Is It Time To Start A Best Buy Death Watch?

Is much-hated electronics chain Best Buy spiraling out of business and into irrelevance before our eyes? Maybe. But not for a while yet. Writing for Forbes, business expert Larry Downes laid out why the company could be gradually going out of business, one Black Tie Protection Plan at a time.

Best Buy’s stock price is falling, and its market share keeps declining even as brick-and-mortar competitors like Circuit City and CompUSA have shut down. But the real reason why Best Buy might be doomed is the same reason why they’re frequently featured here on The Consumerist: the experience of shopping there tends to suck. As Downes puts it:

To discover the real reasons behind the company’s decline, just take this simple test. Walk into one of the company’s retail locations or shop online. And try, really try, not to lose your temper.

Another major piece of evidence? Big Blue and Yellow’s recent failure to fill Black Friday orders by Christmas and subsequent feeble non-apology of a press release show that the company is in a state of denial, refusing to acknowledge its real problems with inventory, fulfillment, and having a vague idea of what customers want.

Even if you don’t normally click through to source articles, take the time to check this one out: it’s a quick and engaging read (even if Forbes stretched it out to five pages to milk it for even more pageviews.)

Why Best Buy is Going out of Business…Gradually [Forbes] (Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)

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  1. Minneapolis says:

    “… even if Forbes stretched it out to five pages to milk it for even more pageviews”

    No, thank you.

  2. polishhillbilly says:

    I’ve got Best Buy, Sears, and Radio Shack in my Company Dead Pool

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Out of the three of them, I see Radio Shack as having the best odds of surviving. They may be crappy but they still maintain many locations in downtown store fronts and are within walking distance for many people. It’s an overpriced convenience store for electronics and cables and there is a certain niche value to that.

      • jebarringer says:

        If you’re in a uni town – definitely if the uni has a good engineering department – radio shacks make a killing.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        There’s not much I need from Radio Shack but there’s one close to my house and if I need a fairly common electronic item or accessory that isn’t available at the nearby Super Target, I go to Radio Shack. They usually have it, and the service (at least at the one near me) is pretty good. But the place is always dead dead dead when I go there; I don’t see it lasting much longer.

      • Jawaka says:

        Plus their stores are much smaller than Best Buy locations. Less space, less rent.

    • Admiral_John says:

      I worked at Radio Shack when I was in college (back in the early 90′s) and the store is just a shell of what it used to be…. it’s kind of sad.

      • Cat says:

        Even back in the early 90′s, Radio Shack was a shell of what it used to be.

        • Harrkev says:

          Radio Shack still stands a chance. They sell a LOT of products that are hard to find elsewhere B&M, and the type of products that you need immediately (think parts, connectors, strange cables, etc.). Yes, you could order such things on-line for 1/3 the price, and wait a week for shipping.

          Plus, they just started selling Arduino boards. I have seen a small but definite change in the last year or so in getting back to their hobbyist, DIY, and make-crowd roots.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Radio Shack is profitable and they adapt. They could have gone big boxy back in 80s an or 90s and didn’t.

    • Quake 'n' Shake says:

      I want to agree with you about Radio Shack, but they’re the cockroach of retailers.

  3. GMFish says:

    having a vague idea of what customers want.

    I knew Best Buy was on its way out years ago when they made a corporate decision to not focus on smart consumers. Remember that? They bragged about how if you were a smart customer, checked prices, demanded quality service and products, and took advantage of deals offered, you were not Best Buy’s kind of customer.

    When your business model is tricking dumb people into over-paying. You’re done.

    • balthisar says:

      I’m not so sure. Most people are dumb. Try reading blogs like The Consumerist. And these are above average people who know how to get online and are smart enough to have jobs that allow them to own computers. If we’re above average, consider what the mean intelligence in this country is!

    • Difdi says:

      I dunno. Isn’t that how P.T. Barnum made his money?

      • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

        And just look where HE is! DEAD!

      • Alan says:

        The last time I bought anything from Best Buy (without a gift card) was 3 years ago when I was in line at the geek squad replacing a laptop under the the lemon policy (a whole story by itself, but ended up getting orginal purchas price on a gift card). Anyways, the girl in front of me got talked into paying 70 dollars to install an anti virus… It was at that point that I said I was done with them.

    • wren337 says:

      Why can’t a model like Costco’s work in retail electronics? If, for example, Costco bought Best Buy and brought in all their policies, would that not work? Do you have to be unbearable douchenozzles to semi-succeed in electronics retailing?

      • daveinva says:

        It’s called Fry’s. It works. I wish they were everywhere.

        • Mike says:

          I have a Fry’s over 8 miles from me, and a Best Buy about a mile from me. I’ve been in the Best Buy maybe once in the past year or two. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the Fry’s, dozens of times. I once passed up a great deal on a video game from Best Buy because I would have to use in-store pickup to get it. Best Buy’s in-store pickup has got to be one of the most infuriating purchasing experiences you can subject yourself to.

          • Buckus says:

            My Fry’s Electronics has a Best Buy literally 2 minutes away from it. I’ve bought thousands of dollars of stuff at Fry’s over the years and not so much from Best Buy (other than when I was equipping my new home with appliances, but that’s a different story.) Fry’s people are helpful and don’t try to push service plans on you with unrelenting pressure. Yes, I get the occassional up-sell to buy the service plan, but as soon as I say no thank you, that’s the end of it. Plus, they’re now matching Internet prices.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Exactly. And access to easy credit made the sales over priced items like geek squad services & hdmi cables possible. A “smart” person would realize they don’t need BBY to pre optimize a computer when it’s something they can do themselves.

      I still think the government mandated digital tv signal/tuner conversion artificially and temporarily inflated BBYs and others tv sales & services. Now they have to generate sales on their own.

  4. Jayrandom says:

    It’s early enough for them to change, but that would probably require admitting that there is a problem. I think there’s definitely a place for a well-run, customer-friendly B+M consumer electronics store, but Best Buy is too expensive for the bargain hunter and too frustrating for the person willing to pay more for personal service.

    • Rachacha says:

      I agree. BB still has a little life left in it. I predict that if they don’t make some dramatic improvements by summer 2013 they wil not be able to stop the out of control downward spiral, meaning they have 18 months to re-invent themselves or they will not be around for the 2014 Superbowl TV buying season.

    • Bionic Data Drop says:

      Best Buy needs a new CEO and come management cleaning. People WANT to like Best Buy, hell I really want to like Best Buy. I gave them so many chances but I got tired of leaving that store thoroughly irritated.

      • A.Mercer says:

        My guess is that there are people on the corporate level sucking Best Buy dry before they leave the company. Corporate vampires if you will. They infect a company, drain it of blood (aka money), get out while the company is still fairly respectable, and move on to another victim. Meanwhile the company is in a death spiral that is hidden by sneaky accounting and some short sighted policies to give the illusion of success.

    • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

      You forgot that their selection is also too narrow in most cases for people with very specific needs or who are looking for a specific product.

      I would wrestle naked in jello pudding for a Fry’s Electronics here. They do everything Best Buy does, but they do it better. OK, maybe they have their own service issues, but they are worlds better for selection. Hell, Fry’s has one section that basically encompasses what Radio Shack USED to be – a place to get any DIY electronic component, right now.

      • philpm says:

        Hell, if it wasn’t for some of the BB’s having musical instruments, I probably wouldn’t step foot in there. You can get some pretty good deals on guitars and equipment there. My only problem is that they don’t carry some of the brands that they have in the stores online.

    • homehome says:

      i find bargains at BB, you just have to know where and when to look. I got a nice tv stand that was twice the price it was everywhere on line. I shop everywhere, I won’t shut out a b&m, I’ve never had problems with BB and don’t know any who has, but I’ve seen the stories.

  5. AstroWorn2010 says:

    Best Buy is nothing more to me than an Amazon showroom.

    • Howie411 says:

      Ditto, only time I go there is to check out an item before ordering online. Occasionally they have a deal that might rival something online but it happens very rarely.

      • balthisar says:

        Pro tip: don’t even waste your time and gasoline checking things out before ordering online. If you know you want a certain class of item, then reviews and reputation are good enough.

        On the contrary to you, the only time I go into Best Buy is when I already know that I want something, and I need (or want) it right away (e.g., it’s Friday and I have a weekend project planned, etc.). Mostly, I’m lazy. When I factor in tax versus shipping, Best Buy is often (but not always) competitive, as long as they have the exact product that I’m looking for. When I factor in the time and inconvenience, though, Amazon or Newegg usually win.

        • TheRealDeal says:

          I would disagree. Some people, such as myself are tactile people, who like to actually touch items and personally examine them prior to purchasing them. The classic example I always think of is a laptop. Consumer and editorial reviews can’t really tell me whether I’ll like the keyboard or not, or whether I believe that the build quality meets my standards. Sometimes there are small things that annoy me that wouldn’t annoy others and those are hard to pick up on solely from a review.

          • carlogesualdo says:

            And I’m with you. Not only do I like to test how something feels, often it’s impossible to determine if a specific feature you need has not been included on a product. Photos don’t show enough. A physical examination from all angles reveals exactly what you need to know – without having to dig through hundreds or thousands of questionable reviews and hope someone commented on it.

          • AstroWorn2010 says:

            What he said! I agree 100% Sometimes you just need to see the real deal before spending the money.

        • Froggmann says:

          Always take online reviews with a grain of salt. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen 1 star reviews for an otherwise good product/service because the item arrived a day late, the ups driver threw it on their roof, they didn’t RTFM, got a papercut when they opened it or someone dented their car in the parking lot. Other times it could be corporate shills upping the rating because they are getting paid to or in Verizon’s recent case, using a static 5 star rating for an inferior accessory (Galaxy Nexus Car Dock)

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Then why do they ” account for almost a third of all U.S. consumer electronics purchases”?

      Oh yea, nobody goes there any more cause they are too crowded.

      • Costner says:

        He said he used them as an Amazon showroom… he did not say everyone else does the same thing.

