I sent an email to CEX today. You can read it below:
I understand that CEX is one of the biggest retailers in its sector, but I also think that it can be improved in some ways – so as to right some of its more glaringly obvious flaws.
1) Your PS5 hardware prices are too high – to the extent that you’ve often been accused of being a “professional scalper” by your very own customers. I understand that demand was initially high when the PS5 first launched, but could you not have ordered consoles directly from Sony or other retailers? That’s what I would have done.
In fact, that’s what other “professional scalpers” did do when they used bots to acquire 2000+ PS5 consoles.
Not only would this have resulted in you paying similar “wholesale prices” to what was being sold for at retail when the PS5 first launched, but you would also have been able to get the PS5 in a far better condition, where the console would have had a 1 year manufacture warranty. And because the “trade-in” rates would have been lower, you’d also have been be able to sell the consoles for lower rates, and would not have been accused of encouraging scalpers – therefore allowing yourselves to have a better reputation in the process.
Honestly, the one star reviews which your company regularly receives doesn’t exactly paint you in the best light – https://www.reviews.io/company-reviews/store/webuy-com – and I would honestly argue that you should heed Richard Branson’s advice where he argues that “all you have in business is your reputation”.
2) Can you not pay your staff a bit better? Most of your frontline staff are on minimum wage, and don’t deserve to be treated so poorly for their efforts – especially when your profit margins are insanely higher in comparison to other retailers.
For example, I bought 2 games yesterday:
Medal Of Honor (PS3) for £1.50. The trade-in rate is £0.01. You would have made a profit of £1.49, where the margin is 99.3%.
Homefront (PS3) for £1.00. The trade-in rate is £0.01. You would have made a profit of £0.99, where the margin is 99.0%.
Most other retailers are happy to have 35-50% margin on their products, and also make the effort of paying their staff more. Yet CEX regularly has 50-70% margin on its products, and still pays its staff minimum wage.
Where do all the profits go? They can’t all go on rent and bills. I know this because other reputable retailers also have prominent high street coverage, and also are able to pay their staff better.
If the frontline staff aren’t able to benefit from the higher profit margins, then who does benefit? Is it the Directors? What do they spend all the profit on? Their “Maslow hierarchy of needs” can’t be all that dissimilar to front line staff, or are they cut from a different cloth? I really would like to know what the Directors spend the vast bulk of the profits on – especially when it’s been proven that the average person only needs about £50,000 to be happy.
If the extra money goes towards fast cars and drugs, then that’s not very nice, and it’s also not very “cool”. Because paying one’s staff minimum wage whilst you’re raking it in and swimming in (what should be other peoples’) money isn’t cool.
I’d hate to be funding fat cats. Fat cats who are intent on wanting to get fatter as a result of ripping off their own staff. Where they continue to sit on their laurels (and in their fast cars – getting fatter), whilst making their subordinates do all the work (as they’re too busy being fat and lazy, and would rather just do drugs) .
Trust me on this… Fat cats aren’t cool. They think that they’re cool. But that’s really just all the drugs doing the talking.