[AMA] I Was a Salesperson at Harvey Norman. Ask Me Anything. I’ll Do My Best to Answer

I know a lot of people on here don’t like Harvey Norman. But I want to see what people want to know. Or if I can help people understand anything. I worked there for 4 years. In sales and in the back end for a bit.

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    • Again. Can be different at different stores. If 2 sales staff tag teamed a customer it would be split by certain products and commission so everyone was happy. So it can be sorted out.
      Depends on stores though along with the boss.

  • What were your top 3 customer interactions? Interested to know if there was something interesting that made you remember each of them?

    • +4

      I remember a customer telling me that their TV from 2004 was better than the 2019 LG OLED top
      of the range. I giggled while I was next to him thinking he was joking. (Mind you 2004 TV wasn’t even Full HD and the new TVs are 4K)
      He was fully serious. I explained that those TVs in 2004 had a very different and not as good panel and and LEDs while OLEDs are one of the best pictures you can get. He left the store and I didn’t know what to think.

      Also has a lady looking at a fridge. I asked her how old her last one was. She responded with and I quote “Well my husband died 8 years ago. That when I got the fridge” I stood there awkwardly wondering what to say back to that. Personally I think she could’ve just told me 8 years ago.

      I also remember the day that I meet our biggest time waster/crazy local. Nothing against the guy but he was an odd one. He used to come in every 1-2 months. First time I meet him he tried to explain that vampires are real and that the government is hiding them. I awkwardly stood there going “yeah…..ok” he also showed me his poems and bird pictures that he drew and some vampires he drew. Then explained how to kill a vampire if I was ever attacked. Was a strange interaction. I had only been working there for 2 weeks when he come in. I can never forget he’s shaggy hair and sloppy beard. Was a skinny bloke also. He was just average height. But working there I always saw him come in and stayed away.

      • +1

        But how do you defend against a vampire attack?

        • I can’t remember what he said to be honest. Hahaha

          • +2

            @Rudy2000: Then it is YOU who wasted his time! :D

            • @Keeegs: Ughhhh. Dunnowhatyourtalkingabout

              • +1

                @Rudy2000: Tongue in cheek comment where you said he was a time waster but you didn't remember anything he said about killing vampires, so it was you who wasted his time

      • If the TV was a Pioneer Kuro Plasma, then I'd say he was probably right and you were wrong! Sounds like it wasn't though..

        • HDTVTest compared oled to Plasma. Oled scored in a few areas, and plasma in a few. It depends on what your measuring really. https://youtu.be/iLdkiyYeod8

      • Yer, except maybe his 2004 42"/50" Panasonic plasma TV did look just as good.

  • Do you have to say "you have the x item at home and you love it" for every x item a customer is interested in???

    • +1

      I did this as an actual sales tactic only when I had the product or if another member of staff had it. Never lied about having something I don’t.

  • Why is your blue background stock database from the 1990’s?

    And is it possible a white-goods salesperson doesn’t get commission? I’ve been told “I don’t get any commission” by a HN white goods salesman recently

    • Haha. This is funny I used to make jokes about this often. The system actually has frequent updates. It is an old system but has many updates.

      Some managers don’t work off commission but get paid higher hourly rates or if there staff in there hit their targets the manager will get a bonus.

    • +2

      The original siren was a terminal based system using Cobol in 1993. Ringmaster. This used wyse terminals before being migrated to dos pcs a few years later. Only a few stores in nsw used this,
      as far as I know. Eventually, this was able to be run on windows 95. The server had a dongle, which enabled a certain amount of clients. It was about this time that head office started working on pos, which is the original blue based version. I think hn Gordon was the 1st to use it?

      • +2

        Then bennetts green store had the job of migrating all data from the old ringmaster system in 1998, however not all product history carried over. So the store had to run both systems for several years, for warranty purposes. Pos was still dos based until @2010, however the original terminal system look was still maintained. Quite a few government and financial institutions still seem to retain this older look and feel, as far as I know.

  • Hey OP, your post is perfect timing because I just went into HN today!

    I need a new fridge, prefer something that has French doors. Max width 83cm.
    What brands would you recommend? What brands do you stay completely away from?

