Best Buy's Buy Online, Pick-Up In Store Delays Made Me Regret Purchase

Rick thought he’d streamline his computer part purchase by snagging it at bestbuy.com and opting for in-store pick-up, skipping the hassle of digging around store shelves and cruising out of the store in a flash.

He says he got hours of waiting instead. Rick writes:

The power supply in my desktop computer failed this week after months of taunting me by taking anywhere from seconds to minutes for it to recognize I had flipped the switch to “ON.” I produce music on a freelance basis and lose ground in the rat race for jobs if I can’t work weekend evenings and into the wee small hours. The electronics retailer closest to my studio is Best Buy. Using my slow & reliable laptop I headed to their website to see if they had a compatible unit in stock. They did, and the price was about right (fifty bucks). I noticed their “Buy It Now, Pick It Up Later” option and figured that would work for me, since such doings had proved convenient when I worked close to a Circuit City store.

I charged the payment to my debit card and received notice that it would take approximately forty-five minutes to process. No problem, I thought. They also stated an email would arrive indicating the charge had cleared. About an hour passed and I hadn’t received the email. I checked with my bank and noted the charge was listed so I headed to the Best Buy store, thinking (foolishly, apparently) that I could get the device and be on my way. Upon arrival I was told the order had NOT cleared their corporate office, that it could sometimes take one to two hours, and that I would need to wait.

So, I did. I wandered through the store and noticed there were ten (!) boxes of the unit I needed on their shelves. I spoke with an online orders customer service rep and was told only a “hold” had been placed on my account for the amount of purchase but that clearing might take another hour (or so). The assistant offered to cancel my order over the phone so I could purchase the unit in person. I’m on an extremely low budget this month and immediately worried if anything went wrong with the cancellation that I’d be out the cost of a bag of groceries, so I said it might be best for me to just wait.

It took SIX hours for my “confirmation email” to arrive. Granted, I didn’t spend all that time at the store, but it jacked up my day for what seemed to me to be no good reason. And, when I arrived at the store shortly after receiving the much delayed confirmation for pickup, the line was incredibly long with only one employee at the counter (there had been two earlier for what was a very short line). And, the box had not been placed in the proper bin, causing the employee to have to wander to the aisles to pull it (I cheerfully offered to go grab one but it seems they have to do so themselves, perhaps a security measure of some type?). And, a manager or supervisor without identifying clothing or name tag noted the employee assisting me didn’t have quick access to the item I needed and blurted out that another employee should have taken care of it then DEMANDED to know where he was in a way that indicated she (the manager type) was agitated, probably at the missing employee. The young lady helping me said, boldly, that she would help with that when she was finished assisting her customer (me).

To be clear, each one of the people I dealt with at Best Buy were helpful and mostly pleasant. It was just that their hands were tied by policy/procedure and/or screw-up. As noted before, I’ve used buy it & pick it up options at the defunct Circuit City and never had to wait like I did in this case.

Next time I’m dealing with Best Buy in a “need it now” situation, I’ll place the order online, make sure I know which location has my item(s), then cancel and rush to the store for purchase.

Instead of asking for similar stories, let’s see if any commenters have managed to use Best Buy’s in-store pick-up service to actually cut down on their time wasted in the store. Anyone?