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Best Buy keeps shooting itself in the face

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I went there a few weeks back. Granted, it was busy with Xmas shoppers, but that place is just so inefficient that it's a joke.

I had ordered stuff online and got in the line for online pickup. Like that author said its a slower process than just walking into the store. I was third in line and it took 20 minutes to get to me because both of the people in front of me had the very problems the author laid out about them not even having the product they paid for in advance. The bitch of it was that at this counter there were 3 registers but only one was for online pickup while the other two were for customer service. The staff at those two registers spent the majority of the 20 minutes I was in there talking because they didn't have any customers that needed servicing.

The whole thing left me hating BB which is pretty sharp departure from how i used to feel about them. I still think its a decent store to walk into on, say, a Tuesday morning... but forget it when they are busy, they are completely inept.

And, like the author, I much prefer amazon. It's cheaper, easier and the one time they fucked up my order they went above and beyond in compensating me.

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Posted · Report post

How is this news? Bestbuy has always been a terrible place to shop, nearly as bad as gamestop. For me though, their biggest fault is their prices aren't competitive (often the highest price you can find) and their return policy is terrible. I remember buying Killer7 when it came out there, then returning it when I saw it advertised for less than they were charging somewhere else. Upon presentin the unopened game along with my receipt, I was told I wouldn't be able to get my money back, only an exchange. This lead to a argument until I asked to speak to the manager and after ten minutes or so back and forth they finally agreed to just give me my money back. Since then I have not purchased anything from them and I doubt I ever will.

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Posted · Report post

Other than prIcing I've had no issues with my local Best Buy. I bought my 3d tv from them after they worked with me on the price and getting a refund on a price drop afterwards was very easy.

There's always a gaming nerd in the aisle that's willing to help and isn't condescending at all.

Perhaps it's the exception, but my local best buy is fine.

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Posted · Report post

The nearest Best Buy is 2 hours away from me, and I rarely bemoan that fact. Funny that they mention the whole order being cancelled thing in that article, since that happened to me. On the plus side, they gave me an $8 gift card, so I guess I didn't find the service too bad on that front.

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I disagree - Best Buy has not always been a terrible place to shop. Before Amazon really started getting price competitive and offering release-day shipping I used to buy all my games and most DVDs there (never Blu-rays because BB's prices on those were always way too high). I think I was previously lucky that when I lived in Houston and San Francisco the Best Buys I frequented were good and the games/DVD sections were run by people who seemed to care. At least if they didn't care they would put new releases out right away in the correct sections.

But now, the Best Buys closest to where I live don't put new game releases out right away and if they do, they're never where you expect them to be. It becomes a bit of a wild goose chase in-store to find where they are. It used to be an endcap in the games section. Then it was a space right before the checkout registers. Now it's 2-3 locked cages - 2 in the games section, 1 at the front of the store. And employees are generally clueless as to which of those cages a game is in. Forget collectors editions, which have those security tethers on them that damages the packaging (and voids the whole point of a collector's edition).

I used to really enjoy picking up games on release day at a brick & mortar location because I enjoy the tactile nature of picking a new game up off the shelf, maybe shaking it slightly to see if the DVD had come loose or what have you, and bringing it up to the register. Now that process is complicated first by finding someone to help you, and then chasing around the store to find the game. And that's if they have it - at least 1 of the BB locations near me NEVER had games on release day even if the Target right next door did.

I had the pleasure of using in-store pickup twice this holiday season and both times were 15-minute waits in line where it would've been faster for me to just get the items myself and go through regular checkout. They call this "Store Pickup Plus" now, if you've not seen the ads/signage. And one of those times they gave me the wrong thing and I didn't realize it until I got home 'cuz it was mixed in with other things (the new Layton game - they gave me Unwound Future instead).

Retail to me should be a pleasant experience where you're able to get the thing you came in for without having to go through a Zelda-esque sidequest experience to find it.

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Posted · Report post

People have short memories. Remember how fucking terrible it used to be picking up games at toys r us with those fucking slips that people used to hide.

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Posted · Report post

Normally my local Best Buy is a painful place to shop but my last trip there was a total joy. Great CS and really fast line management.