    Price doesn't matter so long as it's under $3k
    I have an Electrolux currently and really like it. But the new model has a chest freezer which I don't really like

    I've looked at some new ones today in HN and really like the haier and Samsung design (double French doors for fridge as well as freezer). My only worry is it is a fair bit cheaper (>$600) and I'm generally of the view you get what you pay for. What is your view towards these cheaper brands VS the expensive ones?

    • +4

      Price doesn't matter

      You're the ideal HN customer lol

    • I actually find fisher and paykel and good brand. Along with Westinghouse and Electrolux. Keep in min Electrolux own Westinghouse. I personally have a Westinghouse. But even LG aren’t bad

      Haier own Fisher and Paykel
      Electrolux own Westinghouse
      And Samsung, Lg and Hisense are their own brand. Like I said I prefer Westinghouse and Electrolux.

      • Also, look at how flimsy the shelves are, especially if you have kids or a wife that doesn't clean, and slams doors shut.

        • Unclear as to the correlation between 'flimsy' fridge shelves and having

          kids or a wife that doesn't clean, and slams doors shut

          Perhaps a self-cleaning fridge is in order with a soft-door close feature to maintain strength of any 'flimsy' shelves

          • @kajke: The shelves would easily crack (this was an LG), but my now ex-wife would slam the door, force it shut when a shelf was jammed etc. Young kids would also spill liquid, and not clean up, so the fridge would get dirty, sticky etc.

            • +1

              @BewareOfThe Dog: I can understand the kids doing the wrong thing but the ex should have known better. If my husband did that I would maybe divorce him. It seems indicative of other issues. Hate to see how she would treat other people's things.

    • +1

      Have a look at Mitsubishi Electric 743L Multi Drawer MR-WX743C or 710L sizes. Great reviews on Product Review and appliances online. 800 wide. My son has had a Mitsubishi Grande for 3 years and loves it. Also see comment from JimB below.

      -
      
      • I have a WX743, and it really is absolutely awesome. Feels extremely well built, the shelves and drawers are well designed, and the ice drawer is great. My mother in law bought a similar LG around the same time for a similar price, it does not hold a candle to the mitsy.

    • I'm in the market for a fridge too. Thinking 4-door at this stage and wondering about the costs of installing plumbing.
      Have been told by a repairer to get Westinghouse, Electrolux or Fisher&Paykel. Also recommended the extended warranty.
      Our Bosch died at a bit over 9 years and was impossible to fix. Not very common so harder to work on and parts hard to obtain.
      Cousin had their Samsung replaced twice in 7 years due to failing ice/water dispenser.

  • Why haven't HN updated any of their stores? When you walk in I feel nostalgic and I get serious 2000-2010 vibes

    • Some stores are actually very up to date. The store I worked in was quite old but they didn’t have the funds to upgrade the store. Because the 4 franchisees have to fund it them selves along with head office approving it. So mostly it’s the store itself possibly trying to upgrade but waiting to get approved by head office.

    • We visit the store in Auburn - I understand its a "flagship" store so is quite nice. Gives me a very American vibe for some reason.

      • +2

        Definitely one of the nicer stores. I Would like to visit it one day.

      • Thats good. Some of the old stores have a very neglected unloved vibe about them.

        • Yeah not meant to be unloved. Just that the store itself has to fund any upgrades and then head office has to approve. It takes a while for head office to say yes or no also

      • Harvey norman computer superstores were based on computer, and the colours were based on red. Staff had red shirts, baskets were red as well as signage. The company realised this was a mistake as red is seen as an aggressive colour. So sales staff started wearing blue , and ties.

  • Hi OP,

    So what are the next steps for you?

    What do you want to do next?

    • +3

      Honestly no idea. Figuring out as I go.

      • +7

        All the very best mate with whatever you chose to do.

      • See if you can get into computer software or hardware sales. Great money especially with the US multinationals.

      • +1

        @Rudy2000 - I might sound like a weirdo sales person (optimal post, I know) but, I think you'd do well in Insurance.

