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Old 11-24-2009, 02:50 PM   #1
Fuzzykinz
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After speaking to a Barnes and Noble employee about the nook...

I am horribly unimpressed by their in-store employees manning the nook stands.

He seemed to not only know almost nothing, but was stretching what he did know. He guarenteed me that such features like "PDF annotation" and "Wikipedia blog support that you do not need to pay for, like the amazon device" would arrive sometime early next year.

If there is any validity in what he said, I wonder why BnN hasn't announced this little road map themselves. While I admit, it would be wonderful if these features would be guaranteed in the future, the likelihood that this guy was doing anything but spitballing is very, very low.

Anywayz... I get a feeling that they don't quite take their own product seriously.. or even better, didn't prepare for it. Either way it smells of bad mojo.

Just thought it would be productive to share the results of this back and forth,

Teh Fuzzeh
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Old 11-24-2009, 03:52 PM   #2
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He seemed to not only know almost nothing, but was stretching what he did know.
You (and Barnes & Noble) put him in an awkward situation.

Let me summarize the situation: anyone in a position to know anything about the product is apparently prevented from speaking about it. People don't know how it functions, they don't know what the product is (let alone where it is headed), and they don't know how well it will do the things that it will try to do. The biggest red flag, of course, was not letting anyone use the devices at the media event.

I want the Nook to be an awesome device. However, despite the fact that they are shipping in less than a week, it is still just a statement of intent at this point. We don't even know at this point if B&N is looking to invest in the platform and listen to customers or whether this is just a cash grab because ereaders are a growing market right now.

I'm sure that as soon as someone knows anything, you'll see it here and in the headlines of the usual gadget sites. Until then, expecting the manager of a local bookstore to possess secret knowledge of the parent company's developments is unreasonable.

(Note that the frustration isn't directed at you, Fuzzykinz. It is simply that the Nook department is keeping everyone so information starved (beyond telling us that it is "nook", not "the Nook" *sigh*).)
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Old 11-24-2009, 04:27 PM   #3
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And my frustration was not directed at his lack of knowledge, but him seeming to pull some stuff out of thin air due to it. I doubt that's any kind of store policy, or a light that goes off across the board, but it's still interesting.
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Old 11-24-2009, 04:40 PM   #4
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And my frustration was not directed at his lack of knowledge, but him seeming to pull some stuff out of thin air due to it.
Think about what it takes to become a store manager, and then consider what you would do if "corporate" told you to put up a bunch of marketing material on an unknown product but refused to provide information.

This is actually a fairly common occurrence in sales: tell people what you know, pad it with some logical inferences based on your understanding, and hope that technical/political/business hurdles don't change the field.
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Old 11-24-2009, 05:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Fuzzykinz View Post
He seemed to not only know almost nothing, but was stretching what he did know. He guarenteed me that such features like "PDF annotation" and "Wikipedia blog support that you do not need to pay for, like the amazon device" would arrive sometime early next year.
Next time, ask for him to put that in writing. With his name on it, so you know who to mention to the managers.
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Old 11-24-2009, 05:56 PM   #6
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Next time, ask for him to put that in writing. With his name on it, so you know who to mention to the managers.
That's highly unfair to the employee who is probably earning minimum wage, hasn't been given the information needed by his/her lord and masters, and is struggling in today's bad economy. Why kill the messenger when your real anger is with the CEO?
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Old 11-24-2009, 06:06 PM   #7
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Think about what it takes to become a store manager, and then consider what you would do if "corporate" told you to put up a bunch of marketing material on an unknown product but refused to provide information.

This is actually a fairly common occurrence in sales: tell people what you know, pad it with some logical inferences based on your understanding, and hope that technical/political/business hurdles don't change the field.
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That's highly unfair to the employee who is probably earning minimum wage, hasn't been given the information needed by his/her lord and masters, and is struggling in today's bad economy. Why kill the messenger when your real anger is with the CEO?
Hang on a sec. I've worked in retail all my life, both as a 'clerk' and as management.

Never was any corporate ever handed down to 'embellish' or "pad" information. And what kind of company would encourage such behavior?

The rule of thumb was this. "If you don't know the answer, say so. Then direct, escorting if necessary, the customer to someone who does."

Its that simple. There is no excuse for trying to pretend you know something you don't. A simple "we just really don't know right now" would do.
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:18 PM   #8
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That's highly unfair to the employee who is probably earning minimum wage, hasn't been given the information needed by his/her lord and masters, and is struggling in today's bad economy. Why kill the messenger when your real anger is with the CEO?
Exactly. In today's retail world, this is precisely what happens, all the time. Corporate makes unrealistic decisions, provides workers with little to no information, and expects it to be implemented flawlessly.