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Posted · Report post

I don't mind shopping at Best Buy--I've never had a bad experience. And I still like wandering and browsing in a B&M store. It's a nice lunch break destination.

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Posted · Report post

Retail to me should be a pleasant experience where you're able to get the thing you came in for without having to go through a Zelda-esque sidequest experience to find it.

This is the key point that all B&M stores need to concentrate on as online shopping takes hold. This and pricing, which needs to at least be competitive. If I can go to your store and have a pleasant shopping experience with good CS, I don't mind spending a few bucks more.

And normally, the Best Buys (and by extension, Futureshops) in my area are good. This holiday season I definitely saw a dip in quality, though. Store layouts at every outlet near me have drastically changed recently and it seems like stuff is just placed randomly throughout the place (unless you're looking for Apple stuff, which is still easy to find).

On top of that, customer service is horrible. I've had exactly the same experience as is mentioned in the article multiple times. People wandering over from other areas trying to sell me something I don't want. Normally this doesn't bother me, because I know they're just doing their jobs. But none of these people seem to know when to stop. And the kicker is that they're almost never helpful when it comes to questions about product or stock in the area I'm actually browsing in.

Of course, the flip side is that I can never seem to find people in the areas I'm browsing in for some reason. The last time I went to Futureshop to buy a game, I couldn't find it on the shelf although their website said they were fully stocked. I searched the game area and the adjacent DVD/BD area multiple times and could not find an employee to help me. When one finally did wander into my general vicinity, the best they could do was offer to ask someone else for help and disappear for 10 minutes.

Same sort of thing happened when I went to buy my iPad this holiday. The kid that was standing near the iPad display did not have any info on them, did not have a key to get into the case for product, could not check stock, and could not ring anyone through. The best he could do was run and find someone else in every case (which created a huge backup of people around the display). By the end I was actually wondering if he was a real employee, as he didn't seem to have the ability to access any of the stores stock or systems.

Those are my two most recent experiences in those stores, and based on them I won't be back anytime soon. Yes, I'll browse if I'm shopping nearby. But if whatever I want is anything I'll have to get a CS rep to help me with, I'll go elsewhere.

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There is something to be said for being able to browse through a store. That's something I'm not keen to lose, just this morning I discovered a couple things were out on DVD that I had no clue were out on DVD. At the same time, my iPhone informed me I could save $10 by buying it on Amazon, which I did when I got back home.

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One of the best retail experiences I had this year was ordering and picking up a present for my wife from the Apple Store. I ordered it via the Apple Store app and it was ready for pickup within the hour. When I went in I loaded the app, it said "hey, you're at the Store where you wanted to pick up that item - do you want to pick it up now?" I selected yes, an Apple Store employee found *me*, went and got my stuff out of the back, and I was out of there in <5 minutes.

I don't think this would necessarily work as well in a large big box store, but to me, this is the kind of experience they are competing with especially when buying online is so easy.

Hell, with the Apple Store app you can do self-checkout for a lot of items and not have to flag anyone down. (THAT I definitely would not expect from a big-box store, but it's still pretty nice.)

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CJ loves Apple. Next on the 10 o'clock news, water is wet, and The Square-Enix merger has sucked.

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Posted · Report post

I would honestly rather buy my Apple products at Best Buy than go to the Apple Store (which is why I have done that every time but the first).

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I would honestly rather buy my Apple products at Best Buy than go to the Apple Store (which is why I have done that every time but the first).

I used to do that for random little things, but not the big stuff. Now that the self-checkout process is so easy that you don't need someone to help you, I dunno that I would.

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Posted · Report post

I've never tried the self-checkout thing. I don't think they had it at the time. I'd just rather be treated with general apathy than completely pandered to with a pasted-on smile.

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Posted · Report post

I would honestly rather buy my Apple products at Best Buy than go to the Apple Store (which is why I have done that every time but the first).

Me too. Except replace Best Buy with Amazon.

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Interesting article.

I can't remember the last thing I bought from Best Buy (I can remember the last time I found something at Best Buy, then purchased it on Amazon or, more recently, Target), but I still enjoy wandering around there. That's something you can't get from online retailers (obviously), and it's probably the only reason why I want Best Buy to survive.

