By Harry McCracken | Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 10:28 pm
For Circuit City, it passed for good news: On Friday, a press release trumpeted the “record shopper turnout” at the failed retailer’s going-out-of-business sale and said that the liquidation proceedings were ahead of schedule. All U.S. stores are therefore closing forever as of tomorrow. And so I made what will almost certainly be my last visit ever to my local Circuit City today, six days after I found it had been reduced to selling used cleaning supplies. Back on Monday, it still stocked some factory-fresh consumer electronics products, too–albeit at discounts too low to send anyone into a shopping frenzy. Today, with 24 hours to go, very little worth buying at any price was still available…
After the jump, a final set of fuzzy iPhone photos from the scene of the sale. I wonder how long it’ll take the landlord to fill the space, and what will replace Circuit City there–and in the 566 other storefronts that the chain’s failure leaves without a tenant?
As I wended my way towards the store, I noticed that the huge STORE CLOSING banner was gone. I don’t think this is a clue they’re having second thoughts. And it probably doesn’t mean they sold it to anyone, although that would be kind of cool. I suspect that the store is simply so near its end that they’d already started to remove the going-out-of-business signage. Either that, or it was torn asunder during the blustery weather we’ve been having here lately.
For the first time since my first visit to this store’s liquidation, it was packed with consumers–more than I’d seen in any Circuit City in a long time. And they were buying stuff, too. I was shocked to see a queue at the checkout.
Around seventy percent of the store was now cordoned off. I don’t know what the “SERVICE DEFECTIVE” on that tape means, but it’s sort of fitting: Circuit City died, in part, because its service was too often defective.
In normal times, you expect the signage attached to PCs in a store to brag about the features they contain. At a nearly-moribund Circuit City, it lists what’s not inside. Kind of like “no radio” signs tacked to car windows.
All the remaining laptops I saw were apparently floor models, missing fripperies like…oh, like all their keys, for instance. Despite signs saying that everything in the store was at least fifty percent off, computers were still marked down by only forty percent–Circuity City still hoped that someone would plunk down $539.98 for this one. (Tip: You can buy a pretty good brand-new laptop for less than that these days–one with a full set of keys, even.)
The store had planted folks brandishing signs promoting the sale around the neighborhood, and their placards stated that all TVs were 50 percent off. As far as I could tell, “all TV” consisted of one TV. As the description taped to its front explains, it has a red line down the middle of the screen. Bsut hey, it’s still a 1080p HD set with an impressive 10,000:1 contrast ratio.
The ample supply of blue iPod cases I’d seen last Mondaay were still there, still looking hopeful that someone would buy them. Sadly, it wouldn’t be these two ladies, who sauntered off after I snapped this photo.
Also still on hand: vast quantities of armbands for various Sandisk Sansa MP3 players. For thirty cents apiece. You gotta think they could knock them down to a penny apiece, and still have trouble getting rid of them.
The same Canon gadget that mystified me on my last visit was also still lurking about (upon further reflection, I think it’s a little photo printer). It’s really just not that much more tempting at $60 than it was at $90. When Circuit City closes for the last time tomorrow night, I wouldn’t be shocked if this were the last unsold item in the place.
Most of the CDs I’d seen on my last visit were gone, but I did run into Mary J. Blige. Repeatedly.