        It's honestly more legal lite than finance but, it is intrinsically sales, and if you go into any company, they train you up so, no formal qualifications needed - just a drive to understand clients and make organic sales (organic sales is my tactic and it's really worked)

        I know my work, as well as @imurgod's, is looking so, hit us both up if you're keen :)

  • +2

    I have actually stopped shopping at HN. I purchased a laptop which was on a huge discount. It was the last of the floor stock and was an awesome price. Anyhow the sales guy sits me down and then is trying hard for me to get extended warranty. I said no, not interested. He then asked again saying it was at a really good price for warranty. Again I said no. Then he started getting angry because I would not take the extended warranty. I explained that if i took that warranty then the laptop would not be the cheap deal anymore. He just got even more angry.

    So now I do not go to the store and just buy on Amazon so that I do not get any attitude from staff about me not buying a useless warranty.

    edit: This was at Harvery Norman in Fortitude Valley.

    • +1

      extended warranty is such a scam. All they're doing is charging you for warranty that you get under ACL anyway.

      • +1

        The extra care HN offer is well worth. It covers minor faults that ACL don’t cover. Yes there is lots of things you can do under ACL but minor faults are usually not covered.

      • +1

        Hn does not sell extended warranty. Its product care. ;)

    • +1

      This is a shame. I’ve always been told when offering the extra care that once said no twice that’s enough. Some people are too pushy.

  • -2

    How do you sleep at night?

    • Quite well

  • 20 years ago, you used to be able to determine the cost price of an item, by reading the last digits of the barcode backwards.
    So if the barcode were xxx550950, then the cost price was $059.50

    Any tricks like that these days?

    • Not really. It’s hard because most of the stuff is actually in the system that HN use. Most of them will be online with cheaper prices but it’s still hard to say.

    • Only if you look over the salespersons shoulder. ;)

  • Can you confirm a sales tactic that I've seen at many HN stores.

    In butcher paper will be a price well over the RRP, that has been slashed and crossed out to a price just below the RRP.
    .
    So it looks like you're saving a lot, but really you're paying around the RRP anyway.

    This tactic grinds me so much that I will never shop there.

    • If you go on the manufactures website usually that will tell you the RRP. There isn’t many brands that advertise the RRP. But I can actually tell you that if a washer was say 995. 90% of the time the RRP is at least 1299 or something around that.
      No company is allowed to actually advertise 2 prices on the ticket unless it’s something like a sale. Not the RRP

  • +3

    I don't really get the hate for HN.

    The average salesperson is just doing their job.

    I've purchased a few TVs, A/Cs, other whitegoods, but never computer related, nor accessories or warranty. I've also purchased at TGG/JB/Betta/AO. Whoever is selling it the cheapest at the time.

    However have found that HN and JB aren't has competitive as TGG/Betta (appliance central) and Appliance Online these days.

    For the past few years, vast majority of have been online, TGG via Ebay, Betta and AO.

    Since this is a AMA, what is the best way to get a discount (other than be courteous)? Wait for the end of the month?

    Also what's your favourite brands in whitegoods/electricals?

    • +2

      I have found with GGs that they have this thing that if they can’t get a sale or can’t get stock that they will absolutely gut the price. Like to ridiculous amounts. JB and TGGs are owned by the same company know so they’re very similar. AO do the cheaper products to try and get the online shopping market bigger from my understanding.

      I always say wait until Boxing Day or a few days before. Most company’s if not all have a price match guarantee that if you buy a product and 10 days later it’s cheaper you can get the difference refunded. But June for half yearly clearance and December for Boxing Day sales. Sometimes January for clearance time.

      I can’t go past Samsung as a TV brand. Sometimes Sony also. Just me personally I love Samsung TVs. Also their washers. But then again if you wanted to spend the extra Miele and AEG are very good products. Fridges I have a Westinghouse. So Westinghouse or Electrolux are the better brands. Vacuums Dyson has THE best suction. But for anything else other brands of vacuums can give you better accessories.
      Audio products like soundbars and speakers are definitely Sonos. They’re by far one of the best. Bose is not as good as people think. Bose only have a good name.
      Anything in particular you would want?

      • At the same price or slightly higher price, my go is now AO. Great customer service and free delivery is punctual. They have their own delivery people and will take the old appliance and boxes away.