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I like going to Best Buy. In fact I just got home from there. Bought some wireless PS3 headphones for my upcoming Uncharted adventure. I also had a great Boxing Day experience there. Got there at 9am, found parking easily, grabbed a cheap bluray player for my bedroom (which they had lots of) and I got to the front of a line because no one noticed the random woman trying to get people to come to her counter. In and out in about 10 minutes and that's because I wandered for 5 of those. Future Shop around here is an even more chilled experience because twice the amount of people go to Best Buy. If they don't have what I want or it's cheaper online, sure, I'll go that route, but I don't expect or want anything else from my in-store outings. I kind of hope I don't get bored or annoyed by wandering in stores and looking at stuff. It's still fun for me.

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I used to shop at Best Buy pretty extensively, including being a Premium Silver member but I'm done with it. WIth my new job, I don't really have time to wander the store so I used BestBuy.com with in store pick up, but every time I've purchased it always requires me to wait in a line, the person doing the in store pick ups has a headset so they can take phone calls and they'll answer the phone over helping me, the person in the store wanting to give them money, and I might as well had just gone in and looked for the item. But, like others, they keep moving their new release games to these cages that no one knows where the game I want is. It's a big pain in the ass. I might as well just buy from Amazon, pay less, get free shipping and get much better customer service. I've written Best Buy about this but they dont' change, I get a call and they offer me a gift card but they never change.

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While I agree completely with the incompetent sentiment, I don't agree that it's a bad place. I'd much rather buy my games at Best Buy than at Gamestop. There's BB's lack of coordination and then there's GS' brand of bad customer service (elitism, ignorance, and plain old stupidity).

When I bought my 3DS, I had to call in to customer service to get my card to work for store-pickup, and when I went to pick it up 20 minutes later, they told me they didn't have the order, so I had to call back to cancel that order just so I could buy it by myself. That said, the employees were pretty nice and even though they tried to upsell me to warranties and stuff, they weren't nagging me for it.

It depends on the experience I suppose, but I've rarely had a good experience with GS employees (unless I knew them from having worked with them). I prefer Amazon to anything, but if I had to choose where to get my games and electronics physically? It's Best Buy, Costco and Wal-Mart.

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Gamestop's in its own league.

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Gamestop's in its own league.

Absolutely. Most Best Buys I've visited are actually pretty good, and I still buy stuff from them quite often depending on deals (the week before Christmas I ended up driving to my local BB 3 times in 5 days to pick up online orders on their daily cheap games). But the employees (or quasi-employees? not sure how they work) whose sole job is to sell you on DirecTV or whatever other partner they have are really annoying.

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While I agree completely with the incompetent sentiment, I don't agree that it's a bad place. I'd much rather buy my games at Best Buy than at Gamestop. There's BB's lack of coordination and then there's GS' brand of bad customer service (elitism, ignorance, and plain old stupidity).

When I bought my 3DS, I had to call in to customer service to get my card to work for store-pickup, and when I went to pick it up 20 minutes later, they told me they didn't have the order, so I had to call back to cancel that order just so I could buy it by myself. That said, the employees were pretty nice and even though they tried to upsell me to warranties and stuff, they weren't nagging me for it.

It depends on the experience I suppose, but I've rarely had a good experience with GS employees (unless I knew them from having worked with them). I prefer Amazon to anything, but if I had to choose where to get my games and electronics physically? It's Best Buy, Costco and Wal-Mart.

I don't think most people would suggest Gamestop as an alternative. I think the better alternative is Amazon.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I have no problems with the EB Games store I frequent. I also appreciate how that corporation seemed to influence the Canadian market (they were either ahead of time and right on the bleeding edge, or actually helped shift how things work here)... since their arrival, the availability of games of all shapes and sizes (OK, just discs and cartridges, really) has really improved.

I imagine I might have been able to buy Panzer Dragoon Saga in an actual store if EB was here back in those days. As it was, Tronix came through with my preorder (although it was my worst and I think last customer experience with them).

EDIT: I also don't think Best Buy is quite so bad up here, but I can't say I'm a big fan of Best Buy/Future Shop... wish there were some alternatives here. Although of the two sides of the same chain, I prefer Best Buy.

Edited by SickBoy
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