        Personally I’m the same way. I have been in Best Buy three times in the last three years. Once was to get my hands on some DSLRs to get a feel for the different sizes and models – and I then went to an actual camera shop. Once was when I was in Chicago at the John Hancock tower thinking there was a door that would lead me to the elevators and up to the observatory (I was wrong, so I turned around and walked back out), and once was when my brother wanted to look at TVs so we used it as a showroom (didn’t buy anything and spent 10 minutes educating their TV salesman about the different types of 3D technology and how you can get glasses and TV mounts for about 80% less at Monoprice – a website he had never heard of).

        I do not buy things from Best Buy. I might be the minority, but I also go out of my way to teach others about places like Amazon, Newegg, and Monoprice. I have diverted thousands upon thousands of dollars of purchases away from Best Buy because I simply don’t feel they treat customers with respect.

        The continual up-selling. The high pressure gimmicks to get the service plans. The computers that have their greasy little geek squad fingers on them and that they mess with straight out of the box. The horrid customer service. Their insane return policies. Their security guards that make honest customers feel like they are crooks. Their blatant lies towards customers who don’t know any better. Their prices. Their inability to stand behind their own sevice plans.

        What is there to love about Best Buy unless you are a grandmother buying gift cards for the grandkids?

        • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

          I have no viable local options except Sams Club, Walmart, and a CompUSA 15 miles away. I shop BestBuy when I can’t wait a week for an online purchase.

          • Costner says:

            You could probably pop for overnight or two-day shipping from Newegg, Monoprice, or Amazon and still come out ahead. Plus you would save yourself aggravation, gas running to and from the store, and you wouldn’t be telling Best Buy that their practices are ok (ie voting with your wallet).

      • quail says:

        The article state that their margins dropped 29% while their same store sales increased for the first time 1%. This means they’re losing money. While they may have at one time kept $0.30 of every $1.00, they now only keep $0.09. Not a happy situation with a company with fixed expenses.

    • Bakkster says:

      My wife and I used them to great sucess as a price matching target. Sears price matched a washer-dryer (plus paid us part of the difference), and even matched Best Buy’s free delivery (which Sears doesn’t usually do). In exchange, we got free installation (which BB doesn’t do) and the much better Sears warranty. Here’s hoping they keep floundering so I can buy stuff cheaper elsewhere.

  6. yurei avalon says:

    Goodbye WorstBuy, thanks to Amazon Prime + moving in with a technology geek who has multiples of every component you could want I don’t need you for anything, not even when I need it “now”. $4, overnight shipping is good enough for “gotta have it now”. Though I will miss having a show room to view TVs at before hand.

  7. vyper says:

    Unfortunately, the decline of Best Buy only serves to bring about the rise of Wal-Mart. That’s where people who don’t use the Internet (or who can’t wait for shipping) will be forced to go to buy electronics.

    • jeffbone says:

      Seems to me the various warehouse clubs (Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club) could serve the same purpose. The savings on a big ticket electronics purchase would probably cover the first year’s cost of membership…

      • MMD says:

        Maybe, but not every community has even one of those options. Plus, Sam’s is owned by Walmart, so same difference in my book.

        • quail says:

          Sam’s caters to the small business community. Their PCs & laptops have better specs than those found in-store at Walmart. A good place to go if you’ve got to get something right away, like today.

    • VectorVictor says:

      I would think Target would be part of that pool too.

      Wasn’t it Consumerist that ran articles on both Target expanding their electronics section and that they have better deals than Wal-Mart?

    • The Cybernetic Entomologist says:

      At least the customer service at Walmart is vastly better than at BB. I think the staff may be more knowledgeable about the product, too.

  8. tinmanx says:

    I don’t even remember the last time I bought something at best buy, but I visit often. It seems each time I go in to the store it’s more and more disorganized, with less and less room to walk.

    • "I Like Potatoes" says:

      I was there yesterday to buy new phones for our house. Found the product online, checked it’s availability at my store, checked the shelf and…nada. Employee said inventory online is unreliable. It’s really nothing more than bait and switch if you ask me.

      • backbroken says:

        Usually when that happens they actually do have the item in stock. It’s just placed in some asinine area of the store. I went in for a very specific wireless adapter that was compatible with my media streaming device. The store had 3 or 4 different areas in the computer accessory department where wireless adapters were displayed for sale (wtf is up with that? Put them all together). The one I needed wasn’t in any of them. The sales person insisted they had several in stock. I wandered around the store for 30 minutes and found them. They had been placed on an end cap near the video game accessories.

  9. mrm514 says:

    “Much hated” is subjective. I really hope they don’t go out of business as they are a MN company, I have a lot of friends who work for them and my four years of customer service there taught me a lot about dealing with the idiots in society.

    • MMD says:

      Actually, “much hated” is factual. There is much hate for Best Buy. That doesn’t mean everyone hates them, just that many people do.

      • George4478 says:

        So, every large company is “much hated” under the many-people-feel-that-way standard.

        And “much loved” too.

        • MMD says:

          I’d argue that you far more easily document Best Buy hate than Best Buy love.

          • ReverendTed says:

            But isn’t the love vs hate ratio almost always over-reported on the hate end? People don’t rave about positive experiences as often as they complain about poor ones.
            And what about the largest segment: apathetic?

            There are PLENTY of companies that make a healthy profit by selling to people who just don’t know any better.

    • Dealer says:

      Being a MN company is the EXACT REASON I hope they go belly up, and fast. Just as I cheered when Honeywell moved out, so to will I when BB is done. Eventually the only employer left in MN will be the state, and from the state that elected Ventura, Dayton, Dayton to Gov, and hAl Franken.. you get what you deserve. Your politcians are what made me relocate my company to SD, and the MN people elected them…

  10. Aking0667 says:

    Sad that they refuse to adapt if this company dies then natural selection is working as it should.

  11. Cat says:

    Maybe when Best Buy goes belly – up, it will create an opening for another company (Frys? Newegg?) to fill the need for a B&M store that has *all* the stuff I want at a fair price, and employees that actually know something about their products.

    • Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (‚ïج∞‚ñ°¬∞Ôºâ‚ïØÂΩ°‚îÅ‚îª says:

      Then the cycle would repeat, if Newegg opened B&M’s then they’d want their own “Geek Squad” and then they’d realize the suckers pay more money than the knowledgeable. Tigerdirect already got CompUSA’s back to life, let’s let them be the bad guy next.

      • gman863 says:

        Saying Tiger brought CompUSA “back to life” is the retail overstatement of the century.

        The first “new” CompUSA opened in Houston about two years ago – barely enough time for customers to have forgotten the bad memories of the original, which had shut down just over a year before.

        The Houston Business Journal reported that Tiger/CompUSA was planning to open a total of at least eight stores within the Houston metro within the two years.

        Fast forward to today. It’s two years later and there is still only one CompUSA in Houston. Compare this to three Fry’s and over 20 locations each for Best Buy & Conn’s.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      It wasn’t all that long ago that we had local electronic stores (camera, audio, appliances, TVs, records, etc.) with decent prices and knowledgeable staff. The rise of the Big Box and the decline of downtown shopping proved that people want a homogenous shopping experience and don’t care about customer service.

      Before Best Buy was Amazon’s show room, people were using local mom & pop stores as Best Buy’s showroom.

      • Kuri says:

        Amazon should really just open show rooms for some of their stuff, maybe even have kiosks you can order from.

    • Tegan says:

      I haven’t set foot in Best Buy since Fry’s opened up the street about 6 years ago. They have twice the selection and inventory, lower prices (they’ll even price match Newegg), and friendlier, less pushy staff. Newegg is usually my go-to, but my SO and I are in Fry’s usually about once a week for those immediate-gratification needs.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Maybe a rise of the “We Sell Your Stuff On eBay” Store?

    • code65536 says:

      I guess you’ve never been to a Micro Center. Huge store. Massive selection (it feels like a real-life version of Newegg). And, best of all, competitive prices: NOBODY beats their CPU prices, and they often undercut even Newegg in pricing.

      The one near where I live has been in business for over 10 years. And it’s thriving: most of the times I go, the parking lot is crammed, the store is bustling, and there is a constant stream of people going through checkout. And it’s not just computer geeks like me who go, but lots of “regular” folks go too, because their sales staff are actually knowledgeable and helpful (I’ve overheard them a lot, and they don’t try to always push for the most expensive thing and a lot more honest than what I would have expected a sales critter to be).

    • Jawaka says:

      The problem with large retail stores like Circuit City, CompUSA, Best Buy, etc.. is that they’re all typically LARGE retail stores and rent, electricity, labor, etc… is expensive. If another store tried to get into the market but have a smaller retail footprint people would complain that their selection is too small or that if they wanted to order a product then they’d do it online. If Best Buy does their replacement won’t be a brick and mortar company.

  12. Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻ says:

    Back in 02-03 I would live in Best Buy, now I loathe and detest the store, I had to step foot in it a couple weeks ago, there was so much clutter and crap all over the place I felt like I was in an episode of Hoarders: Retail Edition, not a single person even greeted me, not even the security guy, the layout was a mess, overall, just being in the store gave me a bad impression and a case of the willies.

  13. Bobster says:

    If Best Buy goes under it won’t bother me in the least, I just happen to have a Tiger Direct nearby where i live and can get all the components i need to build a PC there, or i can hit up newegg and do it that way.

    Time to get some popcorn ready for the show this will turn out to be.

  14. Sanspants says:

    Totally. We need more Spirit Halloween locations.

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      Hah, this one made me laugh. We have an old Circuit City building that has been sitting empty since that closed back in 2008 or so. Every year it is a Spirit Halloween for a couple months and then it returns to being a sad, empty building.

  15. Magical Pig says:

    I get the BBY hate but why do people WANT them to fail? YAY A BIG COMPANY FAILS!!? I do not get it. And this blog is leading the charge. I could go into a diatribe about the state of things. But I do not want to be disemvoweld for stating what many people here think.

    Consumer Reports should be ashamed …

    • Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (‚ïج∞‚ñ°¬∞Ôºâ‚ïØÂΩ°‚îÅ‚îª says:

      They suck for consumers with no sign of remorse or change…

      I would like a serial rapist to fail because, well, they suck.

