Monday, April 11, 2005

Actually, I hate Wal-Mart more, but still

It appears that I’m the last person to read about the Best Buy customer who got jerked around by their installation department that he decided to pay his fees entirely with $2 bills. Before I go any farther, I have to confess that I loathe Best Buy. I think they are a pack of yipping vampire hyenas that lope across the American retail savannah trying to drain the blood of its fat and ignorant herds of wandering consumers. My stance on Best Buy may shock some of you who are aware of my strong love for any business headquartered in Minnesota. This is why I choose Caribou Coffee over Starbucks, Target over Wal-Mart, Dairy Queen over Baskin Robbins, 3M over whomever-they-compete-against-but-sheesh-can-you-think-of-a-particular-company-I-sure-can’t.

Admittedly, I used to be a supporter of Best Buy until repeated exposure to the absolute ignorance of their staff and complete and utter failure to train any of them in what makes a particular product with the extra money finally cracked me when one of their “ASS-ociates” actually removed the stereo I was buying from my cart and took it away because I wouldn’t buy the service plan. The dialogue was priceless:

BB Ass: [Blocking exit from the stereo aisle with his body] So, do you need a service plan with that?
Me: Um…no, not really, thank you.
BB Ass: Really? Because it’s only $50 for three years.
Me: [Pausing to consider whether I could get up enough speed to run him over with the shopping cart in the mere 2 feet separating him from the cart] I’m really not interested thank you.
BB Ass: Why don’t you want to buy the service plan?
Me: [Thinking I’ll try to use logic] Well, I think it’s a waste of money to buy insurance for a brand new item that is already covered by a manufacturer’s warranty anyway.
BB Ass: [Activating his built-in logic shield] Well, that doesn’t cover everything you know. Like these CD changers? They break all the time.
My Friend: [Gives me a look] So, you’re saying that this stereo is going to break? Are you selling bad merchandise then? Why sell it if you know it’s going to break?
Me: [Understanding “the look”] You’re right, hey thanks for telling me buddy. Now I just won’t buy it at all. You’ve saved me $300 bucks, thanks!
BB Ass: [Not understanding the look at all…actually, not understanding much of anything by that point and realizing he needs to get help] Is it that it’s too much money for the service plan? Let me go talk to the manager about it…

At that point the BB Ass reached down and took the stereo out of my cart, turned around and walked back into the electronics department. My friend and I just looked at each other and then decided to leave. We left the empty cart blocking the aisle too, so that the BB Ass could deal with it. I just lived with my old stereo for another couple years. And it was fine, but that’s probably because it didn’t have a CD changer to begin with. If it had one, I’m sure it would have tried to kill me in my sleep.

5 comments:

J.Bro said...

Hee! I only go to Best Buy to buy their loss-leader CDs - there's usually one or two every couple weeks that are on sale for $6.99. Best Buy management thinks I'll buy a bunch of other stuff as long as I'm there, those fools.

Theo said...

I once had them install a car stereo in my car. The first time I had to return because they had put the housing in upside down. You see, they replaced a factory stereo that was larger than the stereo they were putting in, so they have to put this plastic housing around the stereo to take up the space. Well, if you put that housing in upside down, then it only attaches at the top and rocks in and out of the dash as you drive. For some reason Best Buy thought this was normal (note that this was a Ford, not anything extravagant).

Of course, I can't say anything nice about most of Best Buy's competitors. Most of them are not only priced higher but find a way to be equally as incompetent... Even the ones with good people on the floor!

Spice said...

I was glad to hear that Grrrbear shares my Minnesota-company pride! However, I've noticed that some of those beloved companies seem to meld into something less wonderful when they are transplanted elsewhere. Target in California was much crappier than Target in Minnesota (or Wisconsin, for that matter). I believe the same is true for Best Buy, which I never had any issues with in MN but have heard many nasty stories about elsewhere.

Do you think they make sure their hometown stores are extra nice? Or is it the result of Minnesotanness making its way into the way people do their jobs? With Target in CA, my thought was it was always the latter - there didn't seem to be a strong norm of keeping anything organized at stores anywhere in CA - and honestly, one of BB main competitors there - Fry's - was known for even worse customer service.

Theo said...

I'm sure that MN itself can't be the key to all customer service woes. Maybe the combination... Could it be that the BB business model co-evolved with the MN population and simply could not mesh well with the areas to which it grew? (I'm relating this to speculation about homo sapiens moving out of native Africa)

For example, I'm sure Micro Center hasn't done very well in the rest of the world, but in its native environment (Columbus/Ohio) it's still strong and by far delivers the best service to its patrons than all of its competitors.

What sort of stores do get good marks? What do they have in common? Are there any that do good across the board? Across the nation? Is it possible to have a franchise that makes all of your customers happy?

Sophist said...

Target in Minnesota is the greatest thing. I'm not one for super massive super stores, but dude, SuperTarget on Lexington Avenue and 694 in St. Paul is one of my favorite places to visit when I go home.

See, they have the freshest, tastiest produce, for cheap. And the Archer Farms (Target brand) frozen foods? SO TASTY. Me and my mom bought their whole cheesecake for $4 and it was as tasty as the $14 slice that I once had at Serendipity 3 on the Upper East Side of New York City. I kid you not.

PLUS they have a Wuollet's bakery, and you can get the most amazing Swedish Princess Torte. Marzipan and ricotta and raspberry 3-layer cake... Mmmmm.

I like Minnesota Target.

CALIFORNIA Target, on the other hand, blowz. It's a picked over mess and nothing is ever in stock. Blech.

P.S. I always try to get people to buy the 3M brand of adhesive bandages.

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