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Hang on a sec. I've worked in retail all my life, both as a 'clerk' and as management.

Never was any corporate ever handed down to 'embellish' or "pad" information. And what kind of company would encourage such behavior?

The rule of thumb was this. "If you don't know the answer, say so. Then direct, escorting if necessary, the customer to someone who does."

Its that simple. There is no excuse for trying to pretend you know something you don't. A simple "we just really don't know right now" would do.
With all respect, DG, (and you do know I respect you, I hope!), this is no longer the case in the majority of retail establishments. In my experience, what rhadin said is more usually the case. Most corporations do not care about their own low-end workers, or their customers. They want their objectives carried out, but see no reason to give the people actually carrying out those objectives the tools to do so. This leaves the low-end workers with two choices. Admit they don't know the answer, take the customer to their manager, who also doesn't know the answer most of the time, and leave the customer with an impression of incompetence, or pad the information and then also come off looking incompetent. Rock, meet hard place. No, it doesn't make sense, and common sense would tell you that it shouldn't be that way, and you're right that it didn't used to be that way. But sadly, that is the way it is now in a LOT of corporations. Including the one I work for...

Last edited by phenomshel; 11-24-2009 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:36 PM   #9
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With all respect, DG, (and you do know I respect you, I hope!), this is no longer the case in the majority of retail establishments. In my experience, what rhadin said is more usually the case. Most corporations do not care about their own low-end workers, or their customers. They want their objectives carried out, but see no reason to give the people actually carrying out those objectives the tools to do so. This leaves the low-end workers with two choices. Admit they don't know the answer, take the customer to their manager, who also doesn't know the answer most of the time, and leave the customer with an impression of incompetence, or pad the information and then also come off looking incompetent. Rock, meet hard place. No, it doesn't make sense, and common sense would tell you that it shouldn't be that way, and you're right that it didn't used to be that way. But sadly, that is the way it is now in a LOT of corporations. Including the one I work for...
This would seem to be the most logical answer.

Way to instill confidence in your customers, people! (You know I'm talking to the heads behind the desks, right?)

No one is asking for anything more than an honest answer.

"We don't know, that information hasn't come down to us yet"

doesn't seem like such a hard thing to say. Surely no one is saying they'd get fired for telling the truth.........
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:47 PM   #10
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doesn't seem like such a hard thing to say. Surely no one is saying they'd get fired for telling the truth.........
ha! hahahaha! oh my gosh!!!! oh lordy lordy lordy!!! *wipes tears from eyes*
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:50 PM   #11
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ha! hahahaha! oh my gosh!!!! oh lordy lordy lordy!!! *wipes tears from eyes*
So........how far back in the past am I living?
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:55 PM   #12
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That's highly unfair to the employee who is probably earning minimum wage, hasn't been given the information needed by his/her lord and masters, and is struggling in today's bad economy. Why kill the messenger when your real anger is with the CEO?
If the min-wage employee is stupid enough to PUT IN WRITING a claim about the product he's selling, he deserves whatever he gets from his managers.

And my (hypothetical) anger is with the employee who lies rather than being willing to say, "I don't know; they haven't given me that info yet." I can deal with "it hasn't come out yet and all we have is this spec sheet." I'm not very forgiving of "I'm sure it'll have all these great features! You should pre-order one (and let me get my commission!)"
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Old 11-24-2009, 08:40 PM   #13
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ha! hahahaha! oh my gosh!!!! oh lordy lordy lordy!!! *wipes tears from eyes*
It's happened. To people I know...including KK, here.

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So........how far back in the past am I living?
Unfortunately, far enough.

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If the min-wage employee is stupid enough to PUT IN WRITING a claim about the product he's selling, he deserves whatever he gets from his managers.

And my (hypothetical) anger is with the employee who lies rather than being willing to say, "I don't know; they haven't given me that info yet." I can deal with "it hasn't come out yet and all we have is this spec sheet." I'm not very forgiving of "I'm sure it'll have all these great features! You should pre-order one (and let me get my commission!)"
I agree with you. Lying about it breeds worse customer discontent than simply saying "I don't know". However - believe it or not, in the handbook at my job, it is stated to "NEVER tell a customer "I don't know."
How dumb is that???
Plus that: There are two kinds of minimum wage employees. The kind who are merely putting in their time and collecting a paycheck, that don't care enough about the products or services they are selling to do some research to be able to answer a customer's questions, and the kind that do care, and do that research on their own time so they can do their jobs better. The problem is, knowing which one you're going to get is a crapshoot...
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Old 11-24-2009, 11:41 PM   #14
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So........how far back in the past am I living?
before the discovery of fire?
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:09 AM   #15
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So........how far back in the past am I living?
I think ABBA and Bill the Cat sets it at just about 25 years...
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