    • Marlin says:

      They will fail becauise of THEIR actions, not me not liking them.

      A lot of people don’t like apple. But they serve their fans well and have a good image for that. I think they are over priced and don’t buy but can see they know what they are doing and take care of the people that like them.
      The same can’t be said for BB.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Most people don’t necessarily *want* Best Buy to fail, but rather, to improve. That’s really what Consumerist is about, and a lot of the time, public shaming is the best way to get a company to respond to an issue that repeated good-faith attempts on the part of the customer failed to resolve.

      Best Buy is hated here because it is one of the standout companies when it comes to terrible customer service. They’ve made their shopping experience terrible for the average informed buyer, and are swindling the many, many people out there who are just clueless enough about computers to buy into their various “enhancements.” And they are one of the few businesses that doesn’t give a crap about public shaming, because they have–or at least, had–enough market share to alienate a hundred new people every day, and still stay in business.

      If there was a significant improvement, if the company began to really turn around and show that they actually wanted to step up and make things right, I think that Best Buy could be as well-liked as Amazon and Costco. But most of us don’t see that ever happening. Their entire business model is based on deceiving customers.

    • TheRealDeal says:

      People want them to fail because they don’t do a good job at their core mission, namely selling electronics and other items to people who want to buy them. People want them to fail because they hope that someone with some actual business acumen and sense about how to treat customers will arise from the ashes and serve consumers better than Best Buy can.

      As for Consumer Reports leading the charge, this story was on Fark days ago as well as numerous other places, besides, I think it’s Best Buy themselves who are leading the charge into oblivion.

    • SilentAgenger says:

      Best Buy should be the ones with the shame…especially for allowing themselves to sink this low. You’d think the lack of any real competition (from other B&M electronics giants) would allow them to flourish, but I guess they got even more complacent instead.

      No, I don’t welcome their demise (in spite of the fact that I no longer go to BB). I’m not looking forward to seeing more giant empty shells (too many of those already…even most Circuit Cities remain empty), and I especially don’t want to see more people unemployed, but BB gets what they deserve (the last two times I went there willing to make a big purchase [if the price and service were right], no one seemed interested in selling me anything – or even talking with me for that matter).

      I hope they find a way to turn it around, but if they go under I won’t be one bit surprised…just sad.

    • MMD says:

      I can’t remember the last time I saw a disemvoweling here, so you’re probably fine.

      As for wanting Best Buy to fail, the “just desserts” comments below cover it for me.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Why does it hurt for people to want a big, totally shitty company to fail? It isn’t as though our thoughts alone are going to bring them to failure and damage the economy. We aren’t magic.
      Plus, I think most of us here would far rather them listen to the feedback out there and build a customer model that isn’t based on shafting people at every turn. That would be the ideal thing. But, since their crap has been going on for years and they refuse to change, I doubt that change will ever happen. If it did, I’m pretty sure they would do much better financially.

      • Rachacha says:

        Several years ago (Back when AOL was still the number 1 ISP, but was declining and High speed was a 128K DSL Connection), I was in a BB, and a couple was standing in front of a desktop computer with a sales associate. I was looking for something the aisle across from them, but I was able to hear the conversation which went something like this:

        Customers: We want a computer to send e-mail to our children in another state and surf the internet.

        Associate: I see, do you think you might get into photo editing or video editing or gaming?

        Customers, Unless you consider Solitaire “Gaming” no. We use a film camera, and probably won’t be editing video.

        Associate: OK, I would suggest this computer here. It has Intel’s latest processor that just came out last week, it is overclocked is maxed out on memory and has the largest hard drive available so you can save all of your e-mails

        This went on for several minutes, and the associate was trying to talk them into the most expensive system they had on the floor. The customers seemed hesitant, and as this was their first computer they really could not distinguish the difference between the low to mid grade system that would have been more than sufficient for their needs and the super high end system that they were being pushed into.

        The associate stepped away for a few minutes, and I told the customers that they were being taken for a ride, and there was no way that they needed such a high end system, and they would be fine with something about 1/2 the price. The couple looked relieved, thanked me and I walked away.

        I understand what it takes to be a sales person, and the need to upsell, but selling people something that will not suit their needs just to put an extra $5 in your commission pocket is just wrong.

        On another occasion, I had to go to BestBuy to purchase 2 laptops for a company event when two of the ones we had died. The machines simply would be used for one specific purpose, and the cheapest laptop was more than sufficient. I walked into the store and immediately went to the cheapest laptop available, looked at the specifications which exceeded every one of my needs and told the associate that I wanted to purchase two of them. He tried to upsell me to a model that was nearly 3 times the cost. I declined and the associate began to tell me that I would regret the decision, they were horrible computers etc. I said I would be perfectly fine with them. We used those computers for 5 years before removing them from service, and they more than paid for themselves.

        • SuperSnackTime says:

          BB doesn’t work on commission if I recall correctly.

        • Coaster says:

          Best Buy does not work on commission at all. In fact, they train their employees to sell to a customers actual needs, not to upsell beyond what they can even comprehend, so that they aren’t going to be returning things because they haven’t any idea wtf they just bought or how to use it. A return costs any company money. Selling a customer what they need, even if it isn’t the best, shinest model, is what makes repeat customers. That was a bad salesperson. It doesn’t make a bad company. You know how to tell if a company works on commission? Walk in the door and if you are greeted by 8 people in less than four minutes before you have a chance to gather your breath, that’s commission. (Lord and Tailor, Macys, HHGregg) If you walk into a store and they only pay attention to you if you are dressed like you have money, you are in a staples.

      • Jawaka says:

        The bottom line is that Best Buy is a company and all public companies’ first priorities are to their shareholders.

  16. clippy2.0 says:

    The article does a really good job describing Best Buy’s biggest issues and what could be done to fix it. Companies like amazon will allow any purchaser to post a review, even a video review. They will take returns on anything, and buy back most everything. They offer cheap to free shipping, fast. I think most people will admit that they go to Best Buy only if they need something instantly. Best Buy should realize this, and simply change their modal into a B&M focused one, dominating on the fact that if you need something now, you can get it at Best Buy. They could simply mimic Amazon in every way, except instead of free shipping, enchorage customers to do in store pickups. Then they can take advantage of peoples natural upsell by seeing other products, in person, related to their purchase. The real issue is that Best Buy doesn’t seem to attempt to compete with online retailers in philosophy, and only try to focus on new ways to upsell customers; ie the very one thing customers don’t want. I know if Best Buy mearly had similar prices to what I could find online, and had them in stock, I would still shop there; and if they had any semblance of good customer service, I might even enjoy shopping there (easy returns, no attempts to upsell me useless warranties on batteries, ect ect). I mean hell, even just having a video game consoles on display make me want to go into best buy to try new game systems and games, if they didn’t treat me like a criminal when I tried to buy one, I might buy games there!

  17. Dallas_shopper says:

    That single page version link still links to a 5-page missive.

  18. OmnipotentMLE says:

    If the death of Best Buy leads to retail becoming more focused on making the customer happy and less about separating as much money as possible from the customer then moving on to the next one, then I think this is good news. If it just means that all of Best Buy’s business is just going to shift to another store that follows the same exact policies and practices, then not so good.

  19. rpm773 says:

    I don’t shop there much, but back when I did I began to find that their selection was poor, and that I’d have to talk to some snot-nosed shithead (ie, sales associate) in order to access it.

    And then getting the merchandise out of the store without being barraged into a subscription to Entertainment Weekly was damn near impossible.

    I buy my music online, my electronics online, and my computer stuff online and at MicroCenter. It works for me.

    • rpm773 says:

      Let me apologize for my construct describing the BB sales associate above. I’m sure there are a lot of fine people who hold or have held that position. Unfortunately, I’ve also run afoul a few over the years that fit my description a little more closely than that of “fine”

  20. ryan89 says:

    I worked at BBY for 4.5 years and left back in ’06. I think right about then is where it started going downhill (or maybe my view was skewed). This was right about when Geek Squad was ramping up and corporate even told the employees they didn’t cater towards the technologically savvy customer. People who know about computers don’t step foot in their store to buy one; they build one. So Best Buy wanted to be the best place to shop for people who can’t make decisions on their own.
    Last time I went into the store, I noticed three distinct types of customers. Elderly people who probably didn’t have Internet access, younger people buying CDs who don’t have a credit card to buy music online, and those using it as Amazon’s showroom. It took me 5 minutes to walk from the front to the back because I kept getting stopped, first by someone wanting me to upgrade my cellphone, and then by a very pushy DirecTV salesperson who didn’t believe I don’t own a TV (I do, just thought it would shake him off, it didn’t). I felt I was walking through the mall with the sleezy people trying to put lotion on my wife’s hands.

  21. nbs2 says:

    We were going through our pile of old gift cards and found one for BB. Coincidentally, we also needed a surge protector. I wanted to order one online on my way home from work (I ride the train) and pick it up on the drive home. Of course, the website makes it impossible to tell what is in stock in the store for pickup.

    I get to the store and have the gift card and PIN. But, I can’t buy it with that – I need the bar code. I end up ordering it and then waiting 40 minutes for them to get the order and email me to tell me they have it. All in all, I was there for nearly an hour before I could leave with a gift carded surge protector.

    As if a sign, the next day we got a free “Energy reduction” kit from our power company. It came with 6 CFL bulbs and a smart surge protector.

    Of course, I still have some amount of money to use at BB. Maybe someday I’ll find something I want.

    • quail says:

      Sorry, but it’s for the customer & company’s protection that you can’t make purchases in the store without the gift card in hand. Card number and PIN? Sorry, but no store out there will allow you to do that. You know how much fraud would be committed if a store allowed that?

      They should have sent you online to where you could use it and the website could track your identity.

