Nearly twenty people turned out in Van Nuys to wave signs, pass out flyers, and educate customers about Circuit City's heinous mass layoffs. Through our efforts we reached dozens of potential customers and talked them into shopping elsewhere. The local management was clearly nervous about our presence - they brought out a hand-lettered "10% off!" sign and balloons to lure in skeptical customers. Apparently Circuit City can afford to mark down prices now that they've fired all their experienced workers.
We were joined at our protest by a woman who told us she was one of the workers laid off from another Valley Circuit City location, and her husband. She thanked us for taking up the issue and promised to attend future protests.
Will these kinds of protests make a difference? In fact, they already are! On Saturday the Washington Post reported on consumers nation-wide who are now vowing to boycott Circuit City. From the article:
When Carole Fisher read the news in March that Circuit City fired 3,400 employees so it could replace them with lower-paid workers, she knew one thing: She would never shop there again.Consumer backlash is already affecting Circuit City's bottom line. Last week the company announced it was expecting to post a first-quarter loss.
"They weren't going after the big guys, they were going after the little guys again," said Fisher, 71, of Ellicott City. "It seems to me the little guy gets screwed pretty routinely when a company is having trouble."
Although she needs to replace her kitchen television, she'll shop elsewhere. It will be her little way of trying to fix what she thinks is wrong with corporate America.
The company, which on Monday also revised its outlook for the first half of its fiscal year ending Feb. 29, 2008, cited poor sales of large flat-panel and projection televisions. Analysts said Circuit City had cast off some of its most experienced and successful people and was losing business to competitors who have better-trained employees.I'm guessing Circuit City already regrets this bone-headed move, and it's only going to get worse. Until they offer back their fired workers their jobs at their original salaries (and at this point, Circuit City should be begging them to come back), our boycott will continue.
"I think even though sales were soft in March, this is clearly why April sales were worse. They were replaced with less knowledgeable associates," said Tim Allen, an analyst with Jefferies & Co.
In particular, the televisions showing disappointing results are "intensive sales" requiring more informed employees, Allen said. "It's a big-ticket purchase for somebody. And if they feel like they're not getting the right advice or are being misled by someone who doesn't know, it would be definitely frustrating. They will take their business elsewhere."
Stay tuned... we'll be posting pictures and video soon!