As this was a nationally-distributed letter to all stores, if one store in the entire country stocked that item, it was on the list.

Kotaku: Initially we were informed that the sale would start on April 2, then we were told it was April 12, then the sale started April 2. When was the sale meant to take place? DSE: This itself is a little confusing even to us staff. Some items have been held back from going on sale until April 12th due to them either being advertised in the next catalogue and needing to meet stock requirements or to keep a little stock from being sold just yet, however, at the ground level we haven't been given anything concrete. We were meant to be given a week to price all the games and have it ready for sale come April 12th but due to the leak the entire thing was bumped up, giving us staff very little time to prepare for it.

Kotaku: We've heard rumours that Dick Smith held this sale because they're looking to move out of selling games. Is this true? DSE: The reason as far as I can see is just to clear out old gaming stock. Dick Smith has had gaming clearances before but nothing to this magnitude. A few games that were extremely old (as in years) weren't even put up for sale, they were simply destroyed. Dick Smith is certainly continuing to sell games because no new games were put on sale and our system is still being actively stocked. I'd wager they're trying to liquidate old stock as Woolworths do want to sell the business off.

Kotaku: What was it like being behind the counter on the day of the sale? DSE: I rocked up to work about half an hour before open to help prepare for the sale and there was already about thirty people at the front of the store. By the time we opened it was more about fifty. To put that into perspective we normally have one, maybe two people at the front of the store. The moment those doors opened the counter itself was flooded with people asking for DSis (of which there were only a few).

That said people were generally pretty understanding. One guy threaten to call the ACCC and complain and a couple of people got a little angry when we told them they couldn't buy as much as they wanted, but that was about it, everyone else seemed fairly happy and picked up a game or two. Some customers were unhappy to see other customers snap up all the hardware or software in one purchase before anyone else could. There certainly wasn't enough staff on, though. I don't think Dick Smith Head Office were really prepared for what was going to happen in terms of size.

Kotaku: There have been reports that Dick Smith staff bought up all the hardware before the sale opened to the public. Were there any rules in place as far as what staff could and couldn't buy? DSE: We were advised by Head Office not to have any kind of staff holds and that Loss Prevention would be keeping a tight eye on things just in case it did happen. There weren't any other solid rules in place for the sale, but I know a few stores (such as my own) limited the amount of stock one person could buy so that it was shared around a little and more people could enjoy the benefits of the pricing. Originally published on Kotaku

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    "One guy threaten to call the ACCC and complain"

    Having worked in retail I f**king hate these people. What? because you didn't end up saving $20 on a game you're going to go through court proceedings and all the rooting around to kick and scream like a whiney b***h. Needless to say at the end of that emlpoyment I was saying on my last day. , "bring it on dude". Lol. Customers walked out feeling that their bluff had been called.

      Contacting the ACCC isn't always about starting a legal battle. Sometimes it's just about notifying the commission that you had troubles. If the ACCC only gets 2 or 3 people grumbling, they might not think much of it. if thousands of people talk to the ACCC though, they might just have something to say about it

        as a national dispute manager for a major company in Australia I think its a disgrace as to how DS held this sale. The ACCC should eat them up alive. the leaked document. the failure to clarify the terms of the sale.

        There are actually laws about this i.e. putting up a sale and knowing that you won't have barely enough stock to cover the expected demand. It is in fact constituted as misleading or deceptive behavior.

        Companies have been done for far f ar less and I hope DS get their asses kicked.

          "There are actually laws about this i.e. putting up a sale and knowing that you won’t have barely enough stock to cover the expected demand. It is in fact constituted as misleading or deceptive behavior."

          There are laws against knowing you have more than enough stock to comer a sale?

      Yes, we will take a few minutes to fill in a complaint to the ACCC.

      Because the only recourse we have to stopping dodgy stores from doing bait and switch advertising, and wasting our time chasing bargains that don't actually exist, is getting help from the regulatory body.

      And I'll do that regardless of how many self-righteous shop assistants I encounter on the way.

      Good to see when a customer feels they have been dealt a bad card you know the best way to react... you aren't in retail anymore, are you?

      It's all about transperancy. If Dick Smith had let customers know they only had a few units of the items in each store then consumers would not get upset after lining up for who knows how long for nothing.

      It's a common ploy that the ACCC frowns upon. Advertise something super cheap with the intention of getting people in the door and hopefully they'll buy something else for a lot more money because what they came in for is not available. It's actaully against the trade practices act.

    crap...crap, crap, crap, crap...i saw 2 employees with bag loads of xboxs ans ps3's as well as games walking out of the store at the end of the day. BS from dick smith. Never shopping there again.

      HAHA they'll be so sad you won't buy all the stuff they're going to discount because they're closing their store. SO SAD!

      Pfft. As if you did.
      And I wouldn't want you in my shop anyway.