    • Coaster says:

      That’s because a new company has taken over merchandising the music for Best Buy, (those kids in white shirts and black slacks with no nametags) and frankly, they are awful at it. Best Buy has, over the last couple years, downsized it’s music section because it believes (I guess the ghost of Circuit City whispers in Brian Dunn’s ear at night) that people are buying more music online, so they are conesquently buying less physical copies of their music. *sigh* Can’t teach an old dog the ways of new technology.

    • Coaster says:

      “Of course, the website makes it impossible to tell what is in stock in the store for pickup.” Really? Let me explain how to use that feature. There are two ways to do it. The first way: You browse to the item you want, and you click the “check stores” link. Then you type in the zip code of the area you want to pick it up at. It will show you a three column list of the stores on the left, the product availability in the center, and “add to cart” on the right. Easy Peasy, CheeseWhiz! The other way is to already be logged into the site and have a preferred store set up. It will tell you right on the product page if it’s in stock at ‘your’ Best Buy or not. It’s a wonder you figured out how to post on this site, you were baffled so by online shopping!

  22. Agozyen says:

    Best Buy corporate tracks all kinds of useless and irrelevant metrics. I kid you not, each store is tracked and rated on the number of times the front door slides open. That days total sales is then divided by the number of times the door opened and the result is the average sale. I used to be a rep that had to visit Best Buys on a weekly basis and I was forced to use the exit door because of this.

    • Coaster says:

      Yeah, don’t you feel bad for the stores that have attached themselves to a mall and have all that extranious traffic yet they are still forced to use that same count algorithim as everyone else?

  23. u1itn0w2day says:

    Best Buy lucked out with the housing boom and the mandatory digital tv signal conversion. Alot of people who only needed a 30$ box being the non self sufficient, too lazy to figure it out Americans opted for a new 400$ tvs instead. And the OK Corral era of easy credit allowed people to buy geeksquad services and 100$ monster cables. They are also cow towing to American consumer who wants the same zillion choices except for lower prices anywhere they shop. This probably prevents Best Buy and others from getting a really good deal on a few items instead trying to supply the public with alot of items/choices.

    I don’t know if it had anything to do with their current condition but I believe Best Buy was one of the biggest practicioners of the work from home concept for corporate management.

    My guess is they’ll survive but probably wind up like Buy More on Chuck selling everything.

  24. kobresia says:

    The author is over-intellectualizing this decline and is dead wrong about most things.

    Consider that they were unable to fill holiday orders due to the extreme demand that they just didn’t anticipate. Unless they were selling everything at break-even or a loss, and didn’t manage any PSP sales, they did really well. They probably made a prudent, conservative choice when building their inventory (lest they be stuck with overstock due to being irrationally optimistic), and sales were much better.

    Best Buy isn’t going anywhere because there are still more than enough stupid and/or masochist consumers to keep it in business. While I almost always leave the store empty-handed (I am just not going to pay over $20 for a small USB A-to-micro adapter, especially if it’s not the special store magical cable brand, just a generic!), I can’t say there’s been a single time I’ve dropped into a Best Buy and saw it largely vacant like CompUSA and Circuit City were when they were drying up.

    There are still things that Amazon can’t do and Wal^Mart doesn’t do for customers, such as install their car stereo, install their new home entertainment systems, or “fix” a computer. Savvy customers will get pissed off when they’re treated like they’re stupid, but most Best Buy shoppers still think the upsellers and non-geeks “helping” them are doing them favors.

    The only thing the author is spot-on about is that Best Buy’s management appears to be incompetent, not taking responsibility for their performance failures during the holiday and making it sound like circumstances beyond their control that they couldn’t fill orders. If they issued in-store-only rain checks (I haven’t even heard that term in a while as far as retail goes) and just apologized for not meeting the anticipated demand, then they would come out looking a lot better.

    TL:DR: Dumb article is dumb.

    • Coaster says:

      Agree. What can you say when you just didn’t get the products from the manufacturer? It isn’t like you can pull them out of the magic hole in the ceiling of the warehouse that has a direct connection to wherever you think really hard about. {customer wants a 32g iPad..POOF! oops…a wifi one! POOF!} They don’t have what they don’t have. And when no one else has them either, then guess what – that’s not the retailers (any of them) fault, that’s the manufacturer not having enough product in the pipes fast enough. What can you do? MORE CHILD LABOR! Get those Grannies on the assembly line! People get demanding when they want the latest and greatest and there isn’t enough to go around.

      I’ve seen a lot of really great customer service at Best Buy, and I’ve seen customers that would have put Jerry Springer guests to shame. The stores near my have uniformed policemen during certain times of the day now, and all the time on weekends. Because we have “that sort” of customers in my area. Not just at the Best Buy, mind you.

      About the rain checks…they tried that out once, and it was such an awful fiasco, from what I read, with people faking them and whatnot, and there was a lawsuit, and Best Buy just wrote it off as a lost cause.

      It seems like there are a lot of kids that really do try, and work there because they actually like the product – the kids in the Magnolia stores (I don’t think all Best Buys have those) have to take a F-ton of testing to be certified for that, so you know they really are committed and -like- televisions and home theater to not you know, transfer to another department or something.

      Speaking of great customer service….I was getting a new set of headphones when I overheard a pricechange kid bring over the guy that was the specialist in that area for a customer, and it went something like this:

      the customer says; “Oh, he doesnt want to talk to me!” and the warehouse kid says, “why wouldn’t he, he could have picked ANY department and he chose this one, because he’s really into MP3s and cameras and stuff, and he likes to talk to people. Me, not so much…that’s why I do this.” and he waved the price tags. Heh, the specialist looked sort of uncomfortable at that, but said, “It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help you. You just didn’t like my answer. I could have lied to you. I could have told you that the cheap headphones would give you amazing bass and really great channel seperation. But I’m not into that. If you want someone to lie to you, go to another store. If you have questions about what we have here, I can help you with that.”

      The guy looked at me, and walked back over to the kid, and said, “I think I got off on the wrong foot. I’d like to ask you a couple questions about headphones…..” This kid is my new favorite sales guy.

  25. thomwithanh says:

    I use WorstBuy as a showroom, then order from Amazon.com

  26. scoutermac says:

    Considering a family friend of mine walked into a BestBuy ready to purchase a laptop. He knew which laptop he wanted but could not get anyone to help him. He even stood in front of the laptop with credit card in hand loudly saying “I’m ready to buy this laptop, is anyone here to help me.” Meanwhile three employees just stared and never acknowledged him.

    • sadie kate says:

      This happened to me there almost 10 years ago. I had just turned 21, and was planning to drive across the country that summer. For a birthday gift, my dad wanted to install XM radio in my car so I’d have something to listen to consistently. We approached 5 separate BB employees; they were either about to go on a break, helping another customer (allegedly – no one else was in sight) or didn’t work in that department. Maybe these were all valid excuses, but no one took thirty seconds to point us to someone who could help us, or send another employee in our direction, even after we were like, “Here is our credit card, please let us buy this.” My dad was so upset, so I suggested we go somewhere else. There was a Sound Advice in the same shopping center; we walked in, were immediately greeted, and had the system installed within 30 minutes. My dad even agreed immediately to upgrade me to a CD player that was on sale (I still had a tape deck in my car) and paid for my first year XM subscription, just because the salesman was really nice, and suggested these things without being pushy. He made a huge sale off of Best Buy’s apathy.

      • RavenWarrior says:

        The BB I work at has their car audio department tucked away in the back corner of the store and has it tied in with the people selling cameras and MP3 players, to which is not adjacent. The ‘i don’t work in that department line’ comes up way too often and most of the time there’s a wait to get one of those other associates over there. Plus there are only a couple people in that group of associates who know the technical aspects of the section anyway and if they aren’t on the floor you’re pretty much screwed.

        • sadie kate says:

          This is why, when I managed a bookstore that sold e-readers, I was militant about training the staff how to use them so they could actually sell them when I wasn’t around. I got sick of being the only one in the store who could use one; my employees used to call me at home to ask me questions about them, which was STILL preferable to scratching their heads and sending the customers to the Target across the street, but annoying nonetheless.

    • DrLumen says:

      That happened to me once at Circuit City in the early 90′s. I never went back.

  27. Bionic Data Drop says:

    I usually stay away from Best Buy, but they were the only ones that had a Kindle Fire in stock and I had to have it ASAP. The one that I went to only has one register. Not one register open, one register period and you have to go through a maze of junk to get to it. It’s 10 feet away from the door watcher who does nothing but watch people come in and watch them check out. When I was checking out the cashier asked it I’d like a Best Buy card. I said no and he said that I would also have to answer no after I swiped my debit card. I swiped my card and the machine asked if I would like financing. So, not only do I get to answer the same question twice, the geniuses at Best Buy thought the best time to ask if someone need financing is when they are paying for their items.

    Then as I’m leaving, the door watcher asked to see my receipt to I replied ‘Nope, you just saw me buy this”. He just shrugged and away I went. Neither of these two things are the worst things in the world, but it proves the point that Best Buy does not want you to leave their store until you have been irritated as much as possible.

  28. BeerFox says:

    “Best Buy does what would be most convenient for the company for consumers to want but don‚Äôt, then crosses its fingers and prays.”

    Doesn’t that just hit the nail on the head?

    Just look at the idiotic Best Buy kiosks they’re trying to put in everywhere. What customers want is on-the-go accessories (charge/sync cables, battery packs, memory cards, things like that). What Best Buy wants the customers to want is big-ticket items (iPods, digital cameras, etc). So they stock the kiosks with big-ticket items, cross their fingers, pray, then blame the customers and Amazon when the kiosks flop.

  29. Jevia says:

    I’ve done ok with BB, but I always decline the ‘extras’ they try to sell when I’ve bought something there. Haven’t had any problems with the fridge or TV we bought, but we’d also done our research beforehand and knew what we wanted.

    My only complaint with them is that for their credit account (where you buy something big and get 18 months or so to pay w/o interest), you can’t set up automatic payments for same day/amount every month. You have to manually imput each payment, and it only works for 12 months.

    So unless you calendar the last month you’ve scheduled a payment, you might forget to set up more and end up missing a payment. Happened to me once, but called them up and had no problems waiving the late fee, since all my other payments were on time, and more than the minimum.

