On Evernote, FNAC customer service, and lack of tech savvy and courtesy thereof


I don’t usually blog during lunchtime, but I thought this kind of inane stupidity ought to go on permanent record.

I’m on the market for a new TV set, you see. But it can’t be just any TV, because after nearly eight years and two home renovations, I’ve decided that it’s time to spend a considerable amount of money on something that will both let me watch Blu-Ray movies and last me a good while yet, so I’ve been patiently browsing through just about every store in Lisbon and taking note of prices, features, etc.

And I’m doing it with Evernote on my iPhone, of course, since I can just snap away and collate all the info at home at my leisure. Thanks to Evernote’s OCR, I can search the photos by make and model number, which is great, and for the record, after culling and organizing three month’s worth of patient searching stuff into a notebook, I have something like fifty annotated photos of TV sets and associated price tags in Evernote by now.

Some taken in other FNAC stores, some in Worten and around half in other retailers, and all of them complemented with manufacturer info, etc.

Today, just after lunch, I walked into the FNAC store at Vasco da Gama and spotted a nice promotion on an LG LCD I hadn’t even been considering as yet, so I naturally got out my iPhone, stepped up to the TV and tried to take a snapshot of the price tag.

Only the price tag, with the model number and going price.

But before I could take this particular shot, a store attendant walked in front of me (he’d been standing just besides the set in question) and told me (without so much as a “Sir” or any other form of courtesy) that I couldn’t take photographs inside the store, in a way that some people might even consider rude.

To which I replied that I wanted to take note of the price and asked him if he was interested in making a sale or not.

He then stuck to his previous line (i.e., that I couldn’t take photographs inside the store) and completely ignored the opportunity to actually sell me something, so I immediately decided against doing any business there.

After all, if a salesman doesn’t want to sell, he’s certainly not likely to do a good job at public relations at any level, and this particular guy didn’t seem like he was having a good day in general – although not having taken any notice of him previously, I can’t ascertain why.

Nevertheless, and despite considering asking to see the manager on the spot, I had other company and decided I wasn’t about to let him waste my time and my friend’s, so we simply walked out.

There are two different issues here:

  1. It is more than perfectly acceptable, from my standpoint, not to take photos of people in the store. Which I wasn’t doing. Nor was there any visible public notice regarding that policy.
  2. It is completely and utterly asinine not to understand that the mobile phone is a note-taking device that I should be free to use to make comparison shopping, and that the easiest way to do so is to photograph the items in question. I have never before been stopped from taking snapshots of price tags of items I was interested in buying.

The upshot of this is not that FNAC has not just lost out on around (assuming I went for something in the average value of my range, which is a minimum of 42” with and a sizable amount of HDMI ports and optionally, some form of DLNA support) Eur. 1000 of business from my part on a new TV (and perhaps a few extras as well).

No, they’ve also lost me as a customer, at least partially. If a major electronics retailer employs people who have no clue of how technology can be used (or, more to the point, sold, because he ought to have been polite enough to ask what I was interested in and suggesting options, which is a salesman’s job), then I will certainly think twice about shopping there at all.

Update: As luck would have it, we’ve settled on an LG TV set – one that FNAC is going to carry, but that we made a point of ordering somewhere else. It’s their loss, and they have no one to blame but themselves.


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