        @Benm, you'll be lucky if anyone shops in your store after this debacle.

      At the Hobart store the staff let all the other off-duty staff members in before the opening time, we could then see them all through the window grabbing all the cheap consoles etc and they then walked out past us to put them in their cars (still before opening time). By the time we were allowed in the was nothing of value left..

        @Deb & @benm, I actually work in the centre and stayed back after hours to finish work when I saw them. Other people walked up to them and were yelling at telling them off before security came and stopped a fight breaking out. Just goes to show u benm, after this shit I'm not the only 1 angry. FU to u and Dick Smith

      You missed out. They were out of stock. Bad luck. Grow the fuck up. You sound like a baby that missed out on the last cookie in the free for all cookie jar.

        And you sound like a child who has no idea how business works. Dick Smith fucked up, you can keep repeating your piss-weak trolling attempts for as long as you want, but the fact is a LOT of people are pissed off and that is going to effect business. DSE should have clarified exactly what was going on before anything happened, because it was pretty obvious what people were expecting (and unless corporate is run by monkeys like you, they should have known the backlash wouldn't have been good).

          this is exactly it, communication from the company was terrible, even to their staff. At the store I work in we were initially informed that it was a staff only thing, and as far as I'm aware in the beginning that's what it was intended to be. We weren't really made aware that it would be available to the public until a few days before-hand and even then it was basically just a case of whatever was left over. If anyone rang our stores about consoles during the week, they were informed that they were unavailable. The big screw up was the post on Facebook, the nature of the sale should have been better explained. But anyone who is acting like they are entitled to anything is deluded, you were never promised a PS3 and you didn't get one, big deal, I on the other hand was promised one before this document had even gone public, and I'll be screwed if I'm gonna give it away to some retard just because they storm in the door yelling at me.

            Fact is that it was made public. Say what you want but it was. And @Nick, thanks trollolololool, you got your 2 cents.

              Yes, I am trolling ;). But I still bought all my shit before the sale started so I enjoy laughing my ass off at these people.

          Keep crying, babies!

            7 DSi's and 4 xboxes wut?

              yea tell me what store ur at n ill come by and we will c who crys

    "Last week three price lists were leaked and everyone interpreted this to be a store-wide sale. Was everything actually meant to go on sale?"

    What? No one thought that at all.

    "We were advised by Head Office not to have any kind of staff holds and that Loss Prevention would be keeping a tight eye on things just in case it did happen."

    Clearly not tight enough.

      Boohoo, cry me a river.

        Says Drew, as he hawks $95 Xbox's on eBay.

          Selling my 7 dsi's and 4 xboxes on bay right now. Got a problem?

            Good work, I only had enough cash to get 2 dsi

            Good work, I only had enough cash to get 2 DSis :P

            One is going to my brother in law, the other is going on eBay... Minimum wage just isn't enough ....

    The whole thing is rubbish. Dick Smith has failed big time.

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    whaaaa! I want it cheap. I want it all and I want it NOW! Daddy buy me a pony!

      shut the fuck up you little shit or i'll give you something to cry about. i would make a great dad

    Question should of been:

    "Did you take first dibs?"

      should HAVE been (or should've been) *sorry for the correction, someone corrected me once on this and it actually stuck.

    I wish people would shut up about this already. Anyone who is bitching about it doesn't understand the concept of "First come first served"
    And before you go into the "DEM GUYZ ADVERTISED IT AS A SALEZ BUTZ I GOTZ NUFFINK AND DER WERE NO SALE" It was loosely confirmed over facebook.

    Get the fuck over it people.

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      Except it wasn't "first come, first served", it was "staff first served; first come, second served", and in a lot of cases "staff served everything; first come, nothing left".

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        I was first. Still got nothing. I checked the stock online before at 7am and in store the previous day, yet the shelves were lined with shovelware. Of what little stock that was out, most of it was not the same price as the "leaked" prices.

        It was an internal memo that was only confirmed begrudgingly after doccuments were leaked, with absolutely no confirmation on stock or availability. And I for one have no qualms with people in low paying retail jobs who have their jobs at risk currently getting cheaper deals from the company, I actually support it.

          i was working in harrods over christmas once and bought something on sale in the morning and got dragged to security at the end of the day like i was shop lifting. quite surreal actually. maybe shops over here should start treating their customers better and they won't go out of business. after all, all they have over internet stores is customer service.

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    Oh come on, this is not an employee interview. This is Dick Smith HQ doing damage control. The answers are carefully crafted and this was originally published on Kotaku, the same site that leaked the original pricing.

    Sounds like Kotaku are being blamed for this PR mess and Dick Smith have countered by forcing them to write this interview that overly favourable fro Dick Smith Electronics.

      Kotaku didn't leak the lists, Ecogamer did.