  30. Errenden says:

    As much as I love amazon and newegg I do shop at my local Microcenter a lot. Sure there’s tax but a lot of the time shipping isn’t free online or it’s a part that only slightly higher with taxes and I can have it the same day and no shipping time if a part is defective.

    • kobresia says:

      I’ll second this. Microcenter is by far one of the best B&M stores if you need something tech-related right away. The bargain bins around the store make the trip worthwhile even if ya don’t get what you originally were intending to purchase, I find it’s well worth the 45 mile drive each way when I can’t wait or when I want to look an item over prior to purchasing. I can’t think of a single trip where I left empty-handed & disappointed at the wasted trip due to the prices or quality, and there just aren’t the hassles. Oh, and their geeks/salesfolk are typically knowledgeable.

      I just wish they’d open up more locations. I long for the day when they might replace the local Best Buy which moved-in to a vacant former CompUSA location.

    • code65536 says:

      Not to mention, they are very price-competitive. Especially their CPUs ($40 less than Newegg, each and every day, for the CPU I wanted). I find myself often paying less with them than with Newegg. I don’t mind taxes, either; goodness knows the local government needs more tax dollars to keep schools open, etc., so I actually feel good about that. As Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”

  31. Extended-Warranty says:

    Since when is making a little more profit than before, yet still very profitable, a recipe for going out of business?

    We get it. Some of you guys are savvy shoppers. You can find an HDMI cheaper on Amazon.

    • quail says:

      Their profit margins dropped by 29%. Even though their same store sales improved 1% and they have 1/3 of the market, their profit margin went down. They actually made less money last year than the year before. With fixed costs this is a wake up call to any company that something is horribly wrong.

  32. Tegan says:

    I wish Best Buy would just die and go away, but I don’t see it happening too soon. There is still way too much money to be made off tricking users into thinking they need the extra warranties and “optimisations” and everything, and there are still far too many people out there who will go for it.

  33. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    What I don’t get is why every business seems to follow the same pattern.

    From the article: “First comes the strategic bankruptcy, well in progress at Best Buy, where management‚Äôs sole focus is improving some arbitrary metric from last quarter, even when doing so actually interferes with customers trying to buy something else.”

    Businesses so often instead of innovating or doing better, just push more money-making tactics, and it’s ALWAYS to detriment of all the original business they were doing. Do they destroy themselves by reducing their own business.

    It seems like every single company does this, and none of them ever learn.

    • Bionic Data Drop says:

      Best Buy has proven time and time again they are only interested in one time customers. Sure they may get some sucker to drop $300 on a warranty, but when the customer finds out they don’t get a new item off the shelf and it doesn’t cover what they were told, that customer is done with Best Buy for life. That and the negative word of mouth that customer will spread creates a bubble that is about to pop.

      People, myself included, are willing to pay more for electronics as long as we feel our business is valued and aren’t treated like morons. Too bad that can’t happen at Best Buy.

  34. kathygnome says:

    I tend to buy small easily shipped things online, usually at NewEgg or Amazon.

    I do tend to buy large items, that would entail high shipping costs, locally. But when I’ve gone to look for appliances or a new TV, I’ve ended up at Sears because the selection and prices were better. Best Buy doesn’t seem to be “good” at anything.

  35. DarrenO says:

    This holiday season I had three separate transactions, well actually four, with Best Buy and all of them went perfectly.

    1. My father and I went in to get the new iPhone 4S because the ATT store was out of them. There was a short wait, the section was packed, but we were taken care of in a friendly professional manner.

    2. I bought my wife an iPad for Christmas and ordered it online via BestBuy.com because they offered a $50 gift card along with the purchase. It, and the gift card, arrived on time and in perfect condition.

    3. Having the $50 gift card and being in need of a hard drive dock for my PC I checked the Best Buy web site for what they carried, it showed it stock at the store so I headed over. I didn’t find it at first, so I asked a sales associate who took me right to the item and asked if there was anything else he could help me with. I also checked the price for the item before leaving home and Best Buy was actually within a dollar of the Amazon.com price.

    4. Target ran a special on the iPhone 4S for $20 cheaper than we bought them for at Best Buy, we went in and got the $40 credit with no problem.

    So, while Best Buy may not be perfect, they’ve been pretty damn good in my area. The selection of music is poor now, so all my music comes from Amazon as do most of my other items. But if I want an Apple product Best Buy is the place to go for the best deal, financing, etc.

    • Coaster says:

      That’s because a new company has taken over merchandising the music for Best Buy, (those kids in white shirts and black slacks with no nametags) and frankly, they are awful at it. Best Buy has, over the last couple years, downsized it’s music section because it believes (I guess the ghost of Circuit City whispers in Brian Dunn’s ear at night) that people are buying more music online, so they are conesquently buying less physical copies of their music. *sigh* Can’t teach an old dog the ways of new technology.

  36. oldwiz65 says:

    Very interesting article. I prefer Amazon to Best Buy since they are far less annoying,have good products and great customer service. Best Buy has very little.

  37. Chingo says:

    “I use Best Buy as Amazon’s showroom.” So you are essentially helping Amazon shift costs to another company, costing local jobs and starving the local economy. Congratulations. If you shop online do your research online. Don’t waste the sales people’s time, so they can concentrate on the people who pay them: actual customers. The next step in your evolution is to not tip at a restaurant because you really just wanted to try the food and see if its something you’d like to make at home with the recipe you can download.

    “No sales tax.” Your kids don’t need an education. Your roads don’t need paving. You don’t need police and fire fighters to protect your communities. But you saved an extra $50 on that TV. Fun fact, consumers are legally required to pay sales tax for online purchases. Retailers just don’t have to collect it.

    Its not to say Best Buy doesn’t suck, but some of the things you complain about are just steps the company takes to try to make up lost revenue and overhead costs lost to online retailers. Think of the annoyances as the ads that pay for free websites.

    • ajaxd says:

      I wouldn’t comment on the sales tax but I think “Amazon showroom” statement is backwards. They got people coming in to see the product – that is actually great, now they need to offer something that makes people buy the product. It may not be the price but there has to be something – perhaps that new TV can be installed and set up correctly by knowledgeable professional or if that computer not functions properly you can bring it in any time for a free check-up. Instead, you get never ending sales pitch for some dubious service plans and accessories. It feels like they are trying to sell you something you don’t need or asked for instead of what you came to buy.

      Compare it to some other retail stores – like Costco or REI. Their prices are often not better than Amazon but people are still attracted in droves for the pleasant shopping experience and the knowledge that the stores will stand behind products they sell.

  38. CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

    Let’s go over the reasons why Consumerist readers/bloggers hate Best Buy and want them to die:

    1: Because they won’t return something to you in cash if it was bought with a credit card, or if you don’t have a valid receipt for your purchase they won’t return it at all, or if you ask for a return on a gift item the return goes to the person who purchased the gift.

    2: Because customers don’t delete/back up their own data, and feel that Best Buy owes them something by doing either of these things for them.

    3: Because they want to check your receipt for an item you are carrying out that you claim you bought at a register in the back of the store.

    4: Because they offer items for those who need it now, sometimes at a considerable markup, but in reality the bigger ticket items are much closer to Amazon, etc. than you realize or care.

    5: Because Geek Squad offers repair services to those who need it, those who can’t do it themselves. I understand that ALL of you readers on this blog are obvious computer/it/networking geniuses, and can’t possibly fathom that we MAY know more about something than you do, so clearly you don’t need our help. But there are most definitely others that do.

    I could go on and on, but this Forbes guy is wrong. Best Buy will be here for a while. Just because your stock price takes a dip for a few months doesn’t spell the end of the world. There is money being spent investing in other companies, technology, etc. This company been profitable for quite a few years, even when others aren’t.

    • Aking0667 says:

      RE 3: Treating your customer like a criminal is an awesome way to build business and spread positive word of mouth.

      RE 5: Offering me terrible warranties and badgering me when I say “no” is another awesome way to build business and spread positive word of mouth.

      I’ll add one too.

      Emphasizing hiring sales folks over tech savvy people is a problem. The average customer already doesn’t know what they need half of the time and now since the employee only knows how to hawk things they cannot help the customer have the positive experience of finding what they need.

      • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

        3: You walk into the store, go to home theather, pick up a Blu-Ray player, and start to exit the door. HTF do I know you bought it or didn’t? I DON’T. That’s why I ask for the receipt.

        5: I respect your right to say no, just as you should respect the right that I have to do my job and ask. However, just as you can say no to me about the warranty, etc., you also need to know that I can say no to your demands as far as repairs, etc. I am a middle man, and if you have a problem with your product you are more than welcome to take it up with the manufacturer. Otherwise, you have to play ball with my options are at fixing, replacing, etc. your product.

        And to your other thing too, I agree on quit hiring salesmen. I would prefer there to be a mix of people at Geek Squad, salesmen and tech people. A lot of the clients need the touch that a sales men can provide, making them feel comfortable, etc. I have very techy guys at my Precinct, and there is a world of difference in how they talk to customers than the sales guys do.

        On the floor, we just need people to value their jobs and help customers. Do what is within their power to help is all I ask of an employee.

      • kobresia says:

        I guess it’s all a matter of perspective, I don’t feel that they’re “treating (me) like a criminal” when the receipt checker checks receipts. I get why they do it, it’s just more security theater, and it might make the more amateurish shoplifters (like the kids who might want to steal something small because they don’t have the money or whatever) more antsy and likely to betray themselves, or deter them so they try to shoplift at a more shoplifter-friendly store. That retention time in no-man’s land between the registers and the door, and having to face another human being before slinking out probably does enough to deter the casual amateurs even if it won’t faze the pro shoplifters one bit.

        I completely agree with you on the PSP badgering and on what the Geek Squad has become. I vaguely remember when their team was more differentiated from the rest of the Best Buy employees and they seemed to care a little about nerd cred, in the months immediately after Best Buy absorbed them.

    • PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

      I was waiting for you to jump in. :-)

      First off, I don’t think *everyone* hates BB. Heck, in the past year, I have bought something twice from BB (once in September and once last month). Personally, I find I just don’t like going into the store anymore. I’ll address your points from the non-employee perspective:

      1: I agree with you on most of this. However, every other place I have ever been to will exchange an item bought on someone else’s credit card if one has a gift receipt (or offer a gift card). I don’t know BB’s practices, but that might have been cases of the cashier not communicating policy or customer not understanding it.

      2: I agree with you here. The only time I’d side with the customer is if their data was wiped without express permission from the customer…which there have been stories about.

      3: We talked about this the other day. Again, I agree with you; however, I usually get stopped when I make my purchase ten feet from the entrance, not in the back. THAT is the annoying part: when LP watches one make the purchase and stops them anyway. (I’ve gone into this before, so let’s move on.)

      4: They charge a conveinence fee – that is well within their right. They can set all their prices for 100x what anyone else charges, and they have the right to do so. Doesn’t mean people will like it, though. They’ll just choose to shop elsewhere. (And as far as the big ticket items being the same as other online retailers go, I semi-disagree with you on that point.)

      5: I AM in IT, and would never use GS’s services. Not because I look down on them (we actually hired someone not long ago that came right from GS), only because I have personally seen them many times give wrong info, advice or just screw things up. Which goes to the point about sales vs. tech people. This is not a new thing with BB. Nearly 20 years ago, when I worked as the electronics supervisor at an office supply store next to a BB, we’d constantly get people who’d use us for the Q&A and then walk back and buy stuff at BB because they had the better price but the employees were poorly trained/ misinformed/ didn’t know their products.

      So, for all the hard time I give you, I actually agree with most of your points. The problems people have with BB go beyond what you addressed (as just a culling of recent Consumerist stories).

      PERSONALLY, I find the stores louder than they used to be and dimmer. Also, I miss the straight aisles that they used to have; now they’re just sections that have to manuever around or follow the outer ring to walk a straight line across the store.

      • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

        Yes, we meet again lol. You are more reasonable than the majority of commenters. Rather than jumping the bandwagon, you offer ideas & thoughts that support your arguments.

        However, the vast majority feel somehow Best Buy has targeted them personally, and that their 1 experience 4 years ago is indicative of how the millions of transactions daily go.

        I am far from a Best Buy shill, as my attitude toward management’s policies in our store and at the corporate level has kept me from getting promoted higher for years. As I work contract jobs for a telecom company on the side, I don’t know that I would ever accept an opportunity, but it would be nice to see it offered.

        I can’t answer for the company as a whole, but I believe I run my Precinct the right way. Be upfront with clients about everything, give them options, let them choose. My upper management wants us to push Tech Support & BTP & credit cards to everyone. But not everyone needs it. Sometimes they need smaller fixes, or just information. Or maybe they want to pay with cash. Or they want to trust the mfg warranty. I empower my Agents to use common sense, try and treat people the way they would want. If that means doing a five minute data transfer on the counter for a college student who didn’t back up their term paper, then we help them. Sometimes we bend SOP, sometimes we break it off. But my team has the best CSI scores in my territory, and we are top 10 in sales. We must be doing something right.

        Anyway, I’m ranting now, but I feel it’s not as bad at Best Buy as Consumerist makes it out to be. Yeah, there are some stupid policies and some decisions that could be better researched. At the same time, customers can take some responsibility for their own actions/purchases as well. Both sides are at fault in the VAST majority of circumstances.

    • wellfleet says:

      I was a DCI with Geek Squad and while I could argue for and against several of your points, you seem to be criminally uninformed about stock prices. When I was employed with the company (3 years total) the stock was at a 5-year high of just over $52 in 2007. They are currently trading at $23. They have been on a $12 per share slide since January of 2011. If you’re going to mention company finances, please do some research.

      • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

        I was more commenting on performance in the market in the last few months. As a DCI now, I am trying to encourage my employees to focus more on the experience and less on the bottom line. Our customers will be there, based on how we treat them and the service we provide.

  39. Jnetty says:

    This is why I stopped asking for BB gift cards and moved on to Amazon.

  40. hollander says:

    I have had nothing but excellent customer service at the Best Buy here in Holland,MI. My last purchase went very smoothly with an in-store purchase of a flat screen TV and Geek Squad-Delivery was exactly on time as scheduled, as well as the Geek Squad, which was very professional and thorough. I took a couple items back for a refund with absolutely no problems Best Buy is #1 in my book!

  41. maruawe says:

    could not happen to a better company.. This is what happens when you put profit before customer satisfaction.

  42. SamDFA says:

    A prime example: Last time I was in Best Buy I went along with a friend to look at a camcorder. The model he wanted to check out was not on display, so when we were approached by a young sales associate he had some questions.

    He asked how it compared in size to the similar model on display next to it. She didn’t know
    He asked if the model he wanted had external audio input. She didn’t know.
    He asked if she could open one up so he could look at it. Her response (and the best part): “Well if you want to look at it you could just go ahead and buy this one, we’ll take it out here and play with it, and if you don’t like it you can just return it.

    He turned around and walked away before her sentence ended. Neither of us have been back since

    • Coaster says:

      Seriously? You asked, “Does this thing you don’t have, that I want, look like this thing you do have? Does the thing I want have these features? Can you open a manufacturer sealed box and let me get finger prints all over the item, and risk me breaking it, just so I can tell you I don’t want it, so that you can then mark it as an open box item?” and you are SURPRISED that she said no? lol You sound like (or at least put yourself across as) a techosavvy guy, why didn’t you look this stuff up on the computer right there in the camera department, and do a product comparison on the best buy website?

  43. Buckus says:

    I think if Best Buy does an about-face and decides to actually pay attention to customer service, stop pushing add-on services that only add-on profit but no value, they might be able to turn it around. Basically, people have to want to shop there, and if being pushed to buy an extended warranty three times on every item is pushing customers away, or the Geek Squad is incompetent, they should re-evaluate those aspects of their stores and make them better.

  44. speling_champ says:

    I’m sorry that everybody else’s Best Buy is lame. Mine is great. I can easily get it, get what I need, and get out. I am able to negotiate prices comparable to Amazon’s. Returns are very easy at Best Buy. Yesterday it took me two calls and a chat with Amazon to get a return label. I buy stuff for my organization and Best Buy’s tax exempt process works great! I love Amazon, but we are in a state where Amazon charges tax. Their tax exemption process is nearly non-existent. The 8% extra I pay in tax to Amazon often brings their price up to Best Buy’s. Best Buy isn’t the only place that couldn’t deliver before Christmas. We have Amazon Prime, paid $4 extra for next day delivery (to be delivered on December 23) and it didn’t arrive until December 27. No apology, explanation, or refund of the extra shipping cost. With very few exceptions, my experiences with Best Buy have been great, and when they mess up they make up for it. I buy a lot of stuff at Amazon and Newegg, but Best Buy definitely plays a role in my personal and professional purchasing.

  45. donovanr says:

    In Canada we also have FutureShop which is a near duplicate of all the worst parts of Best Buy. A simple sleaze example would be their laptop selection. I went in before Christmas looking for a sub $500 laptop. None on display. They sell them on their website but they just couldn’t bring themselves to not try and gouge people. Hop over to staples and nearly half their laptops are in the sub $500 range.
    Futureshop also desperately tries to sell additional warranties. One discovery I made with them is they will ask you if you want an additional warranty before checking the inventory. I always say yes and they always have what I want in stock. Then at the checkout I decline the crap extra warranty. The only reason I ever shop there is when others don’t have what I want. Also a great place to start shopping as you will feel better about your purchase when you make it at some other location.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Future Shop is owned by Best Buy but is run like a furniture store with commissioned salesmen.

  46. Outrun1986 says:

    I don’t think BB will die anytime soon, yes they screwed up bad during the holidays and left a lot of people without Xmas gifts but that only happened to some customers, other customers know nothing about this. There are way too many uninformed but “I want shiny technology” customers out there for them to cater to. There are also plenty of people who don’t have the means to shop online who are stuck buying at B&M retailers (you need a credit card to shop online, some people don’t have them). The reason they ask about the warranty is because almost everyone buys it without even thinking! Best Buy and Walmart cater to this crowd, this crowd also doesn’t know that better prices exist online.

    They also have the I am rich, I want the best and I want it now crowd. These people may be knowledgeable about technology but are too old to really value online shopping like the younger crowd does, or they just want it that day and they don’t want to wait. I know a few people in this boat who buy monster cables and the most expensive TV on the floor since just because its the most expensive its the best.

    Its not just Best Buy either, so its kind of unfair to single them out amongst scammy retailers. I was buying a printer in officemax and the salesman tried to upsell me a warranty because the buttons on my printer would break and the manufacturer doesn’t cover that type of repair. The warranty was a one year for 9.99 which I am sure would overlap with the manufacturer’s warranty that comes with the printer. Turns out on this particular printer there is exactly 2 buttons, the only one you need to touch is the switch on the side to turn it on. You touch the other button only during setup of the printer and probably when the toner is changed, which in my case will be so infrequently that I doubt it will matter. So its not very likely that the buttons would break on this printer since there are only 2.

  47. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    The last time I tried to buy any sort of “pricey” item from Best Buy was nearly 2 years ago. I was looking for a 250GB PS3. In early 2010, Sony was having problems meeting demand and many retailers had none in stock, including Amazon. When I asked the Best Buy sales kid when they might get some, he said he didn’t know. Fair enough I thought. Then he added that they do not know whether or not they’ll have any until they unload the truck from the warehouse.
    In other words, they have no idea what they’ll be stocking until it arrives from the distribution center. I advised him not to make a career of Best Buy.

  48. touayang says:

    Best Buy can’t go under. It employs all the geeks that can’t get real geek jobs. I’m a real geek with a real geek job and I don’t want them close down and have all the stupid geeks flood the job market.

