Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Office supply superstore smackdown: Staples vs. Office Depot (or Office Max?)

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So a woman walks into an Office Depot, or is it Office Max? Who can tell the difference? The woman in question doesn't pay much attention to the Sunday circulars from these stores because she's never sure which is where. But last Sunday she sees a simple laptop on the cover of the the Office Depot circular and decides to hunt the store down.

She walks in and points to the ad, with her finger right on the picture of the very computer she's coveting and is told that the stores never received any deliveries of said computer.

"What?" she exclaims in disbelief. "This computer is on the cover of your national ad flyer and you didn't receive any?"

The manager apologizes, explains this normally does not happen, and searches the area stores for the laptop in question, but it's no where to be found, and at $4.17 /gallon of gas, she's not likely to drive to another location anyway. She is, however, however, prepared to leave the store without her 10-year-old who's hooked on a game of "Inkball" on one of display computers.

The woman heads to Staples. She knows there's a Staples near her house, one near DH's office and one in between. Unlike Office Max/Depot, she can locate several Staples stores on her mental map.

So the woman walks into Staples, overwhelmed by the dozen or so laptops on display. She knows that she wants a laptop that's lightweight, not too expensive, and maybe a cute color if she can get it. A knowledgeable Staples employee talks her through the RAM, and the chip, the OS, and the gigs, helping her narrow down the field of contenders that will meet her computing needs.

The woman actually makes a choice! But she holds off on buying it until she finds a coupon. After purchasing a camera online from Staples, she was (involuntarily, as she can tell) subjected to weekly emails and coupons from Staples, but she eventually opted out of them. Give her a day or two, though, and our resourceful heroine will track one down.

The winner: Staples! As far as she's concerned, she'll never return to Office Depot...and Office Max will likely suffer the same fate due to guilt by association as she can never remember which is which.

Is the woman having a psychotic break? She wonders why she is referring to herself in third person. We think the answer can be found in a cup of coffee. We?

Edited 6/10/08 8:30pm to add:
Welcome to those of you clicking over from Google Finance!
I woke up before my boys this morning and instead of doing something practical like fold laundry, I headed to my computer to blog about what was on my mind. This post went up around 6:30 in the morning and by 10:15 I noticed traffic coming in from Google Finance. At first I thought it was a fluke, like the time this blog got listed somehow on a Malaysian porn aggregator site. I had no idea that Malaysian porn was so popular or that it was even a genre worth Googling, but I digress.

I soon realized that the Google Finance hits were legit. My early morning thoughts were broadcast much louder and farther than I ever expected. Another example of the power and speed of the blogosphere.

How is your company harnessing this, the power of the blogosphere?

I consult on this very issue and I'm happy to talk with PR folks looking to connect with parent bloggers. Drop me a note if you want to learn more.
And, BTW, I found a coupon and ordered my *pink* Dell laptop from Staples a few hours ago. Finally, a laptop that matches my blog :-)

7 comments:

Daisy said...

If Staples really had their act together, they might have offered to meet the other store's price on the equivalent computer.

MoziEsmé said...

Wow - it pays to vent in the bloggyworld sometimes!

Kim Moldofsky said...

Daisy, you're right, but the Office Depot item was an exclusive item. Plus, I thknk each store may have their preferred brands. The OD sale item was a Gateway computer and I don't know if Staples sells that.

As it is I spent $200 more on the computer at Staples, but have a good understanding of the machine I bought. And did I mention it's pink? :-)

Moziesme- it would have paid if they sent me a nice discount card, LOL. I still have a few hundred dollars to spend on software, an external hard drive to back up the computer, etc. Though one friend recommends the Linux-based Open Office software, which is free.

Shauna said...

MoziEsmé said it best!! ;)

http://themyrons.eachday.com

Devra said...

I have a Dell too! Mine is Yellow. I got an Inspiron 1525 and so far love it. The keys are a bit louder when I type than I would have preferred, but that's really the only drawback. My mother said she likes the click clack of the keys because it makes her feel nostalgic for her old IBM Selectric.

Mazel Tov on your new addition to your family! ;)

Beth B. said...

Most excellent post - I have had similar experiences. Now I want a pink laptop...

Kim Moldofsky said...

Devra- I'm glad we'll be able to tell our Dells apart at BlogHer since we're sharing a room and all. It's an Inspiron something or other.

Beth- you can stop by our room at BlogHer and decide which color you like best. Oh wait, they're laptops- we'll be toting them around blogging. *sigh* OMG only one more month to go.

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