        I don't need anything at the moment. I somewhat agree with your brand choices.

        I avoid anything Samsung these days… they just don't last for me. I like Sony TVs, but haven't purchased one for 20 years due to value for money. Was buying Panasonic TVs until recently. Since they pulled out of the market, I purchased a LG OLED recently. Again, while I would have preferred the Sony, it was an extra $1,000 compared to the same size LG which I couldn't justify. LG make the panels for Sony anyway.

        By default anything cooking related, I go Bosch (oven, gas & induction cooktop). Dishwashers was Asko until they change hands (still have 4 working Asko dishwashers at home and in rental properties), I will go Miele or AEG next time. Fridge- I went with Mitsubishi (Japanese made), my MR-WX743Y is a brilliant fridge.

        When I replace my 10yo front loader (it's starting make an ominous noise haha) I'm planning to get a 14kg LG- your thoughts on LG front loaders? It's the same size as my current machine and is the biggest that will fit in my laundry.

        Yes, agree Bose is overrated.

        Was any brand easier/harder to deal with in terms of out of warranty repairs? Samsung are pretty good in this regards, IMO pity they make shitty products, so I avoid them now.. haha

        • From my understanding it’s not a bad unit for the size. It is just a mid tiered unit. The 10kg is a high end unit.

          Hisense are surprisingly good. I don’t mind Samsung. But Hisense are very quick with response time.

          Edit- I found TCL a pain as we had to get the customer to ring TCL direct which first of all is not on. We have to do it on behalf of the customer. TCL would actually want the customer to call them. Had many arguments with customers over it.

          • @Rudy2000: Which is their high end 10kg machine- the WV9-1410W?

            What's the difference between the mid-tier and high end units, other than the 10kg being able to spin at 1400rpm vs 1000?

            I prefer a larger drum. I would think 4kg machine would clean say a 10kg load better as it would have the extra room to tumble. I also find the clothes don't get as tangled and is gentler on the clothes if you don't pack it to 100% capacity.

            • @JimB: WV9 or series 9 are the high end machines. WV5 or series 5 are mid range. I know from memory there is 2 steam cycles but the high end has 7 steam cycles. So more functions. But honestly I can’t remember

              • @Rudy2000: The WXL-1014 model numbering doesn't indicate if it's a mid or high end machine.

                In terms of reliability, would there be much difference between mid or high end machine?

                Reliability is more important to me than features.

                • @JimB: Possibly not. After all they’re both LG. Just depends on which you’d prefer.

                  • @Rudy2000: In that case, the larger 14kg machine suits me better.

          • @Rudy2000: Most of our devices in our house are samsung, except for this no name miele dishwasher which is pretty good.

            • @BewareOfThe Dog: Fortunately you've had better luck than I have.. I do give it to Samsung they make pretty good products for the money.

              I've had issues with fridges x 2 (icing up in fridge), TV, Tablet, Phones. That was enough for me. They were pretty good warranty wise, but they should have lasted longer than that.

              Currently no Samsung products being used in my house.

              No name Miele? Bit of an oxymoron haha

              • @JimB: We have 2 TV's. Both still running well. 3 Samsung tablets, though 1 died (Mind you she treated it like crap, and the screen crack didn't help).
                Samsung Washing Machine
                Samsung Dryer
                4 Samsung Phones currently
                I think the Fridge is F&P, but Pre-me.

                Yes I was joking about the Miele. ;)

                • @BewareOfThe Dog: Much luckier than me.

                  Pre-me? Pre-Haier?

                  haha Miele Dishwashers are great. I've had great luck with pre-Hisense Asko dishwashers. But next time will most likely replace them with Miele's.

                  Did you get much of a staff discount on Miele (I know they are agency)?

                  • +1

                    @JimB: We just got normal price, I assume. As I am not in Whitegoods they probably can't do anymore.

                    Sorry I should have clarified, my Girlfriend had the F&P Fridge prior to me moving in.

                    I've been involved in retail for nearly 38 years. (Electrical since 1990). When I 1st started selling Samsung, they were the worst (as was most of the other South Korean stuff), then the Chinese made products came along in the early 90s. But Samsung had margin, unlike Sony, Panasonic.