  49. jamar0303 says:

    It should’ve tried harder on the other side of the Pacific. Then at least it could be like GM and have its China business doing well if it starts sinking in the US. But no, it screwed up and left with its tail between its legs (a separate local subsidiary counts for nothing).

  50. Carlos Spicy Weiner says:

    Just like Sears, I think whoever they’re overpaying at CEO (to attract the “top” talent) needs to go. We can all rail against BB for being a crappy chain, but as CC, and locally The Good Guys and whatever electronics stores goes under, we ALL lose. Amazon has great prices (some times) and good service BECAUSE of big stores like BB. They know if they don’t beat the Brick and Mortar stores on price and return policy, no one would buy something sight unseen. I appreciate being able to walk into a store and see and touch what I’m about to lay my hard earned money down on. If BB is close to Amazon, I’ll buy from them because it sooooo much easier to bring it home myself, on MY schedule, and return it in person if I don’t like it. I will use Amazon’s wealth of reviews to get an idea about a product, but is a physical store close by carries it, I’ll buy from them. On the flip side, I’m glad Amazon is there for convenience sake, and it keeps pressure on places like BB that they better get their act together.

  51. slightlyjaded says:

    There is absolutely a place for a good brick and mortar electronics store that’s an alternative to online retailers, but Best Buy has done everything in its power to not be that store. Pricing isn’t even the issue–Best Buy can be fairly competitive with online dealers for a lot of things. The biggest reason I don’t go to Best Buy (and I suspect it’s the same for many people) is that that I don’t feel like being harassed by constant up-sells from the moment I walk in till the moment I leave.

    Best Buy has made a conscious decision to tie its profitability to warranties and service–to build its basic business strategy on hounding customers to try to squeeze more money out of them. Instead of, say, just giving them what they want and making it a pleasure to shop in their stores. Or, even, god forbid, positioning themselves as superior to online purchases by, say, offering easy, no-hassle returns as a core policy (like Costco). Or including tech support in the price of the purchase. You know, things that would actually make people think seriously about buying at Best Buy over saving a couple bucks online.

    Instead, by focusing strictly on harassing their customers, Best Buy has taken its one advantage over online dealers–the experience of physically being in a store–and turned it into a liability. Kudos!

  52. PsychoRaven says:

    The world will be a better place when they’re gone too.

  53. Scamazon says:

    People still shop at Best Buy? Dont forget to get your system pre-configured, with an extended warranty, and Geek Squad to setup and screw-up whatever you bought up when you purchase something from there….

  54. GW says:

    I purchased a Nikon Coolpix S9100 for my wife, just before Christmas. When she opened it, I saw that the camera box had been opened, the camera had been used and then returned.

    The lithium ion battery was missing it’s protective cover, it had been charged, the wrist strap was missing, and the Quick Start Guide was wrinkled.

    They had simply put a security device on it – to make it look unopened and put it back in stock.

    I took it back and made sure I got a new product. They took it back but It’s this kind of deceptive crap that is killing Best Buy.

  55. GW says:

    I purchased a Nikon Coolpix S9100 for my wife, just before Christmas. When she opened it, I saw that the camera box had been opened, the camera had been used and then returned.

    The lithium ion battery was missing it’s protective cover, it had been charged, the wrist strap was missing, and the Quick Start Guide was wrinkled.

    They had simply put a security device on it – to make it look unopened and put it back in stock.

    I took it back and made sure I got a new product. They took it back but It’s this kind of deceptive crap that is killing Best Buy.

  56. ARP says:

    Best Buy’s problem has always been that they are over-priced and have lousy service. You can have one or the other, but not both. You want to be a Costco? Fine, drop your prices. You want to be a B&M Crutchfield, etc.? Fine, leave prices high, but improve your service.

    As others have stated they’ve been preying on the ignorant for a long time. However, with each new generation, shoppers are becoming smarter (about products) and savvier. So, BBY’s customer base will continue to shrink until they execute a new strategy.

  57. techman001 says:

    They will be overtaken by regional chains such as PC Richard and Son that is spread around the Northeast and HHGregg which is spread across the midwest and South. They still use the commission system for their employees, so at least are more knowledgable. Doesn’t stop them from hawking the usual overpriced cables and protection plans though.

    • RavenWarrior says:

      Oh please, HHgregg, at least around here, is even worse than Best Buy. The employees either latch onto you like a parasite or never go near you and their selection outside of TVs and big appliances is almost nonexistent. On top of that, no media department at all. They sell mattresses of all things instead.

      PC Richard and Sons I know little to nothing about, beyond that they have a decent video game clearance every so often on their website. Got the Legendary edition of Halo 3 with all the parts for $20 a few years back.

  58. HogwartsProfessor says:

    And even if the customer is outside the return window or is otherwise technically not entitled to do what she’s asking to do, [Amazon] bends over backwards to bend its policies in the interest of happy customers and the on-going customer relationship.

    I know this. I downloaded an album and the download didn’t complete, but the payment did. I meant to email them about it but I got busy and forgot, until almost a year later when something else happened and I found the error message still in the downloader. I emailed them something like “I’m so sorry, this is my fault for not coming to you sooner, but I paid for this order and it was never completed. Is there any way I could re-download the album? I still really want it. If not, I understand. Thank you.”

    They emailed me back immediately and said in effect, “Sure, we see the order, and we see it didn’t download. It’s kind of old, but we’ll let you redo it. Go ahead.”

    Whee! Think BB would do that? NO WAY JOSE.

  59. HogwartsProfessor says:

    And even if the customer is outside the return window or is otherwise technically not entitled to do what she’s asking to do, [Amazon] bends over backwards to bend its policies in the interest of happy customers and the on-going customer relationship.

    I know this. I downloaded an album and the download didn’t complete, but the payment did. I meant to email them about it but I got busy and forgot, until almost a year later when something else happened and I found the error message still in the downloader. I emailed them something like “I’m so sorry, this is my fault for not coming to you sooner, but I paid for this order and it was never completed. Is there any way I could re-download the album? I still really want it. If not, I understand. Thank you.”

    They emailed me back immediately and said in effect, “Sure, we see the order, and we see it didn’t download. It’s kind of old, but we’ll let you redo it. Go ahead.”

    Whee! Think BB would do that? NO WAY JOSE.

  60. adamf63 says:

    My wife and I once tried to spend $4000-5000 on appliances at best buy (fridge, washer, dryer).
    At three different stores, we couldn’t find an sales associate who didn’t act annoyed at us for taking up his time and we couldn’t get them to turn off the damn rap music thumping out of the subwoofers over in the stereo department. We’d walk over there, turn it down, ask a sales associated if they wouldn’t mind keeping it down for 20 minutes or so, only to hear them turn it up again as soon as we were walking away. Bass really carries and it was fucking annoying. We ended up taking our business to home depot.

  61. Wesley says:

    Want to know an odd reason that I don’t like going to Best Buy anymore? The stores smell like a dirty locker room. (But that’s also the reason I use for not going to the gym so . . . do with that what you will.)

  62. htrodblder says:

    Very good reading on Forbes, if you substitute the word “Sears” or “Kmart” everytime you see the word “Best Buy” you get a pretty good idea where those companies are going.

  63. IntheKnow says:

    - “Forced” optimization services in sale laptops,
    - Bleak Squad Black Eye Deception plans,
    - Confirmed Black Friday orders no-stocked 30 days later,
    - Judge (and jury) Judy (no) return policies,
    - Poor store management,
    - Poorer “sales” staff,

    Equals

    +Amazon business exploding, warehouse club a much better and friendlier alternative

    Equals

    Et tu brute. Circuit City is waiting to greet you in ………………..

  64. Miss Malevolent says:

    I like Microcenter for my computer/electronics needs.

  65. lunasdude says:

    Ok, gotta chime in here.
    Compusa (retail stores), Circuit city, Ultimate Electronics all HAD a very similar M.O.
    Low payed sales people not trained well.
    Weird anti consumer policy’s not designed to make your shopping experiences better but much, much worse.
    Prices that are often not the best deal.
    Very bad customer service.
    Then there is Best Buy, which has adopted all of the worst traits of the above mentioned stores.
    All 3 of the retailers, Compusa, Circuit & Ultimate electronics all flopped around (much as Best Buy is doing now) and ultimately died a slow painful bankruptcy death.
    Best Buy will go this direction because like the others mentioned here, they can’t seem to change and stubbornly keep doing the same things, again and again.
    One last thing, all the companies I have mentioned have one more trait in common.
    They were (are) all very arrogant and self assured.

  66. ReverendTed says:

    Reading this got me thinking about why I used to shop at Best Buy, when I held a positive opinion of them. I think it boiled down to a few points:
    1) They had a variety of things that I wanted in one place (movies, games, music, computer peripherals) with a greater selection than what I could get at a big-box or department store
    2) Their prices were competitive (or seemed so)
    3) The stores seemed nicer (Circuit City stores always seemed to be in dumpier shopping centers and didn’t seem to be as well-kept or organized inside)

    #1 is trumped by the Internet. The selection is “whatever specific thing you want”
    #2 is also trumped by the Internet. I can find it cheaper, even when shipping isn’t free.
    #3 is a mixed bag. The Best Buys I’ve been in lately aren’t decrepit by any means, but the layouts change often enough to be frustrating and you have to put up with the upselling, which is annoying.

    A couple of reasons that never played into it:
    1) “Knowledgeable employees”. The only times I’ve ever gotten advice or opinions from a Best Buy employee turned out to be misleading or incorrect, and one of those times led to a purchase that cost me their irritating restocking fee when I returned it for the product I really wanted.
    2) Product Protection Plans. Ugh.

    So what reasons do I have for occasionally frequenting Best Buy though I have a relatively negative opinion of them:
    1) Someone gave me a gift card and I like to physically browse a selection of products
    2) As implied above, the ability to physically compare two similar products (although online reviews tend to allow a decent gauge for this)
    3) I can’t wait for something to be shipped and/or don’t want to pay for it to be expedited

    To me, those are their only remaining strengths: you can see the products before you purchase them, and you have it in hand immediately. Unfortunately for them, many if not most of their products are not “need it today” purchases.