    Oh boo.
    Every staff member looked at that list and knew exactly what it was. A list of disco and quit stock to be cleared out of the few stores that still had it.
    Any customer who interpreted it as a catalogue and had a go at me for not stocking 100 copies of each got what they deserved. Nothing.
    And quit attacking staff. No one could possibly say they wouldn't have bought something given the opportunity.
    Still having a whinge? Go sit on a cactus.

    "Dick by name" ... not going back again.

    This just smells like damage control by Dick Smith....

    You work for arnotts you get free biscuits. Just because they work for DS and are able to scoop up a bargain before the customers shouldn't be a burden on them. That is the perks that comes with the job.

    And "Richard (Dick) Smith" Just wishes you would stop taking his name in vain.....
    I'm surprised that Woolworths hasn't been sued for Bringing his Name into disrepute.

    Got a g27 for $139, can't complain with that lol

    HAHAHA Im a dse employee and i bought everything before any of you could get it. Suck you suckerrrrrrrs. Cry sum moar!!!!!

    Glad I don't work in retail. What a thankless task dealing with these whinging pricks. I think any retail store would be glad to see the back of you.

      Agreed. These people are nothing but self entitled pricks.

        ROFL ur a DSE employee. In a couple months I will let you wash my car for a couple of bucks. I hope the stash you collected is going to make you millions on E-bay cos your going to have to retire on it.

          "going to have to retire on it"
          while i (As an ex-employee) hate the shit out of DSE, people like you and the many other people whining on here are the main reason i left retail. you think that being fired from DSE is the end of the world? 90% of DSE employees will get snapped up by other retail companies selling tech. i myself have since worked for EB games and have had offers from JB HI-FI and hardly normal, otherwise there is an endless ocean of jobs out there for people who are willing to look.
          stop playing with yourself and just mess up the store like every other angry customer does.

            CRY SUM MOAR!!!!

              OMG! Your a legend, offers from these tech powerhouses and you even worked at EB Games. You might even get an offer from BIG W, Imagine that! You sir, are retail giant and we poor customers grovel at your feet for assistance or a price check.
              Unfortunately, we are left with........ Nick - who has difficulty with replying to the right comment. FTW.

                aww poor Rollz didnt get what he wanted. So saaaaaaaaaaad. Cry me river.

            I'm glad to see your career choices after your stint with DSE have been nothing short of ambitious. I bow to you.

    As nice as it would have been for everyone to have access to these deals, none of us deserve it and none of us need it. This is one of those things that could have been sweet but there's no excuse to get upset about it.

    Good on them for getting a perk from working in Retail. Least they could get back for putting up with petty customers and shitty pay. Would rather my good paying job and paying full price.

    There seems to be a lot of aggression aimed at Dick Smith and their staff. The sale wasn't formally announced and it seems the staff were caught off guard as well. I can believe that some staff inappropriately took 'first dibs', but this happens all the time in all sorts of industries - it's human nature, especially when you have young staff who have no personal investment in the store or the customers. Let's be honest - you're a customer. You're nothing special, even though you'd like to be treated as someone special.

    And i'm not saying this to defend Dick Smith, it's been a long time since i've been impressed with the merchandise or service of that franchise. But everyone should be familiar with their poor quality - why are people so surprised? Maybe it's just because you missed out on saving money on some cheap entertainment goods. My heart bleeds...

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    I went in on Sunday to ask about the $500 Logitech G27 wheels, and would they be discounted tomorrow. They said they are already discounted to $139.
    grabbed one there and then. Workamtes tried Monday to grab one, all sold out everywhere, naturally.

    End of the day, poorly handled by Dick Smith. Leak should have been publicly qualified as to what was happening and that most stores had stuff all stock matching listed sales items.

      should be accusing the employee who leaded the sale?

      I did the same, luckily got the last one on sunday at 3:50pm before the store closed :)

    Lol, a lot of people got burned by dick, i guess mr dick smith really want to destroy his own brand name

      Dick Smith sold the company to Woolworths in the 80's.

    Must be something going on at Dicks. Last month I was surprised that a manager was telling me lies and challenged him on it. We actually argued. I wanted to buy a 12V TV and had been in the previous month only to be told they didn't have any in stock, except for the display model. When I went back a month later it had a special sticker on it. I was then told again, it was out of stock. We argued, with the outcome being that he reluctantly admitted the item on sale had not been in stock for a month. That he knew that when he put the sale sticker on it. DS is not the only one doing this. WOW pulled the same trick. Australia post did a similar scam advertising the TV but couldn't find one in any of the 5 PO I visited. I still don't have a TV after 14 different attempts. 12V TV, Low power, on special for around $100. How hard should that be.

    Dick Smith fucked up big time. All the staff bought ALL the consoles before opening here in Armidale, even though they had stock on Sunday before the sale.

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