                    • +1

                      @BewareOfThe Dog: I remember LG before they were LG.. haha

                      I also remember when Sony was a revered premium product. No wonder they commanded a premium or didn't need to have a margin.

                      Sadly Sony's premium-ness has slowly dwindled. And unfortunately Panasonic pulled their TVs out of Australia.

                      35 years ago who would have thought that Lucky GoldStar would be making TV panels for Sony!

                      35 years I wouldn't believe that I'll buy a Lucky GoldStar TV because it was 10% cheaper than a Sony, and in some respects out-performs the Sony.

                      Heck, I remember Dad buying a $3,900 Sony Trinitron which was about 3 months wages back then (for my Dad). Now you can buy a better TV for 2 day's salary.

                      I think the likes of Soniq, Changhong & Konka filled the void of bargain basement TVs when LG/Samsung moved upmarket. I haven't seen Changhong and Konka sold in Australia for a long time. Unfortunately, Kogan TVs are still sold today (probably rebranded Changhong and Konka haha)

                      • @JimB: Not to mention we have JVC, Toshiba, Philips, AWA all re-branded under license.

                        I think Goldstar made Teac TV's, as their remotes used the same frequencies, and possibly Akai?

                        Akai, had one of the best stereo VCRs for a few years - VSA650? It had a small amplifier, which powered a small set of speakers (or 2 sets?) in surround mode. Bloody awesome. Plus they were easy to use. I post the VS2 and VS4 which had a high failure rate.

                        I had a few Soniq products. The TV was ok, but the DVD player + settop box were shit.

                        • @BewareOfThe Dog: How could I forget Teac?

                          I suppose competition is a good for the consumer that new brands offer cheaper reasonably price equopment , but it's a bit sad that so many Japanese brands that I grew up with disappeared from sale or sold their branding license:
                          - Awai
                          - Pioneer
                          - NEC
                          - Hitachi
                          - Nakamichi
                          - Sansui
                          - Technics
                          - Nakamichi
                          - Sharp
                          - Mitsubishi

                          Of course they still exist but not in the consumer electronics market.

                          Back then it was Sony. Made fantastic products. They still do but it's not leaps of bounds better than everyone else.

                          Anyway, I'm just showing my age now.

                          • +1

                            @JimB: Some great brands there. Don't forget Kenwood Hifi, Sanyo, and Marantz , but at least they are still around.
                            Thank god we don't see Palsonic.
                            Teac made good hi end audio gear, (plus I think they owned Tascam, and possibly Denon?)

                            I had a Sansui Hifi system, with EV speakers, and another brand (that couldn't handle CD's) But can't recall.

                • @BewareOfThe Dog: Ahh the ex again?

                  • @Yola: The Ex still has the Soniq TV (as far as I know). The other items I think just failed?

  • Is it true Gerry Harvey is the greediset man in Australia?

    • Probably. I don’t know. Never met him. Is there a reason why you ask?

      • +3

        Probably related to how Harvey Norman made $1.183 billion before tax in in 2020-21 and refused to repay the $22m it got from JobKeeper - until they were crucified in the media, after which they decided to repay $6 million.

        So all us taxpayers contributed to Harvey Norman's already-massive profits.

        Meanwhile JB/TGG did not claim JobKeeper at all.

        • Ahh. So HN claimed some money on job keeper for the franchises like bedding and furniture who are as profitable. They don’t make as much money during lockdowns were as computers and electrical were fine.
          Now I know people are going to say Gerry can afford it. But it doesn’t come out of Gerry’s pocket. It comes out of the individual Franchisee pocket.

          • @Rudy2000:

            It comes out of the individual Franchisee pocket.

            To everyone, Harvey Norman is Harvey Norman. If Harvey Norman made over a billion dollars profit, why do they still need taxpayer dollars from a wage subsidy scheme meant for business significantly impacted by the pandemic? Shouldn't they return the $22 million and take some of that $1.183 billion profit and use it to help their franchisees in a time of need, even if it was just to buy good PR?

            They didn't, which is why it looks like it was just down to greed. They didn't want to spend 1.8% of their profit to help their own franchisees, they'd rather just take that money from a taxpayer-funded scheme designed to help struggling businesses.

