Category Archives: The Foibles of Man

Circuit City Brings out the Beast in You

I’ve got a little to say about the nature of the closeout vultures. My wife’s boss had her take his laptop in to circuit city the day before they announced they were closing. Last night we had to go pick it up or risk losing it, so we went over and I’ve never seen the store so full of shoppers. We managed to get a junior lackey to take a look at what we wanted despite being told that the razordog (or whatever their geek-patrollish service was) counter was closed and they couldn’t help us. The kid spent 10 minutes asking for a manager on a walkie-talkie so they could open the cabinet and give us the laptop. The whole time customers would storm up to the counter and almost push us aside while they demanded things like DVI cables or spare RAM. The kid would look at us apologetically and try to help these angry jackals, who became further outraged upon finding out there were only VGA cables left. The kid tried to be helpful in pointing out local competitors who would probably have what the guy wanted, but they became angrier and walked off even as the kid was still attempting to help. I saw ample evidence that civility had not entirely vanished from this tribe as attributed to the flare of recognition they’d jumped in ahead of us being served. But always the spark of shame was quickly doused under a wave of some sort of cutthroat villany or larcenous hunger. My wife said I ought to go look for a wii as we waited, but I did not want the devil of liquidation to garner my soul. We retrieved the laptop and beat a hasty retreat as fast as could be arranged.
As a final punctuation to the evening we were approached by a young woman as we were entering the parking lot asking if we could spare some money for a room. Normally I’m inclined to at least seek for some sign that the person is in need, but she seemed well-fed and groomed. There have been news stories following people who own homes begging at the sides of the road in the area. People who have their hand out who, aren’t particularly in dire straits. I was a little surprised at how quickly I associated this person with those that make it hard to assist the ones truly in need. I made an instantaneous judgement that, this particular Circuit City wasn’t really in a locale that would lend itself to panhandling… unless maybe vultures prey on each other. So I said we didn’t have anything to spare (which is true) and passed on by. But it made me feel a little bad, and somewhat angry at the way things are that you can’t just take people at face value. The woman, with no visible reaction to being passed by just turned back towards the door, picking out her next mark.
I began to wonder throughout the rest of the evening whether my experience within Circuit City had increased my jadedness value (a statistic i’ve been contemplating much lately) enough to significantly alter my perception of the situation, or at very least, my response. I do believe civility begets civility, although I don’t see myself reacting uncivilly, just maybe more brisquely than otherwise. I’ve given rides to strangers late at night who gave me a good enough excuse to pile them in my car and drive them a couple miles. I have brought water or sodas to people who seemed in need and asked. And, on occasion, I’ve sometimes given money, although I prefer to give my money to organizations that are better suited to see it goes where needed. Maybe I am becoming less trusting, or perhaps it was just the events of the night.