    To stay relevant, they’d need to do some things that I don’t think they can do.
    - They’d need to be competitive on price. I don’t think this is possible for them with a B&M model, especially when so many online retailers are offering free shipping, which used to be the gotcha for online purchases; something would be cheaper until the shipping was tacked on.
    - Educate their employees, or hire educated employees. Get competitive on price and THEN pay qualified individuals or pay to train their existing “summer job” force? Even if they trained aisle monkeys to defer questions to a smaller staff of “product experts”, I don’t think they’ll ever overcome the reputation they’ve earned.
    - Previous point aside, even a simple “Can I help you find anything?” near the doorway would go a long way. This would overcome some of the frustrations with the store layouts. The customer is there to buy a product. Help them do that. Do NOT focus on convincing them do something they do not want. People appreciate helpful. They do not appreciate being sold.

    Even if Best Buy as a corporation manages to survive, their current model can’t. The days of the “retail destination” are fast receding into the mists of history.

  67. kingdom2000 says:

    For me the problem is the enviroment but the prices. I am tech head so customer service is irrelevant because I probably know more about much of what they sell then their employees do so never bother to ask anything other then “what area is X located?”

    I use to buy CDs, DVDs, and video games there all the time. However, in the last few years, Toys R Us usually has the best game deals if willing to be patient, CDs replaced by online buys, and DVD/BR are usually cheaper at Wal Mart or Target (which rarely buy now as most not worth it and really tired of the double dipping game of the studios with multiple releases of the same movie). Basically between the lack of deals and the now common American companies practice of trying to make more by providing less I have developed new buying habits that have made Best Buy useless to me.

  68. dragonpancakes says:

    It’s nice to have some good news after a long day!

  69. gman863 says:

    Best Buy Retail Mortality Checklist:

    * Push overpriced proprietary video format Cinema Now – check. (Hey gang! Remember Circuit City’s “DIVX” player and discs about 12 years ago?

    * Grossly overpriced accessories and extended warranties – check.

    * A service department (Geek Squad) from HELL – check.

    * Near minimum wage sales help who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground – check.

    * Hiring Neo-Nazis to write and enforce their return policy – check.

    * Higher prices than many direct competitors (Fry’s, Amazon, etc.) – check.

    * An attitude that – since the death of Circuit City – thinks they’re the only game in town – check.

    Just like A&P, Sears and Kmart, it’ll be a slow, painful death.

    • RavenWarrior says:

      Okay, i’m going to break down each one of your bullet points here.

      - CinemaNow isn’t a video format, it’s just an alternative streaming media service. The DivX example is not the same.

      - What brick-and-mortar retailer doesn’t have accessories with a bunch of markup? Not every business can have monoprice’s prices for cables, and the majority don’t.

      - The next two are entirely dependent on your local areas’ locations. Of course we always hear when someone gets an incompetent worker here or a bad repair, but for every one of them there’s got to be more good employees and times when repairs went smoothly and without hassles. It’s assuming that bad is the norm that’s the problem.

      - Not going to mince words, that’s harsh. Things like that are in place so the store doesn’t get burned by people stuffing a ream of paper into an Xbox box and returning it. Also, for receipt-checking, how many time do we go over this on this site? Either walk on by or deal with it, not that big of an inconvenience.

      - Uh, price matching policy? I don’t know about others but my local store matches Amazon and online sites no problem.

      - Okay, I’ll give you that last one. Most areas don’t have a direct competitor to Best Buy and stores like HHGregg don’t really count, as they’re focused slightly different. Only where the Fry’s, Microcenters, etc. exist does BB have anything close to a competitor.

  70. wellfleet says:

    As a former employee and manager, I can agree with many of the author’s points. Being a manager and having direct P&L responsibility, I saw the company’s many desperate attempts to squeeze more dollars out of every customer.

    1. we went from explaining optimization to every customer and actually doing a good job of it in the precinct to hooking up 50-60% of all laptops to remote agents that did an absolute shit job of cleaning up machines and giving clients a much faster unit.
    2. we went from being able to just work with people and be human in Geek Squad to having most of our tools taken away and our hands tied. We used to have copies of most OEM discs so if a customer needed a restore, we could do it in the precinct. They took them all away and customers had to get/make their own. This made the repair process longer and more expensive.
    3. turnaround time in Geek Squad became a huge deal that instead of letting some truly talented Agents actually work on machines, we were encouraged to do destructive restores
    4. the PSP/GSBTP plans were often a lifesaver for customers, but the process was painful and drove many customers away from being loyal or repeat customers. A TV with parts on backorder has to go unrepaired for 45 days before we can start a process to junk it out and get it replaced. Between the customer calling for an appointment and realizing this is happening, people would be without a functioning TV for 2-3 months. Even when I would call our warranty company and beg them to approve an exchange, they rarely did.
    5. every metric, and I mean every single little thing in the store was measured and in any given week or month, we had a different priority. When everything is a priority, nothing is. One week it was optimizations, the next week it was calibrations, the following it was memory cards. We didn’t encourage our associates to actually get to know customers and find out their needs as much as we told them to make sure everyone “needs” something.
    6. the prices on accessories are outrageous. The company needs to make profit, but the mark-up was truly insane, 400-500% on most things, especially store-branded items.
    7. customer service was a crapshoot for our customers. If they got a good associate, they got amazing knowledge, service and care. If they got a moron, well, they got a moron. We had MECP level 2 audio installers, audio and video experts and professional photographers who worked with us, but we also had some absolute idiots who didn’t bother to learn anything.
    8. managers, especially young and uneducated males, were paid ridiculously high salaries (our GM in a medium store made 83K a year in a town where you can live extremely well on 40K). As such, all they cared about was maximizing their bonus no matter what. Cheating, lying, making shady deals, etc.
    9. the company knew that customers hated being pitched, hated being lied to, and yet openly encouraged associates to lie, cheat and essentially steal to meet targets. The magazine scam is the biggest culprit. We lost more repeat business to this bullshit program than to anything. The operations managers and supervisors were constantly hounding cashiers about their numbers.
    10. and on and on and on…

    BBY has tremendous potential, but it has to become more flexible by getting rid of 20-30% of their square footage, tripling their online inventory, and becoming fanatical about resolving supply chain and service issues. There are too many people who rose to their ranks via attrition or luck who are clawing to keep their positions because they’re wholly unqualified to do anything else. BBY needs to compete with Amazon on Amazon’s turf: online. B&M stores should become small showrooms for specific segments of products while most of the inventory should be carried online. Shifting their business to 70% online will reduce costs in both fixed facility, amortization, SG&A, etc. This company has too many people writing recipes and not enough people cooking.

    Brian Dunn, I’m looking at you. Start treating your employees like human beings, quit pushing some bullshit metric (close rates! RPT! comps!) and start being fanatical about doing anything and everything for your customers. Until then, you’re a nice guy who acts like an asshole.

  71. hahatanka says:

    Thank God there’s a Nebraska Furniture across from BB. Great staff & service. Buy my Apple computers there as they have a slight discount. But wait, there’s more. 3 years interest free on purchases over $500.
    Downside, I’ll be dead and still owning them for all the purchases. Needed a new printer so I had to buy an iPad to get the free interest. Think I should have just bought backup printers.

  72. kd5jos says:

    I don’t own a T.V. So I don’t need cable or a dish. An XBox, a PS3, or a Wii isn’t usable without a T.V.. I don’t need a stereo (I have an iPhone). I’m a mac user, so I purchase all my software on-line (including video games). I can’t use a DVD or Blu-Ray player (no T.V.), so I don’t need the discs that go with them (I’m an iTunes eco-system guy). Since I don’t have any consoles, I don’t need any games or console peripherals. I buy Apple products (hardware) from the Apple store. I’m trying to think of a reason I would go in Best Buy? Time to cancel my Best Buy card… (and no, this isn’t an Apple is better post, you could get the same results by not owning a T.V. and shopping at the Windows store, they have one in the same mall I go to that the Apple store is in). Most of the time, I just order on line.

  73. kd5jos says:

    I don’t own a T.V. So I don’t need cable or a dish. An XBox, a PS3, or a Wii isn’t usable without a T.V.. I don’t need a stereo (I have an iPhone). I’m a mac user, so I purchase all my software on-line (including video games). I can’t use a DVD or Blu-Ray player (no T.V.), so I don’t need the discs that go with them (I’m an iTunes eco-system guy). Since I don’t have any consoles, I don’t need any games or console peripherals. I buy Apple products (hardware) from the Apple store. I’m trying to think of a reason I would go in Best Buy? Time to cancel my Best Buy card… (and no, this isn’t an Apple is better post, you could get the same results by not owning a T.V. and shopping at the Windows store, they have one in the same mall I go to that the Apple store is in). Most of the time, I just order on line.

  74. rtwest says:

    I hate reading stuff like this, because it’s all true. The company is going downhill, slowly but surely, and it frustrates the hell out of me because I have quite a few ideas that I think might help, if only I knew where to send them.
    For Christ’s sake, starting internally and getting functional systems for employees to use would probably be a huge step in the right direction. I can’t tell you how embarrassed I get when a customer calls and I have to tell them, “I’m sorry, I can’t find the answer to your question because the programs we use are so convoluted and don’t communicate with each other.”
    It’s also terribly embarrassing when a customer in the store stops me and asks where something is located, and I have to hunt around and ask three other employees before I can tell the customer, because one of the quarterly “transformations” just happened.
    These are just two examples of things that customers see/hear that keep them from coming back, and I don’t even work on the sales floor, I work in the warehouse. I really like the work I do, and the people with whom I work, but the company as a whole just really frustrates me, and I have no clue what I can do about it.

  75. dukeofurl says:

    I hate Best Buy, I hope they die in a fire. Their high-pressure sales makes me want to start throwing sledge hammers. I went in there a couple days ago because a coffee shop is across the parking lot and had a really long line that I didn’t want to wait in. I was asked if I needed help like 3 times in 4 minutes, it was annoying. I could probably school any single one of them on their own gadgets any day of the week.