            Even if they had a bad accountant and had to pay 50% tax, that's still just under $600 million, or about 3.7% of the profit.

        • +1

          It will get me in major trouble with work if I said who it was, but, I can neither confirm nor deny that there are several clients I know, and work for, that did far worse with Job Keeper and GST.

      • +1

        I've met him several times, and for a number of years was the lowest paid ceo in the top 100 companies

        • I've met him several times, and for a number of years was the lowest paid ceo in the top 100 companies

          Steve Jobs salary was $1 a year from 1997 to 2011, but he certainly wasn't poor. Rich people accounting is quite different. :)

          • @eug: Gh made money mainly out of property, shares and race horses.
            Steve jobs screwed woz when they worked at Atari together.
            Also, I think jobs had left Apple by 97, then was begged to return a few years later.
            Both gh and sj were big on the share market. Gh had a sizeable investment in Coles prior to westerners, but the accc warned against him buying more shares.

            • @BewareOfThe Dog: He also lost quite a lot on race horses about 12 years ago, plus helping Nathan tinkler didn't help.

            • @BewareOfThe Dog: Sure, my point was being the lowest-paid CEO doesn't mean much when there are other ways to be renumerated.

              • @eug: It's like when George piggins wasn't paid by souths when he was club president. Mean while the head of the Bears was 220k plus.

              • @eug: Gh would personally ring staff and ask why an invoice wasn't paid in 7 days, because he missed out on a $17 discount.

  • How much do your superiors push you to upsell products? I went to pick up a C&C the other day and the See You Next Tuesday who got it for me started trying to flog me an Optus phone contract.

    • That is how the computers staff make money. Through Optus sign ups

  • What do you think of Gerry?

    • Honestly I don’t know. I’m sure he may be a decent guy but no one truely sees what he is like. He may be like most rich people. But I have no say really

      • Depends on the day, and how he finds the store. He is straight to the point, but at times can be casual. It depends how much time he has, but mainly wants to speak to the franchisees when he visits a store. He can read people, and see through them, but give them a chance. Then turn back to the franchisees that trained him and say I told you so. He has a very good memory when it comes to sales figures, though I am not sure about these days, given his age.

  • We know a staff member at HN and they’ve not been successful in getting us any deals on a freestanding falcon oven (says the proprietor won’t respond). Can you suggest any other ways and do you recall if these were ever able to be discounted?

    • No. Brands like flacon, AEG, Miele and apple can not be discounted. They are an agency sale. Means that it’s set prices by supplier.

  • How much did you make per year? And what was split between salary/commissions/bonuses ?

    • Well pay by itself is $39k. Commission on top would’ve been between 9k to 20k. Depends on how well you sell and what you sell. Bonuses only probably 3k
      All Per year

  • Whats the deal with fridges at the moment?

    I know theres a shortage etc (normal stuff) but im blown away the distinct lack of almost all/any fridges. Specifically mitsubishi is completly OOS australia wide.

    • They more than likely can’t get parts out of places like China who make parts. Also shipping company’s are terrible now days. Some brands can’t get stock off of the ships or trucks.

    • Look I have heard some issues with some Samsungs before. Not 100% sure on this model. But LG are quite a good fridge

      • I've seen a few Electrolux fridges ready for pickup atm.

    • How deceitful is that LG Fridge, like a car with exhaust tips but only 2 exhausts (it's not a multi-door fridge).

      Not a fan of Samsung Side by Side Fridges. Had 2 personally that had issues. So did 2 other family members that I know of. Icing up until it stops the fan.

      I'd get the LG.

      Pity Sharp stopped selling the SJXE624FSL. Bought one for the outlaws for $1,660 (to replace a Samsung). Good fridge.

  • +1

    Hi Op, what are your thoughts on pricing errors? For an example, this deal posted in December 2021, https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/671801, some folks claimed that the pricing error, so won't be honoured. I guess some were cancelled because the inventory was not synchronized with the actual inventory? In my case, when I picked it up, they said that it was a pricing error, but let me take it home. Is this to do with human error or intentionally a loss leader or the IT system isn